Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Review
Even with an f/4 aperture, a certain amount of bulk is essential and this sturdy, well made lens weighs in at 840g without its tripod collar. It sits well on the Sony Alpha A7R II used for this review.
The well designed, easy to fit and remove collar adds another 105g to the package. The collar allows the lens/camera combination to be freely turned for landscape and portrait format shots, a very convenient way of working. Removing the collar involves loosening the screw, but also pulling it against a spring pressure before it can be hinged open. This is both simple and very secure.
The 72mm filter thread is a reasonable size and the front element does not rotate as the lens uses internal focusing, driven by two linear motors for speed. Construction is dust and moisture resistant, a most welcome feature. AF is moderately fast but DSLR designs will still have the edge in absolute speed. For most applications it is more than fast enough and still manageable for wildlife and perhaps sports photography.
Lens construction is a complex 21 elements in 15 groups, including 2 AA (Advanced Ashperical), 1 Aspherical, 1 Super ED (Extra Low Dispersion) and 2 ED elements. OSS (Optical Steady Shot) has two settings, one for general use and one for panning. The diaphragm consists of 9 rounded blades, for improved bokeh. The lens uses Nano AR coating, a critical component in an optic with so many elements.
At the front of the lens is a smoothly operating electronic focusing ring, behind which we find three buttons around the lens barrel. These are for focus lock and are situated to offer a variety of comfortable grips regardless of the orientation of the lens.
Further towards the camera body, we next find a wide, smooth and precise zoom ring, clearly marked for 70, 100, 135 and 200mm. Behind this are the switches. AF/MF, focus limiter to restrict the range from infinity down to 3m, OSS on/off and OSS setting. The tripod ring fits behind this if required. Finally, the well made bayonet mount fits securely onto the body, but does allow a tiny amount of rotational play when clicked into position. As this does not affect the register it has no detrimental effect.
The minimum focus distance varies depending upon whether we are using AF or MF and the focal length. Using AF setting the minimum distance varies between 1 and 1.5m (3.28 and 4.9 feet). Using MF it varies between 1m and 1.35m (3.28 and 4.43 feet). In any event, the maximum magnification is 0.13x.
Whilst this is a full frame lens, it can also be used on APS-C format E mount cameras, where the “35mm equivalent” becomes 105-300mm, a crop factor of around 1.5x.
Handling generally is impressively efficient and it is a pleasure to use the lens. It exudes a feeling of quality. The tripod ring is fantastic in that it enables quick orientation changes, but also removes simply when required. Everything operates as smoothly as silk.
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