Sony 500mm F4 G SSM A-mount lens review by Lars

reviewer#10791 date: Dec-19-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 50 - 500 f5.6 - 6.3, Minolta 400 f4,5, 200 f2,8 HS, Sony 70-400 GII
Sony 70 - 300 f4,5 - 5,6G
price paid:Yes
positive:Reliable AF. Bokeh. In house focus range limiter works great with this lens.
negative:Heavy, compared to the new Canon 500/4 which is lighter and has optical stabilizer.
Auto focus only works with the 1,4 tele converter. I find it better to crop than use the TCs. Tripod leg is too short. AF works best with the in house focus range limiter. The focus range limiter on the lens is hard to find and activate because it is too small and not raised. You absolutely need to limit your near focus range. My standard setting is 11m to infinity. Focus throw is very short and takes time to get used to. Minolta 200 f2,8 HS is a joy to focus manually in comparison, it also has a short throw. Something went wrong with the gear components in the manual focus ring and I was not able to focus manually. The lens had to be sent to Japan for repair and it takes 5 months!!! Happened twice.
comment:2012: It weighs 10 lbs with the a99, I can just about hold it. Body is magnesium and the lens has no OS, it should be lighter?
I had great fun shooting ducks that were flying head on towards me. The focus is immaculate. The Sony 70 - 300G is also focusing fast.
There are many buttons to choose how you want to focus.
I need more time with the lans.
It a steep learning curve to learn to use this lens properly for BIF on the a99/II.
5 Years after, 2018: For BIF with the a99ll; Great focus with the in house focus range limiter. Center spot and precision aiming. quite good on the a99, also with the focus area Zone, processor is not that fast. BIF is no fun with the a77 and a77II. I have had to micro if adjust on the a99II. Better to focus manually when the bird is still. I keep wondering if it is sharp wide open or if it is my faulty focusing. It does not focus any better wide open not even for BIF. My best results come at f5,6 to f8. I set the AF drive speed to slow. The Minolta 400 f4,5 is a great lens. Focuses more exactly, but not that fast, it also has a warmer expression and I think even better 3D pop.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 6
  • sharpness: 4.83
  • color: 4.83
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.83
  • flare control: 4.83
  • overall: 4.77 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania