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

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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neuroanatomist said:
The Sony is very slightly longer, but 25% lighter and better balanced. That’s a win for Sony.
Let history take a moment to appreciate that Neuro just tipped his cap to Sony.

June 28, 2018: The day Neuro became a Sony fanboy. ;)

- A
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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AlanF said:
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.
So far, we’ve seen DO lenses only as fast as f/4 (400mm prime, 70-300mm variable aperture zoom, and the prototype 600/4 DO from Canon, and Nikon’s 300/4 PF). Are f/2.8 or faster lenses amenable to diffractive optics? Possibly, there are patents for a 16-35/2.8 DO and a 70-200/2.8 DO. So far, nothing to suggest that a 400/2.8 DO will ever happen. Time will tell.

Incidentally, the patented 70-200/2.8 DO is only 10% shorter than the extant 70-200/2.8L IS lenses. Certainly a very different lens design, but extrapolating from one data point is not terribly reliable.

With DO lenses, the decrease in length seems relatively more significant than the difference in weight.
 

neuroanatomist

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ahsanford said:
neuroanatomist said:
The Sony is very slightly longer, but 25% lighter and better balanced. That’s a win for Sony.
Let history take a moment to appreciate that Neuro just tipped his cap to Sony.

June 28, 2018: The day Neuro became a Sony fanboy. ;)
I’m a fact and data fanboy. Nothing recent about that. :)
 

takesome1

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 23, 2013
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Licking, Missouri
But how sturdy is the Sony? Most of the Canon 400mm II's I have seen are used in very brutal conditions.

Another important factor, the Canon is $2,000 less.
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
1,059
304
ethanzentz.com
takesome1 said:
But how sturdy is the Sony? Most of the Canon 400mm II's I have seen are used in very brutal conditions.

Another important factor, the Canon is $2,000 less.
They show a metal frame in some of the videos, probably to tout how "sturdy" it is. Time will tell how truly sturdy they are.

The Canon has been as high as $11,500 in it's history. I'm sure if Canon released a new f2.8 now and sold it for $12,000 they could improve quite a bit.
 

jolyonralph

Kodak Brownie
Aug 25, 2015
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This is an impressive lens, there's no doubt.

The questions have to be asked whether Canon could release a 400 f/2.8 IS III to compete with this.

One of the Sony things I saw suggested that it was because the lens was designed for the mirrorless FE mount they had more flexibility with lens design in moving elements back towards the rear, this plus the use of more fluorite elements was the key.

See lens layout below. Note that it's possible for Canon to do something similar on the EF mount and move the lenses to the rear, but only by ditching compatibility with the extenders!

I'm sure there is some improvements that can be made to the standard EF version but I doubt to the extent that it would have the same weight and balance benefits of the Sony.

Of course, Sony have come in at a higher price mostly because they know they can get away with it - but also because they're prepared to use more fluorite elements and they are costly to grow and shape.

Maybe finally we are seeing the end of the myth that the EF mount can do everything and doesn't need replacing.
 

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ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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502
jolyonralph said:
Of course, Sony have come in at a higher price mostly because they know they can get away with it
Sony production volumes may have a big bubble at first based on pent up demand, but there is zero chance they will have anywhere near the steady state production volumes of the Canon or Nikon equivalents. That drives price, as I presume it does for other GM lenses.

- A
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,758
3,106
neuroanatomist said:
AlanF said:
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.
So far, we’ve seen DO lenses only as fast as f/4 (400mm prime, 70-300mm variable aperture zoom, and the prototype 600/4 DO from Canon, and Nikon’s 300/4 PF). Are f/2.8 or faster lenses amenable to diffractive optics? Possibly, there are patents for a 16-35/2.8 DO and a 70-200/2.8 DO. So far, nothing to suggest that a 400/2.8 DO will ever happen. Time will tell.

Incidentally, the patented 70-200/2.8 DO is only 10% shorter than the extant 70-200/2.8L IS lenses. Certainly a very different lens design, but extrapolating from one data point is not terribly reliable.

With DO lenses, the decrease in length seems relatively more significant than the difference in weight.
There is more than one data point: the conventional Nikon 300mm f/4D is 222.5mm long and weighs 1440 g, the Nikon equivalent to a DO, the 300mm f/4 E PF, is 148mm long and weighs 750g.

When it comes to zooms, I am uneasy about quoting the effects of having a DO on shorter zooms because of their complex nature. But, another data point is comparing the Canon 70-300mm and its DO equivalent: the DO is 166mm long at max and the conventional is 220mm, 32.5% longer.

By the way, you could put a 1.4x speed doubler on the 400mm DO II and turn it into a 285mm f/2.8 DO for one of those smaller mirrorless.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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jolyonralph said:
One of the Sony things I saw suggested that it was because the lens was designed for the mirrorless FE mount they had more flexibility with lens design in moving elements back towards the rear, this plus the use of more fluorite elements was the key.

See lens layout below. Note that it's possible for Canon to do something similar on the EF mount and move the lenses to the rear, but only by ditching compatibility with the extenders!

I'm sure there is some improvements that can be made to the standard EF version but I doubt to the extent that it would have the same weight and balance benefits of the Sony.

Of course, Sony have come in at a higher price mostly because they know they can get away with it - but also because they're prepared to use more fluorite elements and they are costly to grow and shape.

Maybe finally we are seeing the end of the myth that the EF mount can do everything and doesn't need replacing.
Facts and data rule the day. If you look at the block diagrams of the two lenses, you'll see that the space behind the rear elements of both of them is similar. Given that the protrusion of the Canon 2x extender is only a few millimeters, there is ample space for such a protrusion in the Sony lens design. Which there would have to be, since the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter has just such a protrusion, and if anything, the Sony TC protrudes even further into the lens barrel.



Regardless, you tell yourself whatever you need to so you can sleep at night. You have plenty of company from other forum members who also choose to ignore reality.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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AlanF said:
There is more than one data point: the conventional Nikon 300mm f/4D is 222.5mm long and weighs 1440 g, the Nikon equivalent to a DO, the 300mm f/4 E PF, is 148mm long and weighs 750g.
When I mentioned a comparison to the Canon 300/4, you replied:

AlanF said:
neuroanatomist said:
...Compare the [Canon] 300/4...
The 300/4 is an antique lens with poor IS and takes a TC poorly. If it had modern configuration....
The Nikon 300/4D is an 18-year-old lens. So I should refrain from making comparisons to old lenses lacking a modern configuration, but it's fine for you to do so. Interesting application of a double standard…
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,758
3,106
neuroanatomist said:
AlanF said:
There is more than one data point: the conventional Nikon 300mm f/4D is 222.5mm long and weighs 1440 g, the Nikon equivalent to a DO, the 300mm f/4 E PF, is 148mm long and weighs 750g.
When I mentioned a comparison to the Canon 300/4, you replied:

AlanF said:
neuroanatomist said:
...Compare the [Canon] 300/4...
The 300/4 is an antique lens with poor IS and takes a TC poorly. If it had modern configuration....
The Nikon 300/4D is an 18-year-old lens. So I should refrain from making comparisons to old lenses lacking a modern configuration, but it's fine for you to do so. Interesting application of a double standard…
I am not applying double standards. Let's compare it with another very modern 300mm/f4, the Olympus Zuiko, described as compact and lightweight, https://www.olympus.co.uk/site/en/c/lenses/om_d_pen_lenses/m_zuiko_pro/m_zuiko_digital_ed_300mm_1_4_0_is_pro/m_zuiko_digital_ed_300mm_1_4_0_is_pro_specifications.html

The fine Olympus is 227mm long and weighs 1220g, which is very similar to the Nikon's 222.5mm length and 1440g. The Nikon DO equivalent is substantially shorter and lighter.

Nikon has announced the development of a 500/5.6 PF lens https://www.nikon.com/news/2018/0614_lens_01.htm "that is significantly smaller and lighter than comparable predecessors due to the adoption of the same type of Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element used in the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED".
 

takesome1

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 23, 2013
1,490
122
98
Licking, Missouri
So far it appears the Sony lens is superior to Canon's current version in every way that can be verified.

