Sony primed for WPPI: announces 100mm f/2.8 STF G Master and 85mm f/1.8 lenses; radio-controlled flash


posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 12:35 PM EDT


Sony has announced three new products at WPPI 2017 which will surely excite wedding and portrait photographers who use Sony E-mount cameras. The new optics are the Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS, and the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8. The former is designed to offer the highest ever quality bokeh for an alpha lens, thanks in part to its Smooth Trans Focus (STF) design. The latter is a lightweight mid-telephoto prime lens aimed at hobbyist and enthusiast portrait photographers. In addition to the new glass, Sony has also announced the HVL-F45RM radio-controlled flash.

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS

This G Master mid-telephoto full-frame prime lens has been designed specifically with bokeh in mind, while nonetheless ensuring the G Master series’ high standard of resolution. The lens is aimed at a variety of photographers, including portrait, fashion, nature and wedding shooters.

To help create smooth out-of-focus areas and impressive defocusing capabilities, the lens has a newly designed 11-blade aperture and an optical apodization lens element. The apodization lens element acts similarly to a neutral density filter that increases in density as you move toward the edge of the frame, creating photos with soft, smooth bokeh and enhanced depth. With that said, the lens has been designed to produce minimal vignetting. Without having the lens in our hands, it’s impossible to substantiate Sony’s claims about optical performance, but their previous G Master efforts have certainly impressed us.

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF G Master OSS lens

The prime lens promises fast and accurate autofocus performance, as it supports both contrast AF and focal-plane phase detection AF2, equipped with a Super Sonic Motor (SSM). The lens can also focus closely enough to offer 0.25x macro capabilities. To keep your shots free from motion blur, the 100mm f/2.8 STF GM lens has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. Usability features include a customizable focus hold button, AF/MF switch, macro switching ring, aperture ring, dust- and moisture-resistance.

In total, the 100mm f/2.8 GM lens has 13 elements in 10 groups, not counting the APD element. Its close-focusing distance is 1.87 feet (0.57 meters). The lens takes 72mm filters, has dimensions (diameter x length) of 3.35 x 4.65 inches (85.2 x 118.1 millimeters) and weighs 24.7 ounces (700 grams).

Two sample shots from the new 100mm f/2.8 GM lens

You can preorder the Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS lens on February 9 at 10:00 AM EST for just under US$1,500. The lens will retail for CAD$2,050 in Canada. Sony expects the lens to be available in March.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

The 85mm focal length has proven highly popular for portrait photographers for a long time and Sony’s newest 85mm lens is aimed at enthusiasts using full-frame and APS-C cameras. The new prime has a 9-bladed circular aperture, double linear motor system and a focus hold button. The lens is also dust- and moisture-resistant.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens

Taking a look inside the portrait prime, the lens has nine elements in eight groups. It weighs a mere 13.1 ounces (371 grams) and has dimensions (diameter x length) of 3.07 x 3.23 inches (78 x 82 millimeters). The lens’ filter thread is 67mm. Unlike its longer G Master sibling above, the FE 85mm f/1.8 doesn’t include built-in image stabilization.

Sample image from the FE 85mm f/1.8 lens

Aimed more at enthusiasts than the professional-oriented G Master portrait prime, the FE 85mm f/1.8 is less expensive. When it launches in March, it will sell for US$600 and CAD$800. You can preorder the lens on February 9 at 10:00 AM EST.

Sony HVL-F45RM flash

In addition, Sony has also announced a compact radio-controlled flash, the HVL-F45RM. The flash joins Sony’s other recent radio-controlled lighting system products and is fully-compatible with the FA-WRC1M wireless remote controller and FA-WRR1 receiver.

The flash’s maximum guide number is 45 (flash coverage setting 105mm, ISO 100 x meters) and can produce approximately 210 flashes with alkaline batteries and 270 flashes with Ni-MH batteries. Its continuous flash performance is rated at 40 flashes at 10 flashes per second. Weighing 11.2 ounces (317 grams) and with dimensions (width x height x depth) of 2.73 x 4.48 x 3.48 inches (69.4 x 113.7 x 88.3 millimeters). The flash can bounce up 150° and can swivel left and right 180°.

With built-in radio control, the flash can control up to three TTL/Manual groups of flashes (five groups for group flash photography) and a total of 15 flash units. Its maximum communication distance is just under 100 feet (30 meters).

Sony HVL-F45RM flash

Usability features include high-visibility tab menus, a Quick Navi control interface, customizable key assignment and a dust- and moisture-resistant design. The flash has a multi/micro USB terminal, built-in wide panel/bounce sheet and a variety of physical controls beneath its LCD panel.

The HVL-F45RM flash will be available for preorder on Thursday March 9 at 10:00 AM EST and has a retail price just under US$400 (CAD$550). The flash will start shipping this May.