Sony has beefed up its lens range with the FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS, a new super telephoto optic aimed at sports and wildlife photographers.
The FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS is the latest arrival in Sony’s premium G Master lens series, which also includes the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM and FE 24mm f/1.4 GM. We’ve already had a chance to play with a pre-production sample – here’s what we make of it so far.
This new addition, the arrival of which will no doubt will no doubt thrill Alpha sports photographers intending on shooting the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, brings the G Master lineup to 10 optics. Along with the FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS that’s been announced alongside it, this means the company now offers 51 native lenses for its E-mount Alpha bodies.
The FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS has speed, resolution and bokeh as its priorities. The optics, which comprise 24 individual elements across 18 groups, include three fluorite elements to help banish chromatic aberration and a pair of ED elements to do the same, along with Nano AR coatings to keep light contrast high and flare low.
There’s also a new, large extreme aspherical (XA) element, which not only helps to keep spherical aberration at bay, but is also said to contribute to smoother and more natural bokeh in images. Also helping to keep bokeh round are 11 blades that make up the diaphragm.
Optical SteadyShot technology has been included to help keep things stable, while the focusing system makes use of a pair of extreme dynamic (XD) linear motors, the same kind Sony used for the previous FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens.
Here, however, they work with a new control algorithm that’s said to have been developed specifically for these motors. Sony claims these motors enable precise tracking of fast-moving subjects, such as sports and wildlife, while the internal nature of the focusing system’s movement means the lens doesn’t extend in use – which is just as well, given that it weighs over 3kg.
While its focal length, maximum aperture and full-frame coverage make it understandably large, Sony claims its weight – 3.04g to be precise – make it the lightest in its class. In fairness, this is only 10g lighter than EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, although considerably lighter than Nikon’s closest equivalent, the AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR.
As we’d expect, it’s also been crafted with a dust- and moisture-resistant barrel, with magnesium alloy used liberally for both the internal and external parts, as well as at the tripod mount. This is complemented by a fluorine coating on the front element to help repel grease and water.
The lens will go on sale with an asking price of £12,000 / $13,000 (pricing for Australia is to be confirmed) – but at least you’ve got time to save up, as it won’t be available until September.