Sony 70-200mm f/4

Full-Frame OSS FE G

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Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS G (72mm filters, 33.3 oz./944g with collar as shown (29.5 oz./838g without collar), 4'/1.2m close focus, about $1,498). bigger. I got mine at B&H. I'd also get it at Adorama, at Amazon, or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

July 2017   Sony   Sony Lenses   Zeiss   Nikon   Canon   Fuji   LEICA   All Reviews

NEW: Sony 70-200/2.8 GM

Sony 70-200/4 G vs. Nikon 18-55 AF-P Comparison 16 February 2017

 

Sample Images

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Hummingbird

Hummingbird Attack. I was minding my own business and this guy came right at me. My Sony A7II and this 70-200mm easily nailed him. 200mm at f/4 at 1/1,250 at Auto ISO 100. bigger.

 

Backlit Plants at Dawn with Dew

Backlit Plants at Dawn with Dew. Sony A7II, 70-200mm f/4 G OSS at 200mm at f/4 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 125. Look at the dew on the leaves in the lower center and you can see some spherochromatism. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Palm Trunk

Palm Trunk. Sony A7II, 70-200mm f/4 G OSS at 200mm at f/4 at 1/250 at Auto ISO 125. The trunk is round; not everything is in focus. bigger or cameralistic © file.

 

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise. Sony A7II, 70-200mm f/4 G OSS at 200mm at f/4 at 1/250 at Auto ISO 125. The trunk is round; not everything is in focus. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Introduction

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

Good   Bad   Missing

Adorama Pays Top Dollar for Used Gear

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

This Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS is an excellent general purpose telephoto lens for Sony's E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. It works on APS-C, too, but it's probably more lens than you need for a cropped sensor camera.

 

Good

● Three focus lock buttons.

● Built-in image stabilizer.

● Good bokeh.

● Well made.

● Smooth zooming.

● Fast and silent autofocus.

● Tripod collar included, and comes off completely.

 

Bad

● $1,400.

● A blatant cosmetic copy of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS - but doesn't have L-grade optics.

 

Missing

● No focus or depth-of-field scales.

 

Format

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

This is a full-frame lens and I'm reviewing it as such.

It works great on APS-C cameras and you may make the usual inferences for them. I never suggest using full frame telephotos on APS-C; you pay a premium in size and money for a full frame lens, and most of its image is simply wasted with cropped sensors of APS-C cameras. For APS-C cameras, use an APS-C lens like the Sony 55-210mm which offers a wider zoom range in a smaller package for less money.

 

Compatibility

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

This works on all Sony E-mount cameras, full-frame and crop-sensor. This includes all the NEX, A7, A6xxx and A5xxx series cameras.

It will not work on any Minolta MAXXUM or Sony 35mm SLRs or DSLRs. Those use the old A mount which was actually the Minolta MAXXUM mount from 1987.

 

Specifications

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Name

Sony calls this the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS (SEL70200G)

    FE: Full-frame coverage, E-mount.

    G: Meaningless other than meaning that the lens is high-priced.

    OSS: "Optical Steady Shot," meaning the lens has internal image stabilization.

    SEL70200G: Sony's internal product number.

 

Optics

Sony 70-200mm f/4 Lens Construction

Sony 70-200/4 OSS construction. ED, Super ED, "Advanced" Aspherical and Aspherical elements. bigger.

21 elements in 15 groups.

3 aspheric elements (2 "advanced aspheric" and one regular aspheric).

3 extra low dispersion elements (1 Super ED and 2 regular ED).

Sony Nano AR Coating.

Focus and zoom are internal.

 

Diaphragm

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

9 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Focal Length

70-200mm.

When used on APS-C, it sees the same angle of view as a 105-300mm lens sees when used on a full-frame camera.

See also Crop Factor.

 

Angle of View

34º ~ 12º diagonal on full-frame.

22° ~ 8° diagonal on APS-C.

 

Autofocus

Internal focus.

