Sony 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Overview

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As different producers have solely just lately launched their first 70-200mm mirrorless workhorses, Sony is upgrading the five-year-old 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS. And Sony-tographers are going to be happy. The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II has a Mark II within the identify, however most of the updates really feel extra vital than that. The lens is considerably lighter and the autofocus now has 4 motors and a decrease close-up restrict. Oh, and there’s a devoted aperture ring too.

As a workhorse lens, nonetheless, the lens goes to be expensive. And the unique will stay accessible, a minimum of for now. So what do photographers get with the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II? 

Too Lengthy, Didn’t Learn

The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II has fairly a couple of upgrades from the unique. The autofocus is quicker, and likewise works significantly better on close-up topics. The sharpness has improved and the lens considerably lighter, but Sony nonetheless managed so as to add a devoted aperture ring. It’s a lens with quite a lot of technical greatness.

Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II Professionals and Cons

Professionals

LightweightExcellent autofocusDedicated aperture ringExcellent sharpness and colorsSolid stabilization

Cons

Gear Used

I used the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II with the Sony a1. I additionally used the outdated model of the lens alongside the brand new one to notice the variations.

Improvements

As a Mark II lens, the improvements to the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II are refined however noticeable. The lens is almost 30 p.c lighter, which even slides it a couple of grams below Canon’s mirrorless 70-200mm. It’s the lightest, vibrant aperture, autofocusing 70-200mm, Sony says. The lens makes use of a brand new autofocus design with 4 XD linear motors. Sony says that focusing velocity is as much as 4 occasions sooner and monitoring is as much as 30 p.c extra correct.

Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II Tech Specs

Sony offered the next particulars for the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II throughout a press convention:

Fixed f2.8 apertureStabilizationIncludes the next coatings: XA, ED Asph., Aspherical, Tremendous ED, Nano AR II, F coatingUpdated round 11 blade aperture4 XD linear autofocus motors.4m minimal focusing distanceConstructed from 14 teams and 17 elementsFloating and inside focusingCompatible with 1.4x and 2x teleconvertersWeighs about 1,042g or 36 ounces

Ergonomics

In appears to be like and dimension, the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II seems similar to the earlier lens at first look. However, there are a couple of welcome refinements. The primary one is noticeable as quickly as you decide up the lens: it’s practically 30 p.c lighter than the unique. The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II weighs about 36 ounces. That’s gentle contemplating the vast aperture and telephoto capabilities. The dimensions, nonetheless, hasn’t modified a lot. It measures roughly eight inches lengthy.

Wearing Sony’s off-white shade, the lens makes use of a tripod collar near the mount. The deal with portion of the collar is detachable, whereas the ring itself stays on the lens. The deal with has three totally different sized tripod screws on the backside.

Simply after the tripod collar is a financial institution of controls on the left aspect of the lens. From prime to backside, these controls are the AF-MF change, Full-Time DMF On/Off, the main focus limiter, OSS on/off, the OSS mode (1, 2, and three), and Iris Lock. That final management is additional down the lens, practically hidden beneath the deal with of the tripod collar. The Iris Lock can be utilized to maintain the aperture ring within the auto place, or to stop the ring from getting into the auto place.

After the row of switches, the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II homes a devoted aperture ring. Ergonomically, that is the largest distinction between the unique and the II. I want adjusting the aperture on the lens itself over the management dials on the underside of the digital camera. On the right-hand aspect, there’s a change to show the clicking on and off. This lets you select in order for you that satisfying click on with each setting change, which additionally prevents unintended bumps. Or, for video, you may flip the clicking off for a smoother flip.

That ring is adopted by the zoom ring and a set of customized buttons. (The 2 buttons are set to regulate the identical operate, there are simply two so it’s simple to entry whether or not holding the digital camera horizontally or vertically.) The ultimate ring is the main focus ring.

The entrance of the lens accepts 77mm filters. The lens ships with a lens hood, which additionally has a door beneath so you may nonetheless use a round polarizing filter.

Construct High quality

Whereas there are a couple of extras within the construct and on the within, the brand new 70-200mm feels simply as strong as the unique. Plastic is important to maintain the lens from being too heavy, however it’s weather-sealed and feels nice within the arms. Whereas it’s lighter than the primary, it doesn’t really feel any much less strong.

