Sony may have an excellent reputation for many electronics innovations, but it hasn’t become the #2 camera manufacturer in the world because of its TVs and other video and audio products. Its cameras and lenses must compete solely against Canon and Nikon; and one of its outstanding lenses for its Alpha series of cameras is the 70–200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens.
Designed for both 35mm full-frame and APS-C DSLRs, this Sony lens provides that nice focal length range for portrait work, middle-distance nature and sports photography and all-purpose shooting for the hobbyist and enthusiast.
As soon as you hold the Sony 70–200mm in your hands, you can tell that it is well built and doesn’t surrender any construction quality to Canon, Nikon or other manufacturers of similar lenses. The solid-metal barrel clearly signals its rugged nature for photography in less than ideal conditions.
At 7.7” x 3.4” (197mm x 87mm) and weighing 3.3 lbs. (1,500g), this Sony lens is best matched with Sony’s larger Alpha DSLR bodies, such as the a55, a65 and a77. Its size marks it as more useful to the serious enthusiast and pro than the casual photographer, who might find it a bit much to carry all day on a family outing.
An excellent design feature is its vertical grip, which portrait photographers will find to be a winning asset.
The Sony 70–200mm also includes a detachable tripod mount, with markings to orientate the lens at 90-degree intervals to make it easier to position for portraits and landscapes. Another thoughtful benefit the designers included was two attachment threads, the standard 1/4” and an alternative 3/8”.
In terms of external controls, this Sony lens has three auto-focus control switches: auto/manual focus, direct manual focus and minimum-focus limiter at approximately 10 feet (3m). In this last mode, the auto-focus isn’t required to search for focus as much during sports photography. The direct manual focus mode is particularly interesting, as it allows you to adjust focus manually whenever you choose in the “standard” position and take total control of focus in the “full time” position.
Another very beneficial external-control feature is the placement of 3 AF-stop buttons in very convenient locations, so your right thumb can always find one, regardless of your shooting orientation.
Sony has also given the 70–200mm a full complement of elements to achieve excellent sharpness and control of any aberrations or distortion. There are 19 elements in 16 groups, plus 4 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements.
For this lens to appeal to portrait and nature photographers, it had to provide exceptional bokeh, which it does with 9-rounded diaphragm blades.
Sony’s Super Sonic Wave Motor (SSM) drives the auto-focus system and various third-party tests have found it to be virtually noiseless, fast and very precise.
As you would expect with a lens of this quality and price, all focusing is internal, so the lens doesn’t change its length and the front end doesn’t rotate, allowing for the use of 77mm polarizing and neutral density filters.
Third-party sharpness tests on both full-frame and APS-C DSLR bodies reveal relatively similar results. Image sharpness is well above average, even flirting with excellent at the center at the widest aperture. Some softness in the corners are expected on most telephoto zoom lens, but the performance of the 70–200mm is at its best from f/4 to f/11.
As is typically the case, not all lenses are designed and built for all photographers; and the Sony 70–200mm f/2.8 zoom lens will do its best work in the hands of serious amateurs and professionals who are already Sony DSLR users.
You can order the Sony 70–200mm f/2.8 zoom lens today from B&H Photo Video for $1999.99 at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Sony+70%96200mm+f%2F2.8+zoom+lens&N=0&InitialSearch=yes
Chromatic aberration and any distortion are barely perceptible unless you search intently for them, while falloff is well within the acceptable range, especially as you move to narrower apertures, starting at f/5.6.
People who read this PhotographyTalk.com article also liked:
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.
Photo from www.bhphotovideo.com © 2000-2012 B & H Foto & Electronics Corp.
Feel free to check out any of our other photography reviews
Feel free to check out any of our other Tips and taking photo´s