No external movement as focussed, so no air or dust is sucked in.

 

Close Focus

Actual Measured, manual

70mm: 3 feet (0.9 meters).

200mm: 4.3 feet (1.32 meters).

 

Rated, manual

70mm: 3.3 feet (1 meter).

200mm: 4.4 feet (1.5 meters).

 

Rated, autofocus

70mm: 3.3 feet (1 meter).

200mm: 4.9 feet (1.5 meters).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:7.7 (0.14 ×).

 

OSS Optical Steady Shot Stabilizer

Yes, rated 4 stops.

 

Filters

Plastic 72mm filter thread.

 

Hood

Sony ALC-SH133 hood

Sony ALC-SH133 hood. bigger.

 

Tripod Collar

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Included Tripod Collar. bigger.

 

Case

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Included Sack, Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

 

Size

3¼″ maximum diameter × 7" extension from flange.

80 mm maximum diameter × 175mm extension from flange.

 

Weight

Actual Measured

33.305 oz. (944.2 g) with collar.

29.545 oz. (837.6g) without collar.

3.757 oz (106.5g), collar only.

 

Rated

29.7 oz. (840 g) without tripod collar.

 

Included

Lens.

Front and rear caps.

ALC-SH133 hood.

Sack.

 

Announced

2015.

 

Packaging

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

Package Weight: 3.1 lbs

Corrugated box measures 10.4 x 5.4 x 5.3 inches.

Lens in bubble wrap inside included vinyl sack.

 

Sony Model Number

SEL70200G.

 

Price, USA

$1,498, July 2017.

$1,398, June 2017.

$1,398, February 2017.

 

Performance

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Overall   Autofocus   Manual Focus   Breathing

Bokeh   Distortion   Ergonomics   Falloff

Filters   Flare & Ghosts   Lateral Color Fringes

Macro   Mechanical Quality   Sharpness

Spherochromatism   Stabilization   Sunstars

 

Overall

Performance          top

This Sony 70-200 4 is a swell full-frame telephoto.

 

Autofocus

Performance          top

Autofocus is slower than and less sure than a typical DSLR, but it's still fast and completely silent. It's great for everything but dedicated sports.

There are three focus lock buttons. They are very handy. Hold any of them to lock focus.

 

Manual Focus

performance          top

Manual focus is electronic; the focus ring is only connected to the camera's computers.

Slide the switch to MF and you're in Manual Focus.

On most Sony cameras, set "DMF" as the focus mode (usually via your Fn button) and you'll have instant manual override just by turning the ring in what otherwise works like the AFS mode.

 

Focus Breathing

Performance          top

Focus breathing is the image changing size as focused in and out. It's important to cinematographers because it looks funny if the image changes size as focus gets pulled back and forth between actors. If the lens does this, the image "breathes" by growing and contracting slightly as the dialog goes back and forth.

I don't see any breathing, making this ideal for movies — if you can get around the odd electronic focus ring. I doubt you'll get good results with a pro follow-focus rig since the ring isn't actually connected to the focus mechanism and therefore won't reproduce the same focus as you return the ring to the same spot.

 

Bokeh

Performance          top

Bokeh, the feel or quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to how far out of focus they are, is pretty good. Backgrounds usually melt away.

Here are samples at headshot distance:

Sony 70-200 4 G OSS Bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 08 February 2017. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolutions images properly).

 

Sony 70-200 4 G OSS Bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 08 February 2017. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolutions images properly).

 

Distortion

Performance          top

Even without correction the Sony 70-200/4 G OSS has no visible distortion from about 70~120mm, which increases to moderately strong pincushion distortion at 200mm.

Since most Sony cameras correct this by default, it's not worth worrying about. Every zoom has some distortion.

If you deactivate the camera's automatic correction, it's easy to correct with Photoshop's lens distortion filter.

