Sony FE 100-400mm GM realistic expectations?

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davidevans1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,765
Sony FE 100-400mm GM realistic expectations?

I have an A7R4 and have had a 100-400 GM for two or three weeks, to use primarily for landscapes. So far mainly photographing across valleys at field patterns and rock formations on the opposite side (I'll move onto other subject matter in due course!).

I'm struggling with the lens a little and am trying to guage what my realistic expectations should be.

First off I don't think it's de-centred, assuming that means that one side is worse than the other, that's not the case.

I'm very pleased with the focal length range 100-250mm approximately. However when I get towards 300mm and onto 400mm the edges and corners definitely deteriorate.

Initially I was trying at F/11 but have reduced to F/8 and I have image stabilisation off (on the lens and in camera) and am using a sturdy tripod and remote release with 2 second delay. The aperture reduction was after looking at Marc Alhadeff's assessment on Sony Alpha Blog.

The centre is sharp right up to 400mm, although not very contrasty beyond around 250mm. However I can see people on the top of mountains clearly.

I appreciate that haze must be playing a negative part in reducing contrast and sharpness, even though I've had the opportunity to test on a quite crisp sunny day. I have a good UV filter attached but this does not make a significant difference to the edge and corner sharpness (it looks similar whether with or without a filter)

Depth of Field will also be playing a part, even at 1000 metre distance I think! Using PhotoPills with a Circle of Confusion of 0.010 the hyperfocal distance is 2 km.

I know a few landscape photographers use this lens, although I imagine it's primarily being used for animals, birds and maybe sport. Would landscape photographers share their tips please for getting it sharp and contrasty out of camera, or is this virtually impossible at 300-400mm and are you reverting to post processing techniques?


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Sony a7R IV Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 +2 more
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