Sony AF 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 168    << 1 2 3 4 5 6 >>
reviewer#10000 date: Mar-6-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Sigma 75-300 APO
price paid:750 £ GBP
positive:Build
Very Quiet
IQ and Colour
SSM,
DMF
Excellent case incl
Brilliantly packed
Reasonably light
Decent front lens size
Bright
Front Shutter Curtain Yes
Fast Focus
negative:Plastic Outer barrell
Massive Hood
Not weather sealed
comment:Pros:
It's very well made.
Mine doesn't rattle when rotated.
The IQ is very good for the price. And the colours seem very good.
It's SSM, and Sony so no Sigma type issues. DMF is in the lens so no worries about turning the Focus ring at the wrong time. Sony confirmed you can turn the ring at any time with any setting [on or off] without damaging camera or lens [NB was refferring to on an A77 NB no legal responsibiity for this statement: just passing on what I was told. So do your own due diligence please].
Excellent case with it. Brilliantly packed so you know its not damaged on arrival.
Reasonably light for what it is. Quite a decent front lens/filter size 62mm [seems a lot 'brighter' than the sigma]
Cons:
It's made of plastic [albeit a really high quality plastic].
Horrible Massive Hood, wish it was more discreet and not petal shaped[but it does the job, no flare, and fits nicelty and parks on the lens]
A bit pricey at £850 RRP but then it works and takes beautiful pics. Not an expert but when you see the Sigma 70-300 APO for £188 on Amazon it makes you feel it's very expensive. But that doesn't support DMF, Lens ID, Flash ADI,Front Shutter Curtain [VIP IMO], Lens Comp [coming Ver 1.5 soon], AF Mico adjust [could be vital, mine was spot on so N/A].
So is it pricey maybe not [IQ is also better than Sigma IMO]

Technically how good is it you need to ask someone experienced [sorry just don't know enough on how to compare images with graphs etc.]

Summary it takes razor sharp pictures, focuses as fast as I need it to, is quiet can be used in video and is OK, seen others that are unacceptable, works brilliantly with the A77. It's also relatively compact and weight is ok, but with a A77 say sight seeing for an afternoon you'd want a bag.
reviewer#9978 date: Feb-27-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 70-300 Di
Sony Zeiss 16-80
price paid:$849.00 USD (new)
positive:(Sony a77) Fast and accurate auto-focus at all focal lengths right out of the box – Overall sharpness - Dazzling color rendition – well built and light for all day handling – Excellent overall image quality.
negative:None
comment:Comments: Based on the early reviews of the a77 and 16-50mm lens, I sold my a850 and 70-400mm lenses, and bought the new lighter combination. From the first JPEG fine, I knew this new camera and lens combo was something very special, and the reviews were accurate. I had a Sony Zeiss 16-80, that in combination with the a77 also was delivering terrific images. This review is about the Sony 70-300, so I intend to review the 16-50, and the 16-80 individually at a later time.

I purchased a Tamron 70-300 Di for the use with the a77, and the images looked OK on the LCD, but when magnified, were an unacceptable blur, and the Tammy went back to the retailer. I had occasion in the past to use the Sony 70-300 G, so I bought one, and am content that the extra money was well spent. The sharpness and color saturation are discussed above, and I have not noticed any CA or flare as yet, and do not really think flare is an issue when using the Sony hood for the 70-300mm.

The lens at F/4.5 is very sharp, however not a particularly fast lens, but then for “still photography,” this is an awesome lens.

Whatever the Sony Engineers did to cram 24 megapixels into the APS-C sensor used in the a77 is not important to this user, only that the architecture works. What Sony has accomplished with the a77 is; that it has taken existing Sony lenses like the 70-300 G, and allow the existing optics to perform at a higher level. The same is true of the Sony 16-80mm Sony Zeiss.

The “Smart Tele Converter” on the a77 also allows extending the focal length of the 70-300 G by either a 1.4X or a 2X factor. My initial tests show the 70-300 G is sharp enough to operate at these extreme focal lengths, however the skills of the photographer will be put to the test.

