Sony launches four new lenses, and hints at a fifth, to complement its new cameras
posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM EDT
Sony couldn't introduce two new, exciting interchangeable lens cameras without introducing some serious glass to go with them. The just-announced Sony Alpha A99 seems a perfect match for a bright new super-telephoto fixed lens, while the Sony NEX-6--along with the company's other E-mount cameras--gets a lightweight compact zoom, a super-wide angle zoom and a wide-aperture wide angle prime. And, according to Sony, a big-aperture Carl Zeiss prime A-mount appears to be just around the corner.
Sony claims its 300mm f/2.8 G SSM II is a significant upgrade in optics and handling over its predecessor, the 300mm f/2.8 G SSM. While both A-mount lenses were designed for sports and wildlife photography, the new version boasts Sony's proprietary Nano AR Coating which promises to reduce flare and ghosting, while providing improved contrast. The lens also features advanced LSI drive circuitry aimed to create a more exacting autofocus experience and better subject tracking. Lugging the lens into the wild shouldn't cause any fear, as the Sony 300mm f/2.8 G SSM II is both dust- and moisture-resistant. The lens will be available in November 2012 for about US$7,500.
For its E-mount cameras, Sony introduced a few intriguing lens options that give them a lot more flexibility. The new lenses include:
- The 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 powered zoom (SELP1650), which Sony says is incredibly lightweight and juts out from the camera body just a hair under 30mm when fully retracted. It comes with the manufacturer's proprietary Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for keeping photos blur-free, and employs a dual-function ring to control both power zoom (in AF mode) and manual focus (in MF mode, of course). Additionally, Sony hopes the lens will make zooming while filming movies easier with its smooth power zoom dial. You'll have to wait a bit for the SELP1650 as it won't be available until January 2013, at a price of about US$350.
- The 35mm f/1.8 prime (SEL35F18) that Sony says provides excellent optical sharpness, clarity and bokeh (background defocus) in both still images and HD video, backed by Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. The lightweight lens will be available in November 2012 for about US$450.
- The 10-18mm f/4.0 super-wide angle zoom (SEL1018) that employs Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass to reduce color aberration and produce dramatic perspective effects. It, too, offers Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. Designed for shooting landscapes and interiors, the lens will be available in November 2012 for about US$850.
Don't worry, we didn't forget about Sony's teaser. In its press materials, the company hinted that it's developing a wide-aperture Carl Zeiss prime lens, the A-mount Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM. So save up your money because it's scheduled to arrive next spring and it's probably going to be expensive.