Review: Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

There is very little on the market that can truly be compared to the Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS lens; and for that reason it’s truly considered something unique. Very little, if anything at all, even compares to this lens in the mirrorless camera world.

For a little over $1,000 you’re getting a dust and splash resistant lens with quite a zoom range and a fairly compact size. Sure, it’s not an internal zooming lens but it’s still not too bad. On top of that, it’s designed for full frame mirrorless cameras. Considering Sony’s reputation, you can bet that it’s also going to be pretty darn good.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (27 of 42)ISO 2001-400 sec at f - 5.0

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Compact size
  • Sharp images
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Pretty fast focusing in good lighting

Cons

  • Slows down when focusing in lower light no matter what camera you use

Gear Used

We tested the Sony 70-300mm lens with the Sony a7, Sony a7r II, and Godox flashes.

Tech Specs

Tech specs taken from the Amazon listing

Color Black
Compatible Mountings Sony FE
Focus Type auto-focus
Image Stabilization Optical
Included Components Hood, front cap, rear cap, case
Item Dimensions 4.72 x 4.65 x 8.62 inches
Item Weight 2.57 pounds
Lens Design Fixed Zoom
Lens Type zoom
Material Type Composite
Maximum Aperture ƒ/4.5
Maximum Aperture Range f/4.5-f/5.6
Maximum Focal Length 300
Minimum Aperture ƒ/22
Minimum Focal Length 70
Model Year 2016
Number of Elements 16
Number of Groups 13
Shipping Weight 2.4 pounds
UNSPSC Code 45121603
Zoom Type fixed

Ergonomics

Editor’s Note: Since not much out there is like this lens, there is no comparison or rating for this review per section.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (2 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS lens is a lens that looks very much like many other comparable lenses like this in the DSLR world, but this one is a bit more compact overall. Some of the defining characteristics of this lens are the zoom ring and the focusing ring. Obviously, Sony put more emphasis on zooming vs the super small focusing ring.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (4 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

When zoomed in fully, the lens almost doubles in size. Of course, what makes it seem larger is the lens hood.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (7 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

As far as controls go, you’ve got a few switches on the lens. You’ll find a focus limiter, AF/MF, and Optical image stabilization. If you’ve got a camera body with OSS built in, then it will do a good job taking over the stabilization. But if you have both activated, they’ll work very well together.


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (10 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The front of the lens is also pretty minimal overall. It’s got a large front element, so you may want to keep the lens hood on just to protect it.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (3 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

This lens has some extra rugged protection vs the more standard lenses out there. I took it into a short rainfall and it survived. Plus it also dealt with some splashes from seawater over in Coney Island.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (6 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The exterior has a nice textured feel to it. It’s a plastic exterior for sure and a part of me really wishes that it had a metal body.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (8 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

This lens is pretty simple to use overall. Slap it onto a camera, point, focus, shoot and you’ve got a photo. But what you’ll want to be aware of are the switches on the side. The OSS switch can be switched off when you don’t realize it because it was in your camera bag. So just be careful when shooting.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (41 of 42)ISO 16001-160 sec at f - 4.5

So in good lighting outside in the day, the autofocus is going to work very well. Tracking isn’t too bad either. Where this lens and the cameras are at fault are focusing in incredibly low light situations. In times like those, I wanted to reach for my Canon 6D with its incredible center focusing point or the Fujifilm X Pro 2–which makes even the old 35mm f1.4 lens super fast and accurate to focus with.

With that said, shoot with this lens outside in good lighting or in a studio with lots of light. Work with faster, smaller lenses otherwise.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (1 of 42)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 5.0

Like every lens out there, I genuinely feel that the best image quality comes when the lens is used with a flash. Due to the zoom range and fairly fast aperture considering the focal length, it’s a lens that can deliver great quality and shouldn’t be looked at just by the cover. By that I mean that someone may not care about this lens due to the variable aperture.

Quite honestly, those people are missing out.

Bokeh

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (30 of 42)ISO 16001-320 sec at f - 5.0

A telephoto lens is capable of getting more bokeh than a wide angle lens is due to the natural design of it. But of course, that also depends on the focusing distance. The photo above was taken at 70mm.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (31 of 42)ISO 16001-160 sec at f - 5.6

This photo is the center of the previous image and used the optical zoom to get in to 300mm. That’s where the bokeh’s sweet spot is at.

Again, for the price point, you’re getting some wonderful bokeh. When combined with the Clear, Deep, or Vivid color profiles of the Sony cameras you’ll get whatever you need in terms of image quality.

Chromatic Aberration

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (39 of 42)ISO 16001-160 sec at f - 4.5

Straight out of the camera, it’s very tough to find any sort of color fringing or other major issues. You’ll probably be able to find some after the fact if you add contrast to your scene in post-production. But generally, you’re not going to find anything.

Color Rendition

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (36 of 42)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 5.0

Skin tones from this lens make a lot of sense. The skin tones aren’t like Sony’s prime lenses in my opinion but they’re quite good overall. Other colors are also very satisfying and I haven’t seen such great color in a while from telephoto lenses when it comes to the general use category.

Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (40 of 42)ISO 16001-160 sec at f - 4.5

The best sharpness from this lens comes when a flash is used and the OSS is activated. It’s possible to get that great sharpness with natural light, but it’s not going to touch what you get with a flash.

Extra Image Samples

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (2 of 42)ISO 16001-60 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (42 of 42)ISO 16001-160 sec at f - 4.5

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (37 of 42)ISO 16001-160 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (35 of 42)ISO 1001-60 sec at f - 14

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (34 of 42)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 9.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (33 of 42)ISO 20001-125 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (32 of 42)ISO 20001-160 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (29 of 42)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (28 of 42)ISO 16001-320 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (26 of 42)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (25 of 42)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 7.1

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (17 of 42)ISO 2001-1250 sec at f - 5.6

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (11 of 42)ISO 641-200 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (10 of 42)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 8.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (9 of 42)ISO 1001-500 sec at f - 6.3

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (8 of 42)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (7 of 42)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (6 of 42)ISO 1001-1000 sec at f - 5.0

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review sample images (3 of 42)ISO 1001-640 sec at f - 5.0

Conclusions

Likes

  • Nice colors
  • Compact size
  • Dust and splash protection

Dislikes

  • Nothing really

The Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS lens is one that is great for the enthusiast and hobbyist. For the semi-professional, I’d probably recommend Sony’s prime lenses and other G Master lenses. There isn’t very much to complain about with this lens and I’d actually even consider it to be one of the best bang for your buck lenses that Sony offers. You get weather resistance, great image quality, decent autofocus, and a compact size for a little over $1,000. If you’re a travel photographer, I totally recommend this lens too.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS lens receives five out of five stars. It’s well worth the purchase and highly capable overall.