Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 Review

Specifications

Aperture
Maximum: f/4.5 – 5.6
Minimum: f/22 – 29
Size
84 x 143.5 mm/td>
Filter Thread
72 mm
Weight
854 g
Max Magnification
0.31
Min Focusing Distance
90 cm
Number of aperture blades
9, Rounded
Elements/Groups
16 / 13
Optical Stabilization
Yes
Weather Resistance
Yes

The Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 is a good telephoto lens for the Sony E-mount system. At $1200 list price, it is not cheap, but getting it open box or used will make it a better deal.

Build Quality

The lens body seems solid and is made of mostly plastic and rubber. The lens hood is plastic, while the zoom and focus rings are rubberized and have a good feel. It features dust and moisture resistance.

Unlike Sony’s 70-200mm f4 or f2.8 lenses that have black and white coloring, the 70-300mm lens is all black, which pairs well with black E-mount APSC and full-frame bodies. We like that it is a bit less attention-getting than the big white lenses.

[Taken with the Zeiss Batis 85mm]

The 70-300mm is fairly large when fully extended, but when retracted it is no bigger than the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM lens, and they are roughly equal in weight. Some of the heft comes from the fact that the lens features optical stabilization, which is important for getting sharp images at telephoto focal lengths.

On the lens body itself there are physical controls for zoom lock, focus limiter, AF/MF, optical stabilization, and the focus hold button that can be assigned to perform other functions via the Sony camera menu. We often assign this button to eye autofocus.

Autofocus

The 70-300mm is a silent and fast-autofocusing lens in general light conditions. The autofocus speed does fall a bit in lower light, but if paired with the Sony a9 which has a great autofocus system, the lens can still do well indoors. The f4.5 to f5.6 aperture limits its usage in low light conditions, however.

There is no discernible focus breathing, meaning that focusing close or far does not change the apparent image, which is great for video purposes.

The lens is very capable of shooting sports and action in good light, and even catching some wildlife that venture closer.

Image Quality

The 70mm to 300mm zoom range is useful for shooting multiple compositions.

The colors straight out of the lens are somewhat muted, and there is less contrast than some of our prime lenses. However, for a zoom, the lens is generally sharp and produces good-looking images.

The corners are sharp enough for landscape usage.

The lens performs well in most situations. Only under extreme backlit conditions will the lens flare strongly.

There is no noticeable amount of chromatic aberration or purple fringing even in extremely high contrast situations.

Background blur is generally smooth. Due to the long telephoto nature of the lens, you can get some great subject separation.

Due to .31x magnification, the lens can also capture details of flowers and other medium-sized objects quite well.

Summary

Pros

  • Dust and moisture resistance
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Silent, accurate and fast autofocus
  • No focus breathing
  • Good and sharp image quality
  • Little to no chromatic aberration

Cons

  • Can flare strongly in some situations
  • Somewhat pricey at $1200

The Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 lens has earned a spot in our lens collection for being relatively compact for the reach and delivering good and sharp images. Whenever we go traveling or on outings where we know that we want a long telephoto, it comes along with us. It might not be the most exciting lens, but it is a very respectable lens in terms of image quality, size, weight, and price.

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One response to “Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 Review”

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