Lens review

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/2.8 GM OSS II

13 October 2021
Maciej Latałło

9. Autofocus

Sony declares that as many as four XD LM (eXtreme Dynamic Linear Motor) motors are responsible for an efficient focusing mechanism of this lens; because of them the performance of the new Sony autofocus is supposed to be even four times faster than the performance of its predecessor. But is it really?

When joined with the Sony A7R IV camera the autofocus of the tested lens is indeed completely noiseless and as quick as a flash. Even without employing the focus limiter the focus throw of the tested lens amounts to about 0.3 of a second, a sensational value. Additionally we didn't notice any substantial differences concerning the focal length and the direction of movement. After limiting the focal range to a distance from 3 meters to infinity the lens's autofocus accelerates and the focus throw decreases to 0.1 of a second.

The mechanism is also very sensitive. For example when I tried to focus on an object, visible through a window the mechanism was able to detect small imperfections and specks of dust on the window pane and focused on them, not on the object situated far away outside.

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The cooperation with the older Sony A7R III model is a bit different. Autofocus still remains noiseless but it slows down a bit – the difference is not huge, though, never exceeding 0.1 of a second. The complete time of running through the whole range and confirming the focus remains splendid but the sensitivity of the mechanism decreases. The autofocus ignored the window pane and focused at once on the object outside the window, situated in a greater distance.

The Sony 70-200 mm f/2.8 II autofocus mechanism was very accurate both during our studio shots and outdoor sessions. When attached to the A7R IV the number of misses was practically zero so we had no reservations whatsoever. While cooperating with the older body, the A7R III, the autofocus of the tested lens fared a bit weaker, with the number of misses increasing to 2-3%.

Photos below show clearly that the tested lens didn't have any problems whatsoever with front or back focus tendencies.

A7R III, 135 mm, f/2.8
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/2.8 GM OSS II - Autofocus
A7R III, 200 mm, f/2.8
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/2.8 GM OSS II - Autofocus