Sony was careful this year when it came to lens releases—fewer than in past years, but with much more precision and a larger impact on the mirrorless lineups. Just three were announced and each was special in its own way. Very early in the year was the compact E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS for APS-C mirrorless, promising compactness and affordability. Come June, we received official word on pricing and availability of the monster that is the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS, the company’s first ultra-high-end super-telephoto prime. And just recently, Sony’s first wide-angle G Master prime, the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM. We need to take a closer look at each of these releases.
The APS-C All-in-One
All-in-ones get a bad rep for poor quality or compromises, compared to other options. The Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS proves that an all-in-one can truly have everything. Designed for APS-C cameras such as the a6000, the 18-135mm has an equivalent zoom range of 27-202.5mm. Keeping size down is a variable f/3.5-5.6 aperture, making the camera/lens combo one of the best choices for traveling photographers. A linear AF motor promises smooth, fast focusing in most conditions and a huge benefit comes from built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for sharp photos, even at the longer focal lengths. This is one of the best options for APS-C E-mount shooters looking for one lens to do it all.
Want to learn more about the lens? Well, I took it for a spin in the spring and you can read about my experiences in this review.
An Ultra Lightweight Big White Lens
Sony made a huge statement with the release of the a9 by targeting sports photographers, AKA the last champions of the DSLR. The only thing holding them back was a lack of super telephoto primes. This year, we finally saw the official launch of the company’s first: the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS. While still big, this lens claims to be the lightest in its class—no small feat, considering the competition. It is also Sony’s most advanced release to date. All the bells and whistles you would expect come packed in here, including an XD linear motor AF system, Optical SteadyShot stabilization, Power Focus, Preset Focus, and Focus Limiter buttons and switches, and more. Sony wanted to put full-frame E-mount on the map for action, and this is the way Sony aims to do it.
Read more about the lens and check out our first look at this monster by reading our launch announcement.
Ultra-Wide and Looking to the Stars
The FE 24mm f/1.4 GM is my favorite of Sony’s releases. Being the widest and fastest full-frame E-mount prime makes it super appealing for landscape and astrophotographers, especially since Sony took care to combat/eliminate sagittal flare in this release. It’s a lens many pros will want in their collection, and the fact that it is among the most compact in its field makes it even better. This lens also incorporates a Direct Drive SSM focusing system for fast, silent operation and boasts a linear response for manual focus. To find out even more, make sure to read our announcement with first look video.
That was it for 2018, at least so far. What lenses are you still waiting for Sony to release? Any of these on your holiday wish list? Start or join a conversation in the Comments section, below!