The Sony 70-300 G, and the Sony Zeiss 16-80 both balance well on the a77, and have no weight issues. I will pack them both on vacations, simply because in combination, they cover a range of 16mm to 300mm, and both generate fantastic image quality.
reviewer#9923 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50, Sony 70-400G, Sony 35mm 1.8
price paid:£500
positive:Sharpness, IQ, Speed of focusing, build
negative:None
comment:This lens is really good - no it is excellent! I managed to buy mine second hand - but came boxed and looks like new. Feel I got a real bargain.

When I am out for photography often I rarely have the three zooms with me or if I know I am going to be out walking a lot then it will be this one and the 16-50. The 70-400G I tend to take out for "special" purposes - due to weight and tripod. Therefore this lens gets used far more than the 70-400G

It's very sharp, great colours, I have not noticed any CA or flare, the auto focus is fast and accurate.

On the A77 it balances very well and there is no weight issue - hence why I carry it around my neck so much. The build quality I think is also excellent, it feels very solid and well put together. To date I have not experienced any zoom creep at all, though there is very, very slight movement between the lens and body when attached - less than 70-400 but more than 16-50 ( I am guessing this is a size issue and the fact that so far I have only been using it in cold weather!)

I find it is great for birds particularly BIF and it rarely hunts for the subject.
But it is far more than a lens for wildlife or birds. I think it is an excellent all round lens and compliments the 16-50 so well. The IQ from both are totally comparable and I am not good enough to be able to tell or advice anyone which is better.

The Bokeh on this I find more pleasing than on the 70-400 but that is simply personal preference I think.

It comes with a hood which works very well and its own carrying case - both of which I like.

I can see this lens alongside the 16-50 are going to give me years of pleasure and enjoyment. Love it.
reviewer#9863 date: Jan-30-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
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:55-200
price paid:
missing
positive:Excellent sharpness and overall image quality. Quiet. Well made.
negative:Overpriced. AF is slow. Heavier than most lenses in its class. Drains the battery.
comment:I like the lens but don't find it to be good value for money and wouldn't recommend it to others unless they get a good deal.

The results it gives you are great and I do appreciate the SSM. It also feels very well made. There is no question that this is a good lens.

That said it isn't a home-run. The auto-focus has always been slower than many of my other lenses on my A700. It is also larger than a lot of comprable lenses and is big for such a slow lens.

The real problem is that my 55-200 gives results that are very close in quality for a fraction of the price. The 70-300 is an excellent lens but not at the inflated price it is at now. I find that I don't even use the 70-300G much anymore since purchasing the 55-200. I never thought i'd type that but its true.
reviewer#9664 date: Dec-4-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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:Minolta 100-300 Apo
price paid:1100
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:It's a great lens!
reviewer#9601 date: Nov-16-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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:SAL 70-400 G SSM
Sigma 70-300 APO DG
price paid:800 EUR (new)
positive:Everything. Well made, solid build, good AF, easy MF. beautiful images, but needs a stop down at 300 mm to peak.
negative:70-400 big brother is so much sharper
comment:Save up and get the 70-400 G SSM in stead. It weighs a lot more and is expensive, but the extra IQ and reach is worth it. The Sigma is cheaper, has Macro capabities and gave me a lot of good film images before the AF gear was stripped by my A700.
reviewer#9452 date: Sep-28-2011
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:700 USD
positive:Excelente en todo, un poco más veloz y seria PERFECTO!!
negative:Diametro del Filtro!!
comment:
missing
reviewer#9251 date: Jul-23-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:beercan/ big beercan
price paid:550 EUR (new)
positive:colors
sharp
no ca
nice bokeh
no flare
silent SSM, fast and very good AF
limiter and focus stop button
reversed zoom/focus rings
strong build despite plastic
negative:aperture (if you're picky)
zoom creep
huge hood (but looks amazingly cool)
drains battery unless you change your focusing settings
comment:This lens is pretty much amazing. I had the chance to buy it second-hand but in an almost like new state. And I made a hell of a buy! I always have two lenses with me most of the time, and this is one of them.

It's basically very sharp, great colors, virtually no CA whatsoever, no flare, the AF is great and silent, it does drain the battery unless you change a few things (such as the Eye-start AF) and use the limiter and focus stop button.

If you want to use the MF, the reversed rings are smooth and actually very ergonomic. Some of the MF shots I took are purely stunning in IQ and sharpness. Nothing else comes closer to it, at least from what I tested so far. Besides, the bokeh is very pleasing and soft.

It does come with a hood that looks like a bazooka but it can make you feel and look cool if that's what you're looking for. Otherwise just buy a rubber hood and you're good to go. The build, despite what some say, is actually very good. The lens feels solid and well build, nothing is out of place.

The only negative thing that annoys me is the zoom creep. I had a few negative things to put in the negative section and all but this one have a mitigation. You can use a rubber wrist ring to hold it down, buy it black and you'll forget it's there.

Overall, I would buy it all over again if I had to. It became my favorite lens, with the 50mm F/1.4.

You can take a look at some shots with this lens here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/photographychronicles/
http://photographychronicles.wordpress.com/
reviewer#9207 date: Jul-5-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp
negative:
missing
comment:bought it at the same time as my alfa 550 december 2009. It is a good pair. It is a battery drainer, pictures are very sharp. Mostly used for shooting my kids when they are playing outdoors
reviewer#9190 date: Jun-28-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:70-300 sigma apomacro
70-300 minolta
100-300 minolta
16-105 sony
tamron 90 macro
50mm f 1,8 sony
price paid:400€ (used)
positive:sharp
fast silent focus
Weight
SSM
solid build
negative:Aperture
comment:in this price range nothing is better (Canon and Nikon don't have a lens with this quality in this price range)
light, well built, fast and silent autofocus and very sharp.
only the best 300mm Fixed focal length lenses have's a better sharpness.Nice bokeh. no ca.
The only drawback is the aperture but at this price you can not have a 2.8.....
I love this lens.
some shots made ​​with this lens
http://www.flickr.com/photos/linnmimik/sets/72157626595244057/
reviewer#9187 date: Jun-28-2011
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan
Tamron 70-200/2.8
price paid:666 USD (used)
positive:Nice colours
Contrast and sharpness
Weight
SSM
AF accuracy
negative:Price new
comment:It's a great lens though I didn't think so before buying it. I had a chance to buy it for a quite nice price, used but only several months old, so I thought "well, I'll buy it and if I don't like it, I'd sell it with no money loss.
Well... I don't want to sell it at all! :-) It's sharp and accurate, not to heavy, bot not to light, great contrast and very nice colours. The build quality is... solid I would say, the SSM works silently and fast enought. I haven't used a beercan since I bought it and beercan was my favourite tele once. Now a set of A850 and 70-300G is my favourite :-) It works fine with my wife's Nex-3, too.
One could say "I wish it was f/2.8" but not me - it would be bigger and heavier, as was the Tamron which was too heavy for me.
The only thing - it would be nice if it was a bit cheaper.
reviewer#8860 date: Apr-3-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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:Minolta 100-300
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 HSM II
Minolta beercan
Minolta Big Beercan
price paid:5000 DKK
positive:Weight
Sharpness
SSM focusing!
MFD
Contrast
negative:Build quality
Price
Aperture
comment:This really is a great lens!
takes awesome photos every time, good contrast, great sharpness. My favorite lens for the zoo.
This lens is much better than both the minolta 100-300 and the big beercan, to my tests and specific lenses at least.
better sharpness, better contrast, less flare, way better focusing (and nice limiter like on the BB).
the bad things about this lens is the price and the aperture.
I would like it to have been a bit cheaper, it's very expensive in my country, more than 1200 USD from new, and the aperture is simply not okay for that amount of money.
Other than that, the weight is kept low because of the plastics used, and that's both good and bad. Low weight is good, plastic build is not. though this is definately the nicer type of plasic! i could not image this to fail or break, the lens seems very sturdy!
BTW, SSM focusing is awesome :)
reviewer#8837 date: Mar-28-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:
missing
price paid:390GBP (Used)
positive:Very Sharp
Lovely colours
SSM (quiet & fast)
Weight
negative:Build Quality
No window on the hood for a CP.
comment:I recently purchased this for my Sony A700. I have previously tried both the Sony AND Minolta budget zooms, and this Sony 70-300mm knocks socks off any of them. The sharpness and colours are immense and the SSM is Soooooooooo quiet!

