Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II (SAL70400G2)

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Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II (SAL70400G2)

Postby Oliver » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:03 pm


my name is Oliver Scheffer, I'm an amateur photographer from Duesseldorf in Germany. I shoot mostly nature motifs and architecture. For years I'm using Minolta and Sony cameras, now I'd like to present a short review/experience report of the Sony SAL70400G2 lens.

Here is a link to the product page of Sony Asia:

I could test this lens for some days. There were many pros but also some cons.

In detail, I will start with the pros. As body I used the Sony SLT-A99V with vertical grip attached.


- Very good sharpness and resolution even wide open, stopped down to f/8 IQ was excellent at each focal length.
- The autofocus is blazingly fast. Wherever I pointed the camera, focus was there most of the time when I triggered the release.
- Range limiter for distances from 3 meters to infinity.
- Removable tripod/monopod mount with 1/4" and 3/8" threads.
- Included are front and rear lens caps, the ALC-SH121 petal lens hood and a nice soft carrying case.
- very robust build


- There is no tropicalisation. Hardly understandable in this class and at a price of USD 2.200,00.
- Zoom creep. The lens moves very smoothly although it is quite tight. Alas, there is zoom creep when carrying the camera with a strap. I didn't notice any creep when pointing the lens upwards. Also, it was quite cold outside, about zero degrees Celsius. But seriously: There are three focus stop buttons, why no zoom stop?
- The range limiter is quite limited (yeah, I know :) ). There should be another setting for greater distances, for example ten meters to infinity. Three meters is not really sensible at 400mm.
- The tripod/monopod mount should be ARCA Swiss compatible. It is not.
- The lens is very heavy, 1500g plus mount.

I'd like to add that there is a very pronounced backlash at the lens mount. I know perfectly well that's normal and necessary but when mounted on a monopod I first thought I didn't attach it correctly. As a workaround (please don't light your torches and get your pitchforks) I placed three small pieces of adhesive tape on the lens mount. Worked perfectly, no more backlash.

Also, the lens is very big. With the hood attached it's very long, with the hood in transport mode it's very thick. So it won't fit in smaller bags, at least not attached to the camera body.

Lastly, you shouldn't underestimate the weight. With the A99 and vertical grip it is very well balanced, you can shoot free hand. But not for long, trust me. You at least want to use a monopod.

So, in the end I returned the lens because the zoom creep was quite annoying and the missing tropicalisation. I was a little worried when returning from the cold into the warmth because of condensation. Nothing happened, but...
I will miss the fast AF, though. :) Maybe I'm gonna get the SAL70300G2 at the end of the month.

Here are some pictures I took with the lens, the moufflon at 400mm, the kid goat at 180mm and the goat at 70mm, all EXIF-data are included. You can download the test images in their original size, I shot RAW and developed them with LR 5.71. Also, there's one picture of me with the lens, taken with a Sony D-SLR A580 + Tamron 24-70 USD and wireless remote.

ImageReview Sony SAL70400G2 by Oliver Scheffer, on Flickr

Imagemoufflon by Oliver Scheffer, on Flickr

Imagekid goat by Oliver Scheffer, on Flickr

Imagegoat by Oliver Scheffer, on Flickr
Show me a completely smooth operation and I'll show you someone who's covering mistakes.
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Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 10:48 am
Location: Duesseldorf / Germany

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