Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
AZheaven Senior Member • Posts: 1,750
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

tonyz1 wrote:

AZheaven wrote:

PWPhotography wrote:

I have already owned 100-400 GM well before the release of Sigma lens. But even from scratch, I likely will still get Sony lens - 1) So far I still trust and only bought OEM long lenses, Canon or Sony, never ever own any Sigma or Tamron long lenses; 2) in this case, Sony can use TCs while Sigma has no option, or even later Sigma released TC, may still inferior as we see in EF/F mounts; 3) 1/3-stop faster and would be 2/3 stop faster with 1.4x TC provided Sigma ever released 1.4x TC. Sure Sigma is cheaper and lighter that are not really an issue to me.

I have yet to see any shots with the new Sigma of BIF's. And I'm on Fred Miranda, and the Sony Alpha Wildlife Shooters Facebook page. A majority of photos are with the 100-400 or 200-600. Sure, the stills with the Sigma look great. But performance with BIF's is missing. And it's that f6.3 at the long end of the Sigma that I'm not crazy about.

I've shot with the Sony 100-400mm, Sony 200-600mm, and the Sigma 100-400mm. You're not going to see much of a difference between the Sony and Sigma versions for bird in flight since the main constraint is lack of reach. The Sigma is more than capable of handling that job except maybe if you're shooting tiny and fast moving birds and that's purely a function of the Sony 100-400mm having a slightly better AF motor - you're probably better off investing in a tripod and being patient instead.

I also don't think the ability to use teleconverters is an advantage - I don't see much of a difference between f5.6 and f6.3 but f6.3 vs f8 is big. At that point, it just makes sense to get a Sony 200-600mm if you really want 600mm.

I use the Sigma for a compact walking around telephoto lens but if I ever find time to get back into bird in flight - I'd re-buy the 200-600mm as a tripod mounted setup.

Note that some of these images are cropped so resolution isn't apples to apples.

Sony A7R III + Sony 100-400mm + 1.4x TC

Sony A9 + Sigma 100-400mm

Sony A9 + Sigma 100-400mm

Sony A9 + 200-600mm

Sony A7R III + Sony 100-400mm

Thanks for this reply! I've been using the A7III and a rented 200-600 for the past couple of days now. It's not so much big as it's heavy, with a capitol H. When I get the subject in focus its's sharp. But with that weight I can't hold it long enough and carrying it on a strap (Peak Design) affects my shoulders and neck/back. I've been out of it for a while recovering from surgeries. I'm just a 173 lb weakling for now! I rented the 100-400 back in January and it seemed more managable to me.

tonyz1 Contributing Member • Posts: 568
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

AZheaven wrote:

Thanks for this reply! I've been using the A7III and a rented 200-600 for the past couple of days now. It's not so much big as it's heavy, with a capitol H. When I get the subject in focus its's sharp. But with that weight I can't hold it long enough and carrying it on a strap (Peak Design) affects my shoulders and neck/back. I've been out of it for a while recovering from surgeries. I'm just a 173 lb weakling for now! I rented the 100-400 back in January and it seemed more managable to me.

I tend to agree with your assessment on the 200-600mm - I took it on a six mile hike (big mistake) and decided to sell it afterwards for the Sigma 100-400mm which is much much smaller. The Sony 100-400mm is nice but only worth it if you really want to get to 560mm f8 with a 1.4x teleconverter in a slightly smaller package over the sony 200-600mm for a lot more money.

The way I see it is this:

1. If you are happy with 400mm as your max reach, the Sigma 100-400mm is smaller and cheaper than the Sony 100-400mm and there is nothing the Sony offers that will help you take better photos. The Sony does have slightly faster AF so maybe if you are a professional shooting sports, I can see why that could make sense.

2. If you want to get to 600mm or 840mm, the Sony 200-600mm is the best option hands down even with the added weight.

3. If you really need a little less weight and willing to sacrifice a little bit of image quality and a lot of money, the sony 100-400mm + 1.4x TC can make sense. But it's definitely a bit of a compromise and AF slows down.

