The new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master lens is the world’s lightest large-aperture telephoto prime – an excellent option for sports photographers and one that Sony Artisan Patrick Murphy-Racey says he’s been waiting for. “It’s been a long wait and it was worth it. To get a 300mm f/2.8 this small, lightweight, sharp, and fast as it is…it’s flat out amazing.” The veteran pro sports photographer had the chance to try out the lens before its launch, photographing several football games. We sat down with him to learn more about how the new lens performed for him and which features stood out the most. See more below and learn more about the new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master HERE.
Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1250-sec., f/2.8, ISO 5000
“To get a 300mm f/2.8 this small, lightweight, sharp, and fast as it is…it’s flat out amazing.” – Sony Artisan Patrick Murphy-Racey
Sharp & Light – A Sport’s Photographer’s Delight
As a sports photographer often on the sidelines with a telephoto, the compact and lightweight design of the new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master is a godsend for those long shooting days. Murphy-Racey says the 300mm G Master will allow photographers and videographers like him to be set free from tripods and even monopods. But that’s not all…he says there’s much more to it than just the weight.
“First, it doesn’t matter if the lens is lightweight if it’s not sharp,” he explains. “The 300mm f/2.8 G Master is super sharp and it achieves focus with the same lightning speed I’m used to with Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM II, Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master and Sony 600mm f/4 G Master. I expect anything with the G Master logo on the side to blow my mind in terms of sharpness and contrast, but to have it weigh just 51 ounces? That’s just crazy. I carried this lens three nights in a row shooting three football games and used a strap on my shoulder the whole time. I would never have done that with any 300mm f/2.8 from my past as it would just wear you out. It was the first time I shot football without a monopod in probably 30 years.”
Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/2.8, ISO 5000
In addition to the G Master sharpness, you can also expect the main subject to jump out of the photo because of the smooth focus falloff and beautiful bokeh that’s been part of the G Master lens lineup’s claim to fame since their introduction. “Any 100mm increase of focal length above 200mm offers an obvious logarithmic decrease in depth of field so that the backgrounds of the photos you make are more out of focus,” Murphy-Racey explains. “300mm lenses are superior to 70-200mm zooms for creating a pleasing bokeh, which puts the focus back on your subject. When you combine the 300mm prime focal length with a fast f/2.8 aperture, you increase that bokeh effect so that it is even more pronounced.”
Multiple Fields Of View
Murphy-Racey also notes that every G Master lens has the ability to use teleconverters to extend the reach and offer far more than just the 300mm field of view. “Instead of looking at it as just a 300mm f/2.8, sports photographers will look at it as six new fields of view, not just one.” He goes on to explains the six different fields of view you will be able to achieve with the lens:
-300mm f/2.8GM + 1.4X TC = 420mm f/4
-300mm f/2.8 + punch in at APS-C x 1.5X = 450mm f/2.8
-300mm f/2.8GM + 1.4x TC + 1.5X APC-C = 630mm f/
-300mm f/2.8GM + 2x TC = 600mm f/5.6
-300mm f/2.8GM +2X TC + 1.5X punch in APS-C = 900mm f/5.6
Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/2000-sec., f/4, ISO 6400
New Lens Shade – “Best I’ve Ever Seen”
The G Master series of lenses is all about providing photographers and videographers with a refined tool that’s fully designed to meet their professional needs. With each new lens, improvements and enhancements are made and every detail is thoroughly examined. For example, Murphy-Racey calls out the new lens shade on the Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master as a praiseworthy aspect of the new lens for pro shooters. “The lens shade won’t get a lot of press but it’s the best I’ve ever seen. Sony making the call to move to a bayonet lens shade on the 200-600G was a great move. But this lens has both a bayonet attachment as well as a push-button lock that is flush mounted. This means it won’t get caught on things and come off when you don’t want it to.”
He continues, “In sports photography, sometimes we have to run out on the field and capture fans on the field tearing goal posts down or just be in the midst of the scrum when everyone is trying to get coaches shaking hands after a long battle. It’s easy to lose lens shades in these situations and the new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master shade is killer.”
Affordable & For More Than Sports
Setting the unrivaled G Master quality aside, he actually says the price is his favorite thing about it. “So many people will be able to afford it. It is not only the lightest weight 300mm f/2.8 AF lens ever produced, but it’s also the only 300mm f/2.8 prime lens made for mirrorless. I think a lot of people will be migrating to Sony just because they can afford to buy this lens. The new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master is accessible and approachable by photographers that cannot afford a 400mm or 600mm but it will offer them a radically different look than they can get with just a 70-200mm.”
Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/500-sec., f/2.8, ISO 125
Murphy-Racey considers the lens a win and one that will definitely become a part of his playbook by claiming a permanent space in his kit. “I’m looking forward to using the Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master for much more than sports photography. I’ll use it for senior photos, weddings, portrait work, landscape, birds in flight, pressers, campaigns and more. The overall look that the Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master offers comes with so little sacrifice. You get so much in such a tiny package and the performance in terms of autofocus is just what I’ve come to expect from Sony: Outstanding.”
Learn more about the new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master HERE.