I gave the lens splash and it didn’t have an effect on the efficiency. I additionally didn’t spot any noticeable sensor particles after the splash. Whereas I solely had a couple of days to spend with the lens, I didn’t have points with mud getting contained in the sensor.

Autofocus and Stabilization

The autofocus efficiency of the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II is sort of a formidable feat. I photographed my toddler working in the direction of the digital camera, and solely about 5 p.c of the photographs have been barely comfortable. Granted, an Olympic runner or a sports activities automotive goes to maneuver sooner and doubtless introduce a couple of extra misses. However, the lens appears very able to maintaining with the a1’s quickest burst fee. The primary era lens had twice as many misses ( 10 p.c), and tended to extra typically give attention to the ears than the face. (By no means thoughts the truth that the H+ makes use of an digital shutter and might generate some fairly creepy face distortions. That’s a subject for one more day.)

That autofocus take a look at was carried out outside on a cloudy day. Efficiency goes to naturally drop a bit in difficult lighting. Specializing in the nook of a darkish closet, with no gentle apart from what was coming within the slim closet door, the Sony a1 took about two seconds to lock on utterly.

Edited RAW

The lens can focus as shut as 1.4 ft away. That’s nice for getting close-up portraits with the background separation of a 70-200mm lens. Plus, it’s twice as shut because the outdated model can focus. The lens does are likely to have extra misses with shifting topics at nearer distances than with topics farther away, however that’s true of practically each lens.

The autofocus can also be comparatively quiet: quieter than the unique lens. There’s an occasional click on. However I seen a particular enchancment in how quiet the lens was over the lens with out the II in its identify.

In fact, with the OSS within the identify, the lens is stabilized. With a number of tries, cautious respiratory, and elbow bracing, I managed to shoot this picture with out a tripod at 1/3 of a second, which is sort of spectacular for an enormous telephoto.

Ease of Use

There’s quite a lot of buttons and dials on this lens. It virtually appears to be like worthy of a spaceship. However, for the skilled that this lens is made for, it’s an amazing feeling to make use of. I like how simple adjusting the aperture is with the devoted ring. Utilizing a round polarizer needs to be simple with the window within the hood. Add within the lighter profile and it’s actually enjoyable to make use of.

The trickiest issues to study on this lens are what these three OSS modes are and what the Full Time DMF is. The previous are difficult as a result of it’s generally troublesome to recollect which OSS mode does which — 1, 2 and three aren’t precisely descriptive names. The Full Time DMF might merely confuse photographers as a result of it’s not on quite a lot of different lenses. This change lets you override the autofocus (in AF-S) and make slight changes with the handbook focus ring. The Iris Lock ring may even confuse some photographers as a result of, effectively, it confused me. I’m nonetheless unsure what it does. (It doesn’t lock the aperture.)

Picture High quality

I simply completed evaluating digital camera our bodies from 5 producers — and the brand new 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II is precisely what I’ve come to count on from Sony. The lens is close to technical perfection, which conversely, means there’s not as a lot character. Sharpness is superb, bokeh is beautiful and spherical, and the colours didn’t essentially require retouching from the JPEGs.

Bokeh

Edited RAW

With 11 aperture blades, the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II produces some good, rounded bokeh. Certain, it’s an f2.8 and never an f1.8 or f1.2 prime, however it’s nonetheless received loads of bokeh. The combination of 200mm and the power to rise up shut will create some good, creamy backgrounds.

Factors of sunshine are good and spherical on the middle, and switch to cat eyes a bit towards the perimeters. The sides for these bokeh balls are very comfortable; I didn’t spot any onion rings or arduous edges. Bokeh is the place you’ll discover essentially the most character from this lens. It’s no prime, however it’s fairly pretty blended with a brilliant sharp topic.

Sharpness

The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II has the sharpness I’ve come to count on from Sony. The middle could be very sharp, maybe too sharp, producing quite a lot of particulars on the excessive decision a1 physique. Portrait photographers may need to do a bit extra retouching, however that’s widespread from Sony lenses. That blend of sharpness and the background blur of a 200mm work very well collectively for lots of various kinds of photographs.

