Sony is stepping their bokeh game up a notch — the latest E-mount 100mm lens has the highest quality bokeh yet for their Alpha lens series, the company says. On Tuesday, Sony announced a new FE 100mm f/2.81 STF GM OSS lens and an FE 85mm f/1.8 prime, along with a new radio-controlled flash.
The new 100mm is made with bokeh in mind, Sony says, with a new 11-blade aperture designed specifically for enhancing those out-of-focus areas. A new optical apodization element helps create smoother transitions between those in-focus and out-of-focus areas, creating more separation between the subject and the background. Sony says the apodization is similar to the way a neutral density filter increases in density toward the edges, helping to add more depth to the image.
The lens, part of the G Master flagship series, uses a quiet direct drive motor compatible with both contrast and focal plane autofocus systems. A built-in macro switching ring allows photographers to get .25x close-up capabilities. That OSS in the name, of course, means that the lens is stabilized. As a member of the company’s high-end line, the lens is also weather sealed.
The more affordable 85mm f/1.8 is designed for a wide user base from enthusiasts to professionals, Sony says. The 85mm, a popular focal length for portraits, uses a nine-blade aperture. The lens uses a double linear motor for fast, quiet autofocus, Sony says. A shortcut button on the lens allows photographers to lock the focus, or the control can be custom set to other functions instead.
Along with the two new lenses, Sony introduced a new flash, HVL-F45RM, designed to work with the A7 series. The compact flash uses radio control, which means photographers don’t need to have a direct line of sight between the flash and a transceiver. A second flash could also serve as the transceiver instead.
Sony says the flash boasts a 210-burst battery life along with an enhanced LCD screen and updated menu. The flash unit is sealed to protect against dust and splashes.
Both lenses will ship to dealers in North America in March, with the 100mm selling for $1,500 and the 85mm for $600. The flash will follow in May for about $400.