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

As different producers have solely not too long ago 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 title, 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, nevertheless, the lens goes to be dear. And the unique will stay out there, at the least 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 number 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 lots of technical greatness.

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


  • Light-weight
  • Wonderful autofocus
  • Devoted aperture ring
  • Wonderful sharpness and colours
  • Strong stabilization


Gear Used

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


As a Mark II lens, the improvements to the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II are delicate however noticeable. The lens is almost 30 p.c lighter, which even slides it a number of grams underneath Canon’s mirrorless 70-200mm. It’s the lightest, shiny 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 pace is as much as 4 instances quicker 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 aperture
  • Stabilization
  • Consists of the next coatings: XA, ED Asph., Aspherical, Tremendous ED, Nano AR II, F coating
  • Up to date round 11 blade aperture
  • 4 XD linear autofocus motors
  • .4m minimal focusing distance
  • Constructed from 14 teams and 17 components
  • Floating and inner focusing
  • Appropriate with 1.4x and 2x teleconverters
  • Weighs about 1,042g or 36 ounces


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 number of welcome refinements. The primary one is noticeable as quickly as you choose up the lens: it’s almost 30 p.c lighter than the unique. The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II weighs about 36 ounces. That’s mild contemplating the extensive aperture and telephoto capabilities. The scale, nevertheless, 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 completely different sized tripod screws on the backside.

Simply after the tripod collar is a financial institution of controls on the left facet of the lens. From prime to backside, these controls are the AF-MF swap, Full-Time DMF On/Off, the main target limiter, OSS on/off, the OSS mode (1, 2, and three), and Iris Lock. That final management is additional down the lens, almost 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 coming 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 desire adjusting the aperture on the lens itself over the management dials on the underside of the digicam. On the right-hand facet, there’s a swap to show the clicking on and off. This lets you select if you would like 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 manage the identical perform, there are simply two so it’s simple to entry whether or not holding the digicam horizontally or vertically.) The ultimate ring is the main target 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 number of extras within the construct and on the within, the brand new 70-200mm feels simply as strong as the unique. Plastic is critical to maintain the lens from being too heavy, nevertheless it’s weather-sealed and feels nice within the palms. Whereas it’s lighter than the primary, it doesn’t really feel any much less strong.

I gave the lens a superb 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 number 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 kind of a formidable feat. I photographed my toddler operating in the direction of the digicam, and solely about 5 p.c of the photographs had been barely tender. Granted, an Olympic runner or a sports activities automotive goes to maneuver quicker and doubtless introduce a number of extra misses. However, the lens appears very able to maintaining with the a1’s quickest burst charge. The primary technology lens had twice as many misses (a superb 10 p.c), and tended to extra usually concentrate on 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 check 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 mild aside from what was coming within the slim closet door, the Sony a1 took about two seconds to lock on fully.

Edited RAW

The lens can focus as shut as 1.4 toes 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 previous model can focus. The lens does are likely to have extra misses with transferring topics at nearer distances than with topics farther away, however that’s true of almost each lens.

The autofocus can also be comparatively quiet: quieter than the unique lens. There may be 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 title.

After all, with the OSS within the title, the lens is stabilized. With a number of tries, cautious respiration, and elbow bracing, I managed to shoot this picture and not using a tripod at 1/3 of a second, which is kind of spectacular for a giant telephoto.

Ease of Use

There’s lots 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 ideal feeling to make use of. I really like how simple adjusting the aperture is with the devoted ring. Utilizing a round polarizer must 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 be taught on this lens are what these three OSS modes are and what the Full Time DMF is. The previous are tough 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 could merely confuse photographers as a result of it’s not on lots of different lenses. This swap lets you override the autofocus (in AF-S) and make slight changes with the handbook focus ring. The Iris Lock ring will even confuse some photographers as a result of, nicely, it confused me. I’m nonetheless undecided what it does. (It doesn’t lock the aperture.)

Picture High quality

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


Edited RAW

With 11 aperture blades, the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II produces some good, rounded bokeh. Positive, it’s an f2.8 and never an f1.8 or f1.2 prime, nevertheless it’s nonetheless received loads of bokeh. The combination of 200mm and the flexibility to stand 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 perimeters for these bokeh balls are very tender; 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, nevertheless it’s fairly beautiful combined with a brilliant sharp topic.


The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II has the sharpness I’ve come to anticipate from Sony. The middle could be very sharp, maybe too sharp, producing lots 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 several types of photographs.

The sharpness doesn’t fairly prolong all the way in which to the perimeters. The final 10 p.c of the picture across the edges was a bit softer when capturing at f2.8. It’s an enchancment over the sooner lens, nevertheless, which softened even quicker. 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 may be boring to a different, nevertheless. This lens, nevertheless, creates a superb clean slate for photographers. The combination of sharpness and the wonderful bokeh does provide some character. However some photographers are going to need to play with colours in modifying, or add flare by way of filters, prisms, and lens smudges.

I used to be capable of get a number 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 scale back distinction, which is once more nice information for photographers prioritizing a technically lovely picture. One other plus is that aberration is nicely 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 purported to be completely white.

Shade Rendering

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

Additional Picture Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been big on transparency. Nothing from this assessment is sponsored. Additional, a number of of us will publish opinions and present a number of modifying 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 we’ve a piece in our Additional Picture Samples space to point out edited and unedited pictures. From this, you can also make a call for your self.





  • Whereas there’s nonetheless some weight to it, it’s significantly lighter than lots of shiny 70-200mms.
  • The autofocus can sustain with the a1’s insane pace in good lighting.
  • The autofocus works fairly near topics.
  • I really like the devoted aperture ring.
  • The sharpness is great and the colours are near the actual scene.
  • OSS is a giant plus for any telephoto.


  • 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 pictures are sharp aside 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 will even add extra versatility.

After all, the alternative 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 artistic photos or character with this lens. The bokeh, for instance, is incredible, and there’s character available with the combination of sharpness and blurred backgrounds. However, that creativity goes to return by way of lighting and composition greater than lens flare. It’s not one thing that may dissuade most Sony photographers, nevertheless. Sony, as a generalization, tends to lie extra on the technical facet of the spectrum. For photographers who already work within the Sony household, it’s going to exceed expectations. I most popular 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 value. It’s no more than Canon’s related lens, nevertheless it’s not low cost both. If the worth of the sooner lens doesn’t drop, the II is a no brainer. If the worth of the II does drop considerably, photographers with digicam our bodies which have slower bursts and autofocus programs could possibly be lacking out on the largest cause to spend the cash for the II. After all, that devoted aperture ring, nearer focusing, and lighter weight could possibly be cause sufficient for some photographers.

For photographers preferring beginning with the absolute best picture high quality and including character by way of lighting, composition, modifying, and flare filters, it’s a wonderful alternative. It’s additionally nice for photographers who want essentially the most autofocus accuracy with transferring 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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