Sony adds a pancake and a power-zoom to its E-mount lenses
CES 2013 was a slow show for cameras, but there's a good reason for that. This year's CES was sandwiched between a slew of big-deal camera announcements at Photokina late last year and the upcoming CP+ Camera and Imaging Show in Japan. CP+ begins at the end of January, and plenty of interesting imaging announcements should be coming up soon.
Sony has started the CP+ ball rolling in the form of two new Sony E-mount lenses. Both of them are compatible with the company's NEX lineup of mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras and Handycam NEX-VG series of interchangeable-lens camcorders.
The first of the two new optics is a 20mm/F2.8 wide-angle prime lens that's less than an inch deep; Sony's NEX line has a focal-length multiplier of 1.5X, so the lens will have a 30mm field of view when mounted. The SEL20F28 is due in April for $350.
The second lens is a far-reaching, optically stabilized 18-200mm (27mm to 300mm in 35mm equivalent) F3.5-6.3 telephoto lens that can be zoomed in and out via built-in motors. At 4 inches deep and 1.4 lbs., the SELP-18200 is compact for its telephoto reach, but it'll cost you: it's due in March for $1200.
The 18-200mm motorized lens was originally introduced as part of a kit configuration for the interchangeable-lens Handycam VG30 camcorder. Rather than twisting the lens barrel manually, the lens can be zoomed in and out at various speeds automatically by pushing a lever on the side of the lens barrel up and down with your finger. Sony says that the internal lens motors are very quiet and smooth, two factors that make the new lens optimized for shooting video.
This isn't the first motorized zoom lens out there for mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, but it is the first standalone model for Sony's E-mount system. In 2011, Panasonic introduced its X Series of lenses for the company's Lumix G Micro Four-Thirds cameras, which offer a similar powered-zoom feature.