Sony 500mm f/4 G lens hints at professional SLT future

Sony is set to incorporate on-barrel control buttons in its new lenses that extend the range of features that can be accessed without use of the camera menu system. The prototype 500mm f/4 G lens on show at the Sony stand at CES features a Direct Manual Focus (DMF) control that, when pressed, presents the user with a 15x magnified view of the scene to be photographed, to assist in ensuring focus is accurately placed. This is a feature that can only be possible in cameras designed with electronic viewfinders, so its incorporation in a professional lens such as this suggests that all future Sony Alpha cameras, including the replacement for the A900, with be designed as SLT models with electronic viewfinders. It is possible that the same feature could be used with a Live View function reading directly from the sensor, but current Sony optical viewfinder cameras do not work in that way.

The control panel mounted on the lens allows the user to switch on and off a lens-based AF confirmation bleep, as well as offering dual focus distance limiters ? a standard choice between a full range and a limited range of 0.6m to infinity, and a new choice between ?near? and ?far? modes.

Sony has yet to announce availability and pricing for this lens, but it is likely to be released at the same time a replacement for the Alpha 900 is announced.