Sony FE 70-200 f/4 G OSS Lens Review – Part 4 – Final Word

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11 Responses

  1. Thanks for your extensive review. Unfortunately I couldn’t be able to seriously test the lens (every free day is raining here, up to a severe flood the past night), but my first impression is very similar to yours: great lens, with a pitfall for flaring. Too bad – it sounds it’s a Sony common problem, as the SEL1670Z also flares more than I was used to with other zooms. But as you say, when the sun light intensity is dimmed (and fortunately this is the most frequent case for landscape) it’s very well manageable.

    I didn’t see so far problems with AF (with a NEX-6), but I only exercised with stationary subjects. When used hand-held, I think I had some problems concerning blur (not saying that everything is blurred: I got some perfectly sharp stuff, but I expected a higher percentage), as if the OSS wasn’t so smart, but honestly this is my first medium-long lens with OSS and I have to get in acquaintance with it.

    • Thanks for the comment Fabrizio. Your blog is also very nice I am visiting it quite often. The whole AF issue of mine has probably nothing to do with this lens, but with the system itself. The only camera I have that should be capable of fast AF and AF tracking for fast moving subjects – A6000 is after six month of use, still big mystery in terms of AF settings. I tried many of combinations and permutations of individual settings, but the results are rather poor in comparison to my Canon 5D MII (certainly not the AF champ), not to speak about Canon 1Dx or Nikon D800E. Simply, I am not able to get consistent results with fast moving subjects with FE 70-200 f/4, no metter what Sony E mount camera I use and how I set AF. That put big question, why professional lens is released before adequate body is available?


      • Raghav says:

        Hi Viktor. Very nice review!

        Regarding AF settings on the A6000, I would recommend Zone AF + AF-C. This combination works best for subject tracking. If you are using a single point for subject tracking (eg. like on a DSLR), it may not work very well in my experience with the A6000.

        Also, subject tracking would work better if you have subjects that are not moving erratically. For example, Gordan Liang from camera labs was impressed with the A6000 AF because the subjects he was working with had predictable movements (Cycling). I am sure he would not have been impressed if he was photographing a soccer game for example. My solution is that if the subject suddenly changes direction, I press the shutter release again so that the camera reacquires focus and predicts movements afresh.

        Also, when will you be comparing it to the 55-210 OSS? If you do, maybe you can also compare the AF performance between the two?

        • Hi Raghav,
          thanks for your comment and suggestion. I’ve been working on AF tests with A6000 and FE 70-200 f/4 G OSS (and other FE lenses) for quite some time. Problem is to set a methodology that will be empirically comparable among testing sets, and so far I wasn’t able to come with any. So all my experience is based on rather random efforts to test AF, because in a real life I rarely use it at all.
          I’ve been trying all possible focus settings, including zone focus, and I tried to follow – runner, cyclist, tennis player, skateboarding, water skiing and many more, and my success rate was always lower than with my Canon 5D Mark II, which is certainly not known for good focus. In comparison to my Canon 1Dx or Nikon D800E, it is just different league.
          Most prominent problem is reliability of AF. Not that A6000 is not capable of acquiring it here and there, but that here and there doesn’t seem to have predictable pattern.
          You can take a look here – and here – for some previous AF tests with A6000. Since then, I made several thousand of AF test shots, spent hours debating with Sony specialists about interaction of different AF settings (face detection, lock-on, lock-on with shutter press, eye focus etc.) and I still have no conclusion. What is even worse, neither Sony specialists were able to give me answers that I asked for.
          If your A6000 works for you, there is nothing more to think about. Simply just enjoy it.

  2. evg says:

    love how you touch on aspects that are disregarded on other review sites, like the sharpness at infinity vs chart distance. How do you think the lens compares to canon in terms of focus breathing? I ask because it’s said that i.e nikon 70-200 f/2.8 is actually ~130mm on tele end when focused in portrait distance.

    Can’t wait for when 16-35 gets in your hands 🙂 cheers

    • Thanks evg for your very kind words and great point. I didn’t test it for focus breathing and I will do it asap. From initial use, I didn’t noticed anything significant, so I guess it will show above average results, nothing like famous Nikon 🙂 but we’ll see. Thanks again for a good note.


  3. HF says:

    Nice review! The flare problem seems to be sensor glass related. reports similar issues with other lenses, amongst others. The A7r is less prone to showing it, seems to have a different cover. A thread here:

  4. Paul says:

    Thank you for the comprehensive and thoughtful review. I used the A6000/FE 70-200 f/4 G OSS combination on a recent bear watching trip to Alaska. I found some sharp images but many more soft or blurred images. I also tried various focus settings with none being clearly better than another. I’m wondering if you think this lens will perform better with the A7rII, especially for wildlife or other moving subjects? Or am I barking up the wrong tree if wildlife photography is my interest?

  5. Thanks Paul,
    I am waiting for my A7RII pre-order and until It come, I can’t really answer your questions. Personally, I would choose Canon 1Dx or Nikon 4Ds for wildlife, not only because of AF, but also because of better suited native mount lenses, better ergonomics, more substential build quality, better weather protection and much longer battery life. Not that with Sony A6000 you can’t take nice WL shots, but if I would have the choice…

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