These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

On Full-Frame

Correction factor with uncorrected images

Correction factor as shot on A7II with its Correction ON

70mm
+1.00
± 0.0
100mm
-1.00
± 0.0
135mm
-2.50
± 0.0
200mm
-4.20
± 0.0

© 2017 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

This is a nicely sized and handing lens.

Zooming is great, one finger is enough for slow, precise zooming. Two fingers are better for fast zooms.

Zooming is perfectly spaced; it's easy to set precise framing anyplace in the range.

Focus is an electronic encoder ring. It turns freely, and what it does depends on how you have your camera set.

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.
Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

 

Falloff

Performance          top

Falloff is invisible with the camera's default "Shading Correction" ON.

This isn't 1975 anymore; falloff isn't a problem on modern digital cameras.

 

Filters, use with

performance          top

There's no need for thin filters; 72mm is more than big enough to let me use a few standard filters at any setting on full frame.

Go ahead and use your standard rotating polarizer and grad filters.

 

Flare & Ghosts

Performance          top

There's more ghosting than I usually see, but it's nothing you're going to see unless you do something deliberately stupid as I've done here and put the direct disc of the sun in one corner and have a dark tree in the rest of the image against which to show any ghosts.

You'll never see it in normal use; don't worry about it. Many people want ghosts, and even use software to add them back in to modern lenses like this!

Sony 70-200mm f4 OSS flare & Ghosts

Palm Dawn, 09 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 96mm at f/8 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 100. bigger.

 

Lateral Color Fringes

Performance          top

There are no color fringes as shot on Sony cameras, most of which by default correct for any that may be there.

 

Macro

Performance          top

Macro performance doesn't get very close, but it does stay sharp wide-open at f/4:

Sony 70-200mm f/4 Macro Performance

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 08 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 70-200mm f/4 G at 200mm at f/4 at 1/1,000 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Sony 70-200mm f/4 Macro Performance

1,200 x 900 pixel crop from above. bigger or camera-original © file.

If this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 x 60" (1 x 1.5 meters). You're seeing the actual texture of the watch face and case.

If this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 20 x 30" (50 x 75 cm).

This is very good for f/4, but It doesn't get much sharper stopped down. My biggest concern is that it's not very close.

 

Mechanical Quality

Performance          top

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Rear, Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

This Sony 70-200mm is made reasonably well, with both metal and plastic on the outside.

Front Bumper

None.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood Bayonet Mount

Plastic.

 

Black Ring with red dot just ahead of Focus Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Focus Ring

Rubber-covered metal.

 

Front Barrel with Focus Lock Buttons

Metal.

 

Focus Lock Buttons

Plastic.

 

Zoom Ring

Rubber-covered metal.

 

Rear Barrel

Plastic.

 

Switches

Plastic.

 

Identity

Marked in silver on metal ring outside of front element.

Little raised silver-lettered plate glued to top of barrel.

Dark gray paint on bottom rear of barrel.

 

Internals

Seems like plastic and metal.

 

Moisture Seal at Mount

No.

 

Mount

Dull chromed metal.

 

Markings

Mostly painted.

 

Serial Number

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Certifications, Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

A sticker glued to the bottom of the barrel - not an acceptable way to serialize any product that sells for more than $10.

 

Date Code

None found.

 

Noises When Shaken

Some clicking from the diaphragm and some clunking from the OSS mechanism.

 

Made in

Japan.

 

Sharpness

Performance          top

The Sony 70-200mm /4 G OSS is very sharp throughout most of the full-frame frame, but gets softer on the sides and in the corners. Look at the Sample Images; it's more than sharp enough for most uses, but if you demand the best results edge-to-edge, try the 70-200/2.8 or shoot Canon.

Sony 70-200mm f/4 MTF

MTF at 70mm and at 200mm 10 cyc/mm and 30 cyc/mm.

 

Spherochromatism

Performance          top

Spherochromatism, also called "color bokeh" by laymen, can cause colored fringes on out-of-focus highlights, usually seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds with fast, long lenses shot wide open.

