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

reviews found: 127    << 1 2 3 4 5 >>
reviewer#6819 date: Jan-24-2010
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:Minolta 70-210mm Beercan
Minolta 200mm APO HS
Minolta 25-105mm Beercan
Tamron 28-300mm XR Di
Tamron 55-200mm
Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 HSM
Tamron 18-250mm
price paid:L1100 new
positive:Sharp as a tack.
Great colours
Built like a tank
No distortions or flare
Posers lens
negative:Heavy
Posers lens
comment:I don't know how anyone can rate the sharpness of this lens below 5.
If it isn't 5/5 send it back to Sony to sort it out.
It's as sharp at 400mm as my Minolta 200mm G is at 200mm.
This lens is outstanding and will not be on my "sell" list unless I change systems.
It is heavy and under UK skies we need a tripod, but it is well worth the effort as the many excellent comments on my "Eyefetch" images will support.
I had some AF problems at the start but Sony sorted out my A700 and Hey Presto is works like magic.
The hood is a pain so I rarely use it and I have not encountered any flare without it.
reviewer#6735 date: Jan-12-2010
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:100-400 APO
70-300G
price paid:L1092
positive:Sharp
Solid build
negative:
missing
comment:I bought this lens just before Christmas and took it with me when I went walking at New Year. Yes it is a big and heavy lens but given the quality of the shots I got from it who cares. This lens like the CZ ones is big and heavy because it has high quality glass in it and it shows.

Colours are great, and it is sharp sharp sharp.

Highly recommended.
reviewer#6618 date: Dec-22-2009
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 70-300 APO MACRO
price paid:1800 CHF
positive:Extremely silent AF
Focus limiter
Well placed focus hold buttons
negative:Filter thread.
comment:I'm only starting using this lens, the price is certainly up to par with its weight, to say the least. My good old and faithful pre 1996 Sigma 70-300 is not totally bound for retirement because of that, the weight does not compare, it's not a lens you put casually in the daily backpack.

That said, I managed to take some wonderful pictures of a distant blue tit at 400mm and over 10 meters away, just handheld, that I would not have thought possible, even with SSS.
Of course, on a sturdy tripod, nothing compares to this beauty. I even like the silver color!

Cann't wait to check it out on my A100, at Sony for repairs under warranty right now.

Just one thing I dislike, not sure if it's only my copy or general: the filter thread is just a tiny bit too deep, there's no way I can manage to turn my polarizer - B&W MRC KSM - through the one finger hole in the hood, it sinks in just that much. I'm sure the filter is smooth, I use it a lot on the same sized Sigma 50/f1.4. Not that much of a dealbraker though, not even enough to affect build rating.
reviewer#6460 date: Nov-25-2009
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 70-300 DG APO Macro
price paid:Ł1170
positive:-Excellent zoom range
-Accurate and near silent AF
-Sharp throughout range
negative:-Heavy
-Expensive
comment:I thought long and hard about buying this lens, due the its very high cost. But wow, I can't really fault it! AF is very accurante, near silent, and fast considering it's huge range. I like the focus limiter too.

IQ is excellent in most situations. Not as good in low light, but then again I would expect it to be. I've not had any flare or distortion issues at all.

The hood is a little flimsy and annoying, but I'll forgive it, everything else makes up for it! I know some don't like the silver finish, but I do. The rotating handle and tripod thread are nice touches too.

It is very heavy, but thats not really a problem for me. My wife struggles with it though.

