We’re here at WPPI in Las Vegas, and given the torrent of releases over the course of last year and through Photokina and PPE, few expected there to be any significant announcement at WPPI, but Sony has reminded us again that they are the company to do the unexpected, and they’ve announced two new and rather exciting mid-telephoto prime lenses for e-mount and a compact radio flash.
It’ll be without question the most exciting and interesting release of the lot, with the focus here on the initialism in the middle of the name, SFT (Smooth Trans Focus lenses). The 100mm SFT has a ring switch for macro with a 1.87ft minimum focusing distance (o.25x mag), built in optical stabilization, nano AR coating to reduce ghosting and flare, ED glass to suppress chromatic aberration, and features an 11-blade circular aperture design. What all of that adds up to is what Sony deems is the highest quality bokeh of their lenses. SFT lenses are rare, and those with this kind of usability and AF even rarer. I got some time with it yesterday so check back shortly for some initial thoughts. You can order one now, however, and it comes in at just under $1,500.
Where the 100mm SFT is aimed at a particular level of consumer or those with specific desires and needs, the 85 1.8 is an affordable and accessible 85 from Sony who seek something other than Sony’s 85mm G-Master. Unlike the GM models this does not have image stabilization. It has a 9 bladed aperture that should render quality bokeh, a double linear motor system, and AF/MF switch and is dust and moisture resistant. It’s also relatively small and light making it a good companion not only for Sony’s full frame e-mount A7, but better balanced on something like an A6500. It rings it at $600.
Sony’s new flash is a radio controlled offering that adds to the growing lighting system, and the company is positioning it to complement the e-mount full frame and APS-C lines of cameras. It has a range of approximately 100ft, should get over 200 shots out of the battery life, a guide number of 45m at ISO 100, 2.5 second recharge time and a built in LED lamp.
While fine to work alone it is able to support up to 5 groups with 3 flashes per group. The flash head can swivel 360 degrees (180 in both directions), can tilt 360 degrees up and 8 down. It is also dust and moisture resistant and apparently has a menu system that mimics Sony’s newest cameras (that may not be such a great thing…). It’s available for pre-order and is competitively priced at just under $400.
For more details find the official press release below:
Sony Introduces 100mm F2.8 STF G Master™ with Highest Ever Quality Bokeh for an α Lens
New Full-frame 85mm F1.8 Mid-telephoto prime lens and Compact Radio-Controlled Flash announced as well.
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 7, 2017 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced two new lenses for their popular line of E-mount interchangeable lens cameras.
Sony’s new lenses include one of their flagship G Master Series – an FE 100mm F2.81 STF GM OSS mid- telephoto prime lens (model SEL100F28GM) built to deliver breathtaking bokeh with a unique STF™ (Smooth Trans Focus) design, and a new compact, lightweight FE 85mm F1.8 mid-telephoto prime lens (model SEL85F18) that is a welcome addition to the bag of any hobbyist or enthusiast photographer looking to create amazing portraits.
They have also introduced a new powerful, compact flash (model HVL-F45RM) with radio-controlled wireless communication that is ideal for professional shooting with Sony’s lineup of α7 full-frame cameras.
FE 100mm F2.81 STF GM OSS Telephoto Prime Lens
A specially designed mid-telephoto, full-frame prime lens, the new 100mm STF is built to produce truly unique, magnificent and beautiful bokeh while maintaining the exceptional standard of resolution that is showcased by Sony’s entire line of flagship G Master series lenses, making it a powerful photographic tool for any portrait, fashion, nature or wedding photographer.
These impressive defocus capabilities are made possible by the lens’ advanced optical structure, as it features a newly designed 11-bladed aperture and a unique optical apodization lens element. Similar to a neutral density filter that increases in density towards the edges, the apodization element creates beautiful transitions of in-focus to out-of-focus areas within an image, making for exceptionally soft, smooth bokeh that adds depth and dimensionality. This allows the subjects to stand out against beautifully defocused elements in both the foreground and background, producing an image that is naturally pleasing to the eye. The design of the lens also ensures that vignetting is kept to an absolute minimum, ensuring optimum image quality.
Additionally, the new 100mm lens supports both contrast AF and focal-plane phase detection AF2, and has a high-precision, quiet direct drive SSM (Super Sonic Motor) system that ensures exceptionally fast and accurate AF performance. The SEL100F28GM also offers up to 0.25x close-up capabilities with a built-in macro switching ring, built-in Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization, a customizable focus hold button, AF/MF switch, aperture ring and more. It is dust and moisture resistant as well3.
FE 85mm F1.8 Telephoto Prime Lens
The new 85mm F1.8 mid-telephoto prime lens offers an extremely versatile, lightweight and compact telephoto prime lens solution for a variety of Sony camera owners ranging from working professionals to emerging enthusiasts that have stepped up to full-frame or APS-C cameras for the first time. With its wide F1.8 aperture, it can produce impressive, exceptionally sharp portraits with soft background defocus that take advantage of its 85mm focal length and wide F1.8 maximum aperture.
The new prime lens features a 9-bladed circular aperture mechanism that ensures smooth, natural looking bokeh, and a double linear motor system to allow for fast, precise and quiet focusing. It also has a focus hold button that can be customized and assigned together with functions in the camera body like the popular Eye AF feature. There is a smooth, responsive focus ring and AF/MF switch as well, and the lens is also dust and moisture resistant3.
New Compact Radio-controlled Flash
Sony’s new HVL-F45RM flash enhances the radio-controlled lighting system capabilities of their growing system, offering a compact professional shooting solution when combined with the currently available wireless remote controller FA-WRC1M and receiver FA-WRR1.
The new flash, which is designed to complement the compact bodies of Sony’s E-mount camera lineup including full-frame α7 models, produces a maximum lighting output as expansive as GN454. This ensures sufficient illumination even when shooting with bounce lighting or high-speed-sync (HSS) flash. The radio capabilities of the HVL-F45RM allow it to be used as a transmitter or a receiver at up to 30m (approx. 98 feet5), making it an ideal fit for creative lighting with multiple flashes. Additionally, unlike optical flash systems, radio-control flashes do not require a direct line-of-sight between components to function properly, while also minimizing any impact that bright sunlight has on signal transmission and control.
The HVL-F45RM flash has an impressive battery life of up to 210 bursts, and can tilt up to 150o vertically, a complete 360o horizontally and up to 8o downward to maximize versatility. Usability has been maximized with a new large, bright and highly visible LCD display, an LED light, dust and moisture resistant design3 and a revamped menu system that mimics those of Sony’s newest camera systems.
Pricing and Availability
Both of the new lenses and the new flash unit will ship to authorized dealers throughout North America.
The new FE 100mm F2.8 STF OSS GM Telephoto Prime Lens will ship this March for about $1,500 US and $2,050 CA.
The new FE 85mm F1.8 Mid-Telephoto Prime Lens will ship this March for about $600 US and $800 CA.
Replacement lens hoods for each of the new models will also be available for purchase as well.
The new HVL-F45RM flash will ship this May for about $400 US and $550 CA.