Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS (SEL70200GM) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2018

Introduction

One of the core components of a professional grade system is a fast medium tele-zoom lens - such as the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS. Combined with the other recently released lenses and cameras, Sony can finally and truly compete with CaNikon in the high-class segment. Needless to say but that comes literally at a price - in this case, 2600EUR/USD. This is quite a bit more expensive than the comparable Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS II but actually a little cheaper than the Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED. Yes, lens prices have inflated quite a bit lately ...

The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS has about the size and weight of these DSLR counterparts which, in turn, means that it is looking rather huge when mounted to a tiny Sony camera. Of course, that's no major surprise in this case because the focal length and aperture dictate the front diameter and, to some degree, the length of the lens. However, it is certainly a departure from the original mirrorless concept as a smaller and more light-weight alternative to DSLRs. That being said there is nothing wrong with this per se because mirrorless cameras have their own advantages such as a more precise light metering, higher focus accuracy and a viewfinder image that actually reflects the final result (mostly). Even so, we would recommend adding a vertical grip to the camera for a better balance.

The build quality of the lens is certainly outstanding. The lens is tightly assembled and mostly made of metal parts. The two rubberized focus rings turn smoothly. It is also - of course - weather-sealed. Typical for its class it does not extend when zooming/focusing. A rotatable and detachable tripod mount is also included as is a deep petal-shaped lens hood. The hood does also feature a retractable window for accessing filters - nice. Focus-hold buttons are also placed between the focus and zoom rings.

In the introduction, we mentioned that mirrorless cameras have advantages in terms of focus accuracy. This remains true here as well. However, at least on our test camera, the A7R II (admittedly not the newest model) the AF speed remains quite a bit short of the best DSLR options. Even worse is the fact that the lens did refuse to focus in certain close-focus scenes - albeit rarely. We haven't seen this with other Sony FE lenses so far and hopefully, Sony will fix this soon via a firmware update. Manual focusing works "by wire" thus by driving the AF motor. However, you will barely notice a difference compared to conventional manual focusing.
The image stabilizer (OSS) features two settings - one for full image correction and one of panning (horizontal object tracking). Sony doesn't provide any figures regarding its efficiency but we'd rate it around the 3 f-stop mark - your mileage may vary, of course.

Specifications
Optical construction23/ 18 inc. 1xXA, 2x aspherical, 2xSuper ED & 4xED elements
Number of aperture blades11 (circular)
min. focus distance0.96m (1:4 magnification)
Dimensions88x200mm
Weight1480g
Filter size77mm
Hoodsupplied, petal-shaped, bayonet mount
Other featuresWeather sealing, Image Stabilizer, Focus stop buttons, Nano AR coating