Sony AF 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 127    << 1 2 3 4 5 >>
reviewer#9826 date: Jan-21-2012
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 100-400 IS
Tamron 200-500mm
Nikon 80-400mm
price paid:1799
positive:Build quality
AF speed
SSM
Great IQ
Focus limiter
negative:None
comment:This lens is the king of the zooms in this focal range. Over the years have owned Canon and Nikon and their versions are inferior to the the Sony in every way.
Sure it's expensive and a bit heavy but in this case you really do get what you pay for.
The SSM is very quiet and focuses quickly on the a77. Another great feature of this lens is the focus limiter allows you to fill the frame on most subjects without going to the full focus setting at 400mm.
Some reviewes complain of zoom creep but my copy is very good in this regard. I don't know if it will loosen over time.
If you need the reach and can afford it buy it.
reviewer#9782 date: Jan-13-2012
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1389 EUR (new)
positive:Sharpness
IQ wide open
Size
Price
negative:Zoom creep
Placement focus hold buttons
Will refuse focus lock on occasion.
Hunts in dimmer light
comment:I was supprised about the size and weight of the lens when I recieved it. It's portable enough to take on hiking trips as opposed to the primes of this focal length.

I like the IQ. Wide open the IQ is great, even on both ends. The lens isn't that fast, which can make the bokeh a bit messy. This can easily be avoided by composing the image different. This can however be a bit of an issue sometimes.

Build quality is good, although a lot of plastic is used. Biggest issue is the placement of the focus hold buttons, which can be pressed accidentally if not careful. After 4 months of use, zoom creep has popped up as a minor issue.

Biggest gripe I have is that it can hunt if used in dimmer light or with a busy background. I need to intervene with MF on a regular basis when shooting in the woods, as the lens keeps hunting or won't lock focus, even when focus limit is set.
reviewer#9694 date: Dec-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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-300G
Sony 55-200
Cosina 75-300
Centon 500 Mirror
price paid:900 Pounds (Used)
positive:Everything about this lens screams quality.

negative:None
comment:I have read comments before getting this lens with people unhappy with the hood design and the colour.

These issues are trivial and really not worth bothering over (and not true as the hood is a great design and of well made plastics & the colour I personally find to be lovely) when you take into account the quality of photos this lens produces.

It 25 years of photography this is simply the best zoom lens I have ever seen or used and this includes forays into Canikon lenses as well.

If you get a chance to buy one - don't hesitate - you won't regret it.
reviewer#9662 date: Dec-4-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sony 70-300G
price paid:1000 EUR (new)
positive:sharpness
construction
SSM
color rendition
hood window
focus limiter
focus hold button
negative:not weather sealed
no zoom-lock
comment:I bought this lens to replace my precedent 70-300G and I found one brand new just for 1000 EUR even though I had to wait almost a month to put my hands on it. But I'm so happy with it!

SHARPNESS AND IMAGE QUALITY = I can't ask for something better at any aperture or any focal range! I'm extremely satisfied and a step over the fantastic 70-300G.
Generally image quality is at the top and you can't see any chromatic aberration at all. Bokeh is a little harsh, you have to take care to put distance between subject and background to obtain better results.
Vignetting is not an issue on APS sensor camera.
SSM is pretty fast and unnoticeable. I obtained pretty decent photos at motogp.

COLOR = Same of all the Sony lenses

BUILD = Despite of a well built lens I only give 4 because it's not weather sealed. The hood, a little "light", present a useful window to operate a CPL filter!

DISTORTION = Unnoticeable

FLARE = Well, how could you be able to obtain any flare with that huge hood?
reviewer#9592 date: Nov-15-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-300 G SSM
Sigma 70-300 APO and APO DG
price paid:1428 EUR (new)
positive:Razor sharp wide open, razor sharp at 400 mm one stop down
Built like a tank, handles nicely
Smooth, silent fast and accurate AF
Slide window in the hood to allow polariser manipulation
negative:Weight
comment:My first Sigma 70-300 died in Iceland because of mist/sulphur vapour entering the lens (it seized) and got binned. The Sigma 70-300 AF DG replacement had its gearbox stripped by my A700 AF motor at minimum focus distance and also went into the bin. Replaced it with a 70-300 G SSM and was very happy with the improved images until I bought the 70-400. Could not believe how much better it is than the 70-300 G SSM. I walk around with this lens but I don't think this is for everybody, it is big and heavy and of no use without tripod or monopod.

It gives you sharp and contrasty images, great colour, no CAs, distortion or flare. If you want great bokeh look for primes, but this one won't let you down IMO. I bought it for reach so use it a lot at 400 F5.6, but is truly amazing at 70 F4. On my A700 it was hard to focus correctly due to back-focus.

I use it now on the A99 where it is a solid performer. Micro focus adjustment made, it is spot on.

Now available in white in the more expensive second version for those who do not like the silver.......
reviewer#9577 date: Nov-11-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-200 2.8, Minolta 100-400 APO, Sony 70-300G
price paid:1200 CDN (refurb)
positive:Fast focusing and really sharp
negative:Heavy
comment:I bought this as a refurbished lens for a good price. I had wanted it for a long time and could not pass it up. I am very glad I did. I have used it for motorsports and wildlife and a lot in between.

I don't use it all the time but when I do I am always thrilled to have it. A monopod helps if you are going to be shooting for any length of time.

I really like the opening in the lens hood so you can adjust a polarizing filter.
reviewer#9570 date: Nov-10-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nikon 80-400mm VR
Canon 100-400mm IS
price paid:999 GBP (new)
positive:Sharp
Fast AF
Build
negative:No Zoom Lock
comment:I'm very impressed with the SAL70400G, it is better than I expected being a long zoom lens which is often a compromise compared to a fix lens telephoto. So far is very sharp at all focal lengths and apertures. I've owned a Nikon 80-400mm VR and used Canon 100-400mm IS lenses which aren't as good as the Sony for build quality and sharpness, its not really possible to shoot wide open like I can with the SAL70400G. If the zoom mechanism was internally in the lens body this lens would be 100%.
reviewer#9533 date: Oct-27-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 85G-RS
price paid:1200.00 USD (new)
positive:Sharp
Color rendition
Bokeh/DOF
unlimited focus ring
negative:Battery hog when using SSM
Heavy
Aux function button placement
comment:Got this lens 4 months after relese so it was pricey. Luv it. 75mm my fave length. The Bokeh is creamy (to my eye) and gentley accurate color rendition. 400mm can almost get macro-like results but it does vignette-be sure the AS is on. What's lost in speed of the 85G is made up for in zoom range with negligable loss of quality.

It's heavy and since your favored hand is controlling the camera it's likely your weak arm will be supporting it. When shooting free-hand, take off the collar mount-its heavy,too. Auxillary function button placement + my hand size means I always have to be wary of activating one accidently, esp. when anticipating a shot, it can throw your timing off. SSM will drain your battery quickly-use manual focus when able.

The cons aren't photographic concerns and you'll get consistant quality images once you manage the physical.
reviewer#9528 date: Oct-24-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-300
150-500 sigma
price paid:1500 USD(New)
positive:Sharp
Accurate focusing
Everything
negative:Hood
Color of the lens
Gets dirty easily.
comment:This one is very very precious possession. A wonderful lens for bird photography. Can be used as a binoc to view birds :)
After using 70-400G, I want to shoot everything with this lens even portraits.
reviewer#9522 date: Oct-23-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 400
Sigma 70-200
Beercan
price paid:1150 A$ (used)
positive:Sharpness
Flare control
Contrast
Focus speed and accuracy
negative:a little heavy
comment:WOW!
Amazing lens
Sharp
Lighting fast focus
For wildlife THIS IS THE ONE TO GET
reviewer#9480 date: Oct-8-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan
price paid:1600 USD new
positive:Sharpness, silent focus, color, focus hold buttons
negative:None to think of
comment:This is a very capable lens, sharp throughout the range wide open, the reach and the clarity is great at this price point.

The bokeh can be harsh at times especially for a background of leaves, but quite good and not distracting otherwise.
The hood could have been better but probably made of plastic to cut weight, lens is already quite heavy. Not suitable for walk-around use, a over the shoulder kind of carrying solution is good to have.

Takes some getting used to, some form of support is very helpful. Need to push ISO higher to match the shutter speed required in not very bright conditions towards the long end. The zoom ring is slightly hard to rotate.

