With the release of several new APS-C camera bodies last year, Sony finally thought it was about time to release APS-C specific lenses to go with them. Photographers who have been using Sony’s APS-C cameras have been crying for a super-telephoto zoom that they can call their own for the longest time, and now Sony has answered those calls with the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS. Has the wait for this super-telephoto lens been worth it? Let’s find out in our review.
Pros and Cons
- Sharp image output
- Light and easy to carry around
- Excellent image stabilization
- Attractive price point
- Very fast and very quiet XD Linear autofocus motor
- Bright, bold, vibrant colors that will please wildlife photographers
- Some weather sealing and good build quality overall
- We wish it had a slightly faster maximum aperture
We used the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS with the Sony a6100.
The technical specifications were taken from Sony’s official website:
FOCAL LENGTH (MM)
35 MM EQUIVALENT FOCAL LENGTH (APS-C)
LENS GROUPS / ELEMENTS
ANGLE OF VIEW (APS-C)
MAXIMUM APERTURE (F)
MINIMUM APERTURE (F)
MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE
3.61–4.93 ft (1.1–1.5 m)
MAXIMUM MAGNIFICATION RATIO (X)
FILTER DIAMETER (MM)
IMAGE STABILIZATION (STEADYSHOT)
The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 is fairly nondescript. The first thing you will notice about the lens is its size in comparison to the small APS-C camera body it attaches too. In fact, the a6100 looks more like a lens cap in the view above. But don’t let the length of this lens fool you; the 70-350mm G OSS is actually very lightweight (just 1.3lbs), and it works on the small camera body very well.
Almost all the excitement of this lens is on the left side of the barrel. Here you will find the image stabilization on/off switch, the auto and manual focus control switch, and the focus hold button halfway down the barrel beneath the large G Sony loves to use on their G lenses.
As you can see from the top-down view, the lens is a good size (5 5/8-inches in length, and 3 1/8-inches tall). There is no distance scale; instead, you’ll find the aperture and focal length information (you know, for those times that you forget what you’re using). The manual focus ring is closer to the body of the camera, and the larger zoom ring is further down the barrel.
The only other control you will find on this lens is the lock switch that can be seen in this image. This switch will help keep the lens locked in place while transporting it in your camera bag. I have to say, though, that even when unlocked and carrying the lens around, I never noticed any zoom creep.
Overall the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is a great looking, excellent feeling lens. It’s a little odd when you first pick it up; when you see the lens you think there will be some heft to it, but Sony has worked wonders to keep the weight down so that it feels well balanced and comfortable in the hand when being used on their smaller APS-C camera bodies. Thanks to this design, you will be able to hike, trek, explore, and shoot sports events all day with no issues.
The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS has good overall build quality, which is expected as this is a G series lens. Is it as robust and durable as a G Master lens? Of course not, but that’s not what you’re paying for here.
The lens is made from high quality, tough feeling plastic, which will stand up to what most photographers go through. The switches all feel nice and tight, and the focus and zoom rings are well dampened (not too loose, not too tight).
The 70-350mm G OSS also features a dust and moisture resistant design. Sony says that they will not guarantee 100% protection, though. Also remember that, for ultimate protection, only use this lens outside in inclement weather when it is attached to a weather-sealed camera body. Overall, this is a solid lens. As long as you’re not going around with no cares in the world, this lens should hold up well.
Ease of Use
The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 is very easy to use. It’s very light at just 1.3lbs, and it plays nicely with the small Sony APS-C camera bodies. The built-in image stabilization is quite excellent, and that’s needed because this lens is the equivalent of 105-525mm on APS-C cameras. You can easily handhold it when at the long end of things and still produce razor-sharp images thanks to the IS.
Below is an uncropped image of a truck that was roaring down the highway. For reference, this turnpike is roughly half a mile from my house, and this was shot handheld on the a6100. The image is razor-sharp. The IS also means you can use this lens in lower light despite its maximum aperture of f4.5. We wish it did have a slightly faster maximum aperture, though: you will have to crank the ISO to get the shutter speeds you need.
There are just a few switches and buttons to make a note of, and they are not complicated at all. You have the image stabilization switch that is a simple on/off affair, the manual and autofocus selector switch, and a focus hold button on the side of the barrel. Overall the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is very easy to use. Attach it to the camera and off you go.
The autofocus performance is excellent. I used the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G on the Sony a6100 and had zero issues with it. The XD linear motor is very fast and incredibly silent. When I used this lens at a local motocross track, it had no problem keeping up with the events of the day. Point the camera, half-press the shutter, and you have focus before you can even think about it.
I used the same sequence of images in our review of the Sony a6100, but I will use it here too because I was using the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G at the time. My dog is no slouch, and I was able to capture this burst of him running at me with no problems. The lens kept up, and as you can see, all 12 frames are in perfect focus. No matter what you’re shooting, the lens will have no problem keeping up, and you’ll be able to get the images you need.
Overall the image quality from the Sony 75-300mm f4.5-6.3 is excellent! You’re going to get beautifully rendered images that have pleasing colors. Whether you plan on using this lens for sports, nature, wildlife, landscapes, or even portraits, you’ll be pleased with the output. Images are sharp, and the bokeh is fantastic. Distortion is kept under control and so is vignetting. I don’t have a bad thing to say about it, and I’m pretty sure you won’t either.
The bokeh, as you can imagine from a telephoto zoom, is quite pleasing. When using the lens on the longer end, the bokeh is nice and creamy, use it on the short end and get closer to your subject, and the bokeh is still very nice. If you use this lens for wildlife or birding, you will have no problems creating some gorgeous background separation that will make the animal pop out of the image.
I have looked at the images I have produced with this lens for a while, and there is some evidence of green fringing, but it is not terrible, and it is easily correctable during post. In the above image, you can see the green fringing around the windows of the white truck to the right-hand side. Honestly, though, just go and shoot and do not worry; thanks to modern software, this is a non-issue, and it can be fixed with a single click.
The colors you will get from the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 are lovely. Beautiful, bright, bold, and vibrant are words I would use to describe them. For genres like landscapes, nature, wildlife, and birding, you will be very pleased with the colors. For portraits, you may find skin tones a little too bold, but this is not a lens designed for portraits.
The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is very sharp. You have nothing to worry about here. When using the lens without any external lighting, it will help you capture sharp images. Shoot with a strobe off-camera, and that sharpness gets taken to another level. The 70-350mm 4.5-6.3 G OSS will really help you get the most out of the APS-C sensors found in the a6000, the a6100, a6400, a6500, and the a6600.
Extra Image Samples
Below are both edited and unedited image samples so that you can see what you will get straight out of the camera and after processing images during post.
- It’s compact (for a super-telephoto) size and weight
- Great image quality
- Great colors and creamy bokeh
- Very fast autofocus capabilities
- Evidence of color fringing is a shame but not a deal-breaker
The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is an excellent lens for the price. Sony owners who shoot with APS-C cameras will truly love how versatile this lens is. It is well built, produces sharp images with great colors, and focuses incredibly quickly. This lens is perfect for wildlife photographers who want extra reach, is great for photographers who want to capture sports or any action, and you can even put it to use in the landscape and portrait genres too. If I shot with an a6XXX series Sony camera and needed a super-telephoto lens, this is the one I would reach for. It was reliable and hit all the notes it needed to hit.
The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS receives four out of five stars. APS-C shooters on the Sony platform finally have a quality super-telephoto lens they can call their own. For $998, you’re going to get a lot of lens that will serve you well across many genres. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices.