Sony AF 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM A-mount lens review by A68noob

reviewer#45638 date: Jan-29-2021
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 2
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.6
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210 F4
Tamron 70-300 USD
price paid:325€ used
positive:+warm colours
+can provide stunning pictures
+best sharpness at 300mm compared to any consumer 70-300
+i can NOT remember CA
+fast and accurate AF
negative:-awful zoom creep (no zoom lock)
-huge, especially with the hood on and extended to 300mm..
-and the hood is also prone to get scratched (tamrons 70-300 USD has a much better one)
-not weather sealed
-regular 1:4 magnification @ 1,2m
-very expensive (for what you actually get)
-sharpness at lower FL
comment:Considering the price this is the worst dog of a lens I ever owned. I had high hopes in legendary G glass.. as others have claimed. I expected the pictures it delivers to always blow you away.. and oh boy, i was wrong..

Awkward and very annoying to carry as a walkaround lens due to size, weight and zoom creep. Considering the high price the features you get are poor: No zoom lock, a very cheap looking and easily scratched hood, no weather sealing (prone to collect dust between glass elements), no OSS, slow aperture like all other 70-300, nothing special aswell (maybe a useful macro mode? lower MFD?).

Something positive to note? Sure. AF is quick, pretty silent and accurate. Remarkable job on removing purple fringing.. i cannot remember ever seeing some. Compared to other 70-300 lenses it is pretty sharp at 300mm + colours are pleasing which can result in some epic pictures..

Regarding the legendary G status: Yes, in perfect light you can get stunning shots.. but think again: Which lens does not deliver in such conditions? The great AF is one thing, but once we think about the optics again and the weather is getting cloudy after some time.. you will find yourself just with another regular, slow aperture lens. Low contrast and dull looking pictures incoming.. good amount of image editing needed. At lower FL i did some testing and the beercan did really deliver crispier images. Sick, but true (with MF, to ensure best focus ofc).

The cherry on top: I used this lens on my A68 and noticed some heavy backfocus at lower focal lenghts after some time.. I also bought TWO infamous silver 75-300 Minoltas soon after that and guess what i noticed? All three lenses had this exact same issue. This is a camera issue and the lens is not to blame, but the Tamron 70-300 USD and also the big beercan 75-300 do not have this issue. Maybe the 70300G is sharing the same lens ID with the cheap and poor silver minolta resulting in the shared problem.. which makes me laugh and think that the G is basically a silver minolta with the ridiculous CA removed and an SSM strapped onto it.

Some additional rant: The Sigma 100-300 F4 would be a good alternative to this lens, but it is plagued with the infamous plastic gears.. the newer FE version on the other hand is looking interesting tho: lower MFD resulting in ~3,1 magnification and zoom lock.

This lens would need a big amount of improvements/features to be worth the price and therefore:

I will now call it the Silver Creeper and not recommend it.

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