There is a very slight wiggle when mounted on the A700, was told at the shop that this is same for the 70-200, do not know how true that is; not a problem for me over 4 months of use, the lens has performed beautifully.

A happy owner.
reviewer#9358 date: Aug-25-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-200mm f2.8,
Sony 70-400mm f4-5.6,
Minolta 400mm f4.5,
Minolta 600mm f4.0,
Sigma 500mm f4.5,
Sigma 10-20mm F4 - 5.6
Sigma 105mm F2.8,
Sigma 85mm f1.4,
price paid:1500 USD (new)
positive:Sharpness, color, build, distortion, & flare is way beyond what I expected when I got this lens.
negative:The only thing that bad about this lens is the weight of it, that all!
comment:That is great
reviewer#9277 date: Jul-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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:$1599
positive:Sharpness, colors, build quality.
negative:Can't access zoom ring with hood reversed, Duh

Struggles to focus in low light
comment:I've only had this beauty for a couple of days now. Will update this review soon.

So far, I'm very impressed. It's built solidly, focuses fast and silently in proper lighting. It's very sharp, wide open, throughout it's range. And an added bonus, to me, is that I'm finding very useful as an indoor lens for either portraits or across the room candids.

I hope to get her outside this weekend for some real testing.
reviewer#9238 date: Jul-17-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Big beercan
Minolta 300 2.8 APO
price paid:1400 Euro (new)
positive:IQ
Weight
negative:No zoomlock
Slow autofocus
comment:Very good IQ even wide open from corner to corner were CA is no issue. The hood is a bit thin but does its work very wel.
The AF is slow compared to the Minolta 300.
reviewer#9208 date: Jul-5-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma - 70-200mm F2.8 II EX DG APO MACRO HSM
Tokina AT-X PRO AF 80-200 F2.8
price paid:1600 € (new)
positive:fast for a 70-400
SSM - silent
accurate focus
negative:Silver design because I do use a sun-sniper pro - steel & bear and wear a blue jeans today and guess what... the lens has got a few blue freckles on it...

no zoom-lock
comment:Focus is fast an silent, lens is tack sharp. I fell in love with that lens since the first picture I have taken with it. Thought the price is to high and I was not sure, if I should keep this lens.

Comparing the lens with the Tokina and the Sigma (at the lower to middle range of course). Signa is silent to, but has got sometimes blue or green fringe. Tokina is a very old design, makes a lot of noise, some fringing.

The Tokina will be on ebay those days, Sigma will stay but I believe I won't use it that often any more. The 70-400 G SSM is a clear winner.

A few words about the lens-hood: I think the hood is ok, I like the little door for filters. But on this heavy, build-like-a-tank-lens the hood looks very cheap and weak.


Edit [04.Sept.2012]:
I really miss a zoom-lock. Walking around with the dslr facing with the lens to the ground makes the front element extend...
reviewer#9145 date: Jun-16-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1750 USD -> 1250€
positive:sharpness
colours
actually everything :-)
negative:
missing
comment:This lens is just great, nearly nothing could be better! It's really worth the money...
reviewer#9086 date: Jun-4-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-300G
Tamron 70-200 f2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Fast and silent af.
Colors.
1:4 macro.
Can be used hand held.
Works perfect with 1.4tc
negative:Needs bright light to preform or the iso has to go up.
Hade to buy a new bag it won't fit i my old lowepro aw200.
comment:I use a sun snipper with two screws (1 in the body and 1 in the tripod collar).
The load is more on the tripod collar (80%) so the body is not ripped apart by this heavy lens.
I walked for hours and never get tired and the camera is on my hip ready for action.
The silver color realy helps to cool down the lens, in full sun it is not getting warm.
On bright sunny day's its a perfect lens but in the woods or on a cloudy day the iso have to go up if you want sharp pictures.

