Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS review

A high-spec telephoto zoom designed for the Sony Alpha a7 range

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS

Our Verdict

Overall image quality isn't quite as good as from most competing lenses on test, which is disappointing considering the price.

For

  • Extends the appeal of Sony's a7-series cameras
  • Near-silent autofocus
  • Focus hold buttons

Against

  • Disappointing performance for price
  • Big and heavy
  • Below-average image stabilization

Mounts: Sony E Format: Full frame Construction: 21 elements in 15 groups, nine diaphragm blades Closest focus distance: 100cm Filter size: 72mm Autofocus: stepping motor Dimensions: 80 x 175mm, 840g Tested on: Sony a7

We've been impressed by Sony's a7 series of full-frame mirrorless cameras, but lens choices have been limited. True to its word, Sony is steadily adding to the line-up of full-frame E-mount lenses, which now includes this constant-aperture 70-200mm zoom.

Read more: Sony Cyber-shot WX220 review

While A7 cameras are slim compared with SLRs, there's nothing small about this lens. It's every bit as big and heavy as similar lenses for full-frame DSLRs, weighing in at 840g. At 72mm, the filter thread is also larger than on Canon's and Nikon's equivalent lenses.

The Sony is dust and water-resistant but lacks the weather-sealed mounting plate of many competing lenses. There's a set of switches for AF/M focussing, an autofocus range limiter, on/off for the optical stabiliser, and mode 1/2 for static or panning stabilisation. The Sony also has a similar off-white paint job to Canon's pro telephoto lenses.

Further additions include three focus-hold buttons, neatly placed around the barrel between the zoom and focus rings, plus a tripod mounting foot.

Performance

Levels of sharpness are a little below average in the central area of the frame, and drop off towards the corners. Optical stabiliser performance is also disappointing, equating to about two f/stops in our tests. As with the Panasonic 35-100mm lens (also designed for compact system camera bodies), the Sony's dual-linear motor autofocus system is silent, but not as quick as the SLR lenses on test.

Test results

Sharpness: It's good at the long end of the zoom range but, at most settings, sharpness lags behind some rival 70-200mm lenses from other makers.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS resolution

Fringing: Colour fringing is more noticeable than from most 70-200mm lenses, particularly at either end of the zoom range.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS chromatic aberration

Distortion: Barrel distortion at 70mm is average but pincushion distortion at mid to long zoom settings is more pronounced than in competing lenses.

70mm: -0.67
100mm: 0.58
135mm: 1.34
200mm: 2.29

Verdict: Overall image quality isn't quite as good as from most competing lenses on test, which is disappointing considering the price.