Sony US has announced the Zeiss-branded Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM and 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II A-mount lenses, alongside a redesigned DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II entry-level kit zoom. Both have already been announced in Europe. The lenses will ship from May 2013 at retail prices of around $1500, $2200 and $220 respectively.

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Sony Adds Three New-Generation A-Mount Lenses to α Interchangeable Lens Camera System

Sharp New Lenses include Full Frame 70-400mm G Telephoto Zoom, Full Frame 50mm F1.4 Carl Zeiss Prime and DT 18-55mm Standard Zoom

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 22, 2013 – Sony is extending the range of its α A-mount interchangeable lens camera system with the introduction of three new lenses designed to fit the needs of the most demanding photo enthusiasts and professionals.

New models include the 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II and Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM lenses, designed to complement the impressive imaging capabilities of Sony’s full-frame α99 SLT (Translucent Mirror) camera.  Additionally, the DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II lens is a light, compact 3x zoom that’s an ideal partner for all A-mount cameras with APS-C size sensors.   

New 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II telephoto zoom (model SAL70400G2)

Ideal for capturing wildlife and action-packed sports, the new, upgraded 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II super-telephoto zoom lens builds on the premium performance of its predecessor with enhanced optics and faster, more responsive autofocus.   The lens features a new LSI drive circuit and faster AF responsiveness, making the ultimate choice for capturing crisp, sharply focused still images and Full HD videos of fast moving subjects.

The new-generation SAL70400G2 lens also features Sony’s proprietary Nano AR Coating on its optical surface.  Offering around five times the efficiency of conventional anti-reflection coatings, it reduces flare and ghosting for exceptionally high-contrast images.

New Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM (model SALF0F14Z)

The new Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM prime lens joins the existing Distagon 24mm, Planar 85mm and Sonnar 135mm in Sony’s A-mount range of prime length optics by Carl Zeiss.  With a fixed 50mm focal length and extra-bright F1.4 aperture, the premium lens is an ideal choice for professional-quality portraiture and low-light shooting.

Featuring eight lens elements in five groups with two aspherical elements, the brand new optical design on the SAL50F14Z lens is optimized for use with Sony’s full-frame α99 camera.   The lens maintains exceptional resolving power and contrast at all apertures, and utilizes a rear-focus system to focus smoothly, quietly and effectively.   It is also dust- and moisture-resistant, extending the appeal to a wide range of outdoor shooting applications. 

New DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II zoom lens (model SAL18552)

With second-generation styling, the new SEL18552 lens succeeds the popular DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM that was introduced in 2011.  The light, compact 3x zoom lens maintains the same smooth AF motor (SAM) as its predecessor with a quieter AF drive, ideal for continuous AF during video capture.  It also features newly-designed rear lens elements that reduce flare and ghosting, and upgraded mechanical elements for more comfortable operation. 

New Accessories for Sony Cameras and Camcorders

Sony has also introduced two new accessories compatible with a growing range of α A-mount and E-mount, Cyber-shot™ and Handycam® models.

The new HVL-F20M external flash, a new space-saving on-camera flash compatible with all Multi Interface Shoe mounted cameras (includes relevant A-mount, E-mount and Cyber-shot models) is ideal for brightening up portraits, interiors and dimly-lit scenes.  Despite its compact size, the new flash is packed with several pro-style features including wireless control, simple bounce operation and Auto White Balance compensation for more accurate, natural-looking white balance.  The flash can also be turned on and off easily either by raising or lowering the flash head. 

The new RM-VPR1 wired remote commander features convenient controls for zoom (with relevant models) and video recording start/stop, and includes a shutter lock function that’s ideal for long-exposure ‘bulb’ shooting with α cameras.

Pricing and Availability

The new SAL70400G2 telephoto zoom lens will be available this July for about $2200.  The SAL50F14Z prime lens and SAL18552 zoom lens will be available this May for about $1500 and $220 respectively. 

The HVL-F20M compact flash will be available this May for about $150, and the RM-VPR1 wired remote commander will be available this April for about $65.

Sony Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM, 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II, DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II lens specifications

 Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSMSony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM IISony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II
Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lensZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FFAPS-C / DX
Focal length50 mm70–400 mm18–55 mm
Lens mountSony/Minolta Alpha
Maximum apertureF1.4F4–5.6F3.5–5.6
Minimum apertureF22F22–36
Aperture ringNo
Minimum focus0.45 m (17.72)1.50 m (59.06)0.25 m (9.84)
Maximum magnification0.14×0.27×0.34×
Motor typeUltrasonicMicromotor
Full time manualYesUnknown
Focus methodInternalExtending front
Distance scaleYesNo
DoF scaleYesNo
Weight518 g (1.14 lb)1500 g (3.31 lb)222 g (0.49 lb)
Diameter81 mm (3.19)95 mm (3.72)72 mm (2.83)
Length72 mm (2.83)196 mm (7.72)69 mm (2.72)
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Filter thread72 mm77 mm55 mm
Hood suppliedYesNo
Hood product codeALC-SH126
Tripod collarYesNo