Lens review

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II

17 July 2023
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality and image stabilization

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of the tested Sony, its predecessor, along with its Canon and Panasonic rivals.

The new Sony lens is physically lighter and smaller than its predecessor but still it remains bigger and heavier than the Canon. The Sony sticks out with its excellent minimum focusing distance that makes it possible to get the 1:2 reproduction ratio across the whole focal range. As this telephoto lens is compatible with different teleconverters, you can also attach it to the TC 2.0x and get the 1:1 macro ratio across the range.

In the following photo the Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 G OSS II is positioned between the reflex camera Sigma A 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM and the Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 2/50.

Please Support Us

If you enjoy our reviews and articles, and you want us to continue our work please, support our website by donating through PayPal. The funds are going to be used for paying our editorial team, renting servers, and equipping our testing studio; only that way we will be able to continue providing you interesting content for free.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

The tested lens starts with a metal mount that surrounds contacts and an inner tube with a rear element inside. This element is about 22 mm in diameter, it doesn't move and is hidden inside about 2 cm deep. The area close to it is black, matted, equipped with ribs. You can say that from this side everything looks splendid.

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

The proper body of the lens starts with a white, metal ring on which there is an inscription 'Optical Steady Shot' meaning the device is equipped with an optical image stabilization unit. Apart from that you can find there the mount type (E-mount), a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, the serial number, the model number, and information that the lens was produced in China.

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

Then you find a place for a rotating tripod collar – contrary to the 70-200 mm f/2.8 model it is completely removable, revealing a smooth ring, 14 mm wide, that doesn't move.

Further on you see an immobile ring with an inscription 'FE 4/70-200 MACRO G OSS II'. If you look at it from above, on the right you find the LOCK switch that blocks the focal length change. On the left side of the inscription, mentioned earlier, you see a whole array of switches. The first of them, marked as AF/MF, is used to control the autofocus mechanism mode. The second one, FULL TIME DMF ON/OFF, allows you to switch on or off manual adjusting of focus, available even if you work in the autofocus mode. The third one is an autofocus limiter with three options available, FULL, from 3 meters to infinity, and the MACRO range. The fourth switch, OSS ON/OFF, controls optical image stabilization, and the fifth (MODE 1,2,3) allows you to choose different stabilization working modes.

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

Then you find a zoom ring, 32 mm wide, most of its surface covered by fine rubber ribbing to ensure you a firmer grip. Below the ring there is also an focal length scale with markings at 70, 100, 135, and 200 mm. The ring's performance is smooth, even, and quick. Running through the whole scale needs a turn through an angle of about 90 degrees.

After