The Sony A99 + SAL70200G = BFF’s 4EVA! I’ve wanted it for a while now – the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G-series lens – but I’ve never really had a good enough excuse to justify dropping a couple of thousand bucks on it. I mean, it’s a great lens with brilliant reviews and a handy zoom range, but I didn’t really need it. For a lot of 2011 and all of 2012, my focus was urbex, lightpainting and street. Not much need for a telephoto-zoom doing that stuff.
A match made in Heaven!
But all that has recently changed – with my photographic efforts being refocused to people & portraits this year, I’ve got a big family portrait session booked for next weekend and two weddings to shoot later in the year.
As good an excuse as any, I reckon…
So I contacted my sales bud, Elias, at the Brisbane Sony Centre. He found me one in stock in Melbourne for the right price so I ordered it on the spot and picked it up a few days later. As soon as I walked in with it, I grabbed the A99 and snapped it on.
After fitting it to the camera, my first impression was that it was poorly balanced – same as with my 24-70/2.8Z. It’s not a big lens (like the Sigma 120-400) by any means, but it is full of very heavy, precision ground glass. It weighs a lot and on the front of the A99 it pulls the combo down at the front. I’m not particularly used to this as my A77 is perfectly balanced with a battery grip, and I’m hoping the same solution will work for the A99. That’s definitely the next big purchase for me.
When I switched the camera on I did a few quick test-focuses around the room. Fast, very fast. I shot a few things around the room, pixel-peeped for a while, then went outside to the front yard to shoot some flowers in the late-afternoon light.
Pretty sharp on the bird, huh? Well check out the same shot with a major crop…
In this final image, that small blade of grass was right in amongst a large patch of identical grass – with the powerful depth-of-field limiting created by the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G-series lens coupled to the Sony SLT-A99 full-frame camera is easily able to single out and separate your subjects from whatever background.
So in summation I can say that the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G-series lens [SAL70200G] has made the greatest first impression upon me since I bought my fisheye. It’s fast to focus, lets in heaps of light, and the telephoto effect is exquisite on the full-frame Sony A99. I’ve recently learned there is a new version of this lens being released gradually around the world, so I think I’m lucky to have gotten this one when I did. It may not be the newest, greatest version of the lens, but it’s tried and true and has a fantastic reputation for providing excellent images in all conditions. I will, of course, be posting more about this camera & lens combo, so stay tuned to SAL for follow-ups.
Finally, the observant among you may have noticed that nearly all of the shots above have been taken wide open at f/2.8 and zoomed right in to 200mm. I noticed this myself when converting them to JPEG, and I put it down to the sports-car principle: you don’t buy a Lamborghini or Ferrari to drive at road speed – you buy them to drive flat out. I’m sure this lead-footedness will end in due course, but for now it’s a thrill-a-minute.