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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sony Alpha 500mm G SSM Telephoto Announced

Sony Alpha 500mm G SSM Telephoto Announced
February 2012, Carl Garrard
Today Sony has silently announced the arrival of the 500mm f/4 G SSM Super Telephoto lens for Alpha DSLR's and SLT model cameras. This lens has been on display in various forms at photo trade shows for the last 3-4 years and finally makes it to the production line. Just in time for the new pro camera's coming later on this year, I'd say. This lens marks Sony's commitment to higher end camera models and shows they are more serious about DSLRS/SLT's than all the talk over the last 6 years.  Read on for the full press announcement, or check here for price:
Sony SAL 500mm f/4.0 G Lens

Finally Sony Alpha shooters can rejoice with the announcement of a high end fully professional lens in a much desired focal length and comparatively bright aperture lens. The wait was long and painful but now finally shows its going to be available this year, in a month. Now all of those who have been pining for this lens can fork out the cash for it (price for US customers tbd soon) and show us how good it really is. Right now it looks as though the outlay for this lens is going to come in around $10,000.00- $12,000.00 USD.


-Carl Garrard

I recommend B&H Photo as a reliable and good priced retailer, check their best price here:
Sony SAL 500mm f/4.0 G Lens

From Sony Europe:
Closer encounters with new 500mm super-telephoto
08 February 2012

Rugged, pro-focused SAL500F40G lens from Sony for A-mount SLT and DSLR cameras

  •     * Longest-ever focal length G Lens from Sony
  •     * Bright F4.0 aperture for superior light gathering
  •     * Nano AR Coating on optical surfaces for flawless still images and HD video
  •     * Compatible with SteadyShot INSIDE featured in all a cameras
  •     * New SSM drive circuit for quick, accurate autofocus
  •     * Rugged dust- and moisture-resistant design: ideal partner for SLT-A77
  •     * Enhanced handling and operability


Serious photographers can pull distant subjects closer with a powerful new 500mm (equivalent to 750mm with APS-C camera) super-telephoto lens from Sony.

The SAL500F40G is ideal for sports, wildlife and demanding imaging applications that require extreme magnification with uncompromised optical performance.

The SAL500F40G is the longest fixed focal length G Lens from Sony to date. Whether you’re shooting detail-packed stills or Full HD video, you’ll enjoy frame-filling close-ups with flawless resolution. With a bright F4.0 maximum aperture, its excellent light gathering power allows the use of faster shutter speeds to broaden shooting opportunities.

The ruggedly-engineered SAL500F40G copes effortlessly with tough photo assignments. Focusing ring and front/rear joints are protected by interlocking seals that shrug off dust and moisture, even when you’re shooting outdoors in driving rain or arid desert conditions. This weather-resistant design makes the SAL500F40G a perfect partner for the SLT-A77 (a77) Translucent Mirror camera that offers serious photographers similarly ruggedized performance.

Like all other A-mount lenses, the SAL500F40G is compatible with the SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilisation system that’s featured in every a Translucent Mirror and DSLR camera from Sony. Depending on shooting conditions, camera model and settings, you’ll enjoy camera-shake blur compensation that’s equivalent to approximately 4.5 stops (max.) in shutter speed.

Inside, the advanced optical design of the SAL500F40G includes 11 elements in 10 groups, including three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements. It’s also the first G Lens from Sony to feature advanced new coating process that ensures crisper, clearer images. Exclusive to Sony, the ground-breaking Nano AR Coating process cuts internal reflections by up to 80% compared with previous models. Resulting images are brilliantly crisp and clear, with dramatically reduced lens flare and ghosting. Flare is reduced still further by the carbon fibre lens hood that’s lined with black velvet fibres to absorb incident light.

Razor-sharp autofocus performance makes the SAL500F40G ideal for capturing an athlete’s explosive movements or the unpredictable flutter of wild birds. The high-torque SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) features a new drive circuit, ensures rapid, responsive AF with up to 4x faster object tracking than conventional Sony lenses.

Serious enthusiasts will also welcome a strong emphasis on enhanced handling and ergonomics. Four focus hold buttons are spaced around the lens barrel for easy operation in any position. They’re complemented by a two-way DMF (Direct Manual Focus) mode button and focus range switch for positive, fumble-free operation when you’re shooting under pressure.

Built to order, the SAL500F40G super-telephoto lens from Sony is available in Europe from late March2012.

Sony Lens Deals

Technical specifications

Key Specifications

500mm F4 G SSM

Min. aperture


No. of aperture blades

9 (Circular aperture)

Max. magnification ratio


Min. focus

4.0 m

Filter diameter

42 mm (Exclusive)


(Diam. X L)

140 x 367.5 mm

Weight (approx.)

3460 g

Teleconverter compatibility

Yes (1.4x: AF and MF Mode, 2x: MF mode)

Dust and moisture resistance



  1. Thanks for the report Carl, when is Sony going to send you one to review? Also you hinted at the full frame pro camera, is there anything you can tell us about it?

  2. Hey Anon,

    Never know with Sony on sending me something to review, all comes down to how many units will be available and when. Far as the pro camera goes, can't say much. But there will be two of them, not one (at least that I consider pro, Sony will call only one Pro).


  3. Sorry, I can't get too excited about 500 f/4 lens at that price. Admittedly I'm biased because I already have it's brother the 300mm f/2.8 and a 2X Teleconverter that I bought from Jan at AMW. I paid less than half of your predicted price. The 300mm is a very good lens and I have been using it a lot lately. I fail to see how 500mm f/4 is any better for over twice the price. When I place the Teleconverter on my 300mm I end up with a 600mm f/5.6, not much difference for all that money. Maybe I'm missing some thing. What is so special about 500mm?

    Here is a recent photo taken with the 300mm f/2.8

  4. This lens is strictly for professionals. Ask a side line pro why a 500mm f/4 is more valuable than a 300mm f/2.8 and I'm sure they can tell you why. At the very least it needs to be available along with a real pro camera to show professionals Sony means business and stocks goods they use. You have to start there before you build any further. Pros start using Sony stuff they could gain traction.

    All depends on how good the pro camera is, this lens is a shoe in for high quality as all G series lenses are. This is Sony's flagship lens, if a camera body exists at this high end maybe Sony is one step into finally being "serious". Big if though.


  5. I think for argument sake... putting a 2X TC on the 300 does indeed get you to 600mm,900mm in 35mm equivalent on an AP-c, but put the 2X on the 500 and you are at 1000mm, 1500mm on a mm equivalent on an AP-c camera... so the difference is 1000mm over 600mm.