Sony introduces lightweight Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens @ 12000$/€

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,816
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ahsanford said:
docsmith said:
I guess it depends on what you mean by "aggressively compete."
I define that as willingness for sports/wildlife professionals to stake their livelihood on this gear not letting them down. They simply aren't there yet.

That said, sure, they could make inroads with enthusiasts right now with a 100-400 and a TC.

- A
They have had a 100-400mm II knock off for some time now - a good lens.
 

Keith_Reeder

No apologies for not suffering fools gladly...
Feb 8, 2014
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Durf said:
but they are making a remarkable footprint in the photography world in a rather quick way.
Are they, though?

I see little evidence of Sony use when I'm out and about with my gear (I shoot wildlife and sport - just where this lens is pitched); and their sales figures don't tell a very good story at all.

I think it's more true to suggest that a small but very vocal rump of Sony users and/or disgruntled Canon bashers (the Venn diagram for those two groups would have a large intersection) make a lot of noise on forums about Sony.

Not the same thing...
 

Keith_Reeder

No apologies for not suffering fools gladly...
Feb 8, 2014
823
273
59
Blyth, NE England
docsmith said:
but I watched a couple of those videos, and there were some darn good images taken with the Sony system.
But - and it's a big "but" - nothing that a Canon user could not also reliably achieve with trivial ease.

So what's the incentive for moving to Sony?

Then factor in Sony's reputation for poor support; its habit of dropping products at short or no notice; and Canon's enviable, proven track record in the pro sport/wildlife space, and Sony's relevance becomes more and more debatable...
 

edoorn

EOS RP
Apr 1, 2016
242
162
we always want better, right? I know from experience (as in: have been shooting with it) that the Canon is a very heavy lens, not hand holdable. Not for me at least. My 500 II is already a lot better in that regard, now can you imagine a 400 with only 2.9kg weight that is center balanced? Will surely make for a better shooting experience.

Couple that to the amazing focussing of the A9 (which I've also tried, and yes I've shot with 5d's and 1dx / 1dx2 - trust me, the tracking of the A9 is better) and you have a lot of situations where I can image you'll get 'the' shot easier than with Canon. Mind you, I don't shoot Sony (yet? ;)) and am happy to wait to see what Canon comes out with, but the benefits for some folks is surely not imagined; it's there.
 

docsmith

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 17, 2010
869
249
Keith_Reeder said:
Durf said:
but they are making a remarkable footprint in the photography world in a rather quick way.
Are they, though?

I see little evidence of Sony use when I'm out and about with my gear (I shoot wildlife and sport - just where this lens is pitched); and their sales figures don't tell a very good story at all.

I think it's more true to suggest that a small but very vocal rump of Sony users and/or disgruntled Canon bashers (the Venn diagram for those two groups would have a large intersection) make a lot of noise on forums about Sony.

Not the same thing...
....love that Venn diagram...

Also, in fairness, I wouldn't expect to see this lens out yet...it hasn't been released. ;)

But, it could be where you are, you aren't seeing any version of Sony's. Ok. So, I am a hobbyist, all I can do is talk about what I see out while traveling, doing my wildlife photography, etc.

I started routinely seeing Sony's about two years ago. Canon is still by far the most common set up I see. Sony is creeping up on Nikon as the second most common set up I see. And no real trend in who uses them (hipsters, parents, retirees).


Keith_Reeder said:
docsmith said:
but I watched a couple of those videos, and there were some darn good images taken with the Sony system.
But - and it's a big "but" - nothing that a Canon user could not also reliably achieve with trivial ease.

So what's the incentive for moving to Sony?

Then factor in Sony's reputation for poor support; its habit of dropping products at short or no notice; and Canon's enviable, proven track record in the pro sport/wildlife space, and Sony's relevance becomes more and more debatable...
And do not forget cost. Even in the "professional" set up provided for the videos, Canon is the least expensive of the three.

As for "incentive" to move, these are internet reviewers, but a couple did talk about the eye-detect AF more consistently getting images, the 20 fps, the weight advantage (which was minimal to nil with other GM lenses) etc. So, if something there really jumped out to someone.

