In an invitation event in San Diego, Sony unveiled to journalists the new 50mm F1.4ZA and provided an opportunity to shoot with that, and the final production 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens. The company also provided a hands-on opportunity to shoot with the company’s new wireless flash system.
While not part of the G-Master lens series, the new Sony 50mm is nonetheless a lens that Sony is touting for its detail and bokeh. As the press release (below) specifications show, the $1,500 lens is designed for professional-level imaging.
To allow us to test the lenses, Sony set up a number of scenes, including studio work with both remotely triggered flash and a live demonstration of roller derby competition, and a shoot during a Padres baseball game. While a 50mm f/1.4 lens might not normally be used for sports work, I spent a lot of time with the 50mm attached to my camera, thanks to the reach it provided in the confined inner roller derby track. It was incredibly fast to focus and provided tack-sharp images, even wide open.
In fact, the 50mm uniformly produced great images, on par with nearly any lens I’ve tested, similar to my benchmark for sharpness and fidelity, the Sigma 50mm ART lens. That lens is not available for the Sony E-Mount (unless an adapter is used with the Sigma A-Mount version) so this cost-effective 50mm lens provides a good alternative for Sony shooters.
My impressions of the 70-200 remains mostly the same from test shoots with the Sony a6300—it’s a tremendous lens but could benefit from a more flexible AF system in the a7 cameras. The tracking AF in the Sony is great, but having been a long time sports shooter, I constantly wish for a simple way to go from subject tracking to a single AF point, or to move the AF point with a joystick instead of having to program buttons to move the points.
That’s not a criticism of the lens, it’s just that I’m looking forward to a time when the Sony system matures and becomes better suited to sports photographers, the most likely customer for this lens.
In the galleries below you’ll see a number of images shot with both lenses. More samples will be available when we get final press evaluation units.
The full press release is below.
Sony Announces The Full-Frame Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4ZA Lens
SAN DIEGO, June 27, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced a new full-frame lens for their E-mount camera system, the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA (model SEL50F14Z).
This 50mm prime lens features a large F1.4 maximum aperture that offers impressive contrast and outstanding resolution that are hallmarks of the ZEISS® brand. It produces these consistently strong qualities throughout the entirety of the frame – from center to corner – and at all aperture settings, even while shooting wide open at F1.4. The cutting edge optical structure includes high-precision AA (Advanced Aspherical) and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that reduce spherical and chromatic aberration, as well as a ZEISS® T* Coating that minimizes flare and ghosting creating the classic ZEISS® clarity. Additionally, its Planar design ensures minimal distortion.
The large F1.4 maximum aperture of the FE 50mm F1.4ZA lens provides a level of brightness and speed that are advantageous for dimly lit indoor shots, night scenes, and portraits, while its 11-bladed circular aperture allows for stunning “bokeh”, or background defocus, in images. The lens also features an aperture ring with an adjustable ON/OFF switch, an AF/MF focus mode switch, and a dust and moisture resistant design¹, further increasing its functionality.
The new lens is also equipped with a ring drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) system, which allows it to efficiently lock focus with speed, precision and in near silence, making it particularly useful for shooting movies.
Pricing and Availability – FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Lens
The new FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will ship this July for a retail price of $1,500 US and $1,950 CA. The new FE interchangeable lens will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.
Pricing and Availability – New FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens. Teleconverters and Wireless Lighting Control System
Today, Sony has also released pricing and ship timing for the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens, 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters plus their new wireless lighting control system. All products were introduced earlier this year.
One of the most eagerly anticipated lenses of the year, the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens takes its place as the flagship telephoto zoom in the Sony lens lineup. Featuring built in Optical Stead Shot (OSS) and a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture across the zoom range, the lens will be an ideal fit for nature, sports, travel, fashion, beauty and wedding photographers. This lens will ship this July for a retail price of $2,600 US and $3,300 CA.
Designed exclusively to fit the 70-200mm F2.8 G Master lens, the new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters (models SEL14TC and SEL20TC) will both be sold for the same retail price of about $550 US and $700 CA, and will ship this July.
The versatile new wireless flash and control system – comprised of the FA-WRC1M wireless radio commander and the FA-WRR1 wireless radio receiver – was designed to meet the growing demands of professional Sony photographers. With a maximum range of 30m (approx.. 98 feet) and the ability to control a maximum of 15 separate flash units in 5 different groups, it offers a flexible wireless flash shooting experience with exceptional performance.
The FA-WRC1M commander will be sold for about $350 US and $480 CA. The FA-WRR1 receiver will be sold for about $200 US and $280 CA. Both products will ship this August.
The new lenses, teleconverters and wireless lighting system will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.
A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new lenses, accessories and other Sony α products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com , Sony’s new community site built to educate, inspire and showcase all fans and customers of the Sony α brand.
Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA
|Type||Zoom lens||Fixed-focal length lens|
|Easy Choice lens|
|ED/Super ED glass (elements)||ED (*), Super ED (*)||ED (1)|
|Aspherical lens (elements)||Yes (*)||Yes (2) (including 1 AA lens)|
|Nano AR Coating||Yes|
|Focal hold button||1|
|Focus range limiter|
|Click for aperture ring||Yes|
|Zoom rotation reversing|
|Optical SteadyShot Switch|
|Optical SteadyShot mode|
|AF/MF switch||Yes (switch)||Yes (switch)|
|SMO (Smooth Motion Optics)|
|Slip on hood for PL filter|
|Non-rotating filter thread||Yes||Yes|
FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master
|Lens mount||Sony E-mount|
|Format||35mm full frame|
|Compatability||E-mount 35mm Full Frame
E-mount APS-C cameras
|35mm equivalent focal-length (APS-C) (mm)*2||105-300mm|
|Lens construction (groups-elements)||18 groups, 23 elements|
|Aspherical Lenses||3 aspherical (1 XA- Extreme Asphirical)|
|Extra-low Dispersion Glass||6 (4 Super ED glass/ 2 ED glass)|
|Coating||Nano AR Coating|
|Angle of view (APS-C)*2||23°-8°|
|Angle of view (35mm)||34°-12°30′|
|Maximum aperture (F)||f/2.8|
|Minimum aperture (F)||f/22|
|Number of aperture blade||11 circular|
|Minimum focus distance (m)||0.96m|
|Minimum focus distance (ft)||3.15′|
|Minimum focus distance (in.)||37.8″|
|Maximum magnification ratio (x)||0.25x|
|Lens motors||Ring SSM, Double Linear Actuator|
|Focus Range Limiter||Yes|
|Filter diameter (mm)||77mm|
|ADI metering / Distance encoder|
|Image stabilization||Optical SteadyShot|
|Zoom speed switch (Step)|
|Teleconverter compatibility (x1.4)||Yes – SEL14TC|
|Teleconverter compatibility (x2.0)||Yes – SEL20TC|
|Hood type||Petal shape, bayonet type|
|Dimensions dia. x length (mm)||86 x 200mm|
|Dimensions dia. x length (in.)||3-1/2″ x 7-7/8″|
|Weight (approx.) (oz.)||52.3 oz.|
|Weight (approx.) (g)||1490g (without tripod mount)|
|Dust and Water Resistant||Yes|
|Mount rubber ring||Yes|
|Lens front cap||ALC-F77S|
|Lens rear cap||ALC-R1EM|