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Thread: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    I am sitting on the fence about this lens. I was hoping for a fast 85 or 135 to be announced and that hasn't happened. I have the 35 and 55 for my A7r and like them both but use the 55 80% of the time. I bought a Sony 85 2.8 with an adapter to hold me over and while the image quality is excellent in the studio it struggles with focus and even worse will not let me use my Spider Holster when I am on a planned outdoor shoot.

    I would like a native lens longer than my 55 but I am not thrilled with carrying a larger zoom rather than a prime. Any opinions out there? Do you love it - would buy it again - never leaves your camera - or it's just a lens.

    Jim

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Jim, I've had the 35 and 55 sold them both shortly after the 24-70 came out. I also have the 70-200 (actually we have 2 of them; one for Sandy and one for me). I shoot IR with the 7r and have no regrets. Sandy uses her quite often and likes it just as much.

    Hope this helps,
    Don Libby
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    I actually played with a 70-200 today in the local camera store. It's a decent size lens considering the focal length. It's not too big for normal use and is actually considerably lighter than the A-mount 2.8 version. I'm seriously considering trading my 35/2.8 towards it, preordering the 16-35, and getting the 35/1.4 or 35/2 later on.

    In other news I played with an A7s against my better judgment... So I want one of those now as well.
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Depends on what you shoot.

    I've had a number of 70-200s for different systems and never took to them. Telephoto compression at 200mm is not my cup of tea for what I shoot 135 being the longest I like.

    I have the FE35/2.8 and FE55/1.8 for general shooting, with the 35mm as the most used basic walk-about because it is so small.

    I'm patient. I'll wait for an AF FE85/1.8 or 90/2 portrait focal length. Maybe.

    Frankly, I'm ambivalent about the FE glass so far. Technically excellent but subjectively I find them lacking in character. Fortunately, we can bolt almost anything to these A7 cameras.

    So, I may not get anything else in the FE line-up and just continue using other lenses that I like for their rendering and character.

    - Marc
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    I have the 35 & 55 as well, and have ordered the 16-35. I also have the 70-200, and have never regretted buying it. Very high quality build, fast focus and plenty sharp (but try and avoid 200mm wide open if corner sharpness is critical).

    Ergonomically - no issues at all. It fits quite will on the A7. I've spent hours shooting BIFs, hand held. Never once did it seem too much to handle.

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Thanks for all the comments - still considering but it seems those who have one, like it.

    Jim

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    I have not bought simply because my needs call for a 2.8. I own the 135 1.8 and the 85 1.4 as it is and when I need 200 I rent the ZA 70-200 2.8 on a crop sensor. I would not mind having it though but other glass is first.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    I think it too an excellent package when I tried it a few months ago. The problem is that 70-200 is less useful than you think.

    200 is still not enough reach for really interesting telephoto opportunities and like others have stated for portrait work I find a 85 or 135 prime more useful. f4 is a bit slow, as well.

    Like others I'll wait until either the 90/2.8 is out or Sony get something interesting in the 135mm range. Until that time I'm using an Elmarit 90/2.8 on a novoflex adapter - and in any case all the portrait stuff I have done with the 55/1.8 has been superlative - the results actually make me look like a more than competent portrait photographer!

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    The 70-200 FE is my most used lens on my A7.

    It is fairly compact and light while boasting of an incredibly useful focal length range.

    Focus is fast and accurate in good light but the A7 struggles when it is dim. Personally, I am anxious for Sony to upgrade the A cameras with decent AF.

    IQ is top notch, possibly not quite fully sharp in the corners at 200mm and f/4 but that is never any problem for me.

    -Bill

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Whether or not the lens is "useful" is up to the person that actually uses it.

    That said, the lens produces excellant files, is lightweight and has been a great addition to my Sony bag.

    Don
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Don is spot on. Its all about application and personal preference.

    For what I use it for (general travel) it is superb. I did a mini-review of it here: Road Test: Sony FE 70-200 f4 G OSS for A7 and A7R

    Would I buy it again? Yes. I regard it as a must have for travel. Files are excellent, the lens' operation is essentially flawless and there's little to fault, assuming it fits in with your needs. Its definitely Canon L quality in every regard.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Don is spot on. Its all about application and personal preference.

    For what I use it for (general travel) it is superb. I did a mini-review of it here: Road Test: Sony FE 70-200 f4 G OSS for A7 and A7R

    Would I buy it again? Yes. I regard it as a must have for travel. Files are excellent, the lens' operation is essentially flawless and there's little to fault, assuming it fits in with your needs. Its definitely Canon L quality in every regard.
    Thank you for the mini review.
    Question; you mention the OSS is turned off when the lens is mounted on an a7r, is this actually noted in the supplied manual?
    Cheers,
    Michael

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    Senior Member Annna T's Avatar
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by miklar View Post
    Thank you for the mini review.
    Question; you mention the OSS is turned off when the lens is mounted on an a7r, is this actually noted in the supplied manual?
    Cheers,
    Michael
    OSS is greyed out in the camera menu : there is a slider/knob on the lens allowing you to set OSS on or off. Another knob allows you to choose the stabilization mode you want.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Having read up a little on the longer ZM lenses, Zeiss never really 'got there'. I have to say the ill-fated ZM 85/2 got my attention, seems to have been a lens before its time.

    Something as good as that one, or Leica's fine 90mm Elmarit-M 90/2.8 would win Sony or Zeiss many friends, especially with an auto-magnification focus ring...something to look forward to maybe?

