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

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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Keith_Reeder said:
That's - to be kind - exceedingly unlikely, isn't it? Any optical improvement over the best that Canon and Nikon have to offer would be vanishingly small. Then bear in mind that IBIS doesn't come close to in-lens stabilisation at this kind of FL, and I struggle to see the real world advantages of this lens over the "opposition".
Depends on his basis of saying "smokes". If pixel-peeps 20 MP 1DX2 output (with an AA filter) against 42 MP A7R3 output without an AA filter... ::)

(Sorry, haven't seen the video.)

- A
 

Graphic.Artifacts

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 1, 2017
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Guess we know why Canon is upgrading their Super Tele’s. Looks like a nice lens. Canon is not going to like sharing the sidelines with an additional manufacturer regardless of the minimal impact it will have on their bottom line. The big whites made Canon what it is today and I’d bet they see this as a significant threat. Ultra high frame rates could be the killer app that drives mirrorless adoption in sports pro’s and if it’s seen as a significant competitive advantage it could happen pretty quickly since a lot of that gear can be rented.
 

jolyonralph

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neuroanatomist said:
jolyonralph said:
I am sure there are optical formulae that would allow a rear-heavy design to still work with the EF mount, but I stand by my statement that I doubt this could be done to the same level of weight reduction/weight redistribution that the new Sony 400mm does.
Completely disagree with that. I think it’s possible for Canon to achieve that with traditional optics. But even if not, as AlanF points out Canon could design a 400/2.8 DO that wold be significantly smaller than the Sony lens, and likely at least as light...and being much shorter, the center of mass would be even closer to the body than with the Sony lens. I’m not at all convinced they would do so, but they could.

So far, no new lens designs have challenged the notion that a shorter flange focal distance allows designs that offer significant benefit (however, it does allow smaller lens designs at the cost of sacrifices in optical quality).
I bow to your superior knowledge of optics (having seen your other postings) and have to accept you're right on this. Certainly DO gives a great potential advantage, although there is a fear amongst many that it DO is a "contrast killer" which even if is not the case with modern DO lenses does have to be clearly addressed in the marketing of any new lens.

What I agree with less is your last comment about sacrifices in optical quality. While I'm fully aware of the theory that having elements too close to the sensor brings the angle of the light hitting the sensors at the edge of the sensor to the point where they cannot have the same sensitivity as those at the sensor, and I am sure it is an issue, the reality is that there are some really optically excellent lenses that use this factor to produce superb, professional results.

As I have mentioned before, the Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8 and especially the FE 55mm f/1.8 are superb lenses . So clearly not all smaller lens designs require a sacrifice in quality, and if these two can produce superb results, why can't other designs?
 

Durf

Picture Taker - Image Maker
My dream lens is the approx. 2 grand Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM ii Lens, which someday I might be able to own. I would seriously love to have this lens and it's optics are superb by what I am hearing. (The human eye can only see so well)....

Even considering owning a 12 thousand dollar lens is beyond ludicrous in my reality.

It's almost comical seeing all the well known youtubers gather to play with this lens for a while!
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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jolyonralph said:
What I agree with less is your last comment about sacrifices in optical quality. While I'm fully aware of the theory that having elements too close to the sensor brings the angle of the light hitting the sensors at the edge of the sensor to the point where they cannot have the same sensitivity as those at the sensor, and I am sure it is an issue, the reality is that there are some really optically excellent lenses that use this factor to produce superb, professional results.

As I have mentioned before, the Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8 and especially the FE 55mm f/1.8 are superb lenses . So clearly not all smaller lens designs require a sacrifice in quality, and if these two can produce superb results, why can't other designs?
Yes, you’ve made that argument before, but I still disagree. The Sony 35/2.8 has 7 elements in 5 groups and is 37mm long. The Canon 35/2 has 7 elements in 5 groups and is only 6mm longer. Granted, the Sony lens delivers much better IQ...which it damn well should for 3x the price. But it’s really no smaller than the Canon lens. The Sony lens shows that it’s possible to make small, high IQ lenses...but not that making them for a short flange distance offers any advantage. (Apologies if I implied that the sacrifice in IQ was due to small lens size, my point is that the short FFD doesn’t offer any selective advantages.)

