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Gear Rumors

Sony Says ‘Fast Portrait Primes Coming Late 2015’

By Anthony Thurston on March 13th 2015

A bit of rumor news that is of particular interest to me since I just picked up a new A7 II, is that Sony has updated its roadmap to include several ‘fast primes’ aimed at portraiture – and they are expected towards the end of this year!

FE_roadmap1

Sadly, that is about where the information stops, but it is promising news nonetheless. The news/rumor, comes from German Journalist Martin Vieten who, as part of a Sony presentation in Germany, was given an updated (in German) roadmap with some new info regarding the end of 2015.

According to Vieten, the new lens(es) coming in late 2015 are fast primes. He goes on to say that Sony told him specifically that they would be focused on portraiture.

Currently, the list of Sony FE lenses is very, very short. Only a Zeiss 55mm F/1.8 and 35mm F/1.4 can really be considered portrait offerings (and the 35mm isn’t even shipping yet), with the other options mainly being ‘slow’ zooms. It will be interesting to see what these new lenses could be, since the 50mm and 35mm lengths are covered at this point – could they maybe be an 85mm and 135mm? That would be rather awesome if you ask me.

What focal lengths would you like to see Sony add to their lineup most? What would you least like to see added/updated? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

[via Mirrorless Rumors]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Michael Young

    It’s going to be interesting to see how small Sony can keep the fast telephoto lenses. I’ve seen a lot of people preach about how small Sony lenses are, but then point to the 55mm, and f4 zooms – which aren’t much different than their DSLR counterparts. Sony’s 35/1.4 is about the size of Sigma’s, and their 70-200/4 is comparable to Canon’s.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Yup, in fact I think the Sony FE native 70-200 f/4 is a mite heavier than the Canon. IMO I think that the bottom line is that only certain focal lengths and optical designs can truly benefit from the “lighter & smaller” claim. A 70-200mm optical design really just doesn’t care that much about flange distance, I suspect. Nor do most complex optical zoom designs that are trying to be as sharp as possible. In fact the Zeiss Otus glass, plus the new Zeiss 35 1.4 for Sony FE, proves this point- The more sharpness you want, the more glass you need. There’s no free lunch.

      So, at most, we’ll save space on the more simple optical designs: the compact primes that compromise a LITTLE on sharpness and max aperture, or the simple zoom formulas that also compromise a little bit on sharpness or aperture.

      In other words, NOT my cup of tea. I’d rather have a D750 and a battery that lasts 2-3X longer and an OVF that doesn’t hurt my eyes when shooting astro…

      I’ll still look forward to a super-compact ,A6000 successor for travel, backpacking and hiking, etc. For the price / weight of ONE A7R mk2, (I bet) I could buy 2-3 A6000 mk2’s and Rokinon 12mm f/2’s for astro-landscape panoramas… :-)

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  2. Matthew Saville

    Bah. Fast ULTRA-WIDE primes, or I’m not joining. :-\

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    • adam sanford

      What *do* a7 guys do for astro, Matthew? Do they use adaptors to get access to Canon and Nikon glass? Do they go the manual focus RokiBowYang route?

      (Surely they aren’t slugging it out with a slower Sony zoom, right?)

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    • Jerry Jackson

      Adam, I’m pretty sure most Sony users have “a couple” FE-mount Sony lenses but use mostly adapted lenses (either non-Sony lenses in manual focus or Sony A-mount lenses with the Sony adapter that allows AF) to fill in the MANY holes in the current Sony FE lens lineup.

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    • adam sanford

      I always forget about the A-mount, Jerry. Thanks.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Adam, I think many landscape shooters aren’t doing enough astro for the lack of native lenses to be a deal-breaker, or they already had a Canon / Nikon lens that was their favorite, and they’re just using adapters.

      Rokinon has made an FE mount 14mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/1.4, but they’re not re-designed optics, they’re just the DSLR version of the lens, with a new mount. (So, they’re not any lighter or smaller than a from-scratch FE lens could be, like the Rokinon 12mm f/2 is for the 1.5x crop sensor. That thing is TINY.

      Rokinon lenses are already pretty lightweight to begin with though, and the optics required to hit a DSLR sensor instead of a mirrorless sensor are actually more conducive to good image quality for wide-angles and fast-apertures. (Or so I’m told)

      All in all, I think the current options are pretty good. One of the main things that causes hesitation for me though is the awesomeness of the alternatives that most other people aren’t even talking about. Olympus and Pentax. They may not have a full-frame mirrorless system, yet, nor do they have many (or any) decent fast ultra-wides. However, what they do have is an ecosystem that I can get on board with as an adventure / astro shooter. Both companies are very serious about weather-sealing when it comes to both bodies and lenses, both have IBS, and Pentax has GPS that can use sensor shifting to do minor astro-tracking.