    Most such lenses were not quite right on rangefinder cameras, but would be great to use now with EVF/focus aids. Zeiss may just give us the best last - and each lens range needs a portrait lens capable of magic.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Anna I am still confused by your statement. Is OSS always turned off on the A7r regardless of how you set the slider/knob or is it just that you can't turn it off and on from the menus?

    Jim

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    Senior Member Annna T's Avatar
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post
    Anna I am still confused by your statement. Is OSS always turned off on the A7r regardless of how you set the slider/knob or is it just that you can't turn it off and on from the menus?

    Jim
    You can only switch it on and off from the lens, not from the camera menu, where that item is greyed (aka you can't operate it using the camera menu). You select the mode of operation on the lens too. In one mode, it is operating continuously, as soon as you half press the shutter (it is better to check focus or for MF, but drains the battery much faster) in the other mode, it only works when you press the shutter fully (spares the battery).

    I own the Canon 70-200 F4 L too and was rather deceived by the performance of the my Sony copy : the Canon zoom is clearly sharper, especially in the corners at the long end. The Canon is smaller in diameter. It is also lighter and shorter, but reaches the weight and length of the Sony once you add the adapter. With the Metabones smart adapter V3 the Canon zoom can focus quite well, but very slowly. You get shutter shock on tripod at many speeds. The main advantage of the Sony is a way faster focusing, but don't expect miracle in lower light and the A7r isn't an action camera anyway. There is shutter shock with the Sony lens too, but less pronounced than with the Canon. I try to shoot at high speeds only (never slower than 1/800 or better 1/1250).

    Personally, I find both zooms way too big and heavy for hiking or travel (but usually I don't travel with my car and walk a lot in cities).
    Last edited by Annna T; 20th September 2014 at 21:06.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Annna T View Post
    You can only switch it on and off from the lens, not from the camera menu, where that item is greyed (aka you can't operate it using the camera menu). You select the mode of operation on the lens too. In one mode, it is operating continuously, as soon as you half press the shutter (it is better to check focus or for MF, but drains the battery much faster) in the other mode, it only works when you press the shutter fully (spares the battery).

    I own the Canon 70-200 F4 L too and was rather deceived by the performance of the my Sony copy : the Canon zoom is clearly sharper, especially in the corners at the long end. The Canon is smaller in diameter. It is also lighter and shorter, but reaches the weight and length of the Sony once you add the adapter. With the Metabones smart adapter V3 the Canon zoom can focus quite well, but very slowly. You get shutter shock on tripod at many speeds. The main advantage of the Sony is a way faster focusing, but don't expect miracle in lower light and the A7r isn't an action camera anyway. There is shutter shock with the Sony lens too, but less pronounced than with the Canon. I try to shoot at high speeds only (never slower than 1/800 or better 1/1250).

    Personally, I find both zooms way too big and heavy for hiking or travel (but usually I don't travel with my car and walk a lot in cities).
    Thank you Anna
    Cheers

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    Senior Member Annna T's Avatar
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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by miklar View Post
    Thank you Anna
    Cheers
    I should add that i use it on an A7r and that I can clearly hear the sound made by the OSS when using the lens with OSS on, i do also see the effect in the VF. I assume that it is also working when i depress the shutter fully. Although, even with OSS on i avoid lower speeds.

    I'm not particularly happy with the lens sharpness. May be that i have got a bad copy.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Annna T, it does sound like you have a bad copy. I was really quite shocked at how sharp mine is, especially up to 135mm or so. Its a lottery with Sony it seems.....

    FWIW I tested a demo copy in the shop, which was pretty good, knowing it was there as a back up if the boxed one was a duffer. As good as that copy was, it was clear that my boxed copy was better, which I was not expecting. At 70-135mm, it is sharp as a tack from corner to corner with f4 only being visibly less good than f5.6 when snooped on at 1:1. At the 200 end, it needs F5.6 to realise the corners and improves a bit more up to f8. At no aperture does it resolve the insane levels of high frequency details as the 55 f1.8 at, say, f5.6, but it is still a 'woah, that's sharp' kinda lens.

    I expect the 16-35mm to be no less of a lottery, sadly. by my experience, 'solid within spec lenses' are well under 50%. With Canon its more like 90+%.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Annna T, it does sound like you have a bad copy. I was really quite shocked at how sharp mine is, especially up to 135mm or so. Its a lottery with Sony it seems.....

    FWIW I tested a demo copy in the shop, which was pretty good, knowing it was there as a back up if the boxed one was a duffer. As good as that copy was, it was clear that my boxed copy was better, which I was not expecting. At 70-135mm, it is sharp as a tack from corner to corner with f4 only being visibly less good than f5.6 when snooped on at 1:1. At the 200 end, it needs F5.6 to realise the corners and improves a bit more up to f8. At no aperture does it resolve the insane levels of high frequency details as the 55 f1.8 at, say, f5.6, but it is still a 'woah, that's sharp' kinda lens.

    I expect the 16-35mm to be no less of a lottery, sadly. by my experience, 'solid within spec lenses' are well under 50%. With Canon its more like 90+%.
    May be that is because i tend to use it at the longer end : just a little back from 200mm, usually at 170-180mm. I admit that at the short end it is better than the 24-70mm at the long end. I use it mainly between F5.6/F8.

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    Annna - thanks for the detailed explanation.
    Jim

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    Re: Sony FE 70-200 would you buy it?

    AnnnaT, true, but if I shoot a brick wall at 7-10m at 200mm, it is sharp to the corners at f5.6 with my copy and only a hair better at f8. At the 70mm end, f5.6 is only a hair better than f4. While yours may not be a outright lemon, it may lie at the left extreme of the standard distribution of samples. I have and have had a few lenses like this.

    Can you try another copy?

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