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.
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.
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.
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.
Fringing: Colour fringing is more noticeable than from most 70-200mm lenses, particularly at either end of the zoom range.
Distortion: Barrel distortion at 70mm is average but pincushion distortion at mid to long zoom settings is more pronounced than in competing lenses.
Verdict: Overall image quality isn't quite as good as from most competing lenses on test, which is disappointing considering the price.