Sony announces 500/4 G SSM supertele lens

February 21st, 2010 - 09:36:50 PM:

Today Sony has announced the last of the lenses previewed at PMA 2009.

Sony Alpha 500/4 G SSM

500/4 G SSM

This lens has a long history. It was already previewed at PMA 2007 in a very raw form. Then it was previewed again at PMA 2009, this time in a shape very close to the release version. Sony always refered to it as the “Super Telephoto lens”, and specifications were rumored to be 400/2.8 (PMA 2007), 500/4.5 and 500/4 (PMA 2009). Now it is officially announced to be a 500/4 full-frame lens with SSM focus motor. This makes it the longest Sony A-mount non-mirror lens.

The specifications are a good choice. The alternatives, a 600/4 or 400/2.8, certainly have their advantages, namely reach and speed, but they are becoming less popular in the wildlife photo community because of their sheer size and weight. A 500 mm lens is considered long enough, and f/4 is considered fast enough (especially in the light of ever-improving high-ISO noise performance of modern DSLRs). If you have to carry the lens for several miles, you'll be glad it's not 5.5 kg.