Subject check: Sony FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS evaluation

Sony’s Alpha A9 is a superb digicam for capturing motion, because of its extremely fast AF system and 20fps burst capturing. Nevertheless, it has been hampered a little bit by the restricted number of Sony telephoto lenses, with the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS the longest devoted optic for Sony’s vary of full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Now Sony has launched the much-anticipated FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS telephoto prime, which presents a focal size that is all however important for sports activities photographers, and for a lot of nature photographers too. We received our fingers on the brand new optic to attempt it out for ourselves.


  • Newly developed XD Linear motor
  • 11-blade aperture diaphragm
  • Constructed-in optical picture stabilization

Whereas the shortage of a 400mm f/2.Eight lens has left an enormous gap in Sony’s lineup, the specification of the brand new FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS suggests it’ll have been well worth the wait.

Sony has developed new high-speed XD (excessive dynamic) Linear Motors that drive the lens’s focusing. In comparison with the older design, these ship a better thrust, which Sony reckons will ship a 5x enchancment in moving-subject monitoring efficiency. 


Focal size: 400mm

Mount: Sony E

Filter dimension: 40.5mm (slot-in) 

Max aperture: f/2.8

Closest focus distance: 2.7m

Dimensions: 158 x 359mm

Weight: 2,895g

As you’d anticipate for a high-end, G Grasp lens, Sony hasn’t skimped on the optical design of the lens both. This consists of three fluorite components which can be designed to attenuate chromatic aberration, whereas the aperture diaphragm of the lens is made up of 11 blades to assist ship easily defocused areas. 

Whereas Sony’s newest full-frame mirrorless cameras characteristic refined built-in picture stabilization methods, the brand new lens additionally options built-in optical stabilization, with three totally different Mode settings out there relying on the platform you are capturing from, together with a mode that is designed to make capturing panning photographs simpler. 

The FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS additionally features a drop-in filter slot that accepts 40.5mm ND and different filter sorts, in addition to the non-compulsory VF-DCPL1 drop-in Round Polarizing Filter

Construct high quality and dealing with

  • Weighs solely 2,895g
  • Stability is superb
  • Compatibility with teleconverters

Make no mistake, this can be a huge lump of glass, though weighing in at 2,895g it is virtually 1kg lighter than the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM II (3,850g) or Nikon’s AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (3,805g). Issues look even higher whenever you issue within the physique weight of the digicam, with a complete weight of three,923g for the FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS, Alpha A9 and grip (in comparison with 5,380g for a Canon setup with an EOS-1D X Mark II, and 5,205g for a Nikon setup with a D5). 

This actually is noticeable whenever you decide up the lens with an Alpha A9 connected together with a grip. It is definitely heavy, however you possibly can shoot hand-held with this combo for an honest time period – one thing we have discovered just about not possible to do previously with each Canon and Nikon setups. Having mentioned that, for those who’re planning to shoot sports activities or wildlife for an hour or two you may positively be reaching for a monopod in some unspecified time in the future. 

Sony has additionally ensured that camera-lens combos are properly balanced, with the optical design of the lens permitting Sony to cut back the variety of components on the entrance of the barrel, which means the lens is not front-heavy.

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Because the lens is more likely to discover itself utilized in pretty excessive situations, from sporting occasions within the rain to safaris on a dusty savannah, the magnesium alloy-constructed lens is dust- and moisture-resistant, whereas the entrance component is coated with fluorine to withstand filth and fingerprints. A pleasant little contact is the safety slot on the tripod collar that allows you to connect safety wire to it. 

There is a suite of body-mounted controls, together with a Full-Time DMF change to right away have interaction handbook focus at any level, and customizable focus-hold buttons in 4 totally different places on the barrel. Though we did not get an opportunity to make use of this characteristic within the time we had with the lens, we are able to think about it is going to be actually helpful when arrange for EyeAF. 


  • Focusing is extraordinarily fast
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Glorious sharpness

Focusing efficiency was extremely spectacular when paired with the Alpha A9, with the mixture simply capable of sustain with the fast-moving vehicles we had been capturing at Sony’s press occasion, whether or not sustaining give attention to a automotive transferring in the direction of us at velocity or monitoring it because it come into the body and thru a bend. 

We used the lens broad open at f/2.Eight just about solely, and it is able to delivering fantastically easy defocused backgrounds, whereas the degrees of sharpness and distinction rendered had been glorious. 

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Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/2.8, 1/4000sec at f/2.8, ISO800

Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/2.8, 1/4000sec at f/2.8, ISO800

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Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/2.8, 1/1600sec at f/2.8, ISO100

Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/2.8, 1/1600sec at f/2.8, ISO100

Click on right here to see the total dimension picture

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Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/4.5, 1/1600sec at f/2.8, ISO100

Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/4.5, 1/1600sec at f/2.8, ISO100

Click on right here to see the total dimension picture

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Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/2.8, 1/80sec at f/8, ISO64

Sony Alpha A9 with 400mm f/2.8, 1/80sec at f/8, ISO64

Click on right here to see the total dimension picture

Remaining ideas

The FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS is definitely costly at £10,500 / $12,000 (Australian pricing is until to be confirmed), however that is no pricier than rival optics from Canon and Nikon. It is also filled with the newest tech – you actual really feel that Sony hasn’t rushed this lens, and has labored exhausting to get every little thing proper first time.

Light-weight, responsive, and with some nice dealing with attributes, that is the lens you have been ready for for those who’re a sports activities or nature photographer capturing on Sony Alpha cameras – and there is not any doubt that the FE 400mm f/2.Eight GM OSS will flip the heads of some Canon and Nikon customers too. 

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