The only negatives are the build quality (Although the internals are going to be very well made...the outer seems very plasticy) and that there is no window on the hood to be able to use a CP (unlike the 70-400mm SSM G)
reviewer#8827 date: Mar-23-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.3
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:Canon 75-300 cheapo - this is my first tele-zoom in Sony/Minolta
price paid:600 USD (used)
positive:Light
SSM is quiet and accurate
Decent hood (plastic)
Good balance on A700
Focus limiter
negative:Zoom creep is pretty bad
SSM hunts occasionally
soft-ish on long end
aperture increases quickly
Price for what it is
comment:This is my favorite lens, but is also by far my nicest lens. I shoot at longer focal lengths much more frequently than wide and wanted a nicer tele-zoom (70-200/400 out of my range currently) and this lens has lived up to my expectations. The build is plastic, but ok for what it is. I kind of like the reversed zoom/focus ring orientation too.

Images I get from it are far superior to my kit lens (18-70), as to be expected, but not as nice as my Minolta 50 1.7 stopped down, though the focus is more accurate on the G. And these are completely different lenses, so really not useful for a comparison. The best comparison I have is previous use of the cheap 75-300 in Canon mount years ago, and this is far superior.

There are some negatives, however. First, as a NIB I think this lens is over-priced. It is all plastic (minus the glass) and the zoom creep is pretty significant. The aperture increases very quickly, and I don't expect an f/2.8 at $800, but would be nice if it took a little time getting to f/5.6.

With that said, I had read reviews prior to purchase and decided what my budget was for this particular lens and knew I would only purchase used and got it for a price I liked. At the $600 price point, I don't think it can be beat.
reviewer#8801 date: Mar-17-2011
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:700 USD (New)
positive:Peso y discreto.-
negative:Filtro de 62mm y tamaño de Parasol.
comment:Supero mis espectativas en FF, estoy muy contento, no se despega de mi A850!!!!
reviewer#8643 date: Feb-9-2011
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nikkor 70-300vr
price paid:849.95 (new)
positive:Outstanding build, focus speed and accuracy, sharpness and contrast
negative:very large hood
comment:This lens is an example of top flight build, finish and performance. It is near instant to lock focus and is a pleasure to hold. Solid construction and excellent balance on a A55. The color rendition is top flight as well. Sharpness is good in the center wide open and just keeps getting better as you stop it down throughout the rest of the frame. Focusing is instant and quiet. It's a tad expensive for what it is perhaps, but at least it delivers the goods. A view of Downtown Salt Lake City from 30 miles away can be seen at:
http://www.pbase.com/traveler/image/132403744/original.jpg
reviewer#8589 date: Jan-28-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 APO (D)
Minolta 80-200 APO G HS
Minolta 200mm f2.8 APO
price paid:
missing
positive:Very good compromise between size and weight
Very good colours
Nice SSM focus system
Close focus
Focus limiter
Impressive and useful hood
negative:It a real f5.6 for near all the focal lengths
Slow focusing, sometimes hunts
Maybe the hood can annoying in some situations
comment:This is the perfect tele zoom for amateur photographers, not very big, not very heavy. Maybe a bit overpriced. It is a good match for the Carl Zeiss 16-80, but only should be used in good light condition.

I always use it at f5.6-f6.3 since there it is always sharp enough

When the sun goes down it is a bit hard to lock the focus
reviewer#8520 date: Jan-15-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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:Minolta 100-300APO(D)
price paid:800 USD (new)
positive:Bokeh
Lightweight
Focusing on A55 & A700 is pretty fast.
negative:Wish it were f/2, 1000mm and same price and weight.
comment:I live in the country and this is my 'walk around' lens! Performs well as a tele macro combined with some cropping of the image. I posted some 'macro' shots taken with this lens in the 70-300G picture forum. At the long end I find I get the improved results on my copy stopped down just ~ 2/3 to 1 stop. Sharpness (and the nice A700, A55 images) permit a good degree of cropping.

Continues to preform well. Using a tripod has helped get more bird photo keepers. Together with the 16-80 it makes a nice travel kit.

Build quality - a solid lightweight lens.
reviewer#8368 date: Dec-6-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
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:100-300/4.5-5.6 APO
80-200/2.8G
70-210/4
several old Minolta zooms
price paid:500 GBP (new)
positive:quiet focus (SSM)
good results overall on FF
great bokeh
no distortion, flare, ca
negative:bulky size
overpriced
average build quality
zoom creep
reversed zoom/focus rings
comment:Sony might have shot themselves in a leg with this one - it sends a wrong message to somebody who has never used a G lens before. It’s made out of plastic (don’t let the marketing term “composite materials” fool you) and just doesn’t look like it will last 20, or even 5 years of heavy use, like the true Minolta G’s have. Then, the sharpness at 300mm@5.6 is not that excellent and the contrast there is noticeably reduced. My opinion is that a pro grade lens should be useful in its entire range, wide open, in any conditions. Zoom creep on a professional grade “G” lens? That should not happen.

But enough bashing. If this lens didn’t carry a G tag, there would not be that much to complain about. It doesn’t cost as much as a proper G lens did, although I do think that it is still far overpriced on European markets (price is better in Asia). It’s more of a successor to the good, old 100-300 APO and it does improve upon it. The SSM motor is not very fast, but it is quiet and impressively accurate. Quality is great in any conditions at 70-210mm range, but so is the beercan@F5.6, right? Sharpness @ 300mm is good in bright and contrasty conditions, but on a gloomy day it needs to be stopped to F7.1-F8 for optimal results; otherwise it produces rather flat looking shots. I do admit that imperfections greatly recover with the DXO Optics package, which has a profile for this lens.

Bokeh is smooth and very pleasing, and reportedly much nicer than that of its bigger brother, the 70-400SSM.

Flare and distortion control are both excellent (G level actually ;-) ). CA is non-existent.

Build quality does not deserve a G though. It is on par with Minolta mid-range lenses from the 90ties, maybe slightly better, but not up to the 17-35G, 28-70G or 80-200G or the G primes. The 70-300G catches internal dust rather easily as it’s not sealed. Proper G lenses, while never advertised as sealed, are much more resistant to this problem. Zoom creep might also be an issue. I personally dislike the enormous hood and the reversed zoom/focus ring positions. With any other lens, I can work instantly without mounting the hood, not with this one.

Then comes the huge external size. I wish Sony took classes from Minolta on how to design compact lenses. There’s absolutely no reason for a lens of this range and speed to be this large. It is rather light for it's size, because it’s mostly made of plastic and air. Take this out of you bag with the lens hood on, and the average crowd will consider you a lunatic. I actually think the 80-200 HS APO G appears more discrete.

So where does this leave us? The Sony 70-300G still is the best, sharpest, speediest (focusing) *amateur* telezoom available for any system. If only Sony adjusted the price to better compete with it’s peers, this would be an obvious winner. In most cases you can still get it from Hong Kong at a better price, even after taxes.

And for gods’ sake Sony, drop the G tag and make more lenses which truly deserve it!
reviewer#8236 date: Nov-12-2010
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 own this lens
compared to:CZ 24-70
Tamron 70-200
Sony 70-400
price paid:
missing
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:
missing
reviewer#8216 date: Nov-9-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-200 with 1.4 tc
price paid:799
positive:lightweight
silent AF
focus limiter
sharp at 5.6
negative:almost too light when zoomed out, shakey without the mass
expensive
comment:Nice lens for hiking, etc. I like it, but it is almost too light. When using at long end with slower shutter speeds, it seems to be less sharp than the Sigma with 1.4 tc that is quite heavy. I feel like there is movement in hand when shutter is pressed. With tripod and MLU, it is really sharp. I find the sigma combo just as sharp at F5 and more versitle. Probably will sell off
reviewer#8141 date: Oct-25-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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:Sony DT 18-250mm f3.5-6.3
Sony 50mm f1.4
price paid:450 GBP (used)
positive:- Fast to focus
- good build
- smooth manual focus ring
negative:- no "polariser door"
- zoom creep
comment:Purchased because it was a good deal at the time and I wanted something a little faster & higher quality than the superzoom. If fulfilled my requirements well, the image quality throughout the zoom range is much better than the superzoom, but particularly above 150mm. Focus is rapid, and manual focus is accurate and a joy to use. Probably a little bigger & heaver than I would like for a 4.5-5.6 zoom, but solidly built so I think this can be forgiven.