With the exception of:
Build quality
Price
Optical performance

Canon is surely doomed.

For what it is worth, Sony also makes a much better TV than Canon.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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AlanF said:
neuroanatomist said:
AlanF said:
There is more than one data point: the conventional Nikon 300mm f/4D is 222.5mm long and weighs 1440 g, the Nikon equivalent to a DO, the 300mm f/4 E PF, is 148mm long and weighs 750g.
When I mentioned a comparison to the Canon 300/4, you replied:

AlanF said:
neuroanatomist said:
...Compare the [Canon] 300/4...
The 300/4 is an antique lens with poor IS and takes a TC poorly. If it had modern configuration....
The Nikon 300/4D is an 18-year-old lens. So I should refrain from making comparisons to old lenses lacking a modern configuration, but it's fine for you to do so. Interesting application of a double standard…
I am not applying double standards. Let's compare it with another very modern 300mm/f4, the Olympus Zuiko, described as compact and lightweight, https://www.olympus.co.uk/site/en/c/lenses/om_d_pen_lenses/m_zuiko_pro/m_zuiko_digital_ed_300mm_1_4_0_is_pro/m_zuiko_digital_ed_300mm_1_4_0_is_pro_specifications.html

The fine Olympus is 227mm long and weighs 1220g, which is very similar to the Nikon's 222.5mm length and 1440g. The Nikon DO equivalent is substantially shorter and lighter.

Nikon has announced the development of a 500/5.6 PF lens https://www.nikon.com/news/2018/0614_lens_01.htm "that is significantl smaller and lighter than comparable predecessors due to the adoption of the same type of Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element used in the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED".
We should probably drop the tangent. I have no argument with the fact that incorporation of DO elements makes a lens smaller and lighter. I do take issue with your initial comparison of the Sony 400/2.8 to the Canon 400/4 DO – that comparison is obviated by the difference of a full stop of aperture (regardless of the DO).
 

Talys

Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
2,058
329
Vancouver, BC
takesome1 said:
For what it is worth, Sony also makes a much better TV than Canon.
Their gaming system is also much better. My Sony PlayStation won't let me cross play Fortnite, but my Canon Pixma has no option to even launch it even though it's much bigger. I think that Canon is surely purposely nerfing the Pixma.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
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Incidentally, the discussion above got me thinking about the TCs. The Sony 400/2.8 is weather-sealed just like the A9 and a7RIII (well, mostly sealed...except for the hotshoe and bottom plate). But unlike Canon's TCs, the Sony TCs aren't sealed. This very nice new lens is targeted at sports shooters...is it that they never use TCs? Or that pro sports aren't played in inclement weather?
 

mjg79

EOS 80D
Feb 19, 2016
114
54
Got to be honest, it looks a great lens and we should always welcome more competition as it will only drive Canon forward. The size is particularly impressive as I thought the FE mount was only going to give size advantages at the wider end.

But we must always keep some balance. A good friend of mine recently decided to move to Sony - he's a landscape shooter so the smaller size and IBIS can really help him and he couldn't resist. I had a play with his a7R III and must confess I was impressed -it's tiny, has IBIS, amazing EVF etc. Got the Zeiss 55/1.8 mini Otus and it was wonderful. Then he ran into problems. He ordered the 16-35GM - unusable at 24-35mm it was so soft on one side. The replacement was the same. So he gave up and is trying the Loxia Zeiss lenses (which in fairness have an outstanding reputation for quality control - but means no zooms and no autofocus). At the longer end he bought the 100-400 GM - again first copy soft on one side, second copy is the same but the other side. And he's really not nit-picking, I've seen the photos, it's clearly decentered without even zooming in. Third copy is outstanding, perhaps a touch better and smaller than the Canon 100-400L II. This was nothing though compared to the back and forth he has had with amazon trying to get a decent copy of the Zeiss 35/1.4. He has given up after the fifth attempt. The poor guy is now tearing his hair out trying to get just anything that will give him good quality results. He is going to have to go for a mix of Zeiss Loxia lenses and re-buy some of the L glass he sold and use an adapter which is hardly ideal. Sony has designed some amazing glass - some of it the equal of L lenses but they do not manufacture things the way Canon does.