Granted, would I move....no. Not based on what I have seen. Not based on what I shoot nor if I was a sports photographer. Especially considering the cost, reliability, ergonomocs, and capability of Canon. But, I am now at the point where I think they have a decent set up.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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A 400/2.8 isn't typically a go-to lens for wildlife photographers, but rather is primarily aimed at sports photographers. Even though the lens is not yet for sale to the general public, there are hands-on previews already, so Sony is making the lens available to select photographers. I've been keeping an eye on the sidelines at the World Cup, and while I see lots of white lenses, none of them have an orange 'G' on the side. Did Sony not offer the lens paired with an A9 to World Cup photographers? If not, that speaks loudly to their confidence in entering that market. Or did they make the offer, and no one took them up on it? Either way, I'm not seeing these 'inroads' the armchair forum experts are talking about.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,816
3,332
Correct, the 400/2.8 is not a typical birders lens: for big lenses, the 500/4 and 600/4 are the choice ; for hand held the 400/4 II, 100-400mm or rarely the 300/2.8.

Regarding the A9, wild-life photographers use their cameras and telephots as spotting scopes, and optical viewfinders are far more convenient.
 

edoorn

EOS RP
Apr 1, 2016
242
162
depends; I know some wildlife photographers that use a 400 2.8 (David Lloyd, Margot Raggett to name some); agreed that it might not be the ideal birder lens (or ideal 'best' wildlife lens for that matter).

I personally prefer the 100-400 II and 500 (plus 1.4 converter) option, although very early morning I do miss low light options sometimes. And for that budget, many will choose the flexibility of a 200-400
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
1,066
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ethanzentz.com
neuroanatomist said:
A 400/2.8 isn't typically a go-to lens for wildlife photographers, but rather is primarily aimed at sports photographers. Even though the lens is not yet for sale to the general public, there are hands-on previews already, so Sony is making the lens available to select photographers. I've been keeping an eye on the sidelines at the World Cup, and while I see lots of white lenses, none of them have an orange 'G' on the side. Did Sony not offer the lens paired with an A9 to World Cup photographers? If not, that speaks loudly to their confidence in entering that market. Or did they make the offer, and no one took them up on it? Either way, I'm not seeing these 'inroads' the armchair forum experts are talking about.
My guess is the world cup is definitely a more important event to make sure a photographer gets right, so none of the AP or Reuters photographers/editors of the world wanted to try this out at the event. So they get these American youtube influencers to come to a semi-pro soccer game and try it out.
 

neuroanatomist

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ethanz said:
My guess is the world cup is definitely a more important event to make sure a photographer gets right, so none of the AP or Reuters photographers/editors of the world wanted to try this out at the event. So they get these American youtube influencers to come to a semi-pro soccer game and try it out.
The implication being, no one who’s livelihood depends on getting ‘the shot’ is ready to trust Sony gear to deliver for them.

But if Sony wants to provide an all-expense-paid trip somewhere to try out new gear, some people will oblige them. Not like a junket would have undue influence on their opinion, or anything like that. ::) Conversely, if I invite a practicing physician in to give a talk, they either have to buy their own lunch or declare the value of the roast beef sandwich we provide...and the bag of chips, don’t forget to declare the bag of chips.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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neuroanatomist said:
But if Sony wants to provide an all-expense-paid trip somewhere to try out new gear, some people will oblige them. Not like a junket would have undue influence on their opinion, or anything like that. ::)
And Sony is 100% doing that. They have been flying out the folks at various photo sites/blogs like DPReview, Phoblographer, SLRLounge, etc. to events to try out new gear. Some events have sets and models and/or athletes to try out the new products on, while others they aren't really fooling anyone ("Want to ride in a hot air balloon in another part of the country? Yeah, you do.").

I think it's a good test of each publication's ethics to see how the feedback trends after that. FWIW, I still peg SLRL as being sold on the marketing-ese when they go (they have at times parroted back the spirit/vibe of the event) but generally don't gush about the product in specifics. Their writers are working photographers so if they don't like something, they pipe up about it.