The sharpness doesn’t fairly lengthen all the best way to the perimeters. The final 10 p.c of the picture across the edges was somewhat softer when capturing at f2.8. It’s an enchancment over the sooner lens, nonetheless, which softened even sooner. It’s additionally not a softness that’s going to be apparent in 99 p.c of the pictures from this lens.

Lens Character

Edited RAW

The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II is nearly technical perfection. Perfection to at least one photographer is likely to be boring to a different, nonetheless. This lens, nonetheless, creates clean slate for photographers. The combination of sharpness and the wonderful bokeh does supply some character. However some photographers are going to need to play with colours in enhancing, or add flare by means of filters, prisms, and lens smudges.

I used to be in a position to get a couple of spots of flare by pointing the lens at a naked lightbulb and the solar. The flare spots are typically a bit inexperienced, However, the flare didn’t drastically cut back distinction, which is once more nice information for photographers prioritizing a technically lovely picture. One other plus is that aberration is effectively managed. I didn’t spot any coloured fringing in my photos. If there’s any vignetting, it’s minor and troublesome to note except the corners are imagined to be completely white.

Coloration Rendering

With the proper white steadiness settings, this lens created JPEGs with near correct colours. Most photos didn’t have to be shade corrected for accuracy — simply maybe for character. I did, nonetheless, catch a purple picture when purposely making an attempt to create flare. The colours on auto white steadiness have been left somewhat blue for my style. However, with the proper white steadiness settings, most JPEGS felt fairly near the actual scene.

Further Picture Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been big on transparency. Nothing from this evaluate is sponsored. Additional, a number of of us will submit opinions and present a number of enhancing within the pictures. The issue then turns into that anybody and everybody can do the identical factor. It’s not displaying what the lens can do. So now we have a bit in our Further Picture Samples space to indicate edited and unedited pictures. From this, you can also make a choice for your self.

Edited

Unedited

Conclusions

Likes

Whereas there’s nonetheless some weight to it, it’s significantly lighter than quite a lot of vibrant 70-200mms.The autofocus can sustain with the a1’s insane velocity in good lighting.The autofocus works fairly near topics.I like the devoted aperture ring.The sharpness is superb and the colours are near the actual scene.OSS is an enormous plus for any telephoto.

Dislikes

It’s not low cost.All that technical greatness limits the character.

Photographers that picked the Sony system for sharp, technically lovely photos are going to like this lens. The photographs are sharp apart from the final little bit on the edge. The colours are near correct. The autofocus can sustain with even the a9 in good lighting. The climate sealing and lighter weight additionally make the lens a pleasure to make use of. Plus, I actually love that Sony added a devoted aperture ring. The design, autofocus efficiency, and sharpness have noticeably improved over the unique. Compatibility with Sony’s teleconverters may even add extra versatility.

In fact, the other of technical perfection is character. And if there’s one flaw on this lens, that’s it. What some photographers love, others are going to name sterile. That’s to not say you may’t get inventive photos or character with this lens. The bokeh, for instance, is improbable, and there’s character available with the combination of sharpness and blurred backgrounds. However, that creativity goes to come back by means of lighting and composition greater than lens flare. It’s not one thing that can dissuade most Sony photographers, nonetheless. Sony, as a generalization, tends to lie extra on the technical aspect of the spectrum. For photographers who already work within the Sony household, it’s going to exceed expectations. I most well-liked the flare and barely richer colours on Nikon’s Z 70-200mm f2.8, though that lens can also be tremendous sharp and the autofocus isn’t in the identical class. 

The second draw back of a lot technical greatness is worth. It’s no more than Canon’s related lens, however it’s not low cost both. If the value of the sooner lens doesn’t drop, the II is a no brainer. If the value of the II does drop considerably, photographers with digital camera our bodies which have slower bursts and autofocus methods may very well be lacking out on the largest cause to spend the cash for the II. In fact, that devoted aperture ring, nearer focusing, and lighter weight may very well be cause sufficient for some photographers.

For photographers preferring beginning with the very best picture high quality and including character by means of lighting, composition, enhancing, and flare filters, it’s a superb alternative. It’s additionally nice for photographers who want essentially the most autofocus accuracy with shifting topics. 

I’m giving the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II 5 out of 5 stars and the Editor’s Alternative award. Need one? Test it out on Amazon.


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