Personally, I'm waiting for something like the Nikon 500mm f5.6 PF before I commit more money towards a super telephoto. I've actually considered buying a D500 just to use that lens but I don't get to do enough wildlife photography to make it worth my while.

 tonyz1's gear list:tonyz1's gear list
Sony a9 Sony a7C Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016) Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM +6 more
dkeller Senior Member • Posts: 1,575
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

A monopod is really the way to go with these long telephotos and will help with weight problem while shooting.  Of course, nothing helps with the weight when carrying it on a long hike.

 dkeller's gear list:dkeller's gear list
Sony SLT-A68 Sony a7 II Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +4 more
AZheaven Senior Member • Posts: 1,750
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

tonyz1 wrote:

AZheaven wrote:

Thanks for this reply! I've been using the A7III and a rented 200-600 for the past couple of days now. It's not so much big as it's heavy, with a capitol H. When I get the subject in focus its's sharp. But with that weight I can't hold it long enough and carrying it on a strap (Peak Design) affects my shoulders and neck/back. I've been out of it for a while recovering from surgeries. I'm just a 173 lb weakling for now! I rented the 100-400 back in January and it seemed more managable to me.

I tend to agree with your assessment on the 200-600mm - I took it on a six mile hike (big mistake) and decided to sell it afterwards for the Sigma 100-400mm which is much much smaller. The Sony 100-400mm is nice but only worth it if you really want to get to 560mm f8 with a 1.4x teleconverter in a slightly smaller package over the sony 200-600mm for a lot more money.

The way I see it is this:

1. If you are happy with 400mm as your max reach, the Sigma 100-400mm is smaller and cheaper than the Sony 100-400mm and there is nothing the Sony offers that will help you take better photos. The Sony does have slightly faster AF so maybe if you are a professional shooting sports, I can see why that could make sense.

2. If you want to get to 600mm or 840mm, the Sony 200-600mm is the best option hands down even with the added weight.

3. If you really need a little less weight and willing to sacrifice a little bit of image quality and a lot of money, the sony 100-400mm + 1.4x TC can make sense. But it's definitely a bit of a compromise and AF slows down.

Personally, I'm waiting for something like the Nikon 500mm f5.6 PF before I commit more money towards a super telephoto. I've actually considered buying a D500 just to use that lens but I don't get to do enough wildlife photography to make it worth my while.

Yesterday was day 4 with the 200-600. I hiked a flat trail in my area by a lake (what's left of it since our monsoon season ended up being nothing) for approx. 2 miles. I ended up having to cradle the lens in my arms because the weight was getting to me. Many shots I took were not in focus because I'm not strong enough to hold this lens steady. Shaking? I was like Don Knotts in Ghost and Mr. Chicken! And walking to an area to take photos I was thinking since I crop anyway, I can easily crop a 100-400 to 600mm.

I too am waiting to see what a 3rd party comes out with. Tamron was rumored months ago to be working on a 200-400 f4. But if true i would imagine that would be heavy as well. As for the Sigma. I have yet to see any shots of BIF's. I'm just seeing stills right now. We shall see!

rgwaller1
rgwaller1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,992
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

These are not BIF's but RC Planes that are faster and the Sigma 100-400 E kept up very well.

 rgwaller1's gear list:rgwaller1's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Sony Mavica FD-95 Sony a6500 Sony a7R IV Sony a1 +17 more
AZheaven Senior Member • Posts: 1,750
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

rgwaller1 wrote:

These are not BIF's but RC Planes that are faster and the Sigma 100-400 E kept up very well.

If you didn't say that B-24 was a RF plane I would swear it was the real thing! And thanks for posting the photos. I just don't see me getting and using a 200-600. Nice lens for sure, but I just simply struggle with keeping it steady. I rented one this past week. That lens is for me anyway a gimbal lens. I'll have to keep my eyes open for more photos. Appreciate you posting these!

PWPhotography Forum Pro • Posts: 10,852
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
2

AZheaven wrote:

rgwaller1 wrote:

These are not BIF's but RC Planes that are faster and the Sigma 100-400 E kept up very well.

If you didn't say that B-24 was a RF plane I would swear it was the real thing! And thanks for posting the photos. I just don't see me getting and using a 200-600. Nice lens for sure, but I just simply struggle with keeping it steady. I rented one this past week. That lens is for me anyway a gimbal lens. I'll have to keep my eyes open for more photos. Appreciate you posting these!

I bought 200-600 G in the past holiday season and plan to use in airshow season this year. But all airshow events were cancelled due to pandemic. I missed the NY airshow, the only one still happened at end of last month that I never attended in the past, one of few events in country that need to buy ticket and only can use on one specific date. When I realized all tickets were all sold out. Anyway have to wait to next year.

