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Stolen(?) Sony lens prototype auctioned online before it was even announced

Stolen(?) Sony lens prototype auctioned online before it was even announced
Image: Yahoo! Japan / gxgrm 822

The swanky new Sony 200-600mm G OSS f/5.6-6.3 FE lens was just listed on an auction site with a bargain starting price of ¥20,000 (£146 / $185). There's only one problem: the lens doesn't actually exist yet. 

Y'see, the Sony 200-600mm G OSS f/5.6-6.3 FE telephoto lens hasn't even been announced. It is reportedly being announced later this week, but as of right now it's not a product that anyone can purchase, pre-order or even get their hands on. 

That is, anyone except 'gxgrm 822' – a user on Yahoo! Japan's auction house, who somehow not only had their hands on this lens but then tried to sell it (opens in new tab) on the site. 

"SONY Sony FE 5.6-6.3 / 200-600 G OSS telephoto lens <Junk> It is," read the Yahoo! listing (machine translated). 

Forget pre-orders – dodgy auctions are the new fastest way to get the latest lenses

Forget pre-orders – dodgy auctions are the new fastest way to get the latest lenses

"A little, disassemble, it will be exhibited in junk because it is not all ready. There are no accessories or boxes. I think that it will be for parts removal." The listing was later updated with the note, "Operation Unconfirmed. Thanking you in advance."

So what the heck is the story here? Fake lens? Fake listing? Bizarre marketing tactic?

The most probable explanation is that this lens is real, and is a prototype. That would explain its dissembled state, and its listing status as "junk" (which would typically be listed on sites like eBay in the UK or USA as "parts only"). 

The question then becomes, how did gxgrm 822 get their hands on it – and did they even know what they were selling?

Listed as "junk", the lens had clearly been dissembled (images: Yahoo! Japan / gxgrm 822)

Listed as "junk", the lens had clearly been dissembled (images: Yahoo! Japan / gxgrm 822)

The chances of Sony's R&D team being so lax as to just allow a lens to wander off are as about as likely as a lottery winner being struck by lightning on the same day they flip a coin that lands edge-on. 

It would seem, then, that this lens was acquired by entirely underhanded means. "I bet is that this is a stolen prototype!" wrote the admin (opens in new tab) of Sony Alpha Rumors. "If I am right the auction will be removed by yahoo soon after Sony’s official complain!"

Indeed, the auction met a mysterious end. Bidding had only reached ¥31,500 (£230 / $291) when the party was over, bids were removed and nobody won. Well, nobody except Sony, which has the benefit of some guerrilla publicity. 

Stay tuned for the official announcement of the Sony 200-600mm G OSS f/5.6-6.3 FE, which we're fairly sure will have a higher RRP and won't just be available via sketchy auctions.

Read more:

The best Sony lenses (opens in new tab) that actually exist outside of dodgy auctions
Leica 0 camera sells for record amount at auction (opens in new tab)
Prototype Canon cameras (opens in new tab) revealed at CP+

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James Artaius
James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.