CEATEC 2008: New lenses for Sony’s Alpha series dSLRs

I didn’t expect Sony to have a space for their digital cameras in CEATEC so I was quite surprised to see a sizable booth for their Cybershots and Alpha cameras, with two new lenses.

Sony’s booth with a prominent Alpha logo

Sony’s new lenses, a super telephoto zoom and a wide-angle large aperture zoom. The Sony 70-400 F4-5.6G SSM is a versatile zoom lens that goes from a medium telephoto 70 to 400, which should be useful for a lot of applications. It competes with similar zoom lenses from Canon (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM) and Nikon (Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D).

Its features, according to Sony are: 1) Two ED glasses and corrected distortion, producing high-contrast and sharp images; 2) Round diaphragm for pleasing bokeh; 3) SSM (Supersonic Motor), internal focusing, fast AF response. 4) 0.27 magnification for macro photography. The lens will be available in January, 2009 for 262,500 yen (tax included), which is about $2,476 according to the current exchange rate.

New lenses for Alpha dSLRs: Sony’s 70-400 and Carl Zeiss’ 16-35

The Vario-Sonnar 16-25 F2.8 is from Carl Zeiss, a large-aperture wide angle lens that will compete with the similar EF 16-35 F2.8 from Canon and AF-S 17-35 F2.8 from Nikon. Its features include: 1) 3 aspherical lenses, 2 SuperED glasses, 1 ED glass; 2) T* coating for high-contrast and sharp images; 3) SSM for fast and quiet AF; 4) 0.24 magnification for closeup photography. Like the 70-400, the lens will be available in January, 2009 for 283,500 yen (tax included) or about $2,694.

With these two offerings (especially the Zeiss 16-35) and its latest full-frame dSLR, Sony looks serious in challenging Nikon and Canon’s share of the market. And why not? If Sony is a respected name in video, why not cameras, too?

New lenses for Alpha dSLRs: Sony’s 70-400 and Carl Zeiss’ 16-35

I asked the guy at the booth if he could mount it on the Alpha 900. Unfortunately, he said the lenses on display are not functional but they will definitely be available on schedule next year.

Sony’s flagship model: the full-frame Alpha 900 with a mounted Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70 F2.8