The latest addition to Sony’s coveted G Master range is the first super-telephoto prime lens in its E-mount line up
Visit our store page for Sony's new FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens HERE.
Today, Sony has announced the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS. This large-aperture super-telephoto prime is set to deliver exceptional image quality and class-leading features to further bolster Sony’s full-frame mirrorless system. The lens weighs in at just 2,895g. In fact, it’s the lightest lens of its class on the market – thanks to its generous use of magnesium-alloy components and minimalistic optical design.
Large prime lenses aren’t designed for prolonged handheld use. However, the FE 400mm f/2.8’s lighter design will surely allow for more regular handheld use than the current crop of competing super-telephoto prime lenses. Internally, 23 elements in 17 groups have been spaced so that most of the lens’ weight is carried centrally. This should create a balanced partnership with the lighter full-frame Sony bodies, and make panning far more accurate and easier due to not being front heavy.
Three fluorite elements help to reduce chromatic aberration and minimise colour-bleeding. Elements have been coated with Sony’s Nano AR coating to help reduce any reflections, glare or ghosting. Initial reviews have reported that edge-to-edge contrast and resolution (even at f/2.8) is class leading. Each lens is also individually adjusted during the manufacturing process in order to maximise image quality and bokeh, which there's sure to be plenty of – thanks to the 400mm’s 11 aperture blades.
The FE 400mm f/2.8 features two newly designed extreme dynamic [XD] linear motors to drive its lens group for precise and quick autofocus. Measures have also been taken to keep any lag, noise and instability to an absolute minimum. With that in mind, we’re expecting this lens to make the best use of Sony’s flagship A9 and its ability to capture fast-moving subjects.
For further control there are many physical controls on the lens' body. Switches at the beginning of the barrel allow you to choose between three focusing distances: full, 2.7m to 7m and 7m to full. Three modes can also be selected for image stabilisation including a mode for panning and one for fast-moving subjects. You can also switch between AF/MF and full-time DMF for control over manual focus at any time. Four programmable focus selection buttons are available for locking in focus locations as well as a brand new function ring that can not only lock in AF distances, but also be used during video to push and pull focus smoothly.
Although Sony currently has just this focal range in its super-telephoto field, it is still compatible with the company’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. Not only will this give users even more focal range to play with, it should retain that highly efficient autofocus capability and outstanding resolution. The lens is designed to handle testing environments. The body is dust and moisture resistant, and the front element is coated with fluorine to resist oil, dirt, water and fingerprints. Magnesium alloy components add to the lens’ durability and the lens hood is made of tough, lightweight carbon-fibre.
The large front element makes it necessary to have a drop-in filter holder at the start of the lens. The slot will accept a 40.5mm thread and Sony has developed the VF-DCPL1 Drop-in circular polariser, which can be rotated to achieve the correct level of polarisation for the user.
To draw the most from the lens and enhance compatibility, there is a new software update for the Sony A9. The update is set to optimise image stabilisation performance, and will make continuous focus and tracking autofocus possible even at f/11. Users who install the update will also have the option to input camera serial numbers into the Exif data of images, which has been called for by many professional shooters. The update should also increase autofocus performance when shooting in low light and improve tracking when shooting a fast-moving subject. Finally, it’s set to reduce the amount of lag when shooting with flash.
As the first super-telephoto prime to be included in Sony’s E-mount lineup, sports and wildlife photographers will surely be excited to test the FE 400mm f/2.8 alongside the incredibly fast and enhanced features of the flagship A9. After all, the combination will offer the fastest frame-rate, long lens combo currently available on the world market.
About the Author
Amy Moore is Wex Photo Video’s Technical Editor for Photography. She enjoys numerous types of photography, especially landscapes and meteorological photography.