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

reviews found: 128    << 1 2 3 4 5
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
reviewer#5001 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:Beercan
Big Beercan
Tamron 200-400
price paid:1499
positive:Sharp
Colors
Range
negative:none
comment: This lens performs much better than any 400 zoom. The hood was made of polymer to lighten the package I bet. The build is great and is a G product.
reviewer#4994 date: Mar-10-2009
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 50-500mm
price paid:
missing
positive:- fast and silent focus
- nice color
- not too heavy
- good to handle

negative:- no zoom lock
- cheap hood
- cheap tripod mount

comment:I just received the lens today and I tried only a few shots at home. I m looking forward to test the lens on an outdoor event.
Compared to the Sigma Lens i m really suprised how silent the focus is working. As well the speed it amazing. Color and Sharpness I cant rate right now. It s good fitting in my hand and not too heavy.
Compared to the rest of the lens the tripodmount plate and hood is really cheap. But the hood has a little lid, where you can access and turn anytime the Polfilter without unmounting the hood. Nice feature...

Unlike Sigma, I cannot lock the zoom but from a practical test the lens stays in its zoom position even when hanging around a shoulder.

But all in all I would say a Best Buy :-)

reviewer#4991 date: Mar-10-2009
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 70-200/2.8 APO G D SSM
price paid:$1499 USD
positive:Extremely fast focusing. Easy to use hand held.
negative:Lens hood is very flimsy. I would have expected a metal one, not plastic.
comment:Shooting at higher ISO (1600 to 3200) in low light sports arena, I have found this lens to be superb. Cannot wait to use it at an Air Show.
reviewer#4905 date: Feb-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:70-200, 70-300
price paid:1100GBP
positive:G quality lens, sharp at all apertures.
negative:Heavy and solid, but lens hood is flimsy plastic and won't withstand a knock.

Horrible silver finish.
comment:Heavy, but usable handheld. Not had time yet to test properly due to bad weather, but so far, test shots have been what I would expect from a G lens. The SSS works well enough to hand hold at 400mm in poor light. AF is a bit slow for tracking BIF, but not overly slow. It uses a bit of juice so spare batteries always.

reviewer#4878 date: Feb-19-2009
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:K/M 75-300 Big Beercan
K/M 35-70 4
Sony 18-70 Kit Lens
K/M 50 1.7
K/M 70-210 4.5-5.6
K/M 70-210 4 Beercan
K/M 28 2.8
K/M 28-80xi
K/M 28-135 4-4.5
K/M 35-70 3.5-4.5
Tamron 200-400 5.6 LD NEW
Sigma 75-200 2.8-3.5
Deitz 28-200
Tamron 20-35 3.5-4.5
KM 100-400 4.5-6.7
Tamron 28-75 2.8
KM 50 3.5 Macro
KM 35-105 3.5-4.5
KM 24-105 3.5-4.5
Sigma 18 3.5

price paid:1499.99 USD
positive:Sharpest Zoom in it's class
Nice Bokeh
Range!
IQ
SSM
Polymer hood
negative:Heavy
comment: Where do I start? This lens is definitely a G level product. On the A900 and Maxxum 7 it focuses very quickly and accurately, not as fast as the 80-200 HS G, but close. The A100 is a little slower to focus, but not much. I have been suprised by it's long end performance already.It is a star performer at F8 through the zoom range. It, unlike the KM 100-400 APO, is large and is challenging to handle in the wind. The 100-400 also seems to be building steam at F11, the 70-400 is finishing up. It is nearly silent in action and very attractive to look at (to me), though I had my doubts about the color. I have shot waterfowl ( excuse the expression) with it and as rewarded with amazing colorful stop-motion photos, but the light was ideal. Confirmed by a Sony represenative, the hood is polymeric to keep the weight down, it is not made of "cheap" plastic, as a matter of fact the grade of polymer in the plastic is anything but cheap, a fact only important to a polymer chemist.It can be used indoors at halide-lit ceremonies very effectively and will probably never leave my collection, the good Lord willing. Amazing lens, I'm going to have to sell my plasma now, J/K!
reviewer#4873 date: Feb-18-2009
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 50-500 EX APO
Minolta 100-400 APO
price paid:1499 USD
positive:Build seems solid
Feels well balanced on camera
Quiet auto focus
Smooth zoom
negative:Hood very flimsy feel
Auto focus not lightening fast
comment:I received this lens yesterday and only took a few shots as I did not have much time. My first inpression was the lens was a "G" and worked like a quality lens should. The zoom works very nice with just enough friction to keep it from moving on it's own but very smooth with little effort needed to operate.

The feel of the lens is solid but it seems lighter than I expected and is well balanced when at full zoom with no heavy forward feel. I think some of that is do to the extreemely light build of the hood, almost feels flimsy like it may easily break. Also the bulk of the weight is to the rear of the lens and I think it will be considerably easier to carry during a long session than the Bigma.The overall appearance of the lens is quality and as for the color, it's not ugly at all, as a matter of fact I think it looks elegant.

The size of the lens compared to the Bigma, is it's overall length with the hood reversed is exactly that of the Bigma but much larger than the Min. 100-400 APO. The biggest difference betweeen it and the Bigma is the noticablly larger diameter of the "G" lens. Anyone with small hands will have a hard time holding this lens by the barrel. One of my size complaints might be that the tripod mount is somewhat small and unlike the Bigma's larger mount will not act as a handle when rotated to the top of the lens which I really like about the bigma tripod mount.

As far as image quality goes I have been very dissappointed today with not really sharp pics taken. I use center spot focus and all the shots were not sharp and I could not figure out why. I spent quite some time checking the focus and discovered my A700 has a definite back focus issue, something I never noticed before but really shows up with this lens. I poped the "G" onto my 5D and did some test shots and it seems to be spot on and after a few test shots, the results seem to back that up. I will do some serious shots with the 5D and "G" when I have time in a few days and I may update the sharpness rating as a result. In any case I will have to send my a700 in for service or try the DIY fix found here in DYXUM as soon as I get up the courage.

I did not notice any flare, but when I shot some birds in a large bush I did get some pretty serious gosting of some of the branches that were highlighted against the sky. I do not have a UV filter on the lens, but I don't think that matters as far as that is concerened. The gosting was kind of a grey color not purple, and that part of the image was somewhat blown out as well so that may have affected the image.

The zoom is totally quiet but not overely fast, but with the limit switch set the speed is acceptable to me but not really faster than my Bigma. I did not find the lens hunting except when there was very little light present and then it just would not lock focus at all, which is normal.

Overall I am pleased with the lens and look forward to doing some better testing and will post some pics with the lens when I get some worth posting.

2-20-09
Noticed a thread and someone wanted to know at what points the f/stops changed and this is my results.
f/4 70-110mm
f/4.5 110-230mm
f/5.6 230-400mm

3-11-09

Updated my review today as I have had some time with the lens and I upgraded the distortion rating and the sharpness to reflect my testing. I also did the FYI backfocus adjustment on my a700 and focus is now where it should be so I could update my review.

8-5-09

Not really happy with the hood, so I purchased a rubber screw on collapsable hood and love it. It is now easier to store in my backpack and easy to deploy with the hood collapsed. I have not noticed any flare problems with the rubber hood, so anyone having problems with the factory hood may want to consider this option.

RMS




reviewer#4805 date: Feb-4-2009
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:400/4.5 HS/G
price paid:
missing
positive:A fine range of focal lenght.
Fine tuning of the manual focus very easy due to "long travel".
Minimum distance to subject judged to around 60-80cm
negative:Zoom handling, the zoom is not that smooth.
Silver color and surface finish.
The hood is/feels very cheap, no match of the rest of the lens.
Autofocus speed at long end very slow in cloudy/dull weather.
F4-5.6.
comment:I tested the lens on A700 on a very bad day. Dark weather, heavy clouds, misty, a little rain now and then, typically using ISO 800.
About ratings: I couldnt test the flare due to weather, so i put in a 5 because i dont know anything else at the moment.
Sharpness - based on this short tryout - seems to be quite good. Compared to 400/4.5 setting the 400/4.5 as a clear 5 in rating, the 70-400 seems more like 4 or 4.5.
I might rewrite the review when i have made some more pixel peeping/post processing, so dont take this review for more than it is.
reviews found: 128    << 1 2 3 4 5

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 128
  • sharpness: 4.87
  • color: 4.91
  • build: 4.55
  • distortion: 4.85
  • flare control: 4.84
  • overall: 4.81

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