In the world of journalism about the photography world, I tend to be one of the youngest people in the room (I’m not counting YouTubers as accredited journalists.) And with that said, I often hear the cries from older men along the lines of, “It’s heavy” when discussing many telephoto optics that they’re trying to belittle. But you can’t really belittle the Sony 300mm f2.8 G Master — because it’s got a lot going for it that’s going to satisfy tons of photographers who use it. While Sony seemingly marketed it a lot to sports photographers, I think that it’s fair to say that sports departments are closing down all around the world. So who will shoot with it instead?
Some images in this review were shot while on an all-expenses-paid press junket to Sony Creative Space. Sony paid for Uber transportation for us from our base in NYC to and from the location. We declined to stay at a hotel or anything else beyond some refreshments during the testing period. But, the majority of the images in this review were shot on our own bill. Phoblographer’s editors are trained to resist temptation in the industry, and as such, the opinions in this review are our own. We stand by our words, and transparency is the key here. You can read more about our transparency here.
These specs are taken from our original coverage of the lens.
- Lightest full frame 300mm f2.8 yet at 51.9 ounces
- Designed for G Master sharpness
- Two linear XD autofocus motors
- Function ring quickly enters into APS-C crop mode
- Magnesium alloy construction that is dust and moisture-resistant
- Redesigned hood with one-handed unlock
- Shipping in Spring 2024 for $5,999
The Sony 300mm f2.8 G Master is, well, honestly perfect. Granted, the last time that I’ve held a lens like this was years ago when Canon believed that no one was buying mirrorless cameras. It’s big, but it has to be. It’s lightweight and has a ton of controls on it. And by default, the focusing ring can override the focusing on the camera. For birding photography, this is pretty important.
Holding the lens for long periods of time is also very manageable. I’m not even kidding I’ve held modern Sigma prime lenses that seem bigger, heavier, and nowhere as well balanced. This is a lens that I could see myself using all day on a hike or something.
This lens is said to be weather resistant and dust-resistant. We weren’t able to put it through a test accordingly to figure this out because the weather was just fine here in NYC. In our tests though, Sony’s G Master lenses are as good as we’ve found previously with other brands. They’re much better than their lower end products and their G series. So when paired with the right cameras, we’re sure that the Sony 300mm f2.8 G Master will do just fine. But we have to see when we get a review unit in — this was a pre-production unit.
Ease of Use
This lens is simple to use. Put it on your camera, point, focus, shoot — and then enjoy the images. There are tons of controls on it. And if anything, I wish that it offered a focus limiter that limits the focus to a closer range instead of a further range. But when combined with the image stabilization and overall performance of Sony’s cameras, I think that photographers will be in love here.
The Sony 300mm f2.8 G Master is a beast to use, and that’s partially because of the autofocus performance. It’s incredibly fast but it’s not always accurate. When using it to photograph birds in branches and leaves, it did alright. The lens and camera surely needed help though. Touching up the focusing manually helps here. But otherwise, in good lighting, I think that this lens will perform pretty well.
Again, there isn’t much to complain about or really say except that it’s good. The bokeh is creamy — and what else would you expect from a lens like this? It’s also sharp — considering that the E mount doesn’t have anything else like this, there’s no point in complaining.
Here are a few other sample images that we shot using the a9 III and the Sony 300mm f2.8 G Master.
I spent less than 24 hours with the new Sony 300mm f2.8 G Master in my possession. And I truly didn’t have the time to take it out into a situation that I’d actually use it in. Sony’s own demo setup was lit for a cinematic look — and didn’t represent how people would photograph otherwise. So we’re looking forward to giving it a real test in real life situations when it comes in for review. Stay tuned!