The Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G is an impeccably-built lens, which matches its Canon and Nikon counterparts in its 'professional workhorse' level of quality. The barrel features solid metal construction, and the zoom and focus rings are extremely smooth in operation. However it's worth noting that the lens is not described as weather-sealed, and most notably there's no seal around the mount to prevent dust or moisture ingress at this vulnerable point.
Special mention must be made of the three AF stop buttons, which are positioned at 90 degree intervals around the barrel, perfectly placed for operation by your left thumb no matter which orientation you're holding the camera (portrait or landscape). If you use one of Sony's higher-end bodies, they can also be reassigned to depth of field preview if you prefer (or even to the somewhat less useful 'Intelligent Preview').
Unusually, the lens offers two modes for manual correction of autofocus (which Sony calls 'Direct Manual Focus'). In 'Standard' mode, the autofocus will override any movements of the manual focus ring when using either continuous autofocus (AF-C), or continuous advance in AF-A mode; this is useful to prevent accidental movements of the focus ring from affecting action shooting. In 'Full Time' mode, any movement of the manual focus ring will override AF.
On the camera
This is a relatively large and heavy lens, and therefore best matched to the more substantial bodies in Sony's range - essentially the Alphas 700, 850 and 900. It's also one which benefits from the use of a vertical grip, especially if you're likely to be shooting much in portrait format. But while sizeable lenses like this are never entirely at home on budget cameras, you'd really not want to mate this one with Sony's current budget range, as the handling is distinctly awkward due to the unusually-designed grip. To be fair, though, it's much better on the more conventional Alpha 450/500/550 triplets.
Potential upgraders should also be aware that this is a much bigger, heavier beast than typical consumer telezooms such the 70-300mm - it's relatively unlikely to be something you'd want to carry around with you all day at Disneyland (for example).
This lens features Sony's ultrasonic-type Super Sonic Wave Motor (SSM) for autofocus, which is essentially silent in operation and, in our experience, very accurate indeed. It's also pretty quick, and while it's perhaps not quite up to the same lightning-fast standard of Nikon's latest AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 VR II, this is unlikely to cause you to miss many shots.
However as always it must be noted that focus speed and accuracy is dependent upon a number of variables, including the camera body used, subject contrast, and light levels.
Lens body elements
Reported aperture vs focal length
This lens allows an aperture range from F2.8 to F32 at all focal lengths.
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