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Sony’s new long lenses: a 600mm prime and a 200-600mm zoom

A new 600mm prime lens that is the world’s lightest in its class, and a 200-600mm super-telephoto zoom lens are the most recent products from Sony added to the G family of lenses.

Sony

The new white Sony lenses, FE 600mm F4 GM OSS and FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS for full frame cameras give photographers and videographers new options in terms of creativity.

Which 600mm should I choose? The FE 600mm F4 GM OSS prime or the FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS zoom. The versatility of the zoom will win, for many users, but the prime lens is, no doubt, a choice when a fast aperture is a must. In terms of weight, the 600mm prime is the lightest in its class, at least at the moment, with approx. 3040g, but the 200-600mm zoom wins, at 2120g, which is 920g less. Size will also matter, with the 600mm being… longer, but price, though, will be the main reason why some will pick the zoom instead of the prime. The new 200-600mm zoom costs $1,998.00, while the 600mm has a price tag of… $12,998.00.

The price asked for the 600mm, which is Sony’s longest reaching prime lens, gives users access to many of the company’s most advanced optical and mechanical technologies, in a lens featuring, says Sony,”an extremely balanced design to ensure the best possible shooting experience”. Along with the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens, the new 600mm gives professional sports, wildlife and news photographers more options for capturing subjects at great distances with extreme accuracy and detail.

Sony’s super-telephoto prime lens

“With two new lenses announced today, our growing E-mount lens line-up now includes 33 full-frame models and 51 lenses in total. The 10th model from our flagship G Master series, the new 600mm F4 raises the bar for speed, mobility and control in a super-telephoto prime lens,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging at Sony Europe. “Combining the extensive 600mm reach with features like 20 fps shooting and AF/AE calculations at 60 times per second on the α9 or extremely high resolution, high speed performance on the α7R III allow professional photographers to create images that were simply not possible to capture before.”

Based on technology from the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens, the lightweight design of the new 600mm lens is achieved through the usage of three fluorite elements, with a reduced number of elements deployed at the front of the barrel. Magnesium alloy is also used throughout the lens to help minimise weight and bulk. Also inherited from FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS, the new 600mm lens features a lens design that is not front-heavy, reducing moment of inertia that resists rotation, ensuring quicker, more precise panning when shooting handheld or on a monopod.

Hard controls on the lens

The lens also features an 11-blade circular aperture mechanism that contributes to the high quality of bokeh in images, and has been coated with Sony’s original Nano AR coating to suppress any unwanted reflections, glare, or ghosting in images. The new FE 600mm F4 GM OSS is compatible with Sony’s 1.4x and 2.0x E-mount tele-converters, producing, according to Sony, outstanding imaging performance at extended focal lengths while maintaining fast, precise AF performance.

There is also an ample number of hard controls on the lens, including customisable focus-hold buttons in four different locations on the lens barrel, which can be programmed for control of features, if desired. There is also a ‘Full-Time DMF’ switch to immediately engage manual focus at any point, and a focus ring that features Linear Response MF for fine, responsive manual focus.

Additionally, the new lens includes built-in optical stabilisation for dynamic action and three different ‘Mode’ settings, including a Mode 3 setting with an advanced algorithm that ensures easier framing when following moving subjects. It also features a function ring with selectable ‘Preset’ and ‘Function’ settings, and a drop-in filter slot that accepts ø 40.5mm ND and other filter types, as well as the optional VF-DCPL1 Drop-in Circular Polarising Filter. The VF-DCPL1 filter can be rotated to achieve the desired polarisation while installed in the lens.

Portability and creative freedom

The second lens announced by Sony is the new FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS super-telephoto zoom lens, which expands the full-frame FE lens line-up. Sony’s furthest reaching E-mount zoom, the new G Lens series model utilises many of the company’s most advanced lens designing technologies to ensure excellent image quality, high-performance AF, and outstanding control. When paired with any of the latest, fastest E-mount camera bodies, it will reliably track and accurately capture all types of moving subjects including birds, wildlife, athletes in motion and much more.

“We will continue to innovate and expand upon our E-mount lens lineup, which now features 33 full-frame models and 51 lenses in total. The new 200-600mm super-telephoto zoom lens gives Sony’s camera users yet another powerful tool to realize their vision,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging and Professional Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “For wildlife or bird photographers, sports photography enthusiasts and many others, it offers a new level of creative freedom, striking the ultimate balance between performance and portability.”

Length of lens does not change

Compatible with Sony’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, extending the reach to a maximum of 840mm at F9 or 1200mm at F13 with, adds the company, “outstanding image quality and AF performance”, the lens includes built-in optical stabilisation with three different mode settings allows images to be sharp and in-focus at extended super-telephoto focal lengths.

Equipped with Sony’s DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) focusing system, which has the power and precision needed to drive the lens mechanism for remarkably fast, accurate focusing, the overall length of the lens does not change while zooming, maintaining consistent balance and distance between the front of the lens and desired shooting subject. Close focusing distance is 2.4 m, offering a 0.20x magnification, which is good when one considers this is also a 600mm focal length (the Sony 600mmprime only offers 0.14x, as its close focus is 4.51 m); but it does not come close to the 98cm one is able to reach with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, giving a magnification of 0.31x.

The new lenses from Sony will be available this Summer.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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