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Sony 100-400mm G Master zoom adds reach for E-mount bodies

Create: 04/22/2017 - 09:50
Sony FE f/4.5-5.6 100-400mm GM OSS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sony’s fifth E-mount G Master lens
  • Can be used on full-frame or APS-C camera bodies
  • Photographer can adjust the tension of the zoom ring

Photographers who shoot with Sony’s E-mount mirrorless cameras have been limited to a handful of Sony-branded telephoto lenses.

The addition of the Sony FE f/4.5-5.6 100-400mm GM OSS is the third pro-level telephoto zoom for the E mount. This lens also is Sony’s fifth lens in its premium G Master series.

This 100-400mm zoom is an appealing focal length for those who shoot sports and wildlife. It can work in conjunction with Sony’s 1.4X and 2X teleconverters, retaining full functionality.

The lens uses 22 elements in 16 groups and includes two extra-low dispersion (ED) elements and one Super ED element. Nine blades form the aperture, and the filter size is 77mm.

A round lens shade is included, as is a removable tripod collar. The lens shade has a small door that allows the photographer to adjust a polarizing filter that has been attached to the front of the lens.

The minimum focus distance is 3.2 feet (0.98 meters).

FULL FRAME VS. APS-C AND COMPATABILITY

While intended for full-frame bodies, it also can be used on APS-C cameras, where the focal length range becomes a full-frame equivalent of 150-600mm. When combined with Sony’s 2X teleconverter, the range becomes 300-1200mm. There are some compatability issues with Sony’s older NEX line of cameras.

The lens has Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which can work in conjunction with bodies that are image stabilized. The lens’ image stabilization can be turned off via a barrel-mounted switch, which usually is recommended when shooting from a tripod.

Other barrel controls include switching from autofocus to manual focus and a range limiter, which allows for faster focusing if you aren’t shooting anything closer than about 9 feet (3 meters). There are two OSS modes – one for normal stabilization and the second for panning.

A button on the barrel is used to lock focus or can be assigned a custom function when fitted to cameras that have those menu functions.

Zooming is accomplished by turning the larger rubber coated ring. Focusing can be adjusted by the rubberized ring near the front of the lens.

One of the unique features is that Sony allows for torque adjustment of the zoom ring. Turning it one way, makes the zoom ring easier to turn, while turning it the other way, requires more effort for zooming. This can be useful when you don’t want the zoom setting to shift because you brushed it with your hand or arm. Conversely, if your task requires a lot of zooming, you want the ability to quickly turn the zoom ring.

TWO FOCUS DRIVE SYSTEMS

Sony says the 100-400mm zoom uses a floating focus mechanism driven by double linear motor and DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) drive systems that work in tandem. Sony says it’s the first of its kind.

While the lens focuses internally, it doesn’t zoom internally. The barrel extends as it zooms to 400mm.

Sony says the lens is dust and moisture resistant but also warns that it isn’t 100% weather sealed.

Front and rear lens caps, the lens shade and the lens case are included.

The lens is 3 3/4 x 8 1/8 (93.9 x 205mm) and weighs 49.3 ounces (1,395 grams) without the tripod mount. The tripod mount adds about another few ounces to the overall weight.

The lens is priced at US$2,499.99 and is expected to be available in late July 2017.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.