Sony Adds Telephoto Lenses

I've been on record as saying that Sony has a very reasonable and well built out FE lens lineup now in the wide to moderate telephoto range (12-200mm). With the A9 beefed up with firmware updates and the Olympics looming, it was inevitable that Sony turned its attention to longer telephoto options. 

bythom sony 600mm

A year ago we got the 400mm f/2.8GM OSS. Today we get an announcement for what I refer to as the exotic lineup with the new US$13,000 Sony 600mm f/4GM OSS. Billed as being the lightest 600mm f/4 (by a very slim margin over the Canon), this lens is designed almost identically to the Sony 400mm f/2.8 externally, including putting the focus ring and buttons in the same position. The only big difference is that it's longer, heavier, and 200mm more in focal length.

I understand why Sony went with 400/600mm first, but particularly missing still in the FE lineup are 300mm/500mm exotics. And for that matter, a 200mm f/2. I'm sure all those are coming, but if I were shooting the Tokyo Olympics, I'd definitely want a 200mm f/2 and a 300mm f/2.8 handy: it's not all about sitting far from the action in a constrained box with 100 others all trying to wedge big front elements past one another.

bythom sony 200-600mm

Additionally, Sony also introduced the rest of us a more reasonable lens for our needs: the US$2000 Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3G OSS. Frankly, the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E changed the game in telephoto zooms for the masses (the Sigma and Tamron options were already pushing that bar). That Nikkor has a wide usable range, and pretty exceptional results for its price. It seems that Sony is targeting something similar with this new G zoom.

The problem, of course, is that this new lens also competes with the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6GM OSS, which is a very excellent lens, perhaps the best of the 100-400mm options out there in any mount. So I'm looking forward to seeing what the new lens delivers in that 400-600mm range. If it's on par with what Nikon delivered at 500mm with their zoom, then all is well. If it's not, I don't see why I want it. 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. After a couple of disappointing lenses early on (e.g. the 24-70mm f/4 ZA), Sony's been dialed in and producing very good to excellent optics choices. Let's hope the 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3G keeps that streak going.

As a side note, the APS-C bodies still really don't have excellent telephoto options. Today's lenses will work on the A6xxx bodies, but they will dwarf the body and handling won't be so great. The APS-C bodies really are crying out for a 50-135mm f/2.8-4 or something similar. We need a quality way to get into the moderate telephoto range with the APS-C bodies still. Really the best (and almost only) bet right now is the 70-200mm f/4. 

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