Further readings for the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II
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In part 2 of our review of the best lenses for the Sony A99 II, we look at the performance of zoom lenses. More versatile than fixed focal length primes, zoom lenses offer the convenience of multiple focal lengths in a single lens. Image quality isn’t quite as good on a zoom compared to a prime, however, with generally lower lens metric scores recorded in our tests, although some zooms come pretty close.
Sigma are well known for their accessibly priced models and at just under $1,100 the 150-500mm f5-6.3 APO seems like a promising alternative to the premium offerings from the camera makers. Although one of the older models in the firm’s range now, does it still have what it needs to compete with more modern rivals?
Following our recommendations for the flagship Sony SLT-A99, we’ve had the opportunity to assess the firm’s semi-professional 24-Mpix DT (APS-C) format model - the SLT-A77 - with a sizeable collection of Sony and third-party prime and zoom models to assess image quality. Read onto find out which of these models perform best when paired with the camera.
After evaluating the performance characteristics of lenses mounted on full-frame models such as Nikon D800 and D600, as well as the Canon EOS 5D Mk III, we’ve now had the opportunity to analyze a range of lenses on the Sony SLT-A99. In this concise report, we’ll see how well the combination of Sony’s high-end image sensor and the latest Alpha mount lenses perform.
Announced only in February this year alongside the Sony made Zeiss branded 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM, the 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II lens is an upgrade to the original silver finish model introduced in 2009. This new lens is said to boast up to 4x increase in AF operation and an improved optical performance (not to mention a new white exterior). Read on to see how well it performs in our labs.
With the vagaries of photographing wildlife, the flexibility of a telephoto zoom would appear to be an attractive solution. However, image quality is often a compromise at the maximum aperture and longest focal length, typically the most crucial settings. We’ve pulled some lens data from our database and put together a round up of popular zoom lenses over the years (and made some comparisons with high performance primes). Read on to find out which models have the best image quality.
Hello DxOs, Since the bodies you tested this lens are not what is relevant for purchase these days, but the lens is still pretty unique, I would really like to see it tested again with the A7R II and the a6300. To me these are the top most interesting cameras today. Thank you for all the great work.
I've been waiting on this lens. I currently shot on the long end with a minolta 500 f8 reflex. It can be fantastic in broad daylight, but that's a crippling factor most of the time. I'm not surprised to hear about the optics being a mild improvement over the former. In fact, they've talked up the SSM motor upgrade more than anything. If it was a major leap in optical quality you'd be hearing about it from Sony. The biggest problem with the current 400mm is the weird Bokeh at 400mm and drop in sharpness. Here's the skinny:
No AF with a teleconverter- anyone looking to nail birds all day long with this will definitely be using a 1.4 along with the lens. Makes that SSM worthless at that point.
70-200 IMO is worthless on a lens at this price point. Your just not using that length all that often.
I want this for ease of use. But, I think I'm still going to eye up a minolta 300 2.8. And thats the problem, I only care about the 300-400 range on this. It needs to be compared to the minolta 300 2.8 or the 200 2.8 which has already been proven to be sharper with a 1.4 tele than the 70-400 at 400mm.
I can't believe you would test a brand new lens that has not even hit store shelves yet on old discontinued cameras! I've owned many of those camera models on my way up to my current A77 and there is no comparison in image quality. I can't imagine many people in the market for this lens would still be using it on any of these old cameras. The test results would not only be more accurate but I am sure the lens would have better results on the new cameras. I am going to check your Nikon 80-400mm lens tests and see if you tested it on old discontinued cameras too. In the interest of fair comparisons I hope you did.
We published 700D, 100D and A99 lens recommendation last month, and other camera will follow. There is a lot of work behind it and there are also a lot of requests. The A77 is one of the highest priority for us but it should not be available before this fall.
There seems to be an error in the sharpness results for the Sony 70-400mm with the A580 body. It shows sharpness at only half of what the A380 body has, even though the A580 has more MP. Someone should look into these results.
I have not heard elsewhere that the optics were updated, I'm curious to know the source. If so, comparing to the silver edition is critical (and, as GeminiRx mentions, on an A77 and A99 would be appreciated.) I love my silver 70-400 so much, and have been mildly considering an upgrade. If the (already stellar) optics are improved, I'm sold!