Overall, an excellent lens which I am proud to own. I can't wait to see how it performs at an airshow next year...

reviewer#6405 date: Nov-18-2009
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 18-70
Minolta 70-210 F4
Minolta 75-300
Minolta 28-105
Sigma 400 5.6
Tamron 24-135
Tamron 90 2.8 Macro
Minolta 50 1.7
Minolta 135 2.8
price paid:1170€ (new)
positive:All
negative:The AF could be faster but it´s very good
comment:Nearly perfect lens for range and IQ.
Was undecided between this lens or Sigma 50-500. Got this one because it can capture more detail at 400mm than the sigma at 500.
Sold the 75-300, 70-200, and the 400 for this.
AF could be faster but it´s fast enough for me.
Was abot to buy the 70-200 but this one is cheaper, as the same good IQ and a more usefull range.

ps. Love the Silver finish. Another way to distinguish myself from the Canikons!
reviewer#6367 date: Nov-11-2009
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:1599 USD
positive:Sharpness, focus, and build quality
negative:Hood feels cheap for a lens at this price
comment:This lens is sharper than 70-300G in entire range, although it is significantly heavier. I went out photograph cranes last weekend with this lens and A900. I did not have one single blur picture among 300+ pictures I took. The keep rate is much higher than my 70-300G + A700 combination. I know the new camera body is also a contributing factor. You can find my recent pictures with this lens at http://photocreation.zenfolio.com/p716760595
reviewer#6322 date: Nov-3-2009
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:Bigma
price paid:1599 USD
positive:Sharp
Fast focus
close focusing
negative:It could be lighter
comment:I have had good luck with the Bigma but noted softness at longer focal lengths. I was torn between buying the Tamron 200-500 and this lens but finally broke down and bought the Sony. I am very happy with my choice.

Others have commented on the silver color of the lens and the design of the lens hood - these things don't bother me because I am more concerned with function and this lens really does that.
reviewer#6271 date: Oct-25-2009
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 70-200 2.8
Sony 16-31 2.8
Sony 24-75 2.8
Sony 500/8
Sony 16-105 DT
Sony 18-75
Sony 50-1.4
price paid:1600 usd
positive:Super resolution at distance.
negative:BIG
comment:Shot a cross country quad race with this yesterday and it was awesome. Put it on your list.
reviewer#6209 date: Oct-10-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300mm
price paid:1420 euro new
positive:Very good range from 70-400mm
Tripot collar,SSM
negative:Very heavy for hand hold and walk around lens. You need practice especially when you follow birth in fly or small object.
comment:Excelent build quality very sharp at all focal lenth also even wide open at 400mm. For somebody that he need the 400mm and he doesnt want to spend too much money is the best in the class.

Update Mai 2012: Excellent results with 24MP FF.
Very easy to use it with teleconverter 1.4X & 2X on a77 with focus peacking colore.Even at 800mm you get very good results thanks to the focus peacking
reviewer#6199 date: Oct-8-2009
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:Sal AF75-300
sal AF 70-300 G SSM
Min AF 70-210/4
Sal AF 500/8
SAl af 18-250
price paid:
missing
positive:- The sharpest zoom i´ve ever tested.
-Prime like IQ
-Unique and versatile range.
-Unexpectidly sharp wide open at the long end,even in 100% crops.
-Brilliant, eye catching colors.
-Far superior to its competitors.
-Not as heavy.
-Silent AF (THX to SSM)
-Nice "macro" capability
-Pleassant bokeh.
negative:-Hard to lock AF in moving subjects.
-The copy I owned tended to overexpose +0.3 to +0.7 ev
-Hood seems too fragile,but yet effective.
comment: This lens is a serious lens.Its incredibly sharp and contrasty all over the way from 70 to 400mm even wide open.Its solid,nicely made.I didn find it too heavy for everyday use.Its very usable handheld with available daylaight.I never needed to mount it on a tripod.
Personally i found it highly superior in terms of IQ compared to his little brother 70-300G.It worth its double price and weight, and definitelly deserves with honour the "G" badge.
Another serious reason for considering the Alpha System.
reviewer#6102 date: Sep-21-2009
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:minolta 2.8 80-200mm
price paid:1339 euro
positive:sharp
silent af
min focus distans
good balans
negative:the hood
silver look
comment:I use the lens as walk around with a blackrapid belt that is very good you slip your haed tru the belt and hold the camera with lens next to you.
when walking around the bad thing is the hood fals constant
of the lens that is something that must not happen with a G
pro lens now i tape the hood on the lens SONY DO SOMETHING
ABOUT THE HOOD ITS A VERY BAD DESIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
beside this it is a very good lens you can use it as macro
birding aircraft spotting ect .
reviewer#5925 date: Aug-28-2009
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 70-300 4-5,6 APO macro
Tamron 200-500
price paid:€ 1375
positive:Sharpnes
Silence when foces
Focusranche
negative:Price
Weight
comment:What doe one expect when you buy such a lens?
One thing: great pictures. Good colors, sharp, versatile.
I primarily shoot as hobby in zoo's, and it fits the ranche I want to use. Great close-ups but when the big cats get close, you can get it all in to the foto. First considering a 75-300 G or Tamron 200-500, but no regretts.
Fired test shots with the Tamron and the Sony side by side in a store and the Sony wins. Simple.
Negative? It draws attention of al those people using P&S cams or white Canikon lenses. Especially when the hood is attached.
Plus get a very good protectionfilter. I detach the filter and use only the lenscap to protect the front element. The foto's without filter are sharper then with the cheap UV-protectionfilter.
On my new A500 the results look better then on my "old" A100.
reviewer#5902 date: Aug-25-2009
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:18-70mm
50mm 1.7
Tokina 400mm f5.6 SD
Sigma 400mm 5.6 APO
price paid:1500 USD (new)
positive:Sharp
Versatile
Lack of CA
MFD
negative:Flare at 70mm
Conspicuous
Busy Bokeh
comment:It kills all the other lenses for sharpness especially from 70-300mm. It's even sharper than my 50mm stopped down. However, the sharpness does drop off a little at 400mm, but not too much and it improves stopped down a little. That might have more to do with the long focal length and camera shake along with low DOF than the lens though. The color rendering is also my favorite out of all the lenses. It also lacks any CA that I can see, even at 400mm wide open. However, the bokeh is a little busy on this lens; more so than my tokina 400mm. AF speed is nothing incredible, but it is quiet and acceptably fast. The AF limiter definitely helps in this regard. I also love the telemacro ability of this lens.
reviewer#5895 date: Aug-24-2009
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 70-200 2.8
Sony Zeiss 24-70 2.8
Minolta 400 HS G 4.5
price paid:1090 €
positive:Sharp
Versatile (huge focus range)
Very performant at 70 mm
Minimum focus distance short
Vivid colours
Silent Auto-focus
negative:Build (Hood is a bad joke)
Inversion of focus-zoom rings
Metallic grey colour
comment:Thanks to its optical performances from 70 to 400, the "G" label is fully justified. AF quick and extremely silent on Alpha 900. The cheap plastic hood and the grey colour are very bad choices to me. Bokeh and I.Q at 400 mm of course better with Minolta 400 G 4.5, but colours are more vivid with the zoom. Very performant at 70 mm. Minimum focus distance is quite short, so the lens can even be used for macro.
Versatile lens, worth the price ;-)
reviewer#5864 date: Aug-16-2009
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 100-300mm APO
price paid:Ł1156 new
positive:Good focal length range
Cood colour rendition
Superb sharpness.
Silent, quick focus, no zoom creep.
negative:Heavy, but who cares!
Can't turn dull days into bright ones!....but it has a damn good try.
comment:I wondered about the advantages of this lens compared with my trusty 100-300mm APO, which has produced some stunning images.

This lens has a more useful range and wider aperture at longer focal length. The lens is a joy to use, positive silent focusing, and gives a greater percentage of hits in difficult situations..... and I don't even mind the plastic hood.

Shooting through a dirty glass window today.. this lens is unbelievably forgiving. It is a joy to own and I know now that it will bring a whole new dimension to my photography.

I cannot recommend this lens enough... if the price point is not a problem... buy it.
reviewer#5817 date: Aug-7-2009
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:Minolta AF 300 f2.8 APO G
Sony AF 70-200 SSM G
price paid:1,700 CDN (new)
positive:Extremely sharp
Well balanced on A700
Moderate to fast and very accurate AF
Great colour
Almost silent SSM
Compact for the range covered
Almost half the weight of my Minolta AF 300 f2.8 APO G
negative:The same problem as my 70-200 f2.8 - when hood is reversed for storage the lens is basically useless - the old Minolta 200 and 300 lens with the integral sliding hood would have made this the perfect lens. That is why the 4 for build.
comment:I read many early comments about the flimsy hood and cheap looking silver colour. The hood is light but quite strong and flexible. The Sony Silver colour and finish is elegant. In the first couple days that I had the lens I received several comments about it: great looking lens, nice color, awesome lens, classy lens. I went to a local pro photo shop for a Think Tank bag for the lens and the shop pros were queuing up to take turns trying it out and loving it and this was a Canon and Nikon shop.

I shot over six hundred test shots between my Minolta 300 f2.8, Sony 70-200 F2.8 and the Sony 70-400 f4-5.6 and then viewed them at 1:1 in Lightroom at default settings. Result = I sold the Minolta 300 f2.8. The 70-400 was slightly sharper than the 300 and the 300 with 1.4TC through the full range of the 70-400. There was virtually no CA and little or no purple fringing in the bright contrast shots while the 25 year old 300 suffered with purple fringing possibly because it doesn't have the digital coatings. The colour fidelity between the three lenses was virtually identical.
Interestingly, the AF was as quick and accurate on all three lenses but much noisier on the 300. In low light all three hunted and the 70-200 was the only one to never fail in locking into focus.
On paper I lost 1.5 stops at 300 mm versus the 300 f2.8 but in testing it was only 1 stop.

This lens is handsome, sharp, well built, silent, accurate and lightweight for the range. Do I like it? You bet I do. Other than the hood it is every bit the equal of my Zeiss 16-35, Zeiss 24-70 and Sony 70-200 G and with warmer colours than either of the Zeiss lenses which tend to be cooler.

One note - it does suffer with a rather busy bokeh but for where and what I shoot it will seldom if every be noticed.
reviewer#5811 date: Aug-5-2009
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:80-200HS-G
70-300G SSM
price paid:
missing
positive:Very sharp, lovely colours.
negative:Zoom ring at front of lens, using different convention to the norm.
comment:I am most impressed by this lens, even wide open at 400mm it is excellent. Seems to be a better match to the A900 than my 70-300G was, though of course a lot bigger, heavier and noticeable. This lens appears as sharp or sharper than my 80-200G at 200mm.

Wish they hadn't put the zoom ring at the front as you cannot use the lens with the lens hood reversed.

Some slight zoom creep if carrying with the lens pointing straight down, why can't Sony put a simple lock switch on their zooms?

More to be added after further use.
reviewer#5774 date: Jul-29-2009
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:Tamron 70-200mm
Tamron 200-500mm
price paid:1600.00 USD (new)
positive:Tack sharp, fast focus
negative:None.
comment:Great all around lens, very sharp, nice colors.

Buy it you won't be sorry
reviewer#5525 date: Jun-13-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 4
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Sony 70-200 G SSM 2.8
Beercan
Tamron 200-500
price paid:just tested
positive:Sharpness
Quick AF
Range
negative:Build
comment:I had the chance to test this glass for a short time. At the first time the silver color looks very strange, i've always seen black or white lenses so the first thought was "uh... what's that?".
Anyway... I was soon impressed by the sharpness of this lens. Even at wide open it offers a good bokeh and a great sharpness on the main subject. The SSM motor works perfectly, so the AF is the most silent and efficient I've ever seen. The range, too, is great.
I'm very disappointed with the build of this lens. Placing the focus ring near the tripod mount means you can't use this lens in manual focus.
reviewer#5510 date: Jun-9-2009
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:
missing
price paid:Ł925
positive:A truly great versatile lens.
negative:weight after a long day's shoot!
comment:Got this two weeks ago and am thoroughly impressed (i even like the silver colour) i have the 70-300g and am thinking whether i need both as on the a900 there seems to be none of of the drop off at the corners.