As mentioned above, there is some zoom creep and when I pull it from my bag with the hood reversed I find that it extends out - not ideal. Would also be nice if it had a door in the hood for turning a polariser (as on the 70-400G), but I guess you can't have everything.
reviewer#8069 date: Oct-10-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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 own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:$550 used
positive:Build quality
Good hood
Sharpness
Focusing speed
negative:Slow (f4.5-5.6)
Large hood
Flare w/o hood
comment:This lens is fantastic. The build is solid, SSM is fast, and IQ is as great as I've seen. The reversed focus and zoom rings take a while to get used to, but I actually like it now. The only things I don't really like about this lens is the large lens hood and the slow aperture. I don't really intend to use this lens for indoor or low light shots, so the slow aperture really doesn't bother me, but both the zoom and focus rings are inaccessible with the hood mounted backwards. Without the hood, this lens is somewhat prone to flare, which creates slightly washed out colors. I tend to keep the hood one however, as it makes the lens look really cool :p.
reviewer#8057 date: Oct-7-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:28-135 Minolta
Beercan
Sigma 70-200 HSM
70-400G Sony
price paid:500 CDN (used)
positive:really nice to use, smaller and lighter than some other options, great colours and sharpness
negative:Large lens hood. Minimum aperture.
comment:I lusted after this lens for a long time. It was on my list but I really could not justify the expense given the 28-135 and 70-400G that I already had (not to mention the Sigma 70-200). I made a lowball offer based on my need for the lens (not my lust) and eventually the seller accepted it.
I am so glad I have it now. It really lives up to its reputation and is nice to handle.
reviewer#8009 date: Sep-22-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Beercan
Minolta 80-200
Sony 75-300 (kit lens)
price paid:850.00 new
positive:sharpness
focus speed
size (without hood)
negative:Focus and zoom ring location
Not that fast (4.5-5.6)
comment:IMO anyone looking for a long zoom should seriously consider this lens. It is very sharp, focuses quickly and quietly and produces excellent images at a pretty reasonable price. I find the position of the zoom ring confusing but once it's mounted and you're settled in, it's fine. It's reasonably priced and appears to be well built. It's only shortcoming is the speed but there are limits with this wide a range. If you are looking for a low light lens with a narrower DOF you must look elsewhere, but for a great telezoom for your a mount, this one is a winner..
reviewer#7972 date: Sep-16-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Min 100400
Min Beercan
Min 100200
price paid:usd 550 new
positive:Light for its size
Beautiful colors
Wonderful clarity
negative:Heavy battery drain
clunky hood
comment:This lens produces wonderful pictures -- but it's just not as friendly as my older Minolta lenses. Still, it is qualitatively better.

Sony has captured Minolta colors, and it has made a lens that is beautifully focussed from edge to edge. But the hood makes it into a monster, and when the hood is left on but backwards, it obstructs the zoom. The hood is outstanding to prevent flare, but it's huge.

The SSM, I think because it is independent of our own pressure on the focus button, drains the battery, fast. So I carry extra batteries -- but with my 500 Reflex and the 100400, I don't feel that I need constantly to review the battery charge as I do with this lens. I think that replacing the lens cap whenever the lens is put down may delay the battery-draining problem

The SSM is impressively fast and silent, but occasionally freezes: the focus limiter switch is very useful. Once the hood is installed (or, as I prefer, just not mounted) the body of the lens is fatter than I like: the texture of the armature is very comfortable in hot and cold weather; while the zoom ring at the end is well placed, every so often I twist the focal ring by mistake.

