No day passes without me thinking about the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM


How can I not remember and dream more about this day?

It was last summer when Sony invited me to the launch of the new Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM(onster).

Even if it’s a badass looking and performing lens, it weights just 2.9 kilos and it’s an amazing tool to also use it handheld. And there are so many that are doing so (oh, I so envy you Alex Phan and other birders using this amazing lens).

Since testing it back in London my mind set a new Top 1 wish: to own it, one day ­čÖé. I’ve even found a solution, as one friend suggested seeing me selling my stuff before moving away from Romania (to Sweden).

Bike is sold, car is sold, now I just need to sell my soul to the Devil and cross my wife word who is against buying it (of course). I know I won’t be able to put this lens to work that much so it can pay by itself (as I use to do with all my gear), but I still want it :), but can you blame me?

So, how was it testing the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM?

I wish I had more time with it, first of all. We’ve been invited by Sony to their EU HQ in London and we’ve attended a small presentation of the lens. I don’t remember anyone paying too much attention on the screen, all eyes were on the lens ­čÖé

There were also a “naked” version of the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM, so we can see how they’ve managed to get such a lightweight 400 – magnesium alloy chassis

To prove it’s lightweight they gave some of us to hold an equivalent setup from Canon (the 1Dx MII plus the 400mm 2.8), and then they’ve handled the Sony A9 plus the new Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM. The reactions where priceless!

Remember how it feels to lift a bag you would expect to be heavy and instead it weights nothing? It happened to me, too. Look at everyone’s faces ­čÖé

The new Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM has 17 lens elements: 1 ED and 3 fluorite, an 11-blade circular diaphragm and dual linear drive focus motors. The new motors are even faster than before, way faster than the already amazingly fast to focus Sony 100-400mm GM lens I already own.

On the exterior it comes with new goodies, with plenty of buttons and switches to satisfy even the most picky shooter out there.

When Full Time DMF is on, manual focus is immediately engaged by simply rotating the focus ring in any AF mode (AF-A/S/C).

The built-in Optical Image Stabilisation has a new mode (mode 3) with an advanced algorithm that ensures easier framing when following moving subjects.

  • Mode 1 – normal shots (wide range, still life)
  • Mode 2 – panning shots
  • Mode 3 – dynamic, unpredictable sports action

There is also a new function ring that lets photographer configure as he wishes.

After this short presentation, the chaos began :). There were many people from different countries, both press and photographers and we had to split in groups. The shooting was planed to happen at the nearby Mercedes Benz World, on the track, but the rules where strict and the time was short.

Unfortunately we spent more time moving to one spot to another than the time we had the lenses in our hands. There was the middle of the day, outside, full summer, so the light was rubbish to say the least.

At to this the excitement of using an amazing lens (plus driving some AMGs on the track) and I barely have something to show to you :p. But I can show you again the photo with me holding not one, but two 400mm ­čÖé and roughly 33k euros worth of equipment in my hands :p

Fun fact: while writing this article I’ve noticed I was wearing the same T-shirt as the one in the photo above. It’s a sign, I’ll own the 400 one day!

I wanted to test also the amazing bokeh this lens promised (and now I know it delivers since I’ve seen so many wildlife and sport photography made with it since its launch), but wasn’t able to get anything decent due to the “fata morgana effect” (a mirage, which is an optical illusion caused by the atmosphere; it especially appear on a sheet of water, in a desert, or on a hot road caused by light)

So, instead of the beautiful round bokeh I got this ugly stuff that won’t make any justice to the lens.

Watch instead my friend’s photo

Photo ┬ę2019 Alex Phan

Case closed ­čÖé

I’ll end this little article with the hope I’ll have at least the chance to test it more some other day, if not owning it. Not cheap at all at 12.000 eur, but is there any diamond cheap?

Author: Alin Popescu

Inginer ca formare, grafician ca meserie, fotograf ca mod de viata, Alin este pasionat de tot ce inseamna tehnologie si scrie articole detaliate pe intelesul tuturor.

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