Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS Review

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master Handling and Features

Sony Fe 100 400mm Side View

At 1395g (without the tripod foot) this is a fairly heavy lens, although when mounted on the Sony Alpha A7R II body used for this review it balances perfectly well and does not seem unduly cumbersome. A large round lens hood bayonets into place. It fits smoothly and securely, especially as a locking catch is provided to prevent unwanted rotation or loosening. There is a small sliding door that enables, for example, a polarising filter to be rotated with the hood in position. The filter thread is a reasonable 77mm.

Lying beyond this is the nicely ribbed rubberised manual focusing ring. This operates by wire and is very precise in its operation. Damping is spot on, giving just the right amount of resistance. Just behind this are three equally spaced buttons, enabling one of them to be in the most convenient place regardless of the orientation of the lens. They are for focus lock, and a menu option in the camera enables them to be programmed for a variety of alternative functions.

The wide zoom ring changes the length of the lens as we zoom in and, just closer to the camera body, a new feature enables the tension of the zoom action to be customised. The option runs seamlessly from smooth to tight, so all requirements can be individually catered for.

Finally, closest to the mount, are the four lens control switches. The first is an AF/MF selector. The second is a range limiter for the AF, giving a choice of the full focusing range or limiting it from infinity to 3m. The third switches OSS (Optical Steady Shot) on or off. The fourth is the OSS mode, either standard 5-axis shake reduction (if supported by the camera body) or a mode for the purposes of panning shots.

Sony Fe 100 400mm On A7r Ii At 400mm

The tripod mount foot is on a ring that can be rotated, so the lens orientation can be changed without having to adjust the tripod head. The foot itself is removable and has a safety catch to make sure it does not detach unexpectedly.

The body of the lens is dust and moisture resistant, increasingly a must for shooting outdoor events. AF is via a floating focus mechanism and a Double Linear + DDSSM drive that certainly delivers fast and accurate focusing. Focus is down to a very useful 0.98m (3.22 feet), a maximum magnification of 0.35x.

The optical system has Nano AR coating to reduce flare and ghosting, a nine-bladed circular aperture and comprises 22 elements in 16 groups. There are 1 Super ED (Extra Low Dispersion) and 2 ED elements. The lens is compatible with the SEL14TX (1.4x) and SEL20TC (2x) rear converters.

In use, the lens proves to be superbly well balanced, more than offsetting any weight. The ideal body for sport and wildlife to accompany it would probably be the Sony Alpha A9 with its 20fps capability. The A7R II provided for the review was obviously not as fast, but for review purposes, the higher resolution does show how the lens behaves optically very well.

It is a fact of optical laws of course that any 100-400mm lens for full frame will be of a certain minimum size and this one is no exception. It is however as compact and light as can be achieved, aided by a modular construction using magnesium alloys. In the end, the quality counts, so let's see how it performs.

Sony Fe 100 400mm Rear Oblique View

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