Nevertheless 600mm is much needed for smaller planes or birds of course. A big advantage is that 200-600 G is internal zooming that only needs to rotate 1/4 turn (90 degree) from 200mm to 600mm that is quite faster and more precise than 100-400 GM (or this Sigma lens) with external zooming and need to rotate much more. 200-600 G is much heavier however but believe I still can handle in hand-held in a few hours, partially I am doing much more exercise during these months' pandemic home stay in home gym (barbell, dumbbell, workout bands, treadmill etc) and lose almost 20 lb I still feel 'comfortable' in hand-holding this lens mounted on A9 with vertical grip, will see next year.

 PWPhotography's gear list:PWPhotography's gear list
Canon EOS-1D Mark III Sony a7R IV Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 +16 more
dkeller Senior Member • Posts: 1,575
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

Monopod

 dkeller's gear list:dkeller's gear list
Sony SLT-A68 Sony a7 II Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +4 more
Glenn Barber Veteran Member • Posts: 3,359
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

Ewan Grantham wrote:

Looking for a decent zoom lens for the a7r iv for a trip to Mesa Verde at the end of September. Because they have always had ranger led tours, the cliff dwellings themselves are closed, but the overlooks are open. Of course I am also hoping to get some decent shots of the Aspen in Fall Color around the same area.

Is this the right lens for that? Any issues I should be aware of with this combo?

Thanks in advance!

My favorite lens on the A7R4. - super sharp at the long end (actually the entire range) - super fast focusing.  If you are going to do and sports or wildlife I would have this before the 200-600 which is not as fast or as sharp.

 Glenn Barber's gear list:Glenn Barber's gear list
Sony a6500 Sony a7R IV Sony a6600 Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS +9 more
PWPhotography Forum Pro • Posts: 10,852
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
3

dkeller wrote:

Monopod

Monopod or even tripod works for birding including most BIF but not really for airshow that planes flying all over place and over head frequently.

200-600 G is a bit sharper and also get AF locked a bit faster than 100-400 GM + 1.4x TC. And then zooming is quite faster and more precise control than 100-400 GM, no mention latter with 1.4x TC. For birding 200-600 G is a better choice according to many.

I keep 100-400 GM that is just more versatile and much easier to carry with. It's one of my kit lenses I carry into trips including landscape oriented ones.

 PWPhotography's gear list:PWPhotography's gear list
Canon EOS-1D Mark III Sony a7R IV Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 +16 more
Ewan Grantham
OP Ewan Grantham Regular Member • Posts: 191
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

Thought I'd update for anyone who wanted "the rest of the story". Based on a couple replies here and elsewhere I ended up taking my RX10 iv with me instead of buying a new lens. Finished shooting today, and there were only 8 shots (out of about 100) that were more than 400mm, and half of those were me trying to grab a detail for a structure that I could have lived without. The bigger problem, interestingly enough, is that 100mm would have been a little too cropped as I had quite a few shots under 100mm. I know Tamron has an 18-400 that's considered "acceptable" for Nikon DSLRs, but don't believe there's anything like that for Sony (right?). And of course Nikon mirrorless does not even have a good 100-400 from my understanding. So if I'd taken my full frame I would have needed my 18-135 as well as the 100-400, and there would have been a good bit of switching lenses.

Earlier in the week I also did a shoot at Great Sand Dunes NP, and switching there probably would have required a day afterwards to clean the sensor (if I was lucky). With the way the wind was blowing around, I'm not sure I could have convinced myself to even take a chance changing lenses.

Not sure what the moral of the story is here. Perhaps it's that I should leave travel shooting to my RX10, and continue to use the A7R for more quiet landscape shots?

FWIW...

 Ewan Grantham's gear list:Ewan Grantham's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Sony a7R IV Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Samsung Galaxy S10+
fieldray Regular Member • Posts: 132
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

Sony FE 100-400 has replaced my 70-200 f2.8 GM as my standard travel telephoto lens. Also I travel with two bodies for redundancy and flexibility; if conditions are problematic I have something wide on one body and something long on the other and don’t change lenses while I am out in the elements.

 fieldray's gear list:fieldray's gear list
Nikon D5 Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Sony a7R IV +14 more
Ewan Grantham
OP Ewan Grantham Regular Member • Posts: 191
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

I love the idea of two bodies with the right lens on each (I understand that's how most sport photographers work in the NFL and such), but even if I overlook the cost of that, I'm not sure about carrying that much weight. Do you have some kind of vest to ensure they aren't swinging around and bumping each other, etc?