It is however a heavy lens and that needs to be taken into consideration if intending to use it long periods as hand held.
reviewer#5360 date: May-8-2009
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:100mm macro
F1.4 50mm
18-250
price paid:Ł1249
positive:Sharp, Fast & quiet AF.
negative:none
comment:This lens has taken me to a new dimension in photography.
Superb even when hand held. Great for wildlife. I like the silver colour. lens hood seems quite strong & light. It's
heavy but that's because of quality. The super steady shot
seems to work better than with my other lenses.
reviewer#5359 date: May-8-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:SAL-70300G
price paid:Ł1150
positive:Sharpness
Colours
TC compatible (MF Sony x1.4)
Pol. filter hatch in lens hood
negative:AF failed, returning to Sony


comment:Beautiful lens, at all focal lengths including close-up the images have been very sharp. The lens is heavy and the silver is handsome, if not particularly practical for wildlife. I haven't felt the lens hood is particularly bad - it seems lightweight to give a better balance - and has a very useful small trap-door so can turn polarizing filters.

Sadly, after only a few hours of use the AF has failed and after a week of trying to resolve and test on another camera, the lens is being returned to Sony for repair. I will update my review on return and further use.

PDL


reviewer#5315 date: Apr-30-2009
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:70/200 g and teleconverters
price paid:1350.00 usd new
positive:sharp!!!
compact to carry in pack
negative:unbalanced when extended
zoom ring stiff
zoom ring covered by hood
comment:This lens is one sharp cookie. I haven't used my 70/200 since I acquired this lens. It's focusing speed is moderate compared to the smaller zoom, but seems to be spot on when it gets the target. I have gotten used to the silver color, but birds haven't; they really shy away when they spot it. The large hood presents a problem when reversed, the zoom can not be operated, so it must be stored or mounted when hiking. My shooting style is spontaneous and this is a major annoyance to me. All in all I can highly recommend this lens to anyone that wants or needs a super zoom.
reviewer#5295 date: Apr-26-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:Sony 500mm Reflex
Sigma 100-300 F4 EX
price paid:Ł1038 UK (new)
positive:Very, very sharp
negative:Tacky feel to hood.
Heavy.
Bokeh could be better sometimes.
comment:The lens seems to be solidly built, and the SSM motor is very quiet.It's not as fast as some of the screw driven lenses I have but it can track birds in flight. Perhaps silver isn't an ideal colour for blending in with the background when stalking wildlife so buyers might want to seek out some sort of camouflage cover for it.

Make no bones about it, this lens is big around and heavy. It is 120 grams heavier than the Canon 100-400mm and 160 grams heavier than the Nikon 80-400mm.

Although possible to hand hold it, handling this lens for any significant time will require a monopod at least. The zoom extends the lens by a long way to get to 400mm, and with the hood attached it's pretty imposing.

The zoom and focus rings are smooth, and in my copy there is no zoom creep.

The hood can only be described as 'tacky'. It has a cheap brittle feel when handling it, and if mounted in reverse for storage it's difficult to remove the lens from the camera, and I wonder how long the hood will last. A flexible hood would have been better. Having said that, it fits ok and does its job with effective anti-reflective coating inside, and I've had no significant flare. Once attached it looks ok but I couldn't help feeling that a soft rubberised compound rather than plastic would have been better.

The supplied soft case is of fairly decent quality with zip and velcro fastening but the carry strap is thinner than I would have liked.

But, what about the optics? Quite simply, the answer is that pictures taken with this lens are stunning. In my opinion, it is peerless in any mount and sufficient to sway new DSLR buyers towards Alpha mount. With optical detail and sharpness comparable to a prime even wide open, the only reason to stop it down is because of the wafer-thin depth of field. It focusses down to just under 1.5m giving a magnification of about 1:3 at 400mm, and image detail is high at all distances and focal lengths. There is a very small amount of red/cyan CA at the corners at 400mm, but it is by no means excessive, and tweaking the CA correction tool in Adobe Raw by 12 units is sufficient to get rid of it.

