Showcase Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0 G OSS

addieleman

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Yesterday I went out again with a.o. a legacy 200mm lens and the results were less than stellar; not because the Minolta MD 200/4 is bad but because focussing and keeping it steady is the problem. So I finally bit the bullet after seeing so many ravishing samples and applied for a budget extension with the committee of financial affairs. The committee approved and a deal was struck for a second-hand FE 70-200mm. This thread on dpreview took away my last doubts about its performance at the long end. Can't wait!
 
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WT21

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Ad, I hope you like your new lens!

I am still waiting to put my lens through a proper test that I bought it for (events), but I went to shoot some birds at our bird feeder yesterday. I tried the a7 and the FE70-200 and the GX7 and Panasonic 100-300.

I was able to get more shots with the P100-300 purely because, at 300mm (effectively 600mm in full frame terms) I could step way back. With the 70-200 I had to get much closer, which I think scared most of the birds.

So, I'm not sure this is a great birding lens! But as that's not my use case, I don't mind too much, but it does point out that I guess I'll keep my Panasonic around for a bit still (though I found the bokeh of the 70-200 more interesting)

Also note -- I am currently shooting the a7 in OOC jpg. I haven't begun yet to explore RAW or optimum settings, but I might not even do RAW. The OOC jpgs of this camera with this lens seem very good enough for my needs.

First the Panasonic 100-300 on a GX7, 246mm f/5.3 ISO2000. Click through to the flickr stream to see a neat little birding sequence of this guy coming in for a landing.
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20150321-20150321-P2500008 by wt2100, on Flickr

Next the FE70-200 on an a7, 200mm, f/4.0, ISO1600
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20150321-20150321-DSC08125 by wt2100, on Flickr
 

Lisandra

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Thank you. It was my first time shooting Holi so I wasnt aware whats gonna happen.. although there wasnt alot of colored powder being thrown around, I got some on the outside of my lens lol.. had to step aside and dust them off.. I got really careful after that and went on shooting.

I got some cotton buds and used acetone to lightly remove all the color on the outside that wouldnt come off. Not sure if that was the right thing to do since I cant find anything in google how to safely remove the colored powder. Nothing went wrong with the lens after I did that.
allow me to ruin your day...

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/05/how-to-ruin-your-gear-in-5-minutes-without-water

Yes, i was one of those renters...Im even kinda sure the lens on the first picture is my doing...

Also, the powder used in color runs is based on cornstarch, which isnt sae to breath at all. An asthmatic like me even from fairly far away ended up in the hospital because of it. The doctor that saw me was so shocked that this events happened that he actually started a formal petition to ban them. He said that the "dust" was so finite that the body couldnt effectively sneeze it or cough it out. And because cornstarch has a unique reaction to liquid it would actually kinda glue it self to the pulmonary walls and stay there. A healthy person wouldnt feel a thing the first day, but the damage is definitely there, and with time inflammation would ensue.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12762351
 

Lisandra

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shots on this thread are indeed wonderful, but the lens performance itself I cant really get behind.
 

addieleman

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You mean the lens isn't really great? If so, what's wrong with it in your opinion? I'd like to know so that I can check on it; I agreed with the seller to pick it up in person and I'll be testing it on my camera and laptop before closing the deal.
 

Lisandra

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You mean the lens isn't really great? If so, what's wrong with it in your opinion? I'd like to know so that I can check on it; I agreed with the seller to pick it up in person and I'll be testing it on my camera and laptop before closing the deal.
Dont pay much mind to me, the problem is Im spoiled by the 70-200 2.8G and the minolta 80-200 HS, in that respect in the 70-200 the contrast seems overly low and the sharpness isnt as wow as the A mounts.
 

WT21

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I like what I see so far in terms of contrast and color, though that's comparing to m43 consumer-grade alternatives and some older Canons like the 80-200/4 and the old, old 70-210 USM, and avoiding an adapter and a GIANT lens like the 2.8G is worth is (no idea on the Minolta).

Do you have any comparisons of the two?

edit: do you mean this one? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1008119-REG/sony_sal70200g2_70_200mm_f_2_8_g_ssm.html That's a $3K lens!It's also 1300g. I guess I'm out, lol.

edit edit: the Minolta seems to run only $800 used, though at 2.8 it's still big and heavy. I wonder about the sharpness and especially the AF speed. I was doing some research on the adapter AF speed, and DPR users overall didn't seem very excited about the AF speed with the adapter. Some calling it not much better than what you get on consumer DSLRs??
 
