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.
Pros and Cons
- Weather sealing
- Compact size
- Sharp images
- Optical image stabilization
- Pretty fast focusing in good lighting
- Slows down when focusing in lower light no matter what camera you use
We tested the Sony 70-300mm lens with the Sony a7, Sony a7r II, and Godox flashes.
Tech specs taken from the Amazon listing
|Compatible Mountings||Sony FE|
|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|
|Maximum Aperture Range||f/4.5-f/5.6|
|Maximum Focal Length||300|
|Minimum Focal Length||70|
|Number of Elements||16|
|Number of Groups||13|
|Shipping Weight||2.4 pounds|
Editor’s Note: Since not much out there is like this lens, there is no comparison or rating for this review per section.
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.
When zoomed in fully, the lens almost doubles in size. Of course, what makes it seem larger is the lens hood.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Nice colors
- Compact size
- Dust and splash protection
- 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.
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.