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

reviewer#38900 date: Jul-11-2017
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL55300
price paid:600 USD (used)
positive:- impressive IQ throughout almost entire zoom range
- decently quick/accurate focusing
- relatively low cost (G lens on a budget)
- lightweight and relatively small
- focus hold button
negative:- less than impressive build quality (but you're getting G quality for far less than it usually costs)
- slow lens (but again, budget G lens)
- no zoom lock
comment:G purists might like to bash this lens, but for me, it is the perfect combination of things I look for: Great IQ, a highly useful zoom range, full-frame capable for my upcoming switch, far smaller and less heavy than its 70-200/70-400 G brethren, and relatively easy on the wallet, especially if you find a used copy in good shape.

Would I say it has the same level of IQ as the aforementioned 70-200/70-400 G lenses, no. But it does blow the SAL55300 and similar lenses out of the water, IMO. It is respectably sharp wide open, and stop it down to f8 and it truly is impressive.

Now on to the zoom range, which I find to be essentially perfect. 70-200 is too short for my uses, and the 70-400 is just a bit of overkill. Your mileage may very, but for the type of images I shoot, it just works.

For me, the primary advantage is that you get that legendary G quality, but in a much smaller and lighter package than ever before. The 70-200/70-400 G lenses are just massive beasts, and heavy as hell in comparison. The 70-300, however, has never once made me regret having it on my camera, and with some skill and decent light, you can hand-hold out to 300mm. Don't believe me? Check out some of the sample images I recently posted, all hand-held. ;)

And finally, on to the cost, which is more than reasonable for what you get, as far as I'm concerned. I got my used copy a couple years back for $600, and I considered it a steal even at that time.

So, maybe it doesn't have the fancy silver/white coat of paint, and it isn't built quite like a tank, and it isn't the fastest lens out there, but aside from those details, it is an awesome piece of glass.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 168
  • sharpness: 4.69
  • color: 4.81
  • build: 4.25
  • distortion: 4.78
  • flare control: 4.79
  • overall: 4.66 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania