70-400G lens

Started Feb 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
Calico Jack Senior Member • Posts: 2,306
Re: 70-400G lens

This may or may not be of us or make sense but I mainly use telephoto zoom/primes for motorsport and aviation.  I've owned numerous telephoto zoom/primes including the Minolta 300/2.8 APO/APO HS G, Tokina AT-X 300/2.8, Sigma 100-300/4 EX and EX DG, Minolta 300/4 APO HS G, Sony 70-300/400 G SSM, Sigma 120-400 OS and non OS and various others.

Specifically, the Sony 70-400 G SSM just isn't fast or sharp enough throughout it's focal range to warrant the price, let alone the G spec.  Secondly, any lens with HSM/SSM/USD is essentially a regulator for AF speed, so for fast moving subjects where the focal point changes constantly, a screw-drive lens is superior.  Without going into fine detail, there were only 2 lenses I could recommend hand on heart that both gave fast AF acquisition, superb IQ and keep up with the action, and they are:

Sigma AF 100-300mm F4 EX DG (IF) APO and Minolta AF 300mm F/2.8 APO and APO HS G (it makes no difference which version Minolta as they're both super quick and equally brilliant though darned hefty).

I've used an awful lot of top-shelf lenses over the years and if you needed to see samples of why I say what I do, you can find them at Fluidr and Airplane-Pictures (though there are many taken with other lens models/makes) but you can see the type of tele-prime and tele-zoom results that the above two lens models can give.

One of the worst G lenses I've used (I've owned 2x copies of the lens) is the Minolta AF 300mm F/4 APO HS G.  Leave this one well alone.

Many praise the 70-400 and 70-300 G SSM's, and from what I can see, for slow moving and/or static subjects they may be OK, but even so, over 250mm-350mm just didn't cut the mustard for me.  In-lens OS has it's benefits for static subjects, but in-camera IS works better (it's horses for courses).  If you can glean anything from this short summary, then great, but otherwise it may come at a cost to buy, try keep/re-sell which is why I've owned 2x 300/2.8 Minolta's and 7 or 8 Sigma 100-300/4's.  I can't comment on anything I haven't either used or owned and wouldn't suggest anyone make comparisons that they haven't used either, so at least from my PoV, you have qualified information based on lens model, type and purpose, so hopefully you can consider or leave alone as you deem fit.  FWIW, I'm in L24 and have a bunch of lenses and bodies up for grabs including a Sigma AF 120-400mm DG APO HSM (non OS) if you fancy a cheap(ish) tele-zoom + others.  It can be a tough call whether to go tele-zoom or tele-prime, but I can understand your frustration with the silver tube but I trust you'll find something that meet with all of your requirements and expectations.

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Mark @ Sonolta * Photography

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