Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#46875 date: Jul-23-2022
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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 28-200 RXD
Tokina AF 35-200 SD
Minolta MD 50-135 F3.5
Sigma 50-150 F2.8 EX DC HSM II
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Vivitar 70-150 F3.8
Tamron 70-180 F2.8 VXD
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Canon EF 70-200 F4 L USM
Vivitar S1 70-210 F3.5 I & II
Minolta AF 70-210 F4
Minolta AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF 80-200 F2.8 HS APO G
Minolta AF 80-200 F2.8 APO G
Tokina 80-200 F2.8 AT-X Pro
Vivitar 85-205 F3.8
Minolta AF 100-200 F4.5
Minolta AF 135 F2.8
Canon EF 135 F2.8 Softfocus
Canon EF 200 F2.8 L USM
Minolta AF 200 F2.8 APO G
Minolta AF 200 F2.8 HS APO G
price paid:800 USD (used)
positive:Low chromatic aberration
Panning mode OSS
Removable tripod mount included
Lens Compensation
"Dust and moisture resistant"
negative:Price, size, weight
Low contrast
Weak build
1 meter minimum focus
Not the smoothest rendering
Focus Breathing
Tripod ring rotates when locked
No teleconverters
Limited to 15 FPS
No Silent Aperture Drive
No Breathing Compensation
72mm filter threads
comment:This is the second oldest E-mount G series lens and the first one for full-frame cameras. While it was announced with the original mirrorless full-frame bodies, it wasn't available until months later. There is generous amount of open space behind the rear element indicating this could have been used for SLRs and could certainly accommodate teleconverters if the rear baffles were modified. "Made in JAPAN."

I do a lot of panning shots and have missed the benefits of panning stabilization on the smaller lenses I prefer to use. The Sony FE 70-300 G OSS and E 70-350 G OSS both lack a panning mode switch, but this lens has it. It does lack Mode 3 for erratic subjects like on the 200-600 G.

I made what I felt was a generous offer on Greentoe for this lens, but the counter offers where closer to the list price. The best copy still has some misalignment especially at the wide end, and the right side is softer in the mid range. However it is sharper at the long end than the Canon EF 70-200mm F4 L USM I was using.

I had previously tried this lens in a store at least once, but I hadn't remembered how cheap it feels. I've seen photos of several broken in half. There are some alloy adornments like the strip between the control rings. The composite rear barrel has much less flex than the Tamron zooms. The plastic hood bayonet tracks on tend to get discolored which makes the lens look old and used. The hood also fit very loose.

There is no full-time DMF available. The focus and zoom controls works smoothly on two of the copies with a good amount of range for sports.

There is not much focus breathing at the wide end, but there is a noticeable amount at the long end. Even at the long end it is still much less breathing than a lens that maintains its focal length. I was expecting better breathing control like the 24-105 G and 200-600 G. The lens is somewhat varifocal with closer focus allowed at the wide-end.

There is a very limited range limiter switch that merely prevents focusing closer than 3 meters instead of 1 meter. The maximum magnification is low.

The mostly plastic Sony weighs the same as the mostly alloy Canon EF 70-200 F4 L USM mounted to the Sigma MC-11 adapter. The Sony has more vignetting despite the larger filter diameter. The Sony's background rendering is a little busier, but not too bad.

While the rear baffle is easily removed, there are other internal plastic sections which block the installation of the Sony FE teleconverters.

Overall a fairly disappointing lens for the cost. Maybe Sony will release an updated and improved version with better quality eventually. I've been expecting a new version of this lens to support faster burst rates since the ILCE-9 was released in 2017. A new version might also accept the Sony FE teleconverters.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 17
  • sharpness: 4.71
  • color: 4.94
  • build: 4.76
  • distortion: 4.88
  • flare control: 4.88
  • overall: 4.84 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania