Sony New Full Frame Lenses launch and its Optics Paradox


The New Sony Lenses

New lenses for full frame bodies were announced yesterday, for the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 and 12-24mm f/4 lenses, it was a unexpected surprise – unless you frantically believe everything Alpha Rumors posts on their website – and yet a great addition to the ever growing full frame family of lenses for the E-mount system.

For what was first reported, both of these Sony lenses are ultra sharp, and due to their characteristics, provide a super wide quality option for Sony’s full frame shooters. According to Max, that is, Max Yuryev from Youtube, who was invited to the Sony press release event in a vineyard in Santa Barbara California, the 16-35 is exceptionally sharp for a lens of this kind.

After all, they have include it into the GM or G Master series, which is comparable to the L Canon glass quality, because of its sharpness and reduce chromatic aberration. At the event, it was highlighted the 11 blades uniquely implemented in its design which is a first for this type of lens thus providing a very smooth and pleasing bokeh.

I’ve been a Sony camera customer for a while now, and I can definitively appreciate all the research and development they’re doing in the prosumer, professional and semi-pro market, yet I can’t stop thinking that their strategy relies on a few disrupting factors:

How to win at everything

First, you have declining sales for DSLR and electronics in general. This is part due the rise of the smartphones and how capable they are at snapping quick pictures and addressing the task of many other devices. Many casual shooters, which “Wanted to get serious about photography” might only invest in the latest Iphone or Android phones in search of a better camera.
Sony camera department, for some share of the market, is following that same approach – Think about the A6300 and the A6500 launch so close to each other – Small increments on performance and features provides not only the buzz connection to the brand, but also many iterations of a formula, whitout altering the key elements such as the sensor and the form factor of the same camera.

Second, they know they need to win the professionals for the hobbyist to follow. This has been the case in photography for many decades. I believe they’re now are closing in the whole concept, but they know from the start that the expensive line-up of lenses is reserved only for a selected few, that not only can afford them, but can also produce great results with them

The Paradox – The Camera or the lens

Back in the day, purchasing a desktop printer was a very expensive enterprise, reserved for the wealthy and the heavily invested technological few.

Later on, with the advances of massive scale chip production and alternative centers of manufacturing, those prices plummeted providing very affordable ink and laser models to be available worldwide.

Printer manufacturers realized that for their business to be profitable, they needed more costumers consuming their goods, and that’s how we arrived to today’s market reality, where a sophisticated photo quality inkjet printer can cost you as little as $99.

The profits then, are collected through the consumption of those prints thus marking the ink cartridges exorbitantly high to fulfill cost of research and development for the manufacturer.

I believe Sony is doing exactly that. Aggressively innovating with both their camera and optics department – it helps to own your own chips – while marking the lenses at a very high price point.
Except for the new A9, all the other Sony bodies are still affordable if you compare them to its competitors at the same segment.

I believe that the purchase of Zeiss by Sony was a very smart move, and one that not only brought a lot of prestige to the brand but an incredible amount of patents and knowledge toward this new G Master series of high end lenses which in part are the lifeblood and envy of all the other rival camera users.