DPReview, OTOH, don't get me started. Recaps of each of these junkets reads like state run TV after Kim Jong Un plays a round of golf: 'With the new [insert product here], Sony has eliminated the last last last reason to resist their obvious greatness', 'This lens pushes shadows 5 stops so much cleaner than Canon', 'I saw a puny Nikon user and thanked him for buying our master's sensors', etc. ::)

- A
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
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neuroanatomist said:
ethanz said:
My guess is the world cup is definitely a more important event to make sure a photographer gets right, so none of the AP or Reuters photographers/editors of the world wanted to try this out at the event. So they get these American youtube influencers to come to a semi-pro soccer game and try it out.
The implication being, no one who’s livelihood depends on getting ‘the shot’ is ready to trust Sony gear to deliver for them.
Not necessarily that, but its the kind of event where if you don't want to or can't spend the time to learn and use new gear. Those pro photographers at pro sports events are busy around the clock and don't have time for that. I'm sure their editors don't want that added time pressure either.
 

xps

EOS 6D MK II
Oct 19, 2011
894
32
Middle Europe
Why do I like this lens?
Because IMO, the advertised weight reduction and the back-moved center of gravity will make Canon engineers think of changing their MKIII version too. At least that's what I hope Canon will do.

And you may call me an stupid old man, I tried to use my grand-grand-sons M5 and my Sony A7R III and A7III on my 600mm and 500mm lenses. The shift in balance IS remarkable big. You need an loooong plate or grip to get in balance again.

If Canon will move on Pro-MLS, they will have to decide, whether they will have to correct the center of Gravity of their lenses.
Another mention from some (lets call them"knowing") pro-photographers is, that Canon might bring out an MLS in an DSLR body, looking like the 1DC. Might be rubbish. Might not be. But then thy will not have to change the interior lens design. And then, they could apply an "dustprotector" like an mirror without function when the body is switched off. Dustprotected Lens changing would be more easy.
IMO Canon AF will compeed with Sony´s when they use it in an Pro-MLS system, because all the hindrances of the mirror will be omitted.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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Mar 25, 2011
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Its good to see Sony creating a pro quality lens.

My issue with Sony is the time and cost to repair a photography product, I think they have a US facility that caters to pro photographers (who own the required amount of Sony Pro gear), so the time may be reasonable, but the cost for repairs has typically been very high due to the complex and difficult to repair designs. It takes lots of time and effort to develop a lens that is easily repairable, Nikon lenses are getting better to repair, the early electronic autofocus models were miserable, I expect that Sony will also learn to manufacture pro level equipment that can be repaired, or they will never gain market share. I doubt if we will see a tear down of this lens, but it would be interesting to hear what a typical repair costs.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,816
3,332
Much is being made about the weight reduction by Sony without the use of DO and that the centre of gravity of their lens is closer to the camera. But, look at the length of the 400/2.8 G Master, 359mm vs 233mm for the 400mm DO II. The Canon lens is 126mm, 5", shorter and so has the advantage of a c of g close to the camera. The DO technology will make other Canon supertelephotos shorter than the Sony counterparts.
 

Talys

Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
2,058
329
Vancouver, BC
This lens is technologically cool; I'm impressed with the weight and aperture, for sure. But I'm not certain how much of a dent it will put into Canon/Nikon's market of actual photographers who use super telephotos.

It sounds like a nice lens to own if you have big, long $10,000+ lenses, but the 200-400+TC seems like it would be much more useful at the price for both sports and wildlife. Which isn't to say that someone might not want/own a 400/2.8, but with the 200-400 options (from Canon/Nikon) about the same length, you'd think that most would want that lens first. To steal the market, Sony, I think, would have to have one of those to compete in the space.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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AlanF said:
Much is being made about the weight reduction by Sony without the use of DO and that the centre of gravity of their lens is closer to the camera. But, look at the length of the 400/2.8 G Master, 359mm vs 233mm for the 400mm DO II. The Canon lens is 126mm, 5", shorter and so has the advantage of a c of g close to the camera. The DO technology will make other Canon supertelephotos shorter than the Sony counterparts.
But once again, you’re comparing an orange to a Granny Smith apple – Sony’s 400mm f/2.8 G to Canon’s 400mm f/4 DO. Would DO make Canon’s 400/2.8 shorter, sure...but until such a lens is actually produced and sold, discussing it in the context of a comparison is rather premature.

As I stated above, comparing lenses that differ by a stop of aperture isn’t very useful or reasonable, either. The Canon 400/4 DO also has a big advantage in size/weight/CofG compared to Canon’s 400mm f/2.8L IS II. But it’s a stop slower.

Meanwhile, for an apples to apples comparison...

Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II: 343 mm and 3850 g
Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS: 359 mm and 2895 g

The Sony is very slightly longer, but 25% lighter and better balanced. That’s a win for Sony. Can Canon beat it? To do so, they’ll have to repeat their improvement from the 400/2.8 IS MkI to MkII, which was a 28% drop in weight (similar to the improvement to the 600/4...whereas the 300/2.8 and 500/4 lenses saw much less of a drop in weight for their MkII iterations).
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,816
3,332
neuroanatomist said:
AlanF said:
Much is being made about the weight reduction by Sony without the use of DO and that the centre of gravity of their lens is closer to the camera. But, look at the length of the 400/2.8 G Master, 359mm vs 233mm for the 400mm DO II. The Canon lens is 126mm, 5", shorter and so has the advantage of a c of g close to the camera. The DO technology will make other Canon supertelephotos shorter than the Sony counterparts.
But once again, you’re comparing an orange to a Granny Smith apple – Sony’s 400mm f/2.8 G to Canon’s 400mm f/4 DO. Would DO make Canon’s 400/2.8 shorter, sure...but until such a lens is actually produced and sold, discussing it in the context of a comparison is rather premature.

As I stated above, comparing lenses that differ by a stop of aperture isn’t very useful or reasonable, either. The Canon 400/4 DO also has a big advantage in size/weight/CofG compared to Canon’s 400mm f/2.8L IS II. But it’s a stop slower.

Meanwhile, for an apples to apples comparison...

Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II: 343 mm and 3850 g
Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS: 359 mm and 2895 g

The Sony is very slightly longer, but 25% lighter and better balanced. That’s a win for Sony. Can Canon beat it? To do so, they’ll have to repeat their improvement from the 400/2.8 IS MkI to MkII, which was a 28% drop in weight (similar to the improvement to the 600/4...whereas the 300/2.8 and 500/4 lenses saw much less of a drop in weight for their MkII iterations).
What I am getting at is that the DO technology not only reduces weight but it also reduces length. The 400mm DO is 35% shorter than the 400mm/2.8s from Canon and Sony. If Canon decides to make a 400mm f/4 DO it would be also ~35% shorter. It is perfectly reasonable to compare the advantages of different technologies even if the fruits of them have yet to be realised.
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
1,066
306
ethanzentz.com
Talys said:
This lens is technologically cool; I'm impressed with the weight and aperture, for sure. But I'm not certain how much of a dent it will put into Canon/Nikon's market of actual photographers who use super telephotos.

It sounds like a nice lens to own if you have big, long $10,000+ lenses, but the 200-400+TC seems like it would be much more useful at the price for both sports and wildlife. Which isn't to say that someone might not want/own a 400/2.8, but with the 200-400 options (from Canon/Nikon) about the same length, you'd think that most would want that lens first. To steal the market, Sony, I think, would have to have one of those to compete in the space.
All the pro sports photographers I see have the 200-400 and use it. (They probably also have the 400f2.8 somewhere)

The 2.8 is certainly the standard though. The AF on it is better since its 2.8 over the f4. So it makes sense for Sony to start here.
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
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ethanzentz.com
neuroanatomist said:
AlanF said:
Much is being made about the weight reduction by Sony without the use of DO and that the centre of gravity of their lens is closer to the camera. But, look at the length of the 400/2.8 G Master, 359mm vs 233mm for the 400mm DO II. The Canon lens is 126mm, 5", shorter and so has the advantage of a c of g close to the camera. The DO technology will make other Canon supertelephotos shorter than the Sony counterparts.
But once again, you’re comparing an orange to a Granny Smith apple – Sony’s 400mm f/2.8 G to Canon’s 400mm f/4 DO. Would DO make Canon’s 400/2.8 shorter, sure...but until such a lens is actually produced and sold, discussing it in the context of a comparison is rather premature.

As I stated above, comparing lenses that differ by a stop of aperture isn’t very useful or reasonable, either. The Canon 400/4 DO also has a big advantage in size/weight/CofG compared to Canon’s 400mm f/2.8L IS II. But it’s a stop slower.

Meanwhile, for an apples to apples comparison...

Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II: 343 mm and 3850 g
Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS: 359 mm and 2895 g

The Sony is very slightly longer, but 25% lighter and better balanced. That’s a win for Sony. Can Canon beat it? To do so, they’ll have to repeat their improvement from the 400/2.8 IS MkI to MkII, which was a 28% drop in weight (similar to the improvement to the 600/4...whereas the 300/2.8 and 500/4 lenses saw much less of a drop in weight for their MkII iterations).
I think I agree with John here. It seems confusing to try comparing it to a DO. The Sony lens is not a DO type of lens (correct?).