Same story with the 55/1.8. Yes, an excellent lens. But it’s 71mm long, whereas the Canon 50/1.4 is only 51mm long...and if Canon developed a new 50/1.4 with modern coatings and optics and a 3x higher price target, I am pretty sure the IQ would be on par with the Sony. So again, the short FFD offers no meaningful advantage.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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Durf said:
It's almost comical seeing all the well known youtubers gather to play with this lens for a while!
Sony knows what they are doing there. The A7 platform is principally an enthusiast-fueled phenomenon. It makes perfect sense for them to rope in known youtubers, vloggers, bloggers, etc. that enthusiasts watch/read to give this a go as the first 'critical' take.

The wildcard, of course, is that very few of these folks have a wildlife/sports background. So having a (for instance) Kai Wong being amazed at ripping off 20 fps with this thing isn't going to get a birder, safari or sports shooter to snap it up.

So I'm curious to see how they rope in more serious hobbyists/pros that these lenses were designed for. There's no way to get a respected Canon-using or Nikon-using gear influencer to give this a fair shot without somewhat turning this into a referendum on the A7/A9 platform as a whole, which puts Sony in the negative (at least, at first) as these folks will have to fight through the new platform's handling, AF, controls, etc. before they can speak to the virtues of the lens.

- A
 

Durf

Picture Taker - Image Maker
ahsanford said:
Durf said:
It's almost comical seeing all the well known youtubers gather to play with this lens for a while!
Sony knows what they are doing there. The A7 platform is principally an enthusiast-fueled phenomenon. It makes perfect sense for them to rope in known youtubers, vloggers, bloggers, etc. that enthusiasts watch/read to give this a go as the first 'critical' take.

The wildcard, of course, is that very few of these folks have a wildlife/sports background. So having a (for instance) Kai Wong being amazed at ripping off 20 fps with this thing isn't going to get a birder, safari or sports shooter to snap it up.

So I'm curious to see how they rope in more serious hobbyists/pros that these lenses were designed for. There's no way to get a respected Canon-using or Nikon-using gear influencer to give this a fair shot without somewhat turning this into a referendum on the A7/A9 platform as a whole, which puts Sony in the negative (at least, at first) as these folks will have to fight through the new platform's handling, AF, controls, etc. before they can speak to the virtues of the lens.

- A
I'm sure over the next year or so Sony will load up a few pro's with their A9's and these high dollar lenses and finance them on a few trip shoots to show the world that yes, there stuff can do this too!

Yes, Sony knows what they are doing when it comes to pushing product.

I do admit that this lens looks awesome and the images shown from it don't look too shabby either! ;)
 

jolyonralph

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neuroanatomist said:
Yes, you’ve made that argument before, but I still disagree. The Sony 35/2.8 has 7 elements in 5 groups and is 37mm long. The Canon 35/2 has 7 elements in 5 groups and is only 6mm longer. Granted, the Sony lens delivers much better IQ...which it damn well should for 3x the price. But it’s really no smaller than the Canon lens. The Sony lens shows that it’s possible to make small, high IQ lenses...but not that making them for a short flange distance offers any advantage. (Apologies if I implied that the sacrifice in IQ was due to small lens size, my point is that the short FFD doesn’t offer any selective advantages.)

Same story with the 55/1.8. Yes, an excellent lens. But it’s 71mm long, whereas the Canon 50/1.4 is only 51mm long...and if Canon developed a new 50/1.4 with modern coatings and optics and a 3x higher price target, I am pretty sure the IQ would be on par with the Sony. So again, the short FFD offers no meaningful advantage.
Curious. I'm not sure about official pricing, but the Canon 35mm f/2 IS and the Sony 35mm f/2 are around about the same price when shopping around.

And the issues isn't about a few mm of length? That's not the most important factor, it's the weight.

