Last October Sony revealed that the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS was in development. But apart from what we can glean from the name, there were no details. Now we have the full picture:
- Mount Sony E-mount
- Format 35mm full frame
- Focal length 400mm, 600mm of APS-C
- Lens groups / Elements 17-23 *Including one filter
- Angel of view 6°10′ on full-frame 4°10’1 on APS-C
- Max aperture f/2.8
- Min aperture f/22
- Aperture blades 11
- Min focus distance 2.7 m (8.86 ft)
- Max magnification ratio x0.16
- Filter diameter 40.5mm (slot-in)
- Image Stabilisation Optical SteadyShot
- Teleconverter compatibility (X1.4) SEL14TC and (X2.0)SEL20TC
Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Price
The new FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS will be built to order and will cost £10, 500. The optional Drop-in Circular Polarising Filter (model VF-DCPL1) is set to retail for approximately £420.
The lens will become available in September 2018 followed by the drop-in polarising filter in December 2018.
The FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens is the first large aperture super-telephoto prime with the Sony FE lens mount. Weighing in at 2.897Kg, Sony claims the new lens is the lightest lens in its class. This makes it well suited to use on Sony’s A7-series and A9 cameras.
This low weight has been achieved by using an innovative optical design with three fluorite elements. There are also fewer elements at the front of the barrel than normal to improve balance. In addition, magnesium alloy components have been used to reduce weight.
The FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens has two newly developed high-speed XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors. These drive the lens’ focus group and on the A9 they improve the subject tracking by up to 5X in comparison with the 300mm f/2.8 lens.
Specially developed algorithms also minimise lag, instability and noise, thus giving fast, accurate and quiet AF performance – perfect for photographing wildlife.
Image Quality and Bokeh
As it’s a Sony G Master Series lens, the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS is designed to produce high-quality images with contrast and resolution levels maintained into the corners. Three fluorite elements also help to minimise chromatic aberration and suppress colour bleeding.
Sony has also used its Nano AR coating to suppress unwanted reflections, glare, and ghosting.
An 11-blade circular aperture mechanism enables attractive bokeh.
According to Sony, each lens will be individually tested and adjusted in the factory to ensure maximum image quality and ‘bokeh’.
Sony has used a durable magnesium alloy for the lens barrel construction while the hood is made from carbon fibre. The lens is also dust and moisture resistant, and the front element is coated with fluorine to help it repel dirt and grease.
The new lens is compatible with Sony’s 1.4x and 2.0x E-mount teleconverters.
There are several controls on the lens barrel including:
- A ‘Full-Time DMF’ switch to engage manual focus
- Four customisable focus hold buttons for easy activation of features such as Eye AF
- A focus ring with Linear Response MF for fine, responsive manual focus
- A function ring with selectable ‘Preset’ and ‘Function’ settings, for greater customisation
The new lens has built-in optical stabilisation with three different Modes. The new Mode 3 setting is designed to aid framing when following moving subjects.
As the front element is very large, the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS has a rear drop-in filter slot to take 40.5mm filters. An optional VF-DCPL1 Drop-in Circular Polarising Filter, which can be rotated while in the lens, will also be made available as an optional extra.
Sony A9 Firmware Update
Version 3.00 of the Sony A9 firmware introduces support for the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens. This will ensure that the optical image stabilisation performance is maximised and enable continuous shooting with AF tracking when the aperture is smaller than F11.
The update also enables the camera’s serial number to be saved to the image Exif data. This was a popular request from professional sports photographers and photojournalists.
In addition, the firmware also improves the AF speed in low light, enhances continuous AF performance and reduces the release time lag when using flash.