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February 21, 2013

Three New Alpha Lenses and New Standard Flash for Nex-6 Cameras!!

New Sony A-Mount Lenses!!

Sony announces three new Alpha A-mount lenses (SAL70400G2, SAL50F14Z, SAL18552), a new standard flash unit (HVL-F20M), and new wired remote cable (RM-VP1).

Starting with the new Sony 70-400mm lens, we basically have a completely updated ultra high quality optical specimen!! A killer all around lens to have for any Alpha camera owner in my opinion. I used the older version of this lens on the Nex-5n with the LA-EA1 lens adapter (click here for article), and it was a blast to use!! On the Full Frame A99 it must be a dream I would imagine and perhaps I can get it to review at some point 😉

Next we have the killer long-awaited Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar SSM lens. This lens is packing extremely high quality optics and perfect for weddings, portraits, and street photography in particular. That is what I would use it for anyway, although a great low light shooter as well with such a fast f/1.4 aperture. Close range indoor sports like basketball is also another area this lens would shine in my opinion. Especially on a crop factor camera like the SLT-A57, or SLT-A77 which will give you and effective ~75mm focal length!!

Lastly on the new Sony A-Mount lenses we have an updated version of the popular 18-55mm kit lens. It has some new optics in the rear to improve quality, and some updates to mechanical parts for a better user experience. I guess the focus and zoom ring gearing or whatever.

As far as the New Sony Camera Accessories go we have a long-awaited Standard Hot Shoe Flash (HVL-F20M) that is a relatively small form factor. Designed for the Nex-6 really in my opinion 😉 It’s nice to have another standard flash option besides the really expensive pro grade HVL-F43AM Flash unit. Lastly Sony announced a new cable that can work with any versatile Multi Terminal interface that features handy controls for zoom and video recording start/stop.

Pre-Orders now available @ BHPhoto!!


Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II Lens

Sony’s G lens line-up is strengthened for 2013 with the revised 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II. Ideal for capturing wildlife and action-packed sports, the upgraded super-telephoto zoom builds further on the premium performance of its predecessor with enhanced optics and faster, more responsive autofocus. Thanks to a new LSI drive circuit, autofocus speed of the SSM (Super Sonic Wave Motor) is around four times quicker than before. Teamed with enhanced tracking AF, the upgraded lens is now even more suitable for capturing stills and Full HD video of fast-moving subjects.

While its optical design is carried over from the previous-generation model, the new-generation lens features Sony’s proprietary Nano AR Coating on optical surfaces. Offering around five times the efficiency of conventional anti-reflection coatings, this advanced technology reduces flare and ghosting for exceptionally high-contrast images.

Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II Lens (SAL70400G2)


Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM Lens

The new Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM joins the existing Distagon 24mm, Planar 85mm and Sonnar 135mm in the A-mount range of prime length optics by Carl Zeiss. Offering a fixed 50mm focal length and extra-bright F1.4 aperture, the premium lens is an ideal choice for quality-critical portraiture and low-light shooting.

Featuring 8 elements in 5 groups with two aspherical elements, the brand new optical design is optimised for superb results with Sony’s full-frame SLT-A99. Exceptional resolving power and contrast at all apertures are teamed with smooth, quiet autofocusing and a rear-focus system that maintains the same lens body length during AF. The dust- and moisture-resistant design extends the appeal of the new lens to a range of outdoor shooting applications.

Click the lens photo for 1200px High Res Version!!

Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM Lens (SAL50F14Z)


Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II Zoom Lens

Boasting second-generation styling, this new lens succeeds the popular DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM that was introduced in 2011. The light, compact 3x zoom lens covers a frequently-used range of focal lengths from wide-angle 18mm to standard 55mm (35mm camera equivalent range: 27-82.5mm). While retaining the same smooth AF motor (SAM) as its predecessor, newly-designed rear lens elements suppresses flare and ghost, while mechanical elements have been upgraded for more positive, comfortable operation.

Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II Zoom Lens


Key Lens Specifications

70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II
Format 35mm (full frame) 35mm (full frame) APS-C
Lens construction
12/18 5/8 7/8
Minimum focusing distance 1.5 m 0.45 m 0.25 m
Maximum magnification ratio 0.27 0.14 0.34
Filter diameter 77 mm 72 mm 55 mm
Max. dimensions (diameter x length) 94.5 x 196 mm 81 x 71.5 mm 71.6 x 69 mm
Weight (approx.) 1,500 g
excluding tripod mount
518 g 222 g

New Accessories for Sony Cameras and Camcorders

HVL-F20M Standard Mount Flash

The HVL-F20M is a space-saving, easy to carry new flash for Multi Interface Shoe mounted cameras, that’s ideal for brightening up portraits, interiors and dimly-lit scenes. Despite its compact size, it’s packed with pro-style features like wireless control for fuss-free multi flash set-ups, simple bounce operation and Auto White Balance compensation for more accurate, natural-looking white balance. It’s refreshingly easy to use: just raise the flash head to switch on… then turn off again by lowering when the flash isn’t needed.