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addieleman

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Dont pay much mind to me, the problem is Im spoiled by the 70-200 2.8G and the minolta 80-200 HS, in that respect in the 70-200 the contrast seems overly low and the sharpness isnt as wow as the A mounts.
Thanks anyway. I've seen pictures with excellent sharpness of this lens even wide-open but also examples of lesser image quality; in the latter case it might as well be operator error. I'll see with my own gear what it'll be.
 

robbie36

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Is the Meike grip fully operational with the a7? All the right buttons and wheels, etc? It looks to be $80 which is a heck of a lot better than the nearly $300 for the Sony!
Be a bit careful.

1) There are 2 different Meike battery grips for the A7/r/s and the A7ii
2) From what I know the A7 Meike grips works very well with all the right buttons. BUT there have definitely been reports of the A7ii Meike grip custom buttons (c1, c2, c3) not working. Supposedly Meike acknowledged this and have produced a new batch. Hopefully I will get one of the new batch but for US$100 I wont be too bothered if a couple of function buttons do not work. I will report back when I receive it.
 

Lisandra

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I like what I see so far in terms of contrast and color, though that's comparing to m43 consumer-grade alternatives and some older Canons like the 80-200/4 and the old, old 70-210 USM, and avoiding an adapter and a GIANT lens like the 2.8G is worth is (no idea on the Minolta).

Do you have any comparisons of the two?

edit: do you mean this one? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1008119-REG/sony_sal70200g2_70_200mm_f_2_8_g_ssm.html That's a $3K lens!It's also 1300g. I guess I'm out, lol.

edit edit: the Minolta seems to run only $800 used, though at 2.8 it's still big and heavy. I wonder about the sharpness and especially the AF speed. I was doing some research on the adapter AF speed, and DPR users overall didn't seem very excited about the AF speed with the adapter. Some calling it not much better than what you get on consumer DSLRs??
First on the speed...no way. At least the HS version is as fast as any modern high end lens i have. Sometimes the torque will twist your hand.

On the lenses..i have the 70-200 G but the first version, quite frankly i didnt find much of an improvement on the II version. I rent it forward a lot, and I rarely see it nowadays. So for that i have the minolta 80-200 2.8 HS. Its about the smallest 70-200 full frame Ive had, but the sucker is a bit heavy. At least more heavy than the FE by a margin. Its completely made of metal (even the hood). That said, its an amazing lens. heres how it looks on an a7/7r (the white one)

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I would have to dig for the examples I took with the FE, but my copy at least wasnt all that. Well, again, compared to the above mentioned lenses. If you all allow it, here are some samples with the minolta at 80, 120 and 200 with 100% crops as they left lightroom:

https://www.talkemount.com/threads/10946/

I never got results anywhere near as good with the FE...but like I said its heavy heavy heavy and the FE is lighter, and that is important to a lot of people and I understand why
 

addieleman

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Thanks a lot for sharing. That Minolta 80-200/2.8 is looking impressive indeed in terms of sharpness. Unfortunately, I'm not at all prepared to go back to DSLR-style focussing with the LA-EA4 with all its problems of autofocus accuracy, so if my candidate FE 70-200/4 sample doesn't cut it, I'll simply wait for another one to appear second-hand located closely enough for me to test it in person. Oooh, I really hate Sony's lack of adequate quality control, I'd much rather order a new one and be done with it, but the chance of having to exchange it is far too large.
 

WT21

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Do you have a Panasonic 35-100 there on the left? Can you share some comparison thoughts on that lens vs. your other 70-200 options in terms of sharpness, AF speed (especially for moving objects), color and contrast? Feel free to leave out sensor comparisons, as those are well known :)
 

Lisandra

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Thanks a lot for sharing. That Minolta 80-200/2.8 is looking impressive indeed in terms of sharpness. Unfortunately, I'm not at all prepared to go back to DSLR-style focussing with the LA-EA4 with all its problems of autofocus accuracy, so if my candidate FE 70-200/4 sample doesn't cut it, I'll simply wait for another one to appear second-hand located closely enough for me to test it in person. Oooh, I really hate Sony's lack of adequate quality control, I'd much rather order a new one and be done with it, but the chance of having to exchange it is far too large.
yes to all of that, sony needs to make an laea adapter with the a99 focusing points and accuracy. ..
 

