Introduced during 2008, the Sony 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 SSM ED G-Series Telephoto Zoom Lens continues to be a favorite among Sony DSLR enthusiasts and professionals. They like its build quality, easy operation, full-frame coverage, versatile focal length range and sharp, color-rich images with little or no distortions.
Read real customer reviews of the Sony 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 SSM ED G-Series Telephoto Zoom here.
Sony engineers did an excellent job striking a balance between construction materials, weight and price of this lens. A small number of pros won’t buy any lens unless it has a metal body, which is their choice; however, the Sony 70–300mm lens is still a rugged warrior with its high quality composite plastic and rubber exterior. Metal parts are used in critical areas, such as the anodized aluminum alloy casting that protects the front element. Plus, the rear mount is a 4-screw solid metal type. This design philosophy benefits more photographers, pros and others, since a mostly plastic construction reduces weight, doesn’t retain as much heat as an all-metal body and is resistant to shocks, dents and rough shooting environments.
When paired with a substantial DSLR body, such as the Sony Alpha 900, 55, 65 and soon-to-be-released 77, the Sony 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 lens will feel both balanced and secure in your hands. Its dimensions are 3 1/4 x 5 3/8” (82.5 x 135.5mm) and weighs just 1 lb. 12 oz. (800g).
This Sony lens has a very robust hood, which is approximately one-third of the lens’ longest length at 300mm. Sony placed the zoom ring toward the front of the lens, which is a bit unusual, but still easy to reach and operate. This decision may have been a good one, since the zoom ring has just enough stiffness to eliminate any zoom creep. If you prefer manual focus, then you’ll like the rear-mounted focus ring. It turns smoothly, so you can quickly find your focus point.
A highly beneficial control on the Sony 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 telephoto zoom lens is the focus limiter. This switch provides three selections: full auto focus, limited auto focus and manual focus. In the limited mode, focus is achieved approximately 50% faster whenever a subject is positioned less than 10 feet from the end of the lens.
Another helpful function is the focus hold button. Occasionally, you’ll want to maintain the focus distance of the lens and move your body to fine tune focus.
Sony was serious about the optics it put into this lens: 16 glass elements in 11 groups with ED (extra low dispersion) elements.
Third-party tests and the experience of thousands of photographers have shown that the Sony 70–300mm lens’ Super Silent wave Motor (SSM) is fast and precise. With the focus limiter at 10 feet to infinity, auto-focus works even quicker.
Where serious amateurs and professionals want to see top-of-line performance is in the image quality of a lens. Not only does this Sony lens deliver clear, crisp images, but also the typical distortion “devils” are essentially non-existent. With this much focal length, one wouldn’t expect this lens to exhibit much, if any, barrel or pincushion distortion…and the Sony 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 telephoto zoom lens doesn’t. What may be more of an attention grabber for fussy pros is that this lens controls light fall off and chromatic aberration so well. Plus, it’s difficult to spot any vignetting, either.
Ultimately, this lens is for Sony DSLR shooters that do most of their photography outdoors: portraits, landscapes, nature, sports, etc.
The Sony 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 SSM ED G-Series Telephoto Zoom Lens is available from B&H Photo Video for just $899, at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Sony+70-300mm+lens&N=0&InitialSearch=yes.
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