Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS: Full Format Brilliance



Natasha Desai puts the promising Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS to test to find out if its promises live up to the real world.

When Sony released the the Alpha 7 and 7R early last year, they also announced a range of new lenses called the FE series, specifically to take advantage of the full-frame sensor of these camera. Enter the FE 70–200mm f/4 G OSS, a telephoto lens with high quality glass elements that would make any serious enthusiast or pro user happy. The lens was released only by the mid of last year and we put it to the test with the Sony Alpha 7R.

The lens features 21 elements in 15 groups with two advanced aspheric, one aspheric, one super ED and two ED elements. It does not extend as all its zooming is done within the barrel. The lens body has the focus ring at the end of the barrel with three focus hold buttons just beyond the ring. Then comes the zoom ring with its focal length markings. Just before the ridge where the collar goes, the lens features four buttons. The first is for Auto and Manual Focus, the second lets you limit your focusing distance between 3m to infinity or the full range, the next button is to switch the Optical Steady Shot (OSS) on or off and the fourth is for stabilizing modes on the horizontal and vertical axes, while panning. The 70–200mm is dust and moisture resistant which is good considering its range and constant f/4 makes it an ideal lens to use outdoors, whether for wildlife or portraits. The lens can be used on an APS-C camera such as the 24.3MP Sony A6000, which will give users a 105– 300mm equivalent focal range.

Lightweight and solid, the 840g is surprisingly comfortable to handle, given how big it looks. While a battery grip with the relatively smaller a7R would balance the lens better, I had no problems supporting the lens with my left hand with my right hand at the controls without one. With the lens hood, the entire kit looks super huge, but it functions effectively. The focus ring is easy and smooth to use, with the focus hold buttons easily to reach while focusing manually. The zoom ring is albeit slightly stiffer, but it is nothing to complain about. While shooting handheld, it might be a better idea to shift the collar to the side to comfortably change the focal range.

With the lens being so easy to handle, its optics prove to be a dream to use. At the widest aperture, the images turn out pretty sharp with a decent amount of background blurring and bokeh. I was able to make pleasing portraits with it. The autofocus is fast and performs well in both adequate light and low light. The colours are good straight out of the box and the chromatic aberration present but easily correctable. There is vignetting at f/4, but reduces as you go to f/5.6 and even more so at f/8. The images are sharpest at the wide end and turn out softer at the tele end. There is some barrel distortion at 70mm, but again, it is nothing that cannot be easily dealt with. As expected, there is some pincushioning at 200mm.

When I first saw the lens, I was worried about how it would pair up with the relatively small a7R. Once I began to use the lens though, it seems to balance pretty well and I really had little to complain about. Optically, it is a wonderful lens to wield. Shooting outdoors with it was an absolute joy. Be it flowers, leaves, some of the biggers insects, animals or even landscapes and portraits, this lens was fun to use. The autofocus is fast, the picture quality great, especially when coupled with the a7R. It is priced at Rs. 99,990, and is targeted at the pro and serious enthusiast photographers. It is, however, well worth the price.


The lens performed exceptionally well when used handheld at 200mm with the OSS on. Exposure: 1/400 sec at f/7.1 (ISO 200) Photograph/Natasha Desai

 Features: Fast autofocus, Optical Steady Shot, focus limiter, focus hold button  18/20
 Performance: Excellent image quality  33/35
 Build Quality: Dust and moisture resistant  23/25
 Ergonomics: Comfortable to grip and use  13/15
 Warranty & Support: Large service network  4/5

MRP: Rs. 99,990

Who should buy it? Wildlife and sports enthusiasts, along with anyone who wants to shoot outdoor portraits.

Why? The 70–200mm is a good, fast lens that gives great image quality.


Tags: zoom, Sony, sony alpha 7r, 70-200mm, Sony Lens, Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS, E-mount lens