To be able to photograph butterflies and birds with the same lens is very impressive. It must be one of the best all-round wildlife lenses on the market.

The Sony 1.4x TC will work with this lens but apparently it will not autofocus. However, the Sigma EX APO 1.4x TC will also fit, and because the TC isn't chipped it will autofocus, at least in good light. There is some edge fall off when using the TC, but centre resolution is still quite good and gives a highly useful 560mm maximum focal length. Using a TC that doesn't pass corrected focal length information to the camera limits the effectiveness of Steady-Shot so a tripod would be required if you use one.

I have submitted a couple of images in the examples thread that illustrate how flexible a tool for wildlife this lens can be.
reviewer#5290 date: Apr-25-2009
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:Sony 70-200 F2.8 SSM G
Minolta 300 F4 HS APO G
Minolta 500 F8 Reflex
Minolta 75-300 F4.5-5.6 Big Beercan
price paid:
missing
positive:Excellent IQ
Nice FL range
Quiet
negative:Build
Price
Slow AF
comment:This lens is definitely one of a kind. The optical quality is simply outstanding for a zoom of this range. Even at 400mm images are crisp. I haven't pixel peeped the corners, but from what I can see, the center is still sharp at this FL. Although heavy, this lens is handholde-able to me. Fully retracted, it balances well on the A700 with VG. Fully extended there's imbalance, but this is a big lens. No big deal. The zoom ring is stiff, but hopefully it'll loosen up a bit with use. Focus ring is smooth.

The outside build leaves MUCH to be desired. The material used (plastic?) is lightweight. In a way this could be good, because the lens still weighs alot. But I'd rather have a heavier lens. Dents, knicks etc are all a high possibility when using this lens. The hood is even more ridiculous. The hood material doesn't even qualify as plastic IMO and the sliding door (used for polarizer adjustment) will be the first to go. Not smooth and uniform when opening and closing it. The hood, however, does fit snuggly and I haven't experienced some of what others have regarding this.

This lens is one of a kind because the build doesn't come close to the optical quality. First lens I've seen like this.
reviewer#5284 date: Apr-23-2009
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 70-200G
Sony 70-300G
Sigma 150-500
price paid:1500 Euro (new)
positive:image quality
colors
focal lengths range coverage
negative:Weight
Silver Color
Hood
Bokeh
comment:Excellent image quality, excellent colors, excellent focal length coverage. Overall a G lens with doubt only for its bokeh which sometimes could be better.
I don't like the silver color and its weight could be a problem when shooting for long periods. The hood is not on par with the lens build and the strap included is ridiculous for the weight of the lens.
reviewer#5054 date: Mar-19-2009
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:A long list of primes through its range.
price paid:1650CAD+tax.
positive:IQ - prime-like.
SSM - silent, accurate.
Size/build - well optimized.
Reach - ultra-tele.
Close-focus @ 400mm of 1:3.7
negative:Light Fall-off at 70mm, wide open.
comment: I'll start by saying that I value image quality. I've shot primes exclusively for specific reasons, with image quality being of high consideration. While many primes are ideal for individual tasks, a zoom is more about having the convenience of a range of coverage. When that focal versatility became the main reason I needed a lens, the consensus lead me here. Based on this positivity and a lot of sample image viewing, I opted to make this my first multi-purpose zoom lens purchase.

I noted immediately that everyones comments as to the sharpness of this lens are spot on. Going to a zoom, one automatically gives up some light gathering capability next to a prime of similar size and generally IQ as well, but thats the best thing about this lens so far. Its sharp, plain and simple from 70-400, from MFD to infinity. The fact this lens can cover the range it does with IQ comparable to good primes renders its relative bulk an acceptable trade-off for the convenience in my books. I would expect no less from a zoom to have justified the expense, and I am pleased.