The first week i almost returned this lens but then i put in al my efforts to realy understand this lens now it's not commimg from my a700.
reviewer#9083 date: Jun-4-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:300 f/4 APO G ( + 1,4 TC )
80-200 f/2.8 APO
price paid:
missing
positive:- range
- quality
negative:- Color ( I would prefer black )
- Easy to loose hood
- Weight ( not too much compared with a 300 f/4 + TC
- No strap ( Big issue ! )
- Tripod support makes a bit difficult the handling
- zooming require too much torque
comment:I use this kind of lenses mainly for airshows. I owned a 300 f/4 that I used with a 1,4 TC. I was fully satisfied for the quality provided by my combo. The only drawback was the fixed focal.
I had the chance to buy a 400 4,5 and so I started to look all possible comparison/test on the web. So I ended up with the 70-400.
I find this lens very special. This can be used more frequently than my 300 ( You can do a bit of macro too!)and the quality is the same all over the range ( I did a lot of comparison shots ).
Last but not least it works with my TC 1,4 ( not original ).
No issues at all on the focusing speed ( I find it better than the 300/4 ).
Hood is filmsy. I say : who cares! Except that it is very easy to lose it( Last time after a photo session someone went to me with the hood in the hands: Is it yours? ). Be careful.
A strap is missing. You should lift it using the camera. I do not like it at all.
I had an idea to sell my 80-200 once I had this lens, but I'll keep both
reviewer#9081 date: Jun-4-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:* Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SSM G
* Minolta 70-210mm f/4 Beercan
* Tamron 70-200m f/2.8
* Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM G
* Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 HS G
* Tamron 200-400mm f/5.6
price paid:1480 USD (used)
positive:* Very sharp - any aperture, any focal length.
* Great color and contrast.
* SSM focus is relatively fast.
* Focus hold and focus limiters improve focus even more.
* Meaningfully sturdy build.
* Lens hood has a slot which allows for polarizers to be used.
negative:* The hood feels flimsy compared to the rest of the lens (though I'm sure it's to cut down on weight).
* Large and heavy enough to be hard to use without a tripod.
comment:There are a few lenses out there which are perfect - or at least, they're as perfect as you can realistically expect. This is one of them. It's sharp wide open at any aperture. Focus is appropriately fast. Color, contrast, saturation, it's all fantastic. The build quality is professional, and it shows.

This is one of the few expensive lenses where, without hesitation, I can say it's worth the price. I can't say that about the Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 SSM, as the Tamron/KM/Sony variants are almost as good and a whole lot cheaper. I can't say that about the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM G - the Tamron/Minolta/Sigma variants are almost as good and a whole lot cheaper. Am I saying the Zeiss 24-70 and Sony 70-200 lenses are bad? No, not at all, they're excellent lenses. But where they have reasonable competition at a fair price, this lens is in a league of its own. There's just nothing else like it on the market.
reviewer#9041 date: May-21-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:-Minolta 100-400APO
-Minolta Beercan
price paid:1424 USD (used)
positive:Sharp across the range with wide open
negative:Heavy, but this is reasonable for 400mm zoom range.
comment:Is totally different game when u plug in with "G" lens.
Good bokeh, sharp image and fast focus speed.
Worth to invest.

Attached with image link with 400@f5.6 hand held.

http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/1752/dsc02584q.jpg
reviewer#9023 date: May-14-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-300 G SSM, this one is slightly better at 400mm than the 70-300 is at 300mm. At similar FL's and apertures the 70-400 is noticably better.
price paid:
missing
positive:-Excellent sharpness all across the range.
-Saturated and vivid colors (typical Sony/Minolta).
-The color of the lens, not because it looks good, but because it does exactly what it's supposed to do: Keep the lens cool. I've been shooting with it for days on end in the scorching african summer-sun, and while the camera body could get really hot the lens was -always- close to cool to the touch.
negative:Size/Weight, but then again the physics demand it. Maybe the hood is a little weak, but mine has never fallen off or anything like that.
comment:Nothing new to add, people have said it all already.

The only lens I've paid full price in a store for, and it was soooo worth it.
reviewer#9022 date: May-14-2011
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 APO (D) - always found it a bit soft, even on film
price paid:1100 USD (as new)
positive:Sharp (tails off, goes from excellent to merely very very good)
Built well
Accurate AF that's reasonably quick
Forward zoom ring works well on a lens of this size and weight
negative:It seems like quibbling to ping this lens, it does so much so well.
Sony doesn't make a matching standard zoom in this colour.
Takes the space of 3 other competent lenses in my bag.
comment:I picked this up on ebay for $30 less than my maximum bid, had I known what I was in for I would have easily raised my bid by another 20%.

