Sony AF 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM II A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44125 date: Aug-25-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 28-300 XR Di
Tamron 28-300 XR
Sony DT 55-300 SAM
Sony FE 70-300 G OSS
Canon EF 70-300 IS II USM
Tamron 70-300 USD
Tamron 70-300 RXD
Nikon DX AF-P 70-300 non-VR & VR
Sony A 70-400 G SSM
Canon EF 75-300 III USM
Minolta AF 75-300 "Big Beercan" & D
Minolta AF 100-300 APO & D
Minolta AF 100-400 APO
Sigma 100-400 DG HSM OS
price paid:343 USD (used)
positive:Flat focus plane
Internal, rear focus
Minimum breathing
Non-rotating focus grip in AF
Non-rotating filter threads
Always available DMF
Large petal hood
"Dust and moisture resistant"
negative:Chubby size and weight
Limited range
Extending zoom
Heavy and uneven zoom action
Zoom creep
Heavy/vague focus clutch mechanism
Slow, noisy AF
comment:I purchased two of these from eBay auctions by individuals. This lens is listed new for $1150, $50 cheaper than the newer, stabilized Sony FE 70-300 G OSS. As of April 2021 it is still missing from the lens listing at while the older version is listed. It doesn't feel any better made than the Tamron USD or even the Sony DT 55-300 SAM. Unlike those lenses it is "Made in JAPAN."

It's control grips are in the same arrangement as the Tamron zooms, but it actually employs a rear focus design unlike the Tamron USD. This means there is less weight at the front of the lens and less shifting of the center of mass with focus action. It shows very little breathing meaning it loses focal length at close focus. The long end is close to 240 mm at minimum focus. The 55-300, 75-300, 100-300, and Tamron 70-300 USD zooms all maintain their focal length with focus.

The front barrel and front lens element extend with zoom the same amount as the Tamron. The zoom action is also quite heavy and a bit uneven much like the Tamron. The 55-300, 75-300 D, and Tamron 70-300 RXD zooms have nicer zoom actions.

Despite the rear focus design and SSM II designation it doesn't seem to focus any faster than the old screw-drive x-300 zooms. The II designation means it supports the faster communication rates introduced with the A77 and DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM. It also means that like with the 55-300, the Kenko teleconverters will not adjust the focal length and aperture values on the recent SLT bodies. It does allow 2 extra FPS of AF-C tracking on the Sony A9 with the LA-EA3 and 4x better tracking on the recent SLT bodies according to Sony. The Tamron USD zoom does not support this faster communication speed.

The second copy was misaligned mostly in the mid range and wide end. It may have been damaged due to inadequate packaging. The first copy didn't quite match the central sharpness of the 55-300 but had less chromatic aberrations. The focus breathing arguable makes it a downgrade compared to the Tamron 70-300 USD. Image quality is worse than the non-L Canon 70-300 IS II USM.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 2
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 3.50
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 5.00
  • overall: 4.30 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania