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Sony FE 70-200mm f/4G Macro OSS II... Performance?

At about $1648, the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4G Macro OSS II is a compact macro zoom with modest lens speed, making it highly attractive for hiking and all-around shooting.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4G Macro OSS II
  • Full Frame
  • f/4 to f/22
  • G Series Telephoto Zoom
  • .5x Magnification Across Full Zoom Range
  • Internal Focus, Floating Elements Design
  • 10.2" Minimum Focusing Distance at 70mm
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • 15% Shorter and Lighter than Predecessor
  • Advanced Aspherical, Super ED Elements
  • Nano AR Coating II
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

Nice specs on paper.

Performance?

How’s it actually perform?

I’ve heard some good comments about it from a couple of users. But a zoom used for sports or people can look excellent and then when put to landscape use or similar can greatly disappoint.

Having had very poor experiences with multiple copies of its f/2.8 siblings, I’m skeptical. I didn’t even publish results with the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM II because they sucked so badly with landscape use. Now maybe is the time to compare the f/2.8 GM to this f/4 alternative.

Generally speaking, 70-200mm zooms suck for landscape use and similar. I’ve seen so many swung or tilted 70-200 zooms that also have excessive distortion at both ends along with field curvature that makes them total crap for landscape

That said, I was impressed with the Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S such as in Glowing Aspen Trunks at Dusk so at least one such zoom exists that I would gladly use.

Perhaps I just had multiple marginal samples of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM and Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM II.

Accordingly, I am thinking to pit the two Sony 70-200mm zooms against each other in field use, and see if perhaps the f/4 can outperform its f/2.8 sibling and/or I can finally get a copy of the f/2.8 that doesn’t suck.

(might not be shown below, B&H feed is malfunctioning) $1698 Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 Macro G OSS II Lens

Specifications

As per Sony.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4G Macro OSS II
Focal length: 70-200mm
Aperture range: f/4 - f/22
Focusing range: 10.2in = 26 cm
Angle of view: 34° - 12°30'
Number of elements/groups: 19 elements in 13 groups
Diaphragm: 9 blades, Rounded
Magnification: 0.5X = 1:2
Filter thread: 72mm
Weight, nominal: 1.7 lb / 794 (lens only)
Dimensions: 3.2 x 5.9in = 82.2 x 149 mm
Street price: about $1648
Supplied with: Sony ALC-F72S 72mm Front Lens Cap
Sony ALC-R1EM Rear Lens Cap
ALC-SH176 Lens Hood
Limited 1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

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