Like NAD and Marantz do with their senior designers, I want to know the lead designer behind this lens and what they and their team are working on now.
reviewer#8743 date: Mar-5-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:70-200/2.8 G/SSM
price paid:
missing
positive:400mm on APS-C = 600mm
Very sharp
Heavily built
SSM is silent
negative:Very Heavily Built
Zoom is VERY stiff
Zoom extends lens tube, some wiggle
Slower SSM/AF
Variable Max Aperture
comment:I rented the lens from BorrowLenses.com for about $150 for 10 days for a trip to Florida.

I used this lens almost exclusively in Florida. My 70-200/2.8 sat in the pack back for the whole trip.

The 70-400 is sharp. However, given the longer focal length, smaller aperture, and extension/wiggle of the lens tube at max extension, this is a lens that requires stable hand holding techniques and a very capable tripod.

The lens is heavy. Very heavy. However, after a couple of days, you get used to it. As I got more used to the weight of the lens, I was able to get sharper pictures. It was basically the same story with the 70-200/2.8 lens, when I first started using it.

The zoom is stiff. Very stiff. I ended up holding the zoom and turning the body with my right and, and recomposing. Zoom creep was a big issue with the lens going into and out of my camera bag. This was remedied mostly by taking the lens hood off and just keeping it off.

I did not experience much lens flare, but then again, I wasn't shooting into the light much. I shot the whole trip without a lens hood in fairly bright Florida sunlight. Definitely a plus for the lens.

Overall, my thoughts about the lens are:
- love the long focal length and the reach it gives me.
- this lens is definitely designed for folks with cameras with better high ISO handling. I got great shots when shooting at 1600/3200 ISO when in the shade, and ISO 800 in most other situations to get a fast enough shutter speed.
- You WILL get noticed using this lens. I got alot of oohs when I was wielding the 70-200/2.8/G, but with the 70-400/G, I definitely got a lot more folks asking about it.
- The weight is something to get used.

What I would have liked:
- internal zoom. The extending zoom magnifies camera shake.
- constant f/4 aperture would have been great, but dropping to 5.3 isn't a deal breaker. This lens is a good matchup with low noise high iso shooters like the A900, A580. I think it will absolutely kill on the upcoming A77.


reviewer#8734 date: Mar-3-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1600 USD new
positive:Sharp everywhere. Huge useable range. Works great with my kenko dgx 1.4x.
negative:Heavier than my 50mm prime
comment:It was a lot of pennies but definitely worth all of them.

I can repeat the other reviews but what's the point?

reviewer#8491 date: Jan-8-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6 [BB]
price paid:1350 euro [New]
positive:All
negative:Heavy
comment:
missing
reviewer#8411 date: Dec-17-2010
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:$1200 CAD (Used)
positive:SSM focusing is fast and silent
Amazing range
Very good minimum focusing distance
Very sharp
Good bokeh
Distortion is well controlled
Focus limiter is very welcomed
negative:Hood really is as flimsy as they say
Cannot zoom with hood reversed
Weight (Not really a negative for this kind of lens)
Colour (Based on personal opinion)
comment:I actually really like this lens, though it maybe to slow to use indoors it is a great outdoor lens. On a full frame body it 70-400mm covers a very useful range in my opinion. I find the focusing to be very fast and accurate more so then my Minolta 400mm F4.5 HS APO G. This lens is very sharp, it is considered the best out of the super telephoto zoom lenses (compared to the Canon 100-400 and Nikon 80-400). The bokeh is very nicely rendered though it can be a little harsh at 400mm if the distance between the subject and background isn't far enough. Also this lens has very little distortion compared to the other super telephoto zooms out there. Vignetting on a full frame with a filter on isn't much of an issue either.

The only downside to this lens is the weight, even though it is probably as light as they could really get it, the build is a mix of plastic and metal in order to keep the weight down. Oh and the flimsy hood, but thats not a deal breaker here, though some would suggest the colour is...