RM-VPR1 wired remote

Compatible with a growing range of A-mount and E-mount, Cyber-shot™ and Handycam® models that feature the versatile Multi Terminal interface, the RM-VPR1 wired remote commander features handy controls for zoom and video recording start/stop. It also includes a shutter lock function that’s ideal for long-exposure ‘bulb’ shooting with ‘A’ cameras. The remote comes supplied with two cables. One is for use with Multi Terminal-equipped cameras/camcorders, while the other allows simple shutter release with ‘A’ A-mount cameras that only include a REMOTE terminal.



Pre-Orders now available @ BHPhoto!!


Closing Remarks

That is it for now, but some good stuff on the way for sure!! Stay tuned for the breakdown of the three new Cyber-shot cameras that I will work on next!! The new HX300 for example has a 50x Zeiss zoom lens!!!

I’m also polishing up my Nex-5r rolling review(click Here) today if you want to check it out again. I added a ton more content including auto hdr, portrait samples, and more!! I still need to wrap up the conclusion and a few other things though, just to let you know.

Catch up with you later and please feel free to ask questions or just comment on articles if you want! Also, be sure to check out the forum as some awesome photogs are posting more and more.

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  1. Alex

    Hi Jay,

    Do you know if the RM-VPR1 is compatible with the NEX-6? As far as I can see it isn’t, as the NEX-6 only has a USB port, not this seemingly new Multi Terminal interface.

    An infra-red remote (e.g. RMT-DSLR1 – which I have from my A700) is fine for firing single shot and bulb shots when using a tripod on the NEX-6, but if you want to do continuous EV bracketing, there is no way to do it without touching the camera. That is quite an oversight really – unless of course Sony are planning to release a cable remote that attaches to the new MIS hotshoe.


    • Jay

      Hey Alex,

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know just yet. I Will find out asap!! I also agree about the having to touch the camera for bracketed shots. Big over-sight on the Nex-6 as well and perhaps I should add that to the “cons” for those cameras. Then maybe Sony will update it with firmware 🙂


    • Rick

      The wireless remote is damn near useless except for self portraits. The IR receiver is only on the front of the camera. You’d think a WIFI camera would use a WIFI remote but I guess that would make too much sense. I wanted the remote to start/stop video while shooting on a tripod but having to get in FRONT of the camera to use it is just stupid. Sorry Sony, you screwed the pooch on this one….

  2. Aric

    Ever since getting the Metabones Canon EF to E mount Speed Booster I’ve been less excited about Sony lenses. While Sony has some great looking lenses, being able to use some quality Canon glass with almost full-frame field of view has been a real pleasure. The only motivation for me to get Sony lenses would be to use the LA-EA2 with A mount lenses for that snappy TTL phase detection AF.

    That new flash looks nice was well. I’m assuming that it’s basically the same as the HVL-F20AM except it has the new Multi Interface Shoe versus the Auto-lock Accessory Shoe.

    I have to agree with the comment above. I really hope that wired remote works with the NEX-6. I recently got the RMT-DSLR2 to use with the NEX-6 hoping it would offer something more than the aftermarket remotes you can get on the cheap from eBay. I was disappointed to find that only 3 buttons on the remote work for the NEX-6. In hindsight I should have gone for the much cheaper aftermarket remotes that have those exact 3 buttons.

    • Jay


      Sorry I somehow missed replying to your comment.

      The flash looks pretty much the same as you said from what I can tell. Unfortunately it looks like the remote is only for the multi-port USB. Not found on the Nex-6 🙁

  3. Al

    That RM-VPR1 remote may be precisely what I need to make the RX100 a complete all-rounder. As I said in my article a few weeks back, it’s the lack of remote/intervalometer that shames the otherwise perfect little Cybershot’s night ability. Sticking this new remote into the USB port may be the cure 🙂

    • Jay

      Thanks for the comments Al, and I was hoping the same thing for the Nex-6!! I still need to confirm it though with Sony, and have not had any luck yet unfortunately.


      • I’ve been hunting for a compatibility list on it all day and I’ve come up with nothing, too :-/

      • Jay

        I need to call Sony 😉

      • Geoff

        Bhphotovideo have this information up on their website, not idea where they got it from though.

        When using the RM-VPR1 with the Sony Alpha a58K DSLR camera or NEX-3N interchangeable lens camera, you are able to control shutter, optical zoom, digital zoom and exposure, including bulb function. You are also able to control video recording. The remote is also functional with the Alpha a99, a77, a65, a57 and a37 cameras but only for photo (not video) functions.

        I was hoping to use it on an NEX6 too. 🙁

      • Jay

        Thank you for the information and it makes sense as the port on the Nex-6 is just a USB port and not a Multi. Oh well 🙁

        Thanks again for the info,

  4. Question: The flash seems to work with AAA batteries. Is there any way to use rechargeables? What is your experience? Or are there alternative with chargeable flashes, ideally with the same battery as ALPHA camera?

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