Lisandra

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Do you have a Panasonic 35-100 there on the left? Can you share some comparison thoughts on that lens vs. your other 70-200 options in terms of sharpness, AF speed (especially for moving objects), color and contrast? Feel free to leave out sensor comparisons, as those are well known :)
Mounted on a modern pana body (not oly) there simply isnt something that stands up to the 35-100 focusing speed in dslr land. Even in m43 land the only faster thing is the 12-35. Also because the nature of cdaf the pana is a million times more accurate.
No for the polemic part...on a gh3 or em1 the 35-100 can effectively track a subject fairly well with a decent 8/10 keeper rate. Subjects moving towards you lowers the keeper rate to 6 or 7. But, and its a big Beyonce but, the a7 and laea4 doesnt do better. Same keeper rate. Well..at f2.8 and over 120mm the keeper rate goes down quite a bit. With the gh4 keeper rate is 9/10, nikon d4 teritorry. It really has to be seen, its amazing. You said to ignore sensor but id rather ignore dof. IQ wise the 35-100 has little fault and it seems sharper than both sony and minolta when compared wide open. The only sharper wide open 70-200 is the canon mkII. Stopped down the full framers pull ahead, but the sensor seems like the limiting factor here. It really is a surprise opening files from that lens. Pana really needs to jump to 24mp, these lenses can clearly handle it.
Color wise the minolta wipes the floor here. I simply cannot match in post the colors this lens churns out, the greens are a lovely fuji provia like and skin tones are amazing. The sony is a bit too cold but still better than the pana ( still i suspect sensor has more to blame here ).
Contrast wise the modern lenses tend to obviously be better, so the pana shines through here. Still, i feel the contrast in the minolta is a bit better, the fact that it can take a light head on and keep a ton of contrast is mind boggling. Here the sony isnt as contrasty as the other two but Is able to go to that true black level. keep in mind we're comparing 3 amazing optics here, so the worst of the 3 will be amaaaaazing. The sony isnt bad at all, its just too clinical (hate ambiguous terms like that), and while thats a preferable charasteristic to me, in this case the 35-100 is more "clinic" and the minolta manages to be as clinical and have and amazing color rendering.
 

robbie36

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Do you have a Panasonic 35-100 there on the left? Can you share some comparison thoughts on that lens vs. your other 70-200 options in terms of sharpness, AF speed (especially for moving objects), color and contrast? Feel free to leave out sensor comparisons, as those are well known :)
I currently have the EM1 and 35-100 2.8 as well as the A7ii + 70-200 f4. I was pretty reluctant to buy the 70-200 f4 because it seems a 'huge' lens (and a huge white lens) compared to the 35-100 f2.8. And theoretically there isnt much difference the Pana is one stop faster, the A72 sensor is perhaps 2 stops better. And the EM1 certainly wins on focusing (the cdaf is so fast you hardly need pdaf) and frames per second.

Therefore it is very much a surprise to me that the EM1 + 35-100 f2.8 combo hasnt really had a look in since I got the 70-200 f4 and this has gone well beyond initial buying euphoria. I'll admit I like the extra 70-200 f4 bokeh and a lot has to do with the added DR of the A72 sensor. I dont like carrying such a big lens with me (especially a white one) but it is well worth it.
 

Lisandra

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Ithe A72 sensor is perhaps 2 stops better..
The whole sensor argument has been discussed to death but, the difference is 1 and 1/3 at its best day. The whole 2 stops thing is a big internet misconception and assumption. Heck the new nx1 is actually better than the a7 in low light.
 

WT21

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I was pretty reluctant to buy the 70-200 f4 because it seems a 'huge' lens (and a huge white lens) compared to the 35-100 f2.8.
Funny enough, one of the reason I want to make the 70-200 work with my a7 is that I'm planning on shooting several events between now and summer's end. The last one I shot -- our small middle school's basketball championship game, I was asked to be the official photographer. But I was left fighting with iPad and iPhone wielding parents in a throng. I'm thinking a giant white lens (and maybe grip and flash) will clear out people and give me some room to work :)

When I had a Canon FF rig I never had the issue, but I don't want a DSLR anymore. I never used it except for events, so one lens for events is all I want.
 

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