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Keywords: Sony Tele Zoom A-Mount 35mm SSM Tested


Registered: April 2012
Posts: 3
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by slawrencephoto
Review Date: 4/6/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,800.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, Sharp, Build Quality
Cons: Heavy

I traded my 70-300G for a 70-200G for the F2.8 which has proven useful but after a while I began to miss the 100mm. I was not going to let go of the 70-200mm so I dug deep and bought this lens.

It was a safe purchase and I was not disappointed, it shines in all the right places and the extra 200mm is a real bonus.

The one thing it is not is a walk around lens, it is heavy at 3lbs.

Recommend, yes, yes, yes.


Registered: October 2011
Posts: 8
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by infocus
Review Date: 3/27/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,650.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: This replaces all exspensive tele-lenses combined (including TC), excellent even at close-up, very reasonably priced. Silent supersonic AF (SSM) with direct manual focusing (DMF)
Cons: Heavy (but that's good for steady hh shooting at 400mm)

This FF lens is quite heavy and extremely well built, but surprisingly compact and has a very useful zoom range; similar lenses are not offered at a reasonable price by anyone else in the business to my knowledge. It is not particularly fast at f4-5.6, but performs very well from wide open and extremely well just one stop down, just a bit softer at the long end. Most top quality fast lenses need more stopping down to match this performance, so the working aperture becomes about the same anyway. Fast lenses were needed before for accurate manual focusing, but were stopped down to f5.6 or f8 for the exposure. Resolution is just as superb, only stopped down one step more, as the Sony 70-200 f2.8 lens, the four times more expensive Sony 300mm f2.8 lens, and the Carl Zeiss Sony 85mm f1.4; each at the aperture where these are at their best. It may come as a surprise that this 70-400 lens is extremely useful for close-up photography as well, delivering a lifelike surface texture of leaves and flowers not often seen in the APS-C format. CA and distortion is very well controlled throughout in practical photography. In fact, it compares quite well with the Micro Nikkor 200mm f4 AF-D IF-ED. I use it with the Sony a580 and the a77 cameras. If image quality and value for money are first priorities, this is it (by a camera or two to go with it from the savings using this one). No one else offers image stabilisation, fast supersonic AF, this long zoom range and high IQ more reasonably priced in a single compact unit. Regards JvE

By the way: It was in part due to this lens I wrote off all my quite outdated Nikkor AF lenses when going digital (80-200 f2.8, 60 & 105 f2.8, etc.), they apparently don't compare too well with resent lenses. On the better new ones VR was somewhat scarce and sometimes useless. I wanted to take advantage of the new technology. Now I have Sigma 8-16, Sony 16-50 f2.8, 35 f1.8, 50 f2.8 Macro and the 70-400. All are among the very best available in their category regardless of price and make. JvE

NOTE: The a77 (and all its siblings) has no optical viewfinder like most D-SLRs. The advantages are for most practical purposes overwhelming - and it is an SLR camera by definition: Using the taking lens for the finder image. Whether the redirecting of the image to the viewfinder is accomplished by mirrors or wires is irrelevant!

UPDATE: Sony has released a new version of this lens for 2013 finished in white rather than the much preferable dull silver finish, proving Sony's confidence in this product and willingness to respond to whimsical demands from customers more into looks than function. This makes the original product even more desirable at a lower cost. The new specifications can hardly make much difference, given the performance of this highly rated original product - and if the AF really is better, that's good too!

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 3
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by Nas79
Review Date: 1/2/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,600.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Quiet, Quick, Sharp, Focus hold buttons and Fit and Finish
Cons: Small Tripod mount foot and the zoom creeps out when held down.

This lens is almost always attached to my A77. I have been very happy with the image quality from it. Some say it is expensive but I find it to be competitive compared to other brands in it's range. I used to own a Sigma 50-500 and gladly sacraficed the 100mm of reach for the sharpness I get with this lens at all focal lengths.

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 22
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by Beachrider
Review Date: 3/7/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,600.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Quite sharp wide open at all focal lengths. Zoom range is tremendous. Color is better than any other Sony-mount telephoto zoom. Physical color is less obtrusive than white, less hot than black.
Cons: Heavier than 70-300 zooms, heavier than many up-to-400 zooms.

Lens has been tremendous after hundreds of shots. I don't know of any up-to-400 zoom that is as quiet or as quick. Focus range limit is useful. Zoom movement is tight, but does not lock. Size of lens (and cost) make it a post-year-2 purchase for some photographers. It is 'worth it', when you have enough telephoto work, though.

Registered: March 2010
Posts: 3
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by Airphoto
Review Date: 3/3/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 



The lens is just as sharp as the Sony 70-200mm between 70-200mm at f/4-f/8, but not sharper. IF you use a TC 1.4x on the 70-200mm f/2.8 the 70-400mm will blow this out of the water!! No question about it Comparing 280 to 300mm the 70-400mm wins and at 400mm the 70-400mm is sharp! with the tc1.4on the 70-400=560mm still sharp!!!
I sold my 70-200mm sony 2.8 which up until then I thought was a great lens. The files are as good and better with this one. ALSO!! I had tried the Canon 100-400mm with tc1.4x and it was always horrible, but this lens keeps working awesome. Not as sharp as a Sigma 500mm f4.5 dg ex but close!
I agree the CZ lens focus fast!!! This one focuses the same speed as my ex Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 faster the a Canon 5dMII and any lens

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 4
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by cputeq
Review Date: 2/15/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,550.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Great image quality, weight, lens features
Cons: Slower AF, hood tends to crossthread

I use this lens on the A850 camera for birding and wildlife work and so far it's great, but not without some gripes.

The image quality is very good, and the silver color of the lens isn't as shiny as some web pics make it out to be - it's almost a matte finish that really doesn't "bling" like I feared it would.

Weight-wise, it's what I expected this type of lens to be - not a full day's easy carry, but not horribly heavy either. The lens tends to be very sharp from 70-300, and sharp from 300-400.

In casual testing, I really haven't noticed much IQ improvement going from f/5.6 to f/8, so I just shoot it wide open unless I'm concerned about DOF.

My only real complaints for the lens - the lens hood almost acts like it wants to crossthread every time I put it on - very different than the sure connection I get from my CZ 24-70.

Also, the lens doesn't AF very quickly. It's not slow, but it's certainly not quick, and can have problems tracking at times, though I've managed to pull some birds in flight just fine.

Registered: October 2009
Posts: 2
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G review by calpon
Review Date: 10/13/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,500.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp wide open, great color and contrast, useful range
Cons: heavy and expensive

The only other long zoom I have experience with is the Tamron 200-500. The Sony is both faster and sharper at all focal lengths. It was well worth losing the extra 100mm to go with this lens. I would have preferred a 200-500 Sony with the same IQ and aperture range, but this is the best that Sony offers right now.

Some don't like the silver color of the lens, but I have found that it greatly improves the comfort of handling the lens in bright sunlight. It stays cool to the touch while the Tamron would become very hot. The finish does not seem to make wildlife take notice of you anymore than a black or white lens. It may even be better than white.


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