Sony has revealed a large-aperture telephoto prime lens designed for subjects such as sports, news and wildlife photography. The new Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM II weighs in at just 1470g, which in context is over 800g lighter than DSLR equivalents such as its Alpha-mount predecessor.

The firm says it’s achieved this weight reduction by using magnesium alloy construction for the barrel, along with an optical design that places the majority of the lens elements towards the rear, closer the camera. This layout is also said to result in improved balance and handling.

As usual for its premium G Master primes, Sony claims the lens combines high levels of cross-frame sharpness with attractively defocused backgrounds, aided by an 11-blade aperture. Optically it employs 20 elements in 16 groups, including 1 extra-low dispersion (ED) glass element and 2 Super-ED elements to suppress chromatic aberration. The firm’s Nano AR II coating is employed to minimise flare and ghosting.

Autofocus employs dual XD linear motors, which promise fast and silent focusing. The minimum focus distance is 2m, with a focus limiter switch onboard which can restrict the near range to 6m when shooting more distant subjects. The lens is designed to be able to track focus even when using apertures as small as f/22, such as when using a slow shutter speed for panning, or stopping down for extended depth-of-field.

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS lens controls

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS lens controls. Credit: Andy Westlake

Full-time Direct Manual Focus is available, allowing photographers to override the autofocus with a quick twist of the focusing ring. Sony has also added an unusual power focus rocker ring on the lens, which can be used to drive constant-speed manual focus shifts. Alternatively, this control can be used for other functions, including as a quick switch between full-frame and APS-C crop shooting.

Optical image stabilisation is built-in, with three modes: normal, panning, and active. The lens is compatible with Sony’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, giving 420mm f/4 and 600mm f/5.6 combinations respectively.

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS rear filter holder

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS rear filter holder. Credit: Andy Westlake

Physically, the lens measures 265mm in length and 124mm in diameter. As we’d expect, it’s weathersealed with dust- and moisture-resistant construction. Sony has also applied a fluorine coating to the front element to repel raindrops and fingerprints. There’s no front filter thread, with the lens instead accepting 40.5mm filters in a slide-in rear tray, complete with a rotation control for use with a polarising filter.

The Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS is due in early 2024 and will cost £5,800

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS full specifications:

  • Price: £5,800
  • Filter Diameter: 40.5mm (rear holder)
  • Lens Elements: 20
  • Groups: 16
  • Diaphragm blades: 11
  • Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22
  • Minimum focus: 2m
  • Length: 265mm
  • Diameter: 124mm
  • Weight: 1470g
  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Included accessories: Caps, hood, tripod mount, soft case

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From Sony:

Sony releases the world’s lightest large-aperture telephoto prime lens G Master FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS on the Sony Alpha A1

Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS on the Sony Alpha A1. Credit: Andy Westlake

Capture dynamic moments such as sports scenes with high agility and supreme image quality

7th November 2023, Sony is pleased to announce the release of the world’s lightest[i] 300 mm telephoto prime lens G Master™ FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS, a 35 mm full-frame α™ (Alpha™) E-mount lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8.

This lens offers the supreme detailing which is the hallmark of G master as well as high-speed, high-precision AF (autofocus) performance. In addition, the lightweight design of approximately 1470g (excluding tripod mount) and excellent weight balance allow you to capture sharp, dynamic and decisive moments such as those of fast-moving sports or agile animals with handheld shooting. Even subjects with complex and diversified movements can be tracked with high precision. It is an ideal match for lightweight camera bodies by reducing the load on the photographer, minimising fatigue during long handheld shooting sessions. It is also compatible with an optional teleconverter[ii], allowing you to shoot in the telephoto range of up to 600 mm (equivalent to 900 mm when using with an APS-C camera).[iii]

“Ever since our announcement of the development of this lens in January of this year, we have received many positive comments from photographers around the world who are looking forward to its commercialisation,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Head of IP&S Marketing, Sony Europe. “By adding this 300 mm lens to the already available 400 mm/600 mm super-telephoto prime lenses[iv], it supports a wide range of needs and shooting environments for professional and advanced amateur photographers.”

Main features

G Master telephoto lens that captures decisive moments with high resolution and beautiful bokeh

Incorporating Sony’s cutting-edge technology, the G Master’s high-resolution performance and beautiful bokeh make the subject stand out clearly and precise AF captures decisive moments such as sports, news reports, events, and wildlife photography. An innovative optical design that includes three Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements and one ED glass element is effectively placed to suppress chromatic aberration and achieve high resolution and contrast across the entire frame. Outstanding resolution and contrast are maintained right out to the image edges, which also allows for more flexible cropping and editing.

Gorgeous, creamy bokeh that is a hallmark of G Master design ideally complements the lens’s 300 mm focal length and F2.8 maximum aperture, allowing the use of narrow depth of field to make subjects stand out from the background. Each lens is individually calibrated during manufacture to optimise bokeh quality. An 11-blade circular aperture mechanism contributes to smooth ball bokeh.

High-performance AF that captures dynamic moments and high-speed continuous shooting with AE/AF tracking up to 120 frames per secondii

The combination of two latest XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors and control algorithms provides high-speed, high-precision, and low-vibration AF performance. This allows you to capture dynamic subjects without missing a moment’s opportunity, even when shooting scenes where the subject moves quickly, such as sports or animals, or scenes where the subject moves erratically, such as at events. In addition, high AF performance is demonstrated even when the separately sold teleconverteriii is attached.

Exceptional mobility and Comfortable operability that support professionals in the field

Extensive weight reduction measures make FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS the lightest in its classi, at approximately 1470g (excluding tripod mount) and has been designed with consideration to weight balance. The internal lens barrel uses durable magnesium alloy to achieve both high robustness and light weight. The weight is not concentrated at the front of the lens barrel, making it highly stable and allows for agile and accurate panning while handheld shooting. In addition, MODE3[v], which provides enhanced viewfinder stability and optimises the image stabilisation algorithm, allows you to accurately capture dynamic scenes.

Furthermore, the camera features comfortable operability that supports professional shooting, including focus hold buttons placed in four locations that allow you to assign your favorite functions from the camera body.

Pricing and Availability

The new FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS will be available to purchase in January 2024 for an Estimated European Price of approximately €6700 / £5800. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorised dealers throughout Europe.

[i] As of the November 2023 product announcement. Sony survey of interchangeable 300 mm F2.8 lenses for full-frame digital cameras.

[ii] 1.4x SEL14TC and 2x SEL20TC

[iii] With SEL20TC

[iv] Focal length 400 mm “FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS” / Focal length 600mm “FE 600mm F4 GM OSS”

[v] MODE 3 is supported by the latest body software version. Refer to the appropriate support web pages for information on body compatibility.