It is an advanced form of chromatic aberration in a different dimension than lateral color. Spherochromatism is most commonly seen in fast lenses of moderate focal length when shooting contrasty items at full aperture. It goes away as stopped down.

In this Sony 70-200, I see some minor blue-amber spherochromatism, which is unusual:

Sony 70-200mm f/4 Spherochromatism Performance

Shot at 200mm at f/4. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Sony 70-200mm f/4 Spherochromatism Performance

Crop from above. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Image Stabilization

Performance          top

Image stabilization is internal to this lens, and also works in concert with the built-in sensor-shift stabilization of many Sony cameras.

On my Sony A7 Mk II it works very well down to 1/15 hand-held at 200mm.

 

Sunstars

Performance          top

Sony 70-200mm f4 OSS flare & Ghosts

Palm Dawn, 09 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 96mm at f/8 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 100. bigger.

With its rounded diaphragm, this 70-200mm makes almost no sunstars on brilliant points of light.

 

Compared

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Comparison Charts

 

Versus the Canon EF 70-200m f/4 L IS

This Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS is a cosmetic copy of the professional Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS, but this Sony lacks the Canon's optical quality. If you care, this Sony is softer on the sides of full frame while the Canon stays ultra sharp, at least when the Canon is shot on Canon. I haven't tried the Canon lens on a adapter on a Sony camera.

This Sony adds three focus-lock buttons absent on the Canon, but the Canon has instant mechanical manual-focus override while the Sony's electronic focus-by-wire manual focus system isn't as responsive. The Canon has a focus scale lacking in this Sony.

 

Usage

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

Sony 70-200mm f/4 OSS FE G

Controls, Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS GM. bigger.

Focus Lock Buttons (unmarked)

Hold any of the three buttons around the front of the lens and it locks autofocus.

This is very handy when recomposing or if a target temporarily runs behind an interfering object.

 

AF ● ● MF switch

Leave it in AF, for Autofocus.

MF locks-out autofocus.

On most Sony cameras, set "DMF" as the focus mode (usually via your Fn button) and you'll have instant manual override just by turning the ring in what otherwise works like the AFS mode.

 

FULL ● ● ∞-3m switch

FULL lets the lens focus over its entire range.

∞-3m prevents the lens from focussing closer than 5 meters (15 feet). Use this only if you're having a problem with the lens trying to focus too closely, for instance, if interfering objects are in the way.

 

OPTICAL STEADY SHOT

This is the image stabilizer.

Leave it ON, unless you're on a tripod and making time exposures.

 

MODE 1 ● ● 2

Mode 1 compensates for normal camera shake. Leave it set to 1.

Mode 2 compensates for camera shake when panning horizontally. Use the 2 setting only if you're deliberately trying add motion blur to backgrounds as you pan with a subject.

 

Recommendations

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Overall

This is a wonderfully practical telephoto zoom for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras.

It's more than you need for APS-C cameras; you 're paying a price and weight premium to cover a larger sensor which you don't have on APS-C. For APS-C, use an APS-C lens like the Sony 55-210mm which offers a wider zoom range in a smaller package for less money.

Personally I carry this with my Sony A7R II in a Think Tank Retrospective 7 bag, which is the perfect size for this with the 16-35/4 and 24-70/2.8 GM lenses and other accessories.

 

Protective Filter

The very best protective filter is the 72mm Hoya multicoated HD3 UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints, and is also multicoated.

For less money, the B+W 72mm 010 is an excellent filter, as are the multicoated version and the basic multicoated Hoya filters, but the Hoya HD3 is the toughest and the best.

Filters last a lifetime, so you may as well get the best. The Hoya HD3 stays cleaner than the others since it repels oil and dirt.

 

Where I got mine

I got mine at B&H. I'd also get it at Adorama, at Amazon, or at Crutchfield.

 

Thank you!

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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17 July 2017, 08-13 February 2017