      I’ll give Nikon, Pentax, and Olympus 1-2 more generations to pull a hat trick, THEN I’ll see what the Sony A7R mk2 and A6000 mk2 look like. If they have weather sealing and better image quality, I’d certainly buy both with 3-4 Rokinon lenses for adventure / astro-landscape shooting… (If nothing else tempts me in the meantime)

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  3. Graham Curran

    It takes time to build up a comprehensive lens range for a new system. Sharing a common mount with other manufacturers could help the smaller players match the Canikon duopoly.

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  4. Jerry Jackson

    The only “fast portrait prime” that I still care about for the Sony FE mount is a direct competitor to the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G which has a retail price of less than $450 here in the U.S.
    The new Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G looks great, but I don’t need macro (or OSS now that the new A7 II has in-body stabilization) and I certainly don’t need the $1000+ price tag.
    In terms of portrait lenses for working photographers, Sony needs a significantly less expensive FE 85mm lens (again, similar to the Nikon 85mm 1.8G) and a reasonably priced FE 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Agreed. Trophy lenses are nice, but until there’s at least a handful of lenses like the Nikon f/1.8 G’s, the “mirrorless advantage” is going to be significantly diminished for me.

      I love the idea of IBS. I love the idea of focus peaking. But neither are really critical for the landscape work I do, and the size / weight of my lightweight, compact DSLR systems isn’t really a deal-breaker for me yet, so…

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  5. Vince Arredondo

    Lack of lenses is what keeps me away from moving to Sony. At the end, what really makes difference between the big players is the lenses line up.

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  6. adam sanford

    If you are releasing a new mirrorless system (i.e. not a new body, but a new mount like the A7 was 2 years ago), you have to strike a balance of drawing people to the system with lower cost / simpler lenses and then wowing them with pricier / pro options. You can’t come out guns blazing with high end spec lenses as you haven’t earned the trust/mindshare of photographers enough to ask for a $4k-ish starting kit. So get them hooked on the sensor, and then ramp up their investment with better glass.

    I’d go with (in order):

    1) Slow standard zoom (reduce initial pain point of buying into the system)
    2) Slow 35 prime (all-purpose prime used to highlight the potentially small size of a mirrorless rig)
    3) Slow scenery zoom
    4) Nifty 50 (quick but not crazy quick)
    5) Tele zoom (tough call to go f/4 or f/2.8 as the size/weight difference is massive)
    6) Fast standard zoom
    7) Fast 35
    8) Fast 50, 85 or 135 prime
    9) Macro

    Sony seems to be (looking at Anthony’s chart) a bit zoom heavy in the pipeline. I would agree that some portrait glass would be in order.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Yeah Adam, I think Sony is really lacking in ANY lenses right now to attract the professional crowd outright. Only a couple fast primes currently, no ‘fast’ mid-zoom-telephoto. If they remedy that this year, I could see more Pro shooters legitimately moving to the Sony system.

      Many wedding shooters for example have all the camera they need in an A7 series body, but with the poor AF performance on Adapters, they simply don’t have the lens support yet to be able to make a move like that in good conscience. That and battery life, Sony has got to put a bigger battery in these things, or build some sort of solar array on them that recharges the battery via sunlight (haha).

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    • adam sanford

      Every time I look at those A7 rigs, I just think: epic sensors & (for now) some painful realities.

      And I lot of what I pick on is not on Sony so much as a reality of being brave and starting something new. Sony deserves massive credit for going for it with new offerings, and over time, I do hope they succeed. For me, it’s similar to wanting to see Sigma succeed. Canon and Nikon need to be pressured to commercialize more quickly and offer more value, so I say “Go, Sony, Go!”

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    • Stephen Jennings

      Even their fast primes don’t impress me honestly, and I love Zeiss lenses.. just not the ones made for Sony. They seem to have more corner distortion than other Zeiss lenses, which are typicalyl phenomenal .. and the bokeh? WTF Zeiss, oblong spheres in the bokeh .. meh.. my opinion anyways.

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    • adam sanford

      Stephen, it’s the other way around for Zeiss lenses in Canon EF mounts. World class optics with no autofocus.

      It’s wretched for an AF shooter like me. It’s like having the superpower of being able to fly… but only being able to fly into the office to work. :-(

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    • Paul Nguyen

      To be honest, Sony isn’t doing too badly – they have a 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm f/4. Arguably this is a smart move, because if you’re moving to a mirrorless system, you’ll probably be interested in weight savings. Not only that, but on Canon and Nikon, you see more and more people moving towards f/4 lenses.

      What Sony really lacks are fast primes. But even then, they have a 55mm f/1.8, which is a very good lens, now they have a 35mm, so they’re really only lacking a 24mm and an 85mm, perhaps a 135mm. Everything else is pretty specialty – like super-telephoto lenses…etc.

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