I'm not wanting to start a war here but it's really a cautionary tale before any of you start selling off many L lenses as I see so much relentless criticism of Canon. Remember the grass isn't always greener. Right now Sony has some big technological advantages but they really are nowhere near Canon quality when it comes to build and manufacturing.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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mjg79 said:
The size is particularly impressive as I thought the FE mount was only going to give size advantages at the wider end..
Just to be clear, although the Sony 400/2.8 is substantially lighter than the Canon 400/2.8, it's actually a few millimeters longer. So, a weight advantage but no size advantage.
 

mjg79

EOS 80D
Feb 19, 2016
114
54
neuroanatomist said:
mjg79 said:
The size is particularly impressive as I thought the FE mount was only going to give size advantages at the wider end..
Just to be clear, although the Sony 400/2.8 is substantially lighter than the Canon 400/2.8, it's actually a few millimeters longer. So, a weight advantage but no size advantage.
Thanks for the correction - I hadn't realised - seeing the fairly large weight advantage I just assumed it must be a fair bit smaller too, plus we are used to seeing the 400L on a 1DX while the photos of the 400GM are of course attached to a smaller camera giving the impression of a smaller package.
 

Durf

Picture Taker - Image Maker
neuroanatomist said:
mjg79 said:
The size is particularly impressive as I thought the FE mount was only going to give size advantages at the wider end..
Just to be clear, although the Sony 400/2.8 is substantially lighter than the Canon 400/2.8, it's actually a few millimeters longer. So, a weight advantage but no size advantage.
It looks like a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 on a GoPro.....12 grand? amazing!

Personally I think Sony is trying to do too much too fast and it may creep up and bite them in the behind. For someone to spend 12 grand on a lens for a system that hasn't really proven itself to be pro grade dependable and reliable is quite insane in my opinion.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,758
3,106
mjg79 said:
Got to be honest, it looks a great lens and we should always welcome more competition as it will only drive Canon forward. The size is particularly impressive as I thought the FE mount was only going to give size advantages at the wider end.

But we must always keep some balance. A good friend of mine recently decided to move to Sony - he's a landscape shooter so the smaller size and IBIS can really help him and he couldn't resist. I had a play with his a7R III and must confess I was impressed -it's tiny, has IBIS, amazing EVF etc. Got the Zeiss 55/1.8 mini Otus and it was wonderful. Then he ran into problems. He ordered the 16-35GM - unusable at 24-35mm it was so soft on one side. The replacement was the same. So he gave up and is trying the Loxia Zeiss lenses (which in fairness have an outstanding reputation for quality control - but means no zooms and no autofocus). At the longer end he bought the 100-400 GM - again first copy soft on one side, second copy is the same but the other side. And he's really not nit-picking, I've seen the photos, it's clearly decentered without even zooming in. Third copy is outstanding, perhaps a touch better and smaller than the Canon 100-400L II. This was nothing though compared to the back and forth he has had with amazon trying to get a decent copy of the Zeiss 35/1.4. He has given up after the fifth attempt. The poor guy is now tearing his hair out trying to get just anything that will give him good quality results. He is going to have to go for a mix of Zeiss Loxia lenses and re-buy some of the L glass he sold and use an adapter which is hardly ideal. Sony has designed some amazing glass - some of it the equal of L lenses but they do not manufacture things the way Canon does.

I'm not wanting to start a war here but it's really a cautionary tale before any of you start selling off many L lenses as I see so much relentless criticism of Canon. Remember the grass isn't always greener. Right now Sony has some big technological advantages but they really are nowhere near Canon quality when it comes to build and manufacturing.
Lensrentals has analysed the copy variation of the 16-35 GM - it is a disaster at 35mm https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/08/sony-fe-16-35mm-f2-8-gm-sharpness-tests/