I got it at the Circuit City closeout, which accounts for the price -- and even at that price, I'm still dubious that I like the lens. I like the incredible results it produces, but the disadvantages, in my eyes, are very large -- especially since I am not a pixel peeper or sharpness fanatic.

I have the same relationship with my Zeiss 135, so it may just be a problem that the lens is too bulky overall.
reviewer#7889 date: Aug-28-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Beercan, CZ85, CZ135, 100 Macro, 100/2, 135/2.8, 200/2.8 HS, 100-300 APO
price paid:
missing
positive:- Very nice bokeh
- Really great colour
- SSM
- Very convenient range on full frame
- Great balance on A900, feels lightweight (esp. compared to 70-200/2.8 and I can only imagine 70-400)
- Good availability on used market
negative:- Not really any sharper than Beercan
- Already at f/5.6 by 135mm
- Focus could be quicker
- Expensive new
comment:This lens wasn't love at first sight, as I was disappointed it wasn't really any sharper than my beercan (though I know I have a good copy of the beercan).

However, looking through the photos, and especially prints, the colours really pop while looking very natural at the same time. And bokeh is really smooth. So I am happy and would recommend this lens on full frame.

Range 70-300mm is very convenient on full frame, and if you can't stomach the weight of the 70-200/2.8 or 70-400, it's pretty much your only option to get to 300mm with acceptable quality.

This lens is quite expensive new in the UK (at least GBP 600), though you can find second-hand copies for much less and since this is quite a new lens, many second-hand copies are in almost mint condition.

I think the Tamron 70-300 USD will give this lens some serious competition and hopefully drive the price down a little.
reviewer#7799 date: Aug-9-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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:Minolta 100-300 APO
price paid:700€
positive:Very sharp, silent lens
Not too heavy
negative:4.5-5.6 ... :-(
But it out performs everything I have tried to this day
comment:I loved this lens during a safari in South Africa. some times I would have liked to have more light... so a 2.8 would be wonderful, but it was much better than the Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 4.5-5.6G IF-ED
reviewer#7792 date: Aug-8-2010
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 75-300
Min 135
Beercan
Big Beercan
price paid:550 USD
positive:SSM quite fast
Sharp
Good Colour
negative:AF in low light
small Aperture
comment:I've taken a while to review this partly because I've been very busy & partly wanted to use it extensively 1st.
I am very impressed. It is wonderfully sharp & has lovely colours. I cannot fault the build quality. It is a joy to use & the reversed zoom rings I actually like. Highly reccomended lens if you dont need the wide aperture.
reviewer#7782 date: Aug-4-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-300 DG APO Macro
Minolta 70-210 f4 beercan
price paid:about 700 EUR (new)
positive:Sharpness
SSM
Focus hold button
Focus limit
It's black
Colors
No CA at all
No flare
negative:Zoom creep
No weather sealed
comment:Talking about the lens, sharpness is perfect on my copy, no front-back focus issues. Much better than Sigma and Minolta.
Absolutely usable wide open, it gives better performance between f6.3 - f10.
SSM is not super fast but neither I can say it's slow. Birds and superbikes are easy to catch if you make good use of focus lock and focus limiter.
CA and flare control are superb. no traces. CA is why I sold my beercan.
Colors are as you can expect from a G lens, more neutral than Sigma (yellowish) and pretty similar to Minolta style.
I think it's well built except for the hood...I would have preferred something like the hood of the 70-400G but it works very well and all in all it helps protecting the precious piece of glass. I don't use filters except CPL and I always use hoods on all my lenses to avoid bumps to the front glass.
Zoom creep could be a problem when you hang your camera on your shoulder with the lens facing the ground. It tends to strength till 200mm or so...I would have preferred a simple and useful lock.

So, if you want a very nice lens, functionally and aesthetically and you have some money to invest...don't hesitate and buy it.
reviews found: 168    << 1 2 3 4 5 6 >>

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

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