 Ewan Grantham's gear list:Ewan Grantham's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Sony a7R IV Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Samsung Galaxy S10+
fieldray Regular Member • Posts: 132
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

I should probably look into something but I just have my carrying straps at different lengths and most of the time hold onto one or the other camera.  Not the best but not bad enough for me to change my habits!

 fieldray's gear list:fieldray's gear list
Nikon D5 Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Sony a7R IV +14 more
dkeller Senior Member • Posts: 1,575
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

I carry them on opposite sides of my body.

 dkeller's gear list:dkeller's gear list
Sony SLT-A68 Sony a7 II Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +4 more
rgwaller1
rgwaller1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,992
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

I use the Cotton Carrier. I put my full frame camera ( A7RIII, IV and A9 ) with the FE 100-400GM or Sigma on my chest and put my smaller camera (RX10m4, A6500 or FF with short lens ) on the hip holster. When using the 200-600 I use the Black Rapid Double Strap to carry both cameras.

 rgwaller1's gear list:rgwaller1's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Sony Mavica FD-95 Sony a6500 Sony a7R IV Sony a1 +17 more
paul wassermann Senior Member • Posts: 1,877
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

rgwaller1 wrote:

I use the Cotton Carrier. I put my full frame camera ( A7RIII, IV and A9 ) with the FE 100-400GM or Sigma on my chest and put my smaller camera (RX10m4, A6500 or FF with short lens ) on the hip holster. When using the 200-600 I use the Black Rapid Double Strap to carry both cameras.

For an enthusiast like me, it takes more courage and self confidence than I have to use the Cotton Carrier.  Had one briefly but my kids just couldn't stop laughing at me.

 paul wassermann's gear list:paul wassermann's gear list
Sony a9 Sony a6600 Sony a7R II Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM +7 more
AZheaven Senior Member • Posts: 1,750
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV

paul wassermann wrote:

rgwaller1 wrote:

I use the Cotton Carrier. I put my full frame camera ( A7RIII, IV and A9 ) with the FE 100-400GM or Sigma on my chest and put my smaller camera (RX10m4, A6500 or FF with short lens ) on the hip holster. When using the 200-600 I use the Black Rapid Double Strap to carry both cameras.

For an enthusiast like me, it takes more courage and self confidence than I have to use the Cotton Carrier. Had one briefly but my kids just couldn't stop laughing at me.

I have a 3rd party rip off harness from Opteka that I bought 6 years ago. Wish I had the Cotton Carrier.

Anywho...I get stared at and given strange looks (I'm guessing it because of the harness and not me!) when I go to the Grand Canyon. But that's ok. My head is held high! Unlike those photographers that are staring at me with their heads down by the belt line with a heavy DSLR and lens hanging on their neck with the original camera strap!!!

rgwaller1
rgwaller1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,992
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
1

The first time I went out to meet up with some other photographers at the wetlands for a mostly all day walking tour they gave me a hard stare and several even chuckled at the way my setup looked. But at the end of the day when we were coming back to the parking area several were bent over and several were rubbing their shoulders and neck from having the weight of their cameras and heavy lenses handing from their shoulders. It may look funny but boy does it relieve the stress on your neck and shoulders.

 rgwaller1's gear list:rgwaller1's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Sony Mavica FD-95 Sony a6500 Sony a7R IV Sony a1 +17 more
Glenn Barber Veteran Member • Posts: 3,359
Re: Thoughts on an FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS with a Sony a7r IV
2

Ewan Grantham wrote:

Looking for a decent zoom lens for the a7r iv for a trip to Mesa Verde at the end of September. Because they have always had ranger led tours, the cliff dwellings themselves are closed, but the overlooks are open. Of course I am also hoping to get some decent shots of the Aspen in Fall Color around the same area.

Is this the right lens for that? Any issues I should be aware of with this combo?

Thanks in advance!

I thought I would add to this conversation - one particular benefit of this lens over the 200-600

The ability to close focus - its almost a macro when you need it. Its my preferred walk around lens - and outperforms the 200-600 in sharpness and speed and accuracy of focus as well as being much easier to carry around

Here's a shot from today (this is a crop from the A7R4)

 Glenn Barber's gear list:Glenn Barber's gear list
Sony a6500 Sony a7R IV Sony a6600 Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS +9 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads