I recently took a trip out to Marievale Bird Sanctuary on the East Rand with the intention of testing the clarity of the Sony 500mmF4 lens. This was the one lens missing in Sony's line up since their acquisition of Minolta some years ago and was long awaited. The lens has Sony's new nano coatings on the elements which ensure superb image clarity and coupled with the 3 ED coated elements, eliminates any internal reflections. (I was keen to test these and thus the choice of Marievale with the water and reflections seemed a good idea)
A lens of this nature is primarily used for Wildlife or Sports photography and I was keen to test it to see if there were improvements over the old Minolta or the Sigma fixed 500. It is not the lightest of lenses but then weighing in at 3.4Kg is also not the heaviest for this class of lens.
I arrived before dawn and there was a slight fog over the water which left some dampness over the lens and camera but this was not too worrying as the lens does its part to fight the elements with interlocking weather-resistant seals in and around the focusing ring and other vulnerable points to protect against moisture, dust and moisture.
I must say I was very happy with the results. Here are a couple of images from the outing. I coupled it to the crop sensor A77 giving me an effective magnification factor equivalent of a 750mm lens.
|On the far side of the pan.. about a 70% crop.|
|Filling the frame, no crop.|
|Between the reeds - focus spot on.|
|This African Snipe came so close that I had to step back. Completely filled the frame, no crop.|
|About a 40% crop.|
|This one caught me surprise... He just popped out the water and then was gone.|
|This little Grebe was also quite a distance away with this being about a 60% crop.|