Sony AF 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM A-mount lens review by Hols52

reviewer#9924 date: Feb-12-2012
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50, Sony 70-300G, Sony 35mm F1.8
price paid:£1400 (new)
positive:Build quality, IQ, Focusing
comment:Excellent lens - if anything the IQ, focusing, colour rating etc are better than the 70-300G, but not that those from the 70-300 are are not excellent and more than enough for me. It is just that this is even better.

The pictures I have got from this lens I love, the solid feel I love. Yet I have used the 70-300G far more often. Why? Well partly because I have owned the 70-300 longer but also because I find that this lens I do not want to walk around with. It is too big - for me. I can use it hand-held and can have it round my neck. I just choose not to as I find it far more comfortable using it on at least a monopod if not a tripod (preferred.
Also, for me the results are better if I use the tripod than handheld - so it is an easy decision - when I know I will be using it take the tripod. But, this does limit how often I use it compared to the 70-300.

Does that mean I would consider letting it go or regret buying it - no way! The extra reach and that touch of extra quality are for me totally worth it. I love planning a trip out for the birds or some landscapes or some architecture. The whole thing becomes more of an event - I love it.

But, if I am going to be walking all day and want something to grab birds in flight or a landscape which just appears - I have the 70-300 and 16-50.

So I guess for me its horses for courses. For what I enjoy the 16-50, 70-300 and 70-400 all have their part to play and all I really enjoy. If you forced my hand and I was limited to two, I would have to let the 70-400 go simply because for me the weight is an issue. A few years back though I would be letting the 70-300 go because at the end of the day, if you are fine with the weight then this lens is superb.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 127
  • sharpness: 4.87
  • color: 4.91
  • build: 4.56
  • distortion: 4.85
  • flare control: 4.84
  • overall: 4.81 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania