Sony announced the 300mm f/2.8 G Master OSS, a new $5,999 telephoto prime that simultaneously promises new heights for image quality while also becoming the lightest lens in its class. In fact, it is the world’s lightest large-aperture telephoto prime.
The launch comes 10 months after the company promised that it was developing such a lens. Sony’s 52nd full-frame E-mount lens is impressive for a number of reasons, perhaps none more than its size — it weighs 1,470 grams (which is the lightest in its class) and measures just 10.4 inches long. That is 50% lighter and 43% less volume than the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS; that’s a great tradeoff for just 100mm of throw as a compromise.
For the sake of further comparison, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L weighs 2,400 grams and the Nikon F 300mm f/2.8 VR weighs 2,900 grams. While not mirrorless lenses, they are the closest comparisons from both companies at the time of publication.
As has become expected of Sony G Master lenses, the new 300mm f/2.8 promises high resolution and corner-to-corner sharpness across the aperture range along with what the company characterizes as beautiful bokeh that excellently highlights subjects against backgrounds. It also promises minimized ghosting and flare.
The lens is constructed of 20 elements arranged into 16 groups including one extra-low dispersion element and three super extra-low dispersion elements, all of which suppress the appearance of chromatic aberration. The 300mm f/2.8 features an 11-bladed aperture diaphragm and has a minimum focusing distance of 6.56 feet (two meters) and a maximum magnification of 0.16x.
Autofocus is controlled by two of Sony’s XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors along with an “optimized algorithm” to provide smoth, fast, and silent focusing that is entirely internal. Sony says that the autofocus works well even when equipped with either its 1.4x or 2x teleconverters and the lens supports up to 30 frames per second, blackout free shooting with full autofocus capability.
On the body of the lens photographers will find a focus ring that features Sony’s Linear Response manual focus that it says provides excellent response and precise linear focus control. The lens also has full-time DMF which immediately activates manual focus by rotating the focus ring any time any AF mode is selected. Releasing the ring restores AF. The lens also features a function ring that can be customized along with four focus hold buttons.
The front element is quite large, so luckily the 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS supports 40.5mm drop-in filters from an input port near the camera mount.
The Sony 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS will be available in February 2024 for $5,999.
Image credits: Photos by Jordan Drake unless otherwise noted.