First Impressions: Sony E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS (Sony E, APS-C)

A weather-sealed super-telephoto lens designed specifically for Sony’s APS-C mirrorless cameras.

Earlier this week, Sony announced their 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS lens, alongside the A6100 and A6600 crop sensor mirrorless cameras, and the 16-55mm f2.8 G lens. The Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is the company’s first super-telephoto designed specifically for their crop sensor mirrorless cameras, with a 35mm Full Frame equivalent focal range of 105–525 mm. When shooting at such extreme focal lengths, the built-in optical image stabilization helps keep motion blur to a minimum. The 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS features an optical design consisting of an aspherical element along with three extra-low dispersion glass elements, and is dust and moisture resistant. Sony managed to pack these features into a compact package that weighs in at just 625g. We got a chance to shoot with the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS in a variety of shooting conditions using both the A6100 and A6600. Head on after the jump to check out our first impressions on this super-telephoto.

Gear Used

We tested the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS lens with the Sony A6100 and Sony A6600.

 

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS taken from Sony’s official product page.

  • Super-telephoto G Lens with 5x magnification range
  • XD Linear Motor offering excellent response and low vibration for fast, precise, quiet AF
  • One aspherical element and three ED glasses for high resolution throughout the zoom range
  • Optical SteadyShot keeps handheld shots blur-free
  • Dust and moisture-resistant design

Lens Specifications

  • MOUNT
    • Sony E-mount
  • FORMAT
    • APS-C
  • FOCAL LENGTH (MM)
    • 70–350
  • 35 MM EQUIVALENT FOCAL LENGTH (APS-C)
    • 105–525
  • LENS GROUPS / ELEMENTS
    • 13–19
  • ANGLE OF VIEW (APS-C)
    • 22°-4°40’2
  • MAXIMUM APERTURE (F)
    • 4.5-6.3
  • MINIMUM APERTURE (F)
    • 22-32
  • APERTURE BLADES
    • 7
  • CIRCULAR APERTURE
    • Yes
  • MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE
    • 3.61–4.93 ft (1.1–1.5 m)
  • MAXIMUM MAGNIFICATION RATIO (X)
    • 0.75
  • FILTER DIAMETER (MM)
    • 67
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION (STEADYSHOT)
    • Optical SteadyShot
  • ZOOM SYSTEM
    • Manual
  • TELECONVERTER COMPATIBILITY (X1.4)
  • TELECONVERTER COMPATIBILITY (X2.0)
  • HOOD TYPE
    • Round, bayonet type

Size & Weight

  • DIMENSIONS (DIAMETER X LENGTH)
    • 77 x 142 mm (3-1/8 x 5-5/8″)
  • WEIGHT
    • 22.1 oz (625 g)

 

Ergonomics

For a lens with such a wide focal range, Sony managed to keep the 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS considerably compact and lightweight. When mounted to the A6100 and A6600, the lens never felt front heavy. A large Zooming ring takes up almost the entire front half of the 70-350mm’s outer barrel, while the smaller Focusing ring is located further back, towards the lens mount. A Zoom lock switch is built into the Zooming ring, designed to prevent the lens from extending under its own weight, although throughout our time shooting with the lens, we never noticed the lens doing so, and as such, never needed to toggle the switch.

A customizable Focus hold button is located on the side of the lens between the Zooming and Focusing rings. A pair of toggle switches can be found near the base of the lens, allowing you to toggle between Autofocus and Manual Focusing modes and to turn the Optical SteadyShot on or off.

 

Build Quality

We got to shoot with the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS under a number of different conditions, and the lens felt solidly built throughout our time with it. As we had previously mentioned, although Sony has built a zoom lock switch into the lens, we never had to use it. The lens is lightweight enough that we never found the inner barrel extending on its own to be too heavy. We would have preferred the ridges on the Zooming ring to be more pronounced: we found it somewhat slippery when shooting with the lens in the rain. Being a weather-sealed lens, the rain also had no negative impact on the lens’ performance throughout our time shooting with it. We would still need to test the lens’ weather sealing more extensively under adverse conditions once final production review units are available.

 

Ease of Use

Shooting with the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS lens is a pretty straightforward affair. Covering such a wide focal range, the 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G it’s an excellent option for Sony crop sensor mirrorless shooters looking to use it to photograph sports, wildlife, and even portraits or landscapes. The lightweight nature of the lens makes it an ideal companion for Sony’s equally svelte crop sensor mirrorless bodies. The built-in Optical Stabilization helps keep motion blur down to a minimum, making handheld shooting at extremely long focal lengths possible. Combined with the latest Real-time Human and Animal Eye AF and Real-time Tracking tech found in the latest Sony crop sensor mirrorless cameras, the 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 will let even novices capture excellent images.

 

Autofocus

We shot with a pre-production prototype Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS lens using both the A6100 and the A6600, and found the autofocus performance to be inconsistent at times. When shooting with the lens in the rain paired to a pre-production Sony A6600 prototype, we noticed the lens hunting a lot and even failing to acquire focus completely on multiple occasions when it was fully extended to 350mm. Granted, it was raining and the lighting was suboptimal, and when fully extended, the lens’ maximum aperture drops down to f6.3 so it’s not capturing much light to begin with. The weather was significantly better when we paired the lens with a Sony A6100, and autofocus performed much more accurately and consistently. We will need to conduct additional autofocus testing when final production review units are available.

 

Image Quality

All sample images seen within this First Impressions article are straight out of camera JPGs captured using an early pre-production prototype Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS lens mated to either a Sony A6100 or a Sony A6600. As a matter of ethics, none of the sample images have been retouched so that you may judge the quality of the images for yourself. The only editing that some of these images were subjected to was cropping.

 

First Impressions

Although our time with the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS was limited, it’s shaping up to be an excellent addition to Sony’s crop sensor mirrorless lens lineup. It’s lightweight and reasonably compact especially when you consider its huge focal range, and the weather resistance have performed well so far. The built-in Optical Stabilization is a huge boon as well, especially when shooting at the longer end of the lens’ focal range while handheld. Autofocus is the one area where the lens exhibited some issues, but we must stress that the sample we were given was a pre-production unit. With that said, we were able to produce some excellent results when the autofocus worked. We will need to test this extensively once we get our hands on a final production review unit. For photographers that prefer the lightweight benefits of crop sensor mirrorless camera bodies, exciting times are ahead. We look forward to reviewing the final production version of the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS comprehensively once review units are available, please stay tuned for our upcoming full review.

Pauleth Ip

Paul is a New York City based photographer, creative, and writer. His body of work includes headshots and commercial editorials for professionals, in-demand actors/performers, high net worth individuals, and corporate clients, as well as intimate lifestyle/boudoir photography with an emphasis on body positivity and empowerment. Paul also has a background in technology and higher education, and regularly teaches private photography seminars. When not working on reviews and features for The Phoblographer or shooting client work, Paul can be seen photographing personal projects around NYC, or traveling the world with his cameras in tow. You can find Paul’s latest work on his Instagram over at @thepicreative.