September 15, 2014: Sony finally announced some new FE lenses for their A7 camera lineup. One of them is a mighty Zeiss FE 35/1.4 lens to accompany the superb, ultra-compact FE 35/2.8 that was available right from the start of the system in very late 2013.
The other one that personally interests me is the new Sony G 90/2.8 macro lens. I got all that information from the usual rumor pages who “leaked” the images and, for a quick size comparison, I put together the product images of the FE 90/2.8 G macro, the Zeiss FE 35/1.4 and a well-known existing lens, the Zeiss FE 24-70/4 (on top of the image below).
Note that the Zeiss 35/1.4 will be the first Sony FE lens with a dedicated aperture ring.
As for the 90 macro, it comes with “G” label, OSS (optical stabilisation) and, according to the numbers on the barrel, true 1:1 life-size capability. As is the case with all the competition lenses in that class. Judging from my size comparison, I’d guesstimate the new Sony macro to be about 121 mm in length (give or take a few millimetres) which would put it right there with the Canon 100/2.8 IS (123 mm length).
No pricing info so far. My personal, more-or-less well-educated guess would be that the macro will be competetive in price to the Canon 100/2.8 IS or Nikon 105/2.8 VR offerings. As for a price for that nice Zeiss 35, I can only fear that it will be very expensive, even though the competition (Nikon 35/1.4, Canon 35/1.4, Sigma 35/1.4 Art) also should set some rough guidelines for Sony to follow …
These shots are from my visit to the Photokina 2014. They show how big these new lenses really have got. There’s no size advantage whatsoever in comparison to other similar full-format lenses, other that you are going to use them on the light-weight compact A7 bodies, of course. But it quality will be as promised, I will certainly still go for them. :)
The Zeiss FE 35/1.4 Distagon promises to get a beautiful finish with outside metal barrel (that having said, I guess the internals will be plastic just as they are e.g. on the current FE 55/1.8). I’m sure that it will have optics to match the finish. I love that aperture ring. It’s a huge lens, though. It will be longer than the Zeiss FE 24-70/4 zoom. No official pricing info yet. I hope it will come in at under 1.800 EUR but that’s only a guess by my side.
By the way, the also brand-new Zeiss 35/2 Loxia (a manual focus lens dedicated to the Sony A7 range) is much, much more compact, only a little bit bigger than the Zeiss FE 35/2.8. Overall, you’re getting the choice out of three 35 mm Zeiss-branded lenses in 2015.
This is the new FE 90/2.8 G macro. Similar to the existing 70-200/4 G telezoom, I expect the rear outside part of the barrel to be made from plastic. But as long as it all works flawlessly, why not. I like the printed markings on the lens barrel when you manually focus the lens. It’s got a three-position focus limiter with the settable focus limit at either 0.5 metres (approx. 1:4) or 0.25 metres (1:1) distance from subject to camera sensor, apart from the switch for the optical stabilisation of course. I suspect it’s an internal focus design as are all modern macro lenses.
It’s roughly the size of any modern 10o/1o5 mm macro lens. Probably even a centimeter longer or so. No pricing info available yet, no idea of how heavy or light-weight it actually will be, but as you can tell, it has got no provision for a dedicated tripod collar.
As the Zeiss 35/1.4, this 90/2.8 macro is announced to hit the shelves in March 2015 and I will almost certainly get one for the next macro photography season.