Brian's Photo Blog — Article 61
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My Half-Century Birthday Wish List
Friday 23 March 2012   —   Category: Equipment
Well, in 5 days I will turn 50! Such a significant event calls for a significant way to honor it. Something that involves the number 50. Ten times 50 would be even better! And I have just the thing!

Sony’s newly announced — but not-yet-released — 500mm f/4.0 super telephoto lens. This baby is a real beauty! And tipping the scale at 7 lbs 10 oz (3460g), it weighs just about the same as a newborn too, although I suppose the newborn would win in the length department!

I've even made a new wish list on for the occasion. It’s called Brian’s 50th Big Wish, and it has just one item on it — can you guess what it is?

If this lens had cost merely 10 x 500 dollars, there would be hope that my wish would come true. But when you consider that even double that amount still doesn’t reach Sony’s list price, you start to realize that this lens might cost more than an arm and a leg! At a spendy $13,000, you would be forgiven for wondering who Sony expects to buy such a costly hunk of glass and metal!

Maybe it would help to put things into perspective. Nikon is renowned for it’s high quality cameras and lenses. Their 500mm f/4.0 lens is priced at a reasonable $8,580 — that is one-third cheaper than the Sony lens!

Canon is right up there with Nikon’s reputation for excellence. They are offering two different versions of a 500mm f/4.0 lens. The less expensive model is only $7,000, while their higher-end model is $10,500 — that’s still almost twenty percent less than the Sony.

Third-party lens manufacturer Sigma has a 500mm f/4.5 lens that they’re letting go for a mere $6,000 — less than half of the Sony version. Unfortunately, it’s not available with a Sony mount.

So why does this new Sony 500mm lens cost from 25% to more than 200% more than comparable lenses from other manufacturers? Higher quality? Better materials? Surpassing performance? Sony’s reputation? Price gouging? Who knows?

In light of the astronomical price, what are the chances that I’ll receive this lens for my half-century birthday? While it’s true that all of my wife’s relatives have Swiss bank accounts (of course they do — they’re Swiss!), they don’t hobnob with the rich and famous who often visit that country! So that probably leaves me to my own resources. Perhaps if I save my pennies for another half-century, something special will happen when I turn 100!

Well, at least dreams are free! Imagine what that lens would be like on my camera! Because my Sony Alpha α77 has an APS-C sensor, the 35mm-equivalent focal length is 1.5 times larger, which would give me a 750mm lens! And if I attached the 2x teleconverter that I already own, I would be up to an astounding 1500mm focal length! With that kind of firepower, maybe I could get a job with the paparazzi!

In five days I’ll find out if my birthday wish will come true. But seeing that the lens is not yet available for purchase, the big question is, will Sony release it in time?
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 61
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