Up-Close Look at the Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM Lens

While Sony has been tightlipped about the specifics of their FE 400mm f/2.8 GM prime telephoto, they have gradually allowed more access to the prototypes. This video sums up basically all that can be said about the lens before actually holding and shooting with the thing.

Sports Photographer and Sony Artisan Patrick Murphy-Racey was recently at the Kando 2.0 workshop where the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM was on display in a look-but-don’t-touch security case. Finally we get close-up looks at the switches, slide-in filter, and subtle design features while Murphy-Racey goes through the purpose of each one by one.

One mystery that remains, however, is the purpose behind one of the panels on the side of the lens. When questioned about its purpose, Sony engineers told Murphy-Racey “it’s a secret.” In the video he said he believes it to be a USB port for easy firmware updates. Time will tell with this one. What are your guesses?

Mystery door on the Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM.

Check out the full video above for more details that you may have missed in earlier sightings of the lens. The slated release date for the FE 400mm GM is September 2018 with pricing still unannounced.

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7 Comments

David Fulde's picture

I kind of feel that the port may be USB, but maybe it's actually for power? Autofocus on this thing might take a whole lot of power from your camera: Maybe you can offload that to an external battery?

Ryan Mense's picture

That's interesting, although I think that's a pretty awkward location for supplying external power. I'd imagine if you need more power you'd use a battery grip, plus any of the Alpha cameras can be hooked up via USB to a power bank already during operation, so why do it through the side of a lens? When it was seen being used in the wild during the Winter Olympics, the photographer didn't appear to have the door in use for anything.

The last thing you want to do when shooting on long glass is to have wires running from your body, to the lens/camera at least in sporting situations. You're generally on the move, or switching between camera bodies. A wire would get in the way constantly and could be dangerous if the athlete should come into contact with you.

John Skinner's picture

So as a sports shooter he's doing the pee-pee dance in anticipation of EVF bodies that shoot 25+ FPS...

New Flash for buddy: Your now 4 FPS slower than video. Why bother.

Not sure if this is sarcasm, but... even 15+ fps is incredible if you're shooting raw. Anything close to a 24fps, in raw, is insane. Do you know how much video cameras that can shoot raw video cost?

I think 15 is honestly too much for nearly all circumstance. In some very rare circumstnaces it might be helpful, but more is just really wasteful.

Not sure what your point was about video cameras that shoot RAW. Some cost relatively little money (less than half the price of an a9, some cost similar to the a9, and some cost significantly more.

Cinema is shot at 24fps, so this would be faster than that. US TV rates are shot at 30fps, Europe at 25, so the proposed camera would easily be at video rates. That is an extremely rare need for most photographers, and would be a massive hindrance for most, especially on the a9 in it's current configuration.