Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS E-mount lens review by jeffbozo

reviewer#44377 date: Oct-6-2019
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 3
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.1
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:none
price paid:1800
positive:This lens is amazing, very fast focus on the modern Sony mirorless cameras, shot on the a6400, the in lens stabilization allows hand held shots even at full zoom at 1/125 of a second. The quick zoom mechanism is great for acquiring the subject at 200 and zooming in to 600 with 1/4 of a rotation of the zoom ring, unlike the 100-400, which is much more cumbersome especially with its extending front lens group almost doubling the lens length. This lens is really the ideal safari lens, where carrying a 500 or 600 f/4 is not practical unless you have a assistant to carry it for you, this lens can be stowed in a padded backpack with the camera and lens hood for quick access. Don't forget a bean bag support when going on game runs to help support the lens for extended periods of time. While it can be held at eye level, it is a heavier lens and you need to be fairly strong to hold the lens for an extended period. For birding a carbon monopod and a wimberly head would be recommended. Image IQ is on par with the 100-400 GM, and in every way this lens looks and feels as well made as the GM lenses. The only problem is the Peak design strap lugs are vulnerable to inadvertent release where the strap ends are located and the design of the lens lugs. A different quick release strap should be considered. The only minor issue is the specular highlights have some onion rings, that can be easily corrected in post.

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negative:Have been shooting with it, mounted on my A9, for the past 10 days (since I got it). Early days (only three sessions so far). It replaced my Sigma 500mm APO DG + Kenko Teleplus x1.4 MC (my go-to setup in the past 3 years) Pros: (1) Lightweight & short, compared even side-by-side with Nikon legendary 200-500, and for sure side-by-side the Tamron 150-600 G2. (2) Very silent focus mechanism, and quit fast for Tele-zoom. (3) Tak sharp images, with no discernable vignietting and good bokeh. Cons: (1) Maxes out its tracking ability (good but not as good as a prime lens. (2) Autofocus is a bit hit /miss so far. When waking it up while trying to pan and zoom, it a lot of the time will settle at not at the focus but short of it, and the same goes for panning from one subject to another at a different distance. All review was done using the 600mm side of the lens (wildlife photography) F# between 8-13 (my favourite range).
comment:Before this, my longest lens had been 200 mm. I was excited to open new possibilities. The shocker has been the size and weight. I'm sure it compares favorably to other lenses in it's class, but I have never owned one of those. I gave up trying to make a spot in my bag, and carry the lens on it's strap over my shoulder. I would prefer to carry the strap across my chest, but the provided strap is not long enough to carry it that way. So I am about to order a Peak strap which will allow that. I don't photograph sports, and do little birding. I bought this for landscape. On a full-size tripod, it has performed well. I have a travel tripod, but I am doubtful it will be able to handle this beast (but I will test it). I have not printed any of the images yet, but on the screen, sharpness appears fine. In the 2 weeks I have owned it, I have several print-worthy images. I foresee that the size and weight will be the the limiting factors as to when and how often I use this lens. Hauling it more that a few hundred yards, in addition to a bag and full-size tripod, challenges my capacity. It is also unlikely to come along on trips requiring air travel. May have to settle for a 70-200 with a 2x extender for travel.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 4
  • sharpness: 4.63
  • color: 4.50
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.50
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.52 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania