A really long lens is a vital tool for filmmakers. Famously seen in films like Lawrence of Arabia and the work of Tony Scott, long lenses, with their compressed sense of space, lend a different feeling...sometimes claustrophobic, sometimes epic, depending on the scene.
However, most "cine lens" sets of primes tend to stop at around 150mm, and even "cine zooms" often top out around 250-400mm, though there are a few "cine" primes and zooms that run longer, such as the wonderful 1000mm Clairmont prime.
For longer lenses, filmmakers often turn to still lens manufacturers, and Sony has just released their longest ever prime, a 600mm F4 G-Master with full-frame coverage.
As befits a lens this pricy (it's around $13,000), it packs in pretty much all of the features it can.
Using Flourite lens elements and a magneisum body, it weights in at only 6.71lbs, which is very impressive for a lens this long. It includes optical steadyshot image stabilization, which is a huge perk for exceptionally long lenses. It has two XD (extereme dynamic) lens motors to drive auto focus, which is an area in which Sony has really excelled recently. Their auto focus in the A9 feels almost magical sometimes, and the ability to have that performance on a 600mm lens will be appreciated.
Best of all, it works with the Sony 1.4x and 2x extenders, creating a lens that is functionally 1200mm, though the extenders will come with light loss, of course.
They also released a new FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS, but that lens will likely be more popular with stills photographers with its relatively slow 5.6 aperture at 200mm and very slow 6.3 aperture at 600mm.
Since stills photographers can always expose for slightly longer that won't be as frustrating, but it's less likely to be part of cinematographers toolkits. It's the lightweight, F4 aperture, and autofocus all together that make the prime something that should be on filmmakers radar.
- E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Aperture Range: f/4 to f/22
- ED, Fluorite, and Aspherical Elements
- Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
- Extreme Dynamic Linear AF Motors
- Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
- Internal Focus; Focus Range Limiter
- Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
- Fixed, Rotating Tripod Collar
- Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm
The prime 600mm is a $13,000 lens, so it is likely to be a rental-only item for most of us, but it's good to know it's available for the jobs that need it. Ships August 2019.