Sony

Review Sony 70-400 mm f/4-5.6 G SSM (APS-C)

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The Sony 70-400 mm G is one of the Sony lenses from the Gold series, the professional Sony Alpha lenses. The Sony 70 - 400 mm has a full aperture, depending on the focal length, between the aperture 4 and 5.6. The lens is suitable for both a camera with an APS-C sensor and a camera with a full-frame sensor. We have tested the camera on the Sony A77, a camera with an APS-C sensor.

Bokeh2-SonySAL70400produkt1

duifoverzicht400mm-sony-70-400
 
Sony 70-400 mm,@  400 mm /8, 1/160 + tripod
produkt2SonySAL70400produkt1
Click on this picture for a magnification of 100%. The Sony 70-400 mm increases in length substantially as you zoom to 400 mm. The freely added lens hood makes the lens even greater than shown here.
70mm-sony-70-400 400mm-sony-70-400
Converted to a lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor, the combination of Sony 70-400 mm and the Sony A77 gives a 6x zoom range of 105 to 600 mm.

Construction and autofocus

 

The lens is built like a tank and is finished in stylish silver. On the lens are a few buttons, with which you can turn of the AF or limit the focus range, allowing the AF time to be shortened.
Usually, the zoom ring is on the body and the focus ring at the front lens. With this lens, it is the other way around. This takes some getting used to.
The drive of the SSM autofocus (Supersonic AF Motor) goes pretty fast, but in low contrast or in the dark, there is some searching sometimes. The autofocus then does not have enough contrast for fast focusing. This is a common phenomenon with extreme telephoto lenses with a maximum aperture of 4 or higher.

Specifications
Sony 70-400 mm f/4-5.6G SAL-70400G
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:18/12
length x diameter:196 / 95
filter size:77
Weight:1500
Lens hood:+

Image stabilization

 
The in-camera image stabilization of the Sony A-77 in combination with the Sony 70-400 is excellent. We have tested the image stabilization at a focal length of 70 mm. Without image stabilization, you can still take reasonably sharp shots to 1/50 seconds. With image stabilization to 1/6 seconds. That is a profit of 3 stops. IS-test-Sony-70-400G

Vignetting

 

Because the lens is designed for use on a camera with a full-frame sensor, there is hardly any vignetting. Even at full aperture, the maximum vignetting is less than 0.4 stops. Very occasionally, vignetting may be visible in practice when using the Sony 70-400 mm on a camera with an APS-C sensor.

Move your mouse over the image to view the other Imatest details.

vignet1-Sony-70-400

Flare

 
The Sony 70-400 mm has virtually no problems with ghosting. With difficulty it worked to create flare with the Sony 70-400 mm without lens hood in the studio. If you use the supplied lens hood, it is virtually impossible that you suffer from ghosting. In this practice shot of the moon, no flare can be seen, while the Sony 70-300 did show flare under similar circumstances. A top performance of the Sony 70-400. flare-Sony-70-400

Resolution

 
The Sony 70-400 mm is a lens that delivers sharp images. Not only over the entire zoom range, but even from full aperture. That is a very good performance.

Resolutie-Sony-70-400

Many telephoto zoom lenses become less sharp as you zoom in further. But that does not apply to the Sony 70-400mm. The resolution at 400 mm is as high as at 300 mm. Very good.

Click on the image for a 100% image cropping at 300 mm and 400 mm. 

mini300vs400mm-SonySAL70400produkt1

Chromatic aberration

 

The chromatic aberration of the Sony 70-400 mm is low at all focal lengths. In practice, you will encounter no visible chromatic aberration in images taken with the Sony 70-400 mm.

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Conclusion Sony 70-400 mm f/4-5.6 G SSM review





conclusie-Sony-70-400

Look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
70
105
7.2
6.6
7.6
9.2
8.6
90
135
7.0
6.8
5.6
9.4
8.7
133
200
7.5
6.7
9.4
9.5
8.1
200
300
7.9
7.2
9.2
9.5
8.2
267
400
7.6
7.0
8.6
9.5
8.1
333
500
7.2
6.5
8.4
9.4
8.1
400
600
7.1
6.6
7.8
9.3
7.8
Overall
Overall
7.2
6.6
8.1
9.4
8.4

Pros

  • High image quality, even at the longest focal length
  • Zoom lens with extremely long focal length
  • Large zoom range

Cons

  • Big and heavy (1.5 kg)
  • Expensive
  • Autofocus sometimes searches with little contrast
The only disadvantages which we can think of for this lens (that it is large and heavy, and that the price will be high for some) are obvious. If this is not so important to you, the Sony 70-400 mm is an absolute must.
Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (2)

  1. Jocelynne LIttlebear

The only real con, IMHO, re the Sony 70-400 f/4-5,6 SSM G is is that it is quite slow, similar to the otherwise excellent Sony 70-300 G lens. Both of these lenses possess superb mechanical and optical qualities, however. And both are great assets...

The only real con, IMHO, re the Sony 70-400 f/4-5,6 SSM G is is that it is quite slow, similar to the otherwise excellent Sony 70-300 G lens. Both of these lenses possess superb mechanical and optical qualities, however. And both are great assets for any photographer. <br /><br />But, for those who do available light photography, these lenses' slow speed can severely limit their application.

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  1. Ivo    Jocelynne LIttlebear

Hi Jocelynne,<br /><br />We appreciate it very much when readers add their experience with theis lenses and camera. <br /><br />Thanx for your comments on the AF speed of the Sony 70-400mm and the Sony 70-300 mm lenses. It might be the reason...

Hi Jocelynne,<br /><br />We appreciate it very much when readers add their experience with theis lenses and camera. <br /><br />Thanx for your comments on the AF speed of the Sony 70-400mm and the Sony 70-300 mm lenses. It might be the reason Sony recently released a new version of 70-400 mm lens.<br /><br />Regards,<br /><br />Ivo

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