In its other optical attributes - color is brimming and bold, typical of higher quality modern lenses. Distortion hasn't leapt off the page at me as a concern especially considering its generous range. I rate distortion mild at worst, totally acceptable for my uses of this lens. I haven't intentionally induced flare, but shooting without the hood (which is too large for my camera bag) hasn't posed a problem. Certainly, I can say flare control is not a weakness of this lens.

I did note a visible light fall-off around the edge of the frame at 70mm on the A900. I wouldn't classify this as a caveat however. While visible, its mild and correctable with software (if so desired). Again, I accept that with the lofty goals this lens sets out to accomplish, there must be some give, and the total package is solid.

Further to achieving a balance, the mix of materials seems well thought out to instill confidence in its solidity while acheiving a good weight balance on-camera. To this end, the base of the lens is a quite heavy, all-metal affair. Tapping my finger nail around the distance window gives an almost heavy iron tinking report. From the focus ring (located back of the zoom) forth, the lens is dense plastic, save for the attractive dark metal band just behind the filter bayonet - which seems as protective as it is showy. Nothing rattles or creaks, solidity is a positive. The end result is an ultra-tele zoom that is both handholdable and rugged feeling. While my pool of comparison in this class of lens isn't deep, I'm satisfied that the build choices were designed to enable this result.

Finally, regarding the strengths of 70-400/4-5.6 generally, I'd say what you have here is a great general nature/outdoor or outdoor event/sport bag of tricks. With a magnification power of 1:3.7 at its closest MFD at 400mm, very good sharpness and smooth OOF rendering, the SAL70400G could fill-in as a nice flower/critter shooter as well, though I wouldn't assign its bulk to that task specifically. The 135STF for example would do this better all around in a much lighter package. On the same token, that 1.5m MFD at 70/4 is unspectacular for typical portrait applications. It would be no match for a good 85/1.4 or even the 70-200/2.8 in these regards, but is fine for holiday pics or longer distance requirments.

In conclusion, I'd call this lens a winner, worth the price I paid. It covers the tele side very thoroughly and very well and will make a great one-lens option for those not specialized enough to warrant a spread of primes in this field.

Kelly Sereda.



reviewer#5049 date: Mar-17-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 2
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 own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Great optical quality!
negative:Build quality..
comment:The lens is GREAT optically - sharp at all apertures and focal lengths - really excellent at 400mm f5.6! My copy has almost no CA even in the worst scenarios. Excellent contrast and punchy color.

The AF is OK when using the focus limiter. A little slow to lock focus in difficult conditions, but tracks very well - better than Sigma 70-200mm f2.8. Silent and accurate.

Build quality is nowhere near the price tag. Lots of plastic is used and the plastic itself feels cheap to me. The zoom ring is stiff and not easy to use..
reviewer#5036 date: Mar-14-2009
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:Canon 100-400mm
price paid:1649C(Cdn$)
positive:Sharp at all focal lengths, excellent colour, and compact. Fits nicely in my Lowepro hip pack with the Sony A900 camera body attached. Silent autofocus.
negative:Zoom always goes to 400mm when the lens is carried, an irritating occurance. Autofocus has failed on three seperate copies of this lens. Focus speed is so slow the lens is near to useless for birds in flight.
comment:I've used the lens in the field for two years and am delighted with the overall performance. It cuts back on the number of lenses a fella has to carry into the bush when doing nature photography. The focus failure problems and slow focus limit its usefullness in nature photography although it is superb as the ultimate walk-around lens.
reviewer#5002 date: Mar-11-2009
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 200 f/2,8 G APO HS
price paid:Ł1100
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:This lens is sharper at 400mm wide open than the prime Minolta 200 f/2,8 G APO HS is at any aperture. The first I recognize with this lens was the rich colour. The OOF is amazing and so shallow that the focus point needs to be spot on. This lens is focusing so quick and correct that I’m shaking my head. If I focus on the body of a small bird (sparrow) the eye will be OOF. The lens is very solid build. I believe Sony has done what ever was possible to keep the weight down and the light hood is a reason thereof. The lens is big and I can not say she is easy to handle. However if this is what it take to make such a outstanding performer its fine with me
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

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