DPR Sony Interview: Sony 600mm f/4 GM, 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 and More

DPReview attended a launch event in NJ for the Sony 600mm f/4 GM and 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 launch. During this event, they spent time interviewing Yasuyuki Nagata, head of Sony’s global interchangeable lens business. You can read excerpts from the interview below:

  • The Sony 400mm f/2.8 sold much better than expected – actually double what was expected
  • Top photographers are using the Sony 400mm f/2.8 at sporting events
  • 70% of 400mm users are professionals
  • The 400mm f/2.8 has a long waiting list
  • The 600mm and 200-600mm are more for high-end amateurs that shoot birds, wildlife, and aircraft.
  • 70-80% of 600mm and 200-600mm owners will shoot wildlife which is why the market is bigger for the 600mm than the 400mm.
  • Some will use the 600mm and 200-600mm on APS-C cameras to get more reach
  • The 600mm f/4 is big but 10g lighter than the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM
  • G Master lenses like the 600mm have no compromise and represent future lenses for today
  • G lenses like the 200-600mm have some compromises in areas like materials or the body
  • The 200-600mm lack magnesium-alloy and the newer XD linear AF actuators (they aren’t really needed)
  • G lenses are also supposed to be more affordable
  • GM lenses always have new technology developed for them that didn’t exist before
  • Sony is considering future camera bodies with GM lenses too like the rumored a9II
  • Sony designs their GM lenses for more focus calculations per second and faster frame rates than the a9 can achieve
  • Sony is keeping its telephoto switch/button layouts consistent
  • Future a9 cameras will have more speed, less weight, greater usability
  • The Sony 200-600mm supports video functions because many shoot video and photos, which is why Sony used linear action AF actuators
  • Mechanics and optics factor into video performance, but Sony also thinks they have the best camera bodies due to their integration
  • Sony zooms are always trying to reduce focus breathing and axial shift, which can be bad for video
  • The Sony 200-600mm zoom is an internal zoom and a lot of its length comes from the hood, which is removable
  • If you are a serious shooter the 600mm is for you and its probably as good as the best competitive alternatives, but Sony’s integration exceeds others
  • At this time the Sony a9 has no competitor and its performance is the best
  • Sony wants many photographers to carry the reasonably priced 200-600mm and they even built it to support their teleconverters
  • Different bodies will make these lenses perform very differently, but they are nowhere near their performance limits at this time these lenses will be much faster on future a9 cameras
  • Sony is designing for its lenses to keep up with the next generation of cameras
  • Sony thinks about compatibility between the mechanical parts, electrics, even software when designing lenses
  • Others talk about channels for communication between the camera and lens, but Sony says that doesn’t matter unless the actuators can keep up
  • Sony is still pushing glass weight closer to the body so lenses handle better
  • Keeping the size and weight down is the hardest part of designing a lens
  • At least 10% of 400mm f/2.8 owners bought teleconverters
  • It takes a very long time for lens technology to filter down to consumer lenses because lenses aren’t updated often
  • High-end lenses should stand as benchmark performers for about 10 years

You can read the full interview here if you like.

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Preorders (Jun 13th 11AM):
Sony 200-600mm FE: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
Sony 600mm FE GM: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
Sony 400mm f/2.8 FE: B&H Photo / AmazonAdorama
Sony a9: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

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