Fellow Sony bird photographer, Christopher Dodds might agree with me that the newly announced Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 G Master OSS lens is a real game-changer for bird and wildlife photographers. I wasn’t lucky enough to put my hands on this new and long-awaited lens but based on the first hands-on reviews, it seems to perform superbly.
I’ve been shooting with Sony cameras (Sony a7RIII) for a few months now and I love it. I also love the whole concept of Sony how they target larger and larger segments of the market. I had been a Canon photographer before I started to use Sony, and I know what weight of the lens means. I often had to handhold the 500mm and 600mm lenses with a massive camera body and most of the time shooting were restricted to a few seconds only. Sony’s new lens is under 3 kgs (102.2 oz) and having any of the lightweight Sony mirrorless cameras attached would still be a lighter combo than the Canon or Nikon lenses alone. That’s a huge benefit for birds in flight photography.
Another advantage of this lens over the competitors is the autofocus speed thanks to the development of the linear autofocus system. Again, it is a huge benefit for fast moving birds. Tested in the field, it has an incredibly high rate of in-focus photos when shooting high frame rates with the a9. In Gordon Laing‘s preview you can see how perfectly the Sony a9 camera and the new 400mm lens combo is keeping the focus on the cyclists (see video bellow at 6:57 minutes).
The new Function switch allows to set the camera to APS-C crop mode what crops the image by 1.5 times and halves the resolution but on the a7RIII it still produces a 21 megapixel image what is more than enough for publishing purposes.
Yes, It is not cheap… $11,998 is a lot of money and a bit more expensive than the competitors’ similar lenses, but it is a superior lens (based on the previews!!!) what seems to outperform the big brothers in many ways. Eventaully, the price will drop anyway.