Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS (SEL70300G) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2017


Sony's full format mirrorless system has been an immense success in recent years and with the release of the Alpha 9 they are now truly threatening the remaining native DSLR homelands. The FE system has been traditionally weak regarding very long tele lenses. However, Sony is trying to catch up now. A little while ago they released the Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS - thus a mainstream tele zoom lens.

Sony is offering 4 classes of lenses - the "plain" consumer lens, the G class and at the top of the line - Zeiss and Sony GM lenses. It's probably fair to state that G class lenses - such as the FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS - are targeting the "prosumer" segment - thus not quite up there yet in terms of speed and quality but at least not insanely expensive. The latter is a relative term though - a price tag of 1100US$/1300EUR is steep. That puts it into direct competition with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM L IS in the DSLR world. In this comparison it also becomes obvious that there are limits on the size advantage of mirrorless systems. The cameras may be smaller and there can be size advantages with ultra-wide to wide angle lenses but when it comes to such tele lenses there isn't really much if anything in it. Thus you will need that fairly big camera bag again here.

Given the fact that Sony's Alpha cameras are very small, you may ask about the balance of a combination with the Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS. In the tele lens scope it's still reasonable actually - it was fun to use it out there during the test. The build quality is very good albeit a touch below e.g. the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS. The biggest difference between those two is that the FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS extends quite a bit (using a duo-cam system) when zooming towards the long end of the range. However, there's no wobbling whatsoever and the control rings operate smoothly. We didn't experience any zoom creeping. The lens is also dust- and moisture-resistant. It is worth mentioning that you can focus down to 0.9m with a maximum object magnification of just 1:3.2. That's not quite a true macro mode but it's close and better than most comparable lenses here.

The AF characteristics depend heavily on the specific camera that you are using. The new A9 is setting new standards here for sure. We used a A7R II for the test and the AF performance is Okay here albeit unimpressive. AF operations are also essentially noiseless. Manual focusing works "by-wire" but it's hard to tell the difference compared to a mechanical focus ring really.

The lens incorporates a image stabilizer ("Optical Steady-Shot" or OSS). We haven't found any claimed efficiency figures for it but we'd rate it around 3 f-stops (effectively) which is common for modern lenses.

Optical construction16 elements in 13 groups inc. 2xED, 4x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.9m (1:3.2)
Filter size72mm
Hoodsupplied, barrel-shaped, bayonet mount
Other featuresWeather Sealing, Optical Image Stabilizer, Focus hold button