‘Future lenses for today’: Sony’s Yasuyuki Nagata talks high-end optics

We were in New Jersey recently, for the unveiling of two new Sony lenses – the G Master 600mm F4 OSS, and the more enthusiast-focused 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS. During the event, we spent some time with Yasuyuki Nagata, head of Sony’s global interchangeable lens business, to discuss the new products, and Sony’s approach to mirrorless lens development.

These products use technologies developed for the 400mm F2.8 – how has that product performed in the market?

The sales have been much higher than we expected – more than double. We thought at the first stages of development for the lens that there were only a few people who would shoot sports with our products – for example only Alpha 9 users, or photographers who shoot smaller small sporting events. But after we launched the 400mm, we have seen demand from many of the top sports photographers working at large events.

Do you have a sense of how many professional photographers are using that lens, versus enthusiasts?

Almost 70% of the [customer base] for that lens are professionals. Availability is still capped – there is a long waiting list.

Who do you see as the target market for the new lenses?

Compared to the 400mm, the 600mm is more targeted at high-end amateurs. Photographers that shoot birds, wildlife, aircraft. Maybe 70-80% will be wildlife photographers. That’s why the market is bigger for the 600mm than the 400mm.

The 200-600 will appeal to the same audience [to some extent] but some people who use those kinds of lenses will use them with APS-C cameras. To get more reach.

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