Review

In this Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens Review I will be using the Sony A99 II, and will put this lens thru the paces including Lab testing, Action photography, Video, and lots of normal Real World use as well. My Sony A99 II Review is Here >> for those interested…

For a little insight into this review, I decided to test the Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens because I wanted to compare it to the New E-Mount FE 100-400mm GM Lens specifically. I want to know if there is any sacrifice in optical quality on the E-Mount GM lens when compared to this A-Mount beast.

The Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens goes for $2198 US and is market towards photographers looking for a serious telephoto zoom lens that does not compromise in quality at all. Particularly good for sports and wildlife photography I would say, but also great for that killer portrait depth of field layering effect I will talk about at length in the video portion of this review. And at the end of the day with a 70-400mm range you can clearly use this lens for a lot of other purposes as well like landscapes and going to the Zoo for example…

This lens is a bit heavy at 3.3lbs, but considering the quality it pumps out and the range, I did not think this was to bad at all. Don’t get me wrong, after a full day at the zoo hand holding, I did start to feel the weight!

Sony Lens Promotional Jargon:

Prime lens performance from 70 to 400mm, Clear images with crisp contrast, Faster tracking and improved response, and a refined operating experience

On with the Review and tons of sample photos!

 

Key Features

  • A-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • 70-400mm or 105-600mm APS-C
  • Aperture Range: f/4-5.6 to f/22-32
  • Two Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • 18 Elements / 12 Groups
  • Nano AR Coating
  • Super Sonic Wave AF Motor
  • Three Focus Hold Buttons
  • Electronic Focus Range Limiter
  • 4.92′ (1.5 m) Minimum Focus Distance
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Removable, Rotating Tripod Collar
  • Nine-Blade Circular Diaphragm
  • 77mm Filter Thread
  • No OSS
  • Weight = 3.30 lb (1500 g)
  • Cost = $2198 US
 

Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens

Here she is in the lab with the Sony A99 II mounted up 🙂

Sony A99 II w/ Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens

Sony A99 II w/ Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens

Sony A99 II w/ Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens

Sony A99 II w/ Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens

More promotion photos of the Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens:

 

Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens – Youtube Review

In this Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens Review, I will cover everything you need to know including Lab Testing, Hands-On, and Tons of Real World Photography with detailed Photo Analysis in Lightroom. Thanks for checking out my Review and Links mentioned in the video below.

 

 

All Sample Photos

Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens High Res Sample Photo Galley is Here >>

Below, be sure to click the little + Icon just below the first sample image to open up all the other images within the group.

Lab Photos

Lots of lab testing photos to share w/ 100% Crops!

70mm, f/4

Lab Testing Photos

Sharpness Testing at Key Focal Lengths

70mm – Full Lab Scene

100% Crops

 

100mm – Full Lab Scene

100% Crops

 

135mm – Full Lab Scene

100% Crops

 

200mm – Full Lab Scene

100% Crops

 

300mm – Full Lab Scene

100% Crops

 

400mm – Full Lab Scene

100% Crops

 

Aperture Run @ 400mm & Minimum Focus Distance

 

100% Crops

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

100% Crop – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

100% Crop – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/6.3, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

100% Crop – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/8, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

100% Crop – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/11, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

100% Crop – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/16, ISO 100

 
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/6.3, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/8, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/11, ISO 100

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II Lens - Lab Testing

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/16, ISO 100

 

Real World Photos

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 160

Real World Sample Photos

 

Zoo Photos

Sony A99 II - 70-400mm G SSM II Lens

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ 330mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec, ISO 250

Zoo Sample Photos

 

Layla Basket Ball and Bike Riding

Edited – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ and 300mm, f/8, 1/40sec, ISO 100

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ and 400mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 2000

Layla Basket Ball and Bike Riding

First I tried to get a panning shot of Layla riding her bike and it came out pretty good as you can see here.

Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ and 300mm, f/8, 1/40sec, ISO 100

But then I took the same raw file and applied some magic motion blur effects to show you what I really wanted to capture on camera. If I had more time and she was going faster I could have done it on the camera, but photoshop is a great tool at times for sure!

Edited – Sony A99 II – 70-400mm G SSM II Lens @ and 300mm, f/8, 1/40sec, ISO 100

 

Sony A-Mount 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens High Res Sample Photo Galley is Here >>

 

Conclusions:

This lens really does have killer performance at all focal ranges. It’s rendering is prime like for sure although not as fast, aperture wise, as primes are in most cases… Raw files have very little distortion, virtually no fringing at all, show astounding sharpness, color, and punchy contrast.

The focus speed on this lens was incredible and almost instantaneous. A great live demo of this can be seen in my A99 II video style Review, when I did some focus testing in the lab. That testing really showed off the speed and accuracy of the AF on this lens I would say. Then using the lens at the zoo and with all the higher speed testing with Layla it proved itself to be incredible when paired with the A99 II in my opinion.

I had a blast using this lens and if I were an A-Mount camera user looking for the best possible telephoto lens quality and range, then the 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens would certainly be my first recommendation. It’s got the best compatibility for the hybrid AF performance when compared to Tamron or Sigma lenses, but they also offer some great options. Be sure to check out my Sony A-Mount Lens Guide for all the available A-Mount Lens options >>

I got some of my best Zoo photos ever to date and can’t remember a lens that has such little distortion and killer corner sharpness throughout the entire range. Only at 70mm wide open in the corner areas did I see some notable softness. That is just phenomenal optics all day long…

At the end of the day I highly recommend this lens and if Sony is planing on continuing to support the pro oriented A-Mount Camera users, I would love to see an updated version of this lens with OSS and some of that Fluorine lens coating goodness.

I really look forward to testing out the New E-Mount FE 100-400mm GM Lens and comparing the image quality. I really feel like I have the necessary intel to find out exactly how good the GM lens as compared to this A-Mount 70-400mm beast.

I really hope you got what you were looking for in this review, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments below! Also, please consider using my links below if you are in the shopping mood, because that will give me a very small referral credit at zero cost to you. It’s a great way for you to give back for the content and efforts I provide. Thanks again for the consideration and please have a wonderful day!

Jay

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G II SSM Lens @ BHPhoto
Sony A99 II @ BHPhoto

 


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Thanks,
Jay

 


About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!