The Canon 35 is 336g, the Sony 35 is 119g, a significant saving.


The Canon 50mm 1.4 isn't even in the same league as the Sony 55. The Sony 55 is a unique lens, it's not your standard 50mm lens (Sony have one of those, much cheaper).

The Sony 55mm is about the same weight as the Canon 1.4, for a significantly greater image quality.

And we ALL know that Canon aren't going to release any new 50mm lenses until ahsanford has finally given in and bought the 50mm f/1.2L :)
 

Talys

Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
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jolyonralph said:
neuroanatomist said:
Yes, you’ve made that argument before, but I still disagree. The Sony 35/2.8 has 7 elements in 5 groups and is 37mm long. The Canon 35/2 has 7 elements in 5 groups and is only 6mm longer. Granted, the Sony lens delivers much better IQ...which it damn well should for 3x the price. But it’s really no smaller than the Canon lens. The Sony lens shows that it’s possible to make small, high IQ lenses...but not that making them for a short flange distance offers any advantage. (Apologies if I implied that the sacrifice in IQ was due to small lens size, my point is that the short FFD doesn’t offer any selective advantages.)

Same story with the 55/1.8. Yes, an excellent lens. But it’s 71mm long, whereas the Canon 50/1.4 is only 51mm long...and if Canon developed a new 50/1.4 with modern coatings and optics and a 3x higher price target, I am pretty sure the IQ would be on par with the Sony. So again, the short FFD offers no meaningful advantage.
Curious. I'm not sure about official pricing, but the Canon 35mm f/2 IS and the Sony 35mm f/2 are around about the same price when shopping around.

And the issues isn't about a few mm of length? That's not the most important factor, it's the weight.

The Canon 35 is 336g, the Sony 35 is 119g, a significant saving.


The Canon 50mm 1.4 isn't even in the same league as the Sony 55. The Sony 55 is a unique lens, it's not your standard 50mm lens (Sony have one of those, much cheaper).

The Sony 55mm is about the same weight as the Canon 1.4, for a significantly greater image quality.

And we ALL know that Canon aren't going to release any new 50mm lenses until ahsanford has finally given in and bought the 50mm f/1.2L :)
I'm kind of confused. On the sony end, we're talking about:

https://www.adorama.com/iso3528.html

Correct? That's an $800 35mm f/2.8 with no optical stabilization (right?)

versus either the older EF35 f/2 that has a street price below $300:
https://www.amazon.com/Canon-35mm-Angle-Cameras-MODEL/dp/B00009XVCU

Or the newer EF35 f/2 IS with a street price of $550:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A2BVBTG/ref=psdc_173565_t3_B00009XVCU

Right? And that's before Canon's MIR's which are substantial and frequent.

So a couple of things, the non IS version is closer to 200 grams, and you can't expect IS to weigh nothing. And obviously (unless I'm looking at the wrong lenses) we're looking at an f/2 versus and f/2.8 lens, so it's not exactly apples to apples. I mean, that's one full stop. No different than comparing 400/4 with 400/2.8 and going, "hey, the f/4 is lighter". Well, no kidding.

But anyways, for me, for a light lens like that, size is way more important than weight (I just don't care about 100g - 200g to the total package weight).
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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jolyonralph said:
Curious. I'm not sure about official pricing, but the Canon 35mm f/2 IS and the Sony 35mm f/2 are around about the same price when shopping around.

And the issues isn't about a few mm of length? That's not the most important factor, it's the weight.

The Canon 35 is 336g, the Sony 35 is 119g, a significant saving.


The Canon 50mm 1.4 isn't even in the same league as the Sony 55. The Sony 55 is a unique lens, it's not your standard 50mm lens (Sony have one of those, much cheaper).

The Sony 55mm is about the same weight as the Canon 1.4, for a significantly greater image quality.

And we ALL know that Canon aren't going to release any new 50mm lenses until ahsanford has finally given in and bought the 50mm f/1.2L :)
I was referring to the 35mm f/2, not the 35mm f/2 IS USM.

