Sony Announces Three Prime Pro Lenses in Europe While U.S. Market Waits
July 27, 2010
By Dan Havlik, PDN's Technology Specialist
The lenses -- a Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 SSM; Distagon T* 35mm f/1.8 SAM, and 85mm f/2.8 SAM -- offer fast apertures and optimal lens quality that may appeal to pros using Sony's Alpha series digital SLRs.
While the press release (see below) and images of the lenses were making the rounds on the Europe-based websites early this morning, Sony's U.S. counterparts issued the following statement when queried by PDN Gear Guide.
"Although these models will also be introduced in the US market, no US announcement is being made at this time," Sony said. "The US announcement will be made at a time that is closer to the models’ market introduction."
According to the European press release, the 24mm and 85mm lenses will start shipping in late September, while the 35mm lens will go on sale in mid-October. Estimated U.S. pricing for the three models are as follows: 24mm - $1600; 85mm - $320; 35mm - $260.
Of the trio, the wide-angle 24mm f/2 should be the most appealing to pros. It was shown in prototype form at the PMA show in Anaheim, CA earlier this year alongside a prototype of a 500mm f/4 G super telephoto lens from Sony.
No word yet on when the 500mm lens will be officially announced in the U.S. or in Europe.
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The Distagon T* 24mm F2 ZA SSM (SAL24F20Z) features the acclaimed Carl Zeiss Distagon design and rounds out the existing Planar (SAL85F14Z) and Sonnar (SAL135F18Z) models also developed in conjunction with Carl Zeiss. It is intended to appeal to experienced photographers looking for a large-aperture wide-angle lens of real distinction.
The DT 35mm F1.8 SAM (SAL35F18) adds the important 35mm focal length to the ‘Easy Choice’ series. ‘Easy Choice’ is intended to provide great value, compact and lightweight lenses that are attractive to entry-level and advanced photographers alike. Each lens in the series is selected for a specific purpose, for example portraiture or macro.
The 85mm F2.8 SAM (SAL85F28) is another ‘Easy Choice’ lens, this time offering the 85mm focal length considered the standard for portraiture because of the natural perspective it provides. True to type it is extremely compact and light, weighing just 175g.
The Distagon T* 24mm F2 SSM (SAL24F20Z)ıııThe Distagon T* 24mm F2 SSM (SAL24F20Z) functions as a wide-angle 24mm lens on full-frame cameras with 35mm sensors, or as a 36mm equivalent lens ideal for general use on cameras with APS-C sensors. Jointly developed with Carl Zeiss, it features the highly-regarded Carl Zeiss Distagon retro-focus lens configuration designed for wide-angle lenses.
This lens is distinguished by its fast response focus and extremely quiet, very smooth operation thanks to its built-in SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor).
It offers a wide and therefore highly versatile focal range from 0.19m to infinity, and features a nine-blade circular aperture that along with the large F2 maximum aperture contributes to smooth, natural bokeh effects.
In keeping with traditional Carl Zeiss design, the all-metal lens barrel has been finished to a very high standard resulting in a visibly high-quality appearance.
The DT 35mm F1.8 SAM (SAL35F18) ıııPart of the ‘Easy Choice’ series, offering photographers at all levels great value, compact and lightweight lenses, the DT 35mm F1.8 SAM (SAL35F18) weighs just 170g. It can be added to a lens kit system and carried without noticeably increasing the weight of the bag.
With an approximately 50mm (35mm equivalent) focal length on an APS-C sensor, this lens is ideal for snapshots and portraits under a wide range of shooting conditions. The high-speed F1.8 maximum aperture is particularly advantageous for hand held shooting in low light.
At just 0.23 metres, the DT 35mm F1.8 SAM (SAL35F18) has the shortest minimum focus in its class, making it an excellent choice for dramatic close-ups too. Whatever the shot, the internal Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) drives the focussing group directly and ensures responsive and fluid autofocus operation.
The 85mm F2.8 SAM (SAL85F28)ıııThis is the first full-frame lens in the ‘Easy Choice’ range, so its launch represents an important development of the line-up as a whole. The 85mm focal length is a standard for portraiture because of the natural perspective that it provides. On an APS-C sensor camera the 85mm F2.8 SAM (SAL85F28) functions as a 127.5mm (35mm equivalent) telephoto lens – and features a Sonnar-type optical design that is considered ideal for mid-range telephoto lenses.
The lens is sharp center to corner, and features smooth defocusing thanks to its large F2.8 maximum aperture and circular aperture design. At 0.6 metres, the minimum focusing distance is the shortest in its class, and SAM motor technology ensures smooth autofocus operation.
The quality optical and mechanical features of the lens mean it is suitable for serious photography and should more than satisfy intermediate to advanced users.