Overall I really think this lens is worth the money, it is a great lens that can cover almost all your telephoto bases, and it does it really well.
reviewer#8399 date: Dec-14-2010
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL70 - 300mm G
SAL55 - 200mm
price paid:AU$1600
positive:Image quality
Weight
Ergonomics
AF speed
SSM
negative:Slightly flimsy hood (have knocked it off once so far)
comment:A truly superb lens. It has provided me with some very nice photos over the last few months.

It is quite weighty but I managed to carry it on and A700 (plus grip) with a 58AM flash on the top (about 3KG) for upwards of 5 hours, so it is pretty good.

I find the layout of the focus hold buttons and AF/MF switch to be very good. Did not take me long to memorise their positions.

AF speed is good enough, though I generally give the ring a bit of a spin to get it close and let AF do the rest.

All in all, I believe that this is an amazing wildlife lens that will not leave many people wanting for more.
reviewer#8377 date: Dec-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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:80-200 g
several other long range zooms that aren't in the same league.
price paid:1312.00 (new)
positive:Incredible piece. Tack sharp, accurate focus, beautiful natural color, lightweight and compact for what it is.
negative:Focus hunts on SLT's a little bit in low light but nothing bad. Supposedly bokeh is too busy at 400 but only when strong highlights for me.
comment:Best zoom I've ever used. Period. Best 1300 bucks I ever spent. Really a must have. Perfect!

People complain about the flimsy hood but I appreciate that they kept any weight off the end of the thing.

Astonishingly great lens. Sell something and buy it.

Update after having this a few years, mount came loose but tightened it up and all is fine. Also had a weird issue on my a77 where the focus hold buttons became a switch between manual focus and something like DMF... If I pushed the buttons, the camera would focus but only while holding them.

Reset camera to no progress. unmounted lens for a few minutes and it was right again. This did happen while the mount wasn't as secure as it should be...
reviewer#8271 date: Nov-19-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 500 f7.2
Big Beercan 75-300
Beercan
price paid:1599
positive:Versatile outdoor lens.
Permits accurate metering.
Lightweight hood.
Good looking. (even if silver!)
Decent open aperture at 70-150mm.
(70-100mm f4,100-150mm f4.5)
Sharp!
negative:Slow AF.
A bit soft at 400mm. (just a bit)
Slow.

comment:This lens can capture some amazing shots from far away. Or up closer. Let's not forget this lens zooms from 70mm to 400mm, and maintains its sharpness throughout the range - a photograph shot at 70, 250, or 400mm will all be accepted at Alamy (stock photo service) without reservation (assuming the picture's of a sufficient subject). Its main drawback, however, is that the 70-400G is a slow lens in overcast conditions - the 70-400G has difficulty separating the subject from a mono-background - but on a bright day, there's no compare.

AF is slow. It can take eons to shuttle the AF from infinity to MFD. The AF limiter helps some, and there are tricks using the manual focus ring to 'get ready' for the money shot. One way is to manually focus to infinity and settle the focus spot on the subject then let AF take over - chances are the focus will lock rather quickly. Start at the opposite for close-up subjects.

Ultimately, this lens is a keeper, for sure. There's nothing quite like it available for any mount, so they say. I believe it. If you can afford the 70-400G, it's the one you'll have a barrel of fun with.

I use this lens across all its zoom range, and its output will give a "4" prime of the equivalent focal length a run for its life!


reviewer#8243 date: Nov-12-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sigma 50-500
minolta 80-200 HS
sigma 180mm macro
price paid:1458 eur
positive:sharp, good range, color, SSM
negative:could not find anything yet..
comment:Just got this beautiful beast, and all i can say is WOW!
It's large, a little heavy, but after looking into pictures you will forget about that immediately.
My sample (lucky me:) is really, really sharp wide open at full 400mm,seems even sharper at maximum focal lenght than zoomed to 200 or 300mm.
SSM is so quiet, but could be a little faster. Using focus limiter it may get faster also. This lens is absolutely fantastic piece of G(c)lass. Can't wait for improved weather here, to test it further.
Absolutely recommended for anyone who need 400mm or more. Work great with 2x TC added, above all my expectations (but only MF, aperture will be F11),as it stays sharp even at 800mm!
Will post some samples when i catch some time later.
Outstanding lens.
reviews found: 127    << 1 2 3 4 5 >>

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

to add your review
you need to login

Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania