Sony 500mm F4 G SSM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 6   
reviewer#44278 date: May-3-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SEL400F28GM, Minolta 600mm f/4
price paid:8000 EUR brand new
positive:It has all the good characteristics that a modern lens of this price tag should have: sharpness, high contrast, fast AF, light enough (for this focal length), solid build. Works well with 1.4x TC.
negative:A veiling haze wide open reduces the contrast. Details are still there, just the contrast is slightly reduced. You will notice it when cropping or with high-contrast subjects. Stopping to f/4.5 drastically reduces the problem, at f/5.0 is essentially gone. No need to close more than f/5.6 for impressive sharpness and contrast.
comment:It is a great lens, as it should be for the price.

My only complain is about contrast when shooting wide open. At f/4, you get a veiling haze that is noticeable when you have a scene with high contrast or when pixel peeing. If there is enough light, better off closing to f/5 or f/5.6. I would close to f/4.5 when it is dark, and to f/4 only if I do not mind some softness in the picture or when the ISO is very high and you loose details anyway.

Apart from the above issue, everything else is simply perfect. It could be that I own a bad copy, but I do not believe it is the case. I found other pictures on Internet that show the same haze wide open, so at least I am not an isolated case. Unfortunately, not too many reviews online to compare with.

Compared to Sony 400mm f/2.8 (which is E-mount, so not 100% fair comparison), the new Sony wins only wide open. The 500mm is handholdable, but not for that long, whereas the new Sony can be carried around for more time. And the 400mm does not have the veiling haze issue wide open, even with the 1.4x attached. If you close the aperture a bit, both lenses produces great sharpness and contrast.

For A-mount, the 500mm f/4 is the best you can get at this focal length, unless you can live with the known limitations of the old Minolta 600mm f/4 -- in such a case, you could also consider the Minolta as an alternative.

For E-mount shooters, this 500mm works great with A9, A7RIII and A7III + LA-EA3 with latest firmware update. If you find a good deal, it is definitely worth it -- if you can live with half a kilogram more than 400mm and less sharpness/contrast just at f/4.
reviewer#26579 date: May-9-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 600 f4 HS
Minolta 400 f4.5 HS
price paid:
missing
positive:Fast and accurate focus
Solid feel though build not comparable to the Minolta 600 f4
negative:Heavy (Comparable Canon with IS is lighter), those 300gms are telling if you have to carry it for long or try to take handheld shots
Quirky hood
And most importantly way too expensive. It's cheaper to jump ship and get fully kitted than buy this lens. Dunno what Sony was thinking when deciding on the pricing. Probably trying to dissuade people from buying the lens
comment:I got an opportunity to try this lens over 2 weeks using it with the 77II and the A99. Good combo with the 77 mark II producing great images but still IMO not the best lenses available to the A mount shooters for the following reasons
1. Its weight means that most people would not be able to carry it all day or use for handheld shots. The Canon 500 with IS is 300gms lighter does pass the muster. You need to carry the beast with a tripod or a monopod. So if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of focal length and focusing speed the Minolta f4.5 does ensure that you get a shot.
2. The image quality is good but still cannot beat the Minolta 600 f4 (which since you are carrying a tripod) somewhat neautralises the additional weight factor.
3. Sony's pricing ensures that it doesn't feature in most peoples buying list. If Sony wants to push their brand in the highly lucrative Sports and Wildlife market they need to price competitively.
I would buy it if it were 500gms lighter and priced realistically, so currently I would stick to the older Minoltas
reviewer#16284 date: Jun-29-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-200mm
Minolta 300mm
price paid:way too much
positive:Focus: Very fast and accurate
Build: solid big, white and not too heavy. Weather sealing is perfect.
IQ: absoulte sharp and amazing colors
negative:price
LensHood could be nicer (build-in like nikons)
comment:This lens is an absolute dream come true ... sharp and colorful.

It performs very well on my old Minolta Cameras, and beats the hell out with the Sony A99 ... looking forward to use it on the Sony A7RII!
After Micro-adjustmenting the lens to the A99 the lens results were amazing (maybe DxO should calibrate the lens before publishing the results with and old camera[A900])
reviewer#15270 date: Jun-11-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-400mm G lens [which is another great lens]
price paid:12999
positive:Fantastic lens. Worth the money and glad Sony committed to making this incredible lens!
negative:None whatsoever!
comment:This lens can't be faulted in any manor, and if there ever is a problem, it will turn out to be the photographers lack of understanding how to use properly!
[Micro-adjustment is important to utilize]
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 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.
reviewer#10296 date: Jun-13-2012
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 500mm f4 IS L lens and Canon 500mm f4.5 L lens
price paid:
missing
positive:Fast focus, outstanding sharpness wide open, good contrast, not as heavy as some other brand 500mm lenses
negative:Wish the lens hood was built in, Rotating camera from vertical to horizontal not smooth as other brands. Don't particular care for the lens trunk. Lens foot not ideal with using Really Right Stuff lens plate
comment:Lens operates faster with a Sony a77 then on the a900 but I like the image I get with the full frame camera more then the APS size sensor. Focus with the Sony a77 is faster then the Canon 1D MK4 - Canon 500mm f4 IS L lens. Downside is even with a fast SD card the a77 image buffer is not that large to shoot with in a continuously burst. You can make some very sharp images if you use a good tripod or have a good stance when hand holding the lens
reviews found: 6   

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

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