Agree with Talys that for a small prime, 100 g of weight isn't important (to me). Fitting in a smaller bag is.

Using weight of a lens as a comparator is tricky, because it really depends on the design choices made for the lens. You can pack high quality optical elements into a plastic barrel and end up with a light lens, or you can pack crappy glass into a sturdy metal barrel and have a brick...or something in between.
 

mjg79

EOS 80D
Feb 19, 2016
114
54
AlanF said:
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/
That certainly matched the experience of my friend.

The 16-35GM is actually a great piece of glass in terms of design. I took my 16-35L III on my 5DSR to compare with his a7RIII and was really impressed with the GM. It's considerably smaller than the Canon and has a significant advantage in vignetting at 16mm and f2.8 - it's in another league frankly. The parts of the image that came out sharp came out super sharp, essentially matching the L III. It's basically the perfect wide angle zoom... except for the fact that it's extremely hard to get a good copy! At the price they ask that's absurd.

No lens, certainly no zoom is ever perfect. Especially on 40+MP sensors if you zoom in enough every lens will be slightly sharper in one corner or on one side (I found this out when I jumped from 5DII to 5DSR and found previously "perfect" L lenses actually weren't quite perfect at 100%!) but Sony's quality control issues have a big impact even when viewed at normal sizes.

They clearly have some top notch lens design engineers - I read they now employ some of the top men from Nikon - but their manufacturing department is letting them down. I have been quite impressed with some Sony products but there's no way I'll leave Canon for such badly built lenses.
 

mjg79

EOS 80D
Feb 19, 2016
114
54
Keith_Reeder said:
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.
Don't see why it would - you can't use this lens on Canon bodies, and if a photographer is moving to Sony he won't be doing it just for this lens.

So there's no obvious pressure on Canon here.
I see what you mean and I'm sure you're right that it won't put pressure on Canon in the sense of losing lots of money or sales in the same way that, for example, maybe Sony taking a large part of APS-C market share would.

Nonetheless I have the impression that Canon strives to maintain a position of leadership with professionals above all other groups and places great emphasis on those lenses - the 70-200/2.8, 300/2.8 and 400/2.8 etc. - that make up some of the most prized bits of kit. I think at any given point in the last 25 years you could compare to other brands and you would find Canon would be widely regarded as having the best and most advanced version of at least a couple of such lenses.

So while you're right that Canon won't lose any sleep or perhaps even directly any customers if the GM lens becomes widely regarded as the best 400/2.8 on the market still I suspect sooner or later Canon will push back. Nobody could honestly say the quality of the 70-200/2.8 really was lacking in any department but it didn't stop Canon bringing out the version III.

Having said all that if the GM matches the abysmal build quality of other Sony lenses - a poor level of quality that Sony has indeed allowed to pass out the factory on $2000+ zooms so far - then the type of photographer who buys it won't be pleased, I really can't imagine them charging so much for a lens that isn't top notch but they sadly don't have a great track record on that.
 

jolyonralph

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Talys said:
versus either the older EF35 f/2 that has a street price below $300:
I believe this lens has been discontinued, it's no longer listed on the Canon UK website list of products - which is why I was assuming comparing it with the 35mm IS.

Comparing the 35mm with IS vs the 35mm Sony without may be unfair, but the Sony cameras do have IBIS.

In the UK, best price I see for the Sony 35mm official UK model with warranty (from Currys) is £559, the best price for the official UK warranty version Canon 35mm IS is £519 (Jessops). Both can be bought cheaper through grey import suppliers of course.

I don't have the 35mm f/2 IS, but I do have the 24mm f/2.8 IS which is a very similar lens, and I don't really use it much. I find the balance of the heavy body with the lighter lens doesn't give me as much benefit as I thought it would so I usually stick with the 16-35 or the 24-70 on the 5DSR. On the A7RII I find the opposite, and I much prefer to use the smaller primes than the larger zooms.

I'm not saying that one system is better than the other. Sometimes a large camera is beneficial, sometimes a smaller camera is. I'm very fortunate in that I have both options, and I am certainly not telling everyone that my choices are the right choices for all.


And one thing that we can all rejoice in is that Sony improving their game forces Canon to have to up their game to compete. Then we all win.
 

jolyonralph

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mjg79 said:
Having said all that if the GM matches the abysmal build quality of other Sony lenses - a poor level of quality that Sony has indeed allowed to pass out the factory on $2000+ zooms so far - then the type of photographer who buys it won't be pleased, I really can't imagine them charging so much for a lens that isn't top notch but they sadly don't have a great track record on that.
The most overlooked and critical part of Canon's attractiveness to professionals is the value that CPS offers. For professionals this service is invaluable, and issues such as copy variation are something that CPS swiftly resolves for their members.

Sony have recently launched their Imaging Pro service which seems to be pretty much modelled on the way CPS works. Considering that Sony photographers were pretty much left to fend for themselves for the longest time any official support is an improvement, but I wait to hear from others whether their service is anywhere near as good as Canon's. But if it is then I'd expect they would resolve issues with poor lens copies for professionals quite rapidly.
 

mjg79

EOS 80D
Feb 19, 2016
114
54
jolyonralph said:
mjg79 said:
Having said all that if the GM matches the abysmal build quality of other Sony lenses - a poor level of quality that Sony has indeed allowed to pass out the factory on $2000+ zooms so far - then the type of photographer who buys it won't be pleased, I really can't imagine them charging so much for a lens that isn't top notch but they sadly don't have a great track record on that.
The most overlooked and critical part of Canon's attractiveness to professionals is the value that CPS offers. For professionals this service is invaluable, and issues such as copy variation are something that CPS swiftly resolves for their members.

Sony have recently launched their Imaging Pro service which seems to be pretty much modelled on the way CPS works. Considering that Sony photographers were pretty much left to fend for themselves for the longest time any official support is an improvement, but I wait to hear from others whether their service is anywhere near as good as Canon's. But if it is then I'd expect they would resolve issues with poor lens copies for professionals quite rapidly.
I agree - and other things feed into that. For example Canon designs their lenses so they can be repaired relatively easily. Sony treat them more like electronic products where several big parts come pre-fabbed and have to be replaced at enormous costs. The lens rental teardown of the 70-200 GM made this clear with some parts (or more precisely collections of parts Sony doesn't supply individually) costing half the price of a new lens.

I think this impacts not just professionals but also committed amateurs who want to know that if buying an expensive lens it should last many years and if there is a problem it can be easily corrected.

Unlike many here I am not hostile to Sony. I've been able to use an A7R III and was impressed. Paired with a Loxia 21 it is a superior landscape set up - especially if weight and size matter - to anything offered by Canon or Nikon. Another great lens with the 55 1.8 Sony Zeiss. It's like having an autofocus Otus which is tiny and matches a camera with IBIS. But from reading online, the data sets presented by lensrentals and the experience of a friend I can see in particular the zooms have many quality control problems. Add in that they are very expensive and it adds insult to injury. If I had a Canon 100-400L and it got damaged or I found it was decentered or whatever I would feel confident I could get it serviced and as good as new and at a reasonable price - I wouldn't have the same confidence with Sony to be frank or if they could repair it the bill might be enormous.

I hope Canon is paying attention to what is going on and letting Sony make the mistakes. As I said, especially for wide angles, there are clearly some benefits to be had from a mirrorless set up allowing the rear element to sit closer to the sensor. I hope when Canon moves to make use of that, whether through a new mount or allowing EF mount lenses to protrude backwards, that they really double down on quality as it's an obvious area they can easily beat Sony in.

If you read on the fredmiranda site many of the landscapers have gone over to Sony for the small size and high quality Zeiss Loxia and Batis primes. But when it comes to the Sony lenses it's fairly common to hear stories of having to go through 4 or 5 copies of a lens to get a well centred copy - right now Sony has that market to themselves but I can't see many people bothering with that level of nonsense once Canon and Nikon enter the market.