Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G review
The Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G is one of the original group of lenses announced at the launch of the company's Alpha system in June 2006. However its history goes back a bit further; it's essentially a re-badge of the Minolta AF 70-200mm F2.8 APO G D SSM, which first appeared early in 2003. At the time Minolta was only making film SLRs (its first truly practical digital design, the Maxxum/Dynax 7D, appearing after the merger with Konica in September 2004), so the lens is designed to cover the 35mm full-frame format, although naturally it also works on APS-C digital SLRs. It's therefore a natural companion to the Alpha 850 and 900 DSLRs, providing a real alternative to Canon and Nikon systems towards the top end of the market.
Like all fast telezooms, the optical formula is complex, with 19 elements in 16 groups and 4 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for the correction of chromatic aberration. The lens features a built-in ultrasonic-type 'Super Sonic Wave Motor' (SSM) for autofocus, promising fast and silent focusing. The Direct Manual Focus feature allows the user to tweak focus position manually at any time, and has two modes; 'Standard' prevents accidental movements of the focus ring from interfering with continuous AF operation, while 'Full Time' is essentially self-explanatory. The lens also features three AF-stop buttons arranged around the barrel, allowing the user to lock focus easily; on Sony's latest high-end DSLRs these can be assigned to other functions, perhaps most usefully depth of field preview.
The 70-200mm F2.8G faces strong competition, though, from similar lenses such as the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II and Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro. And the value proposition between these lenses becomes somewhat complicated on the Alpha system; because while Canon and Nikon's expensive fast telezooms add image stabilization and weathersealing, this isn't the case with the Sony (because all lenses are stabilized via the in-body Super SteadyShot system). The Sony lens therefore offers relatively little on paper to justify costing more than twice as much, but of course specification comparisons never quite tell the whole story. So let's see what you actually get for your money.
- 70-200mm focal length range; fast F2.8 constant maximum aperture
- Ring-type ultrasonic focusing with full-time manual override
- Three focus hold buttons (function customizable from some camera bodies)
- Alpha mount for Sony and Konica Minolta DSLRS
Angle of view
The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto, on 35mm full-frame and APS-C camera bodies:
|70mm (full frame)||200mm (full frame)|
|70mm (APS-C; 105mm equivalent)||200mm (APS-C; 300mm equivalent)|
Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G specifications
|Manufacturer's product code||SAL-70200G|
|Street price|| US: $1800
|Date introduced||June 2006
(March 2003 as Minolta AF 70-200mm F2.8 APO G D SSM)
|Maximum format size||35mm full frame|
|35mm equivalent focal length
|Diagonal Angle of view (FF)||34º - 12º|
|Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C)||23º - 8º|
|Lens Construction||• 19 elements/16 groups
• 4 ED glass elements
|Number of diaphragm blades||9, rounded|
|Maximum magnification||0.21x at 200mm|
|AF motor type||• Ring-type ultrasonic
• Direct manual focus - two modes (Standard and Full Time)
|Image stabilization||via camera body|
|Filter thread||• 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories|| Front and rear caps
|Weight||1500g (3.3 lb) (including tripod mount)|
|Dimensions||87mm diameter x 197mm length
(3.4 x 7.7 in)
|Lens Mount||Sony Alpha only|
|Other||• 3 Focus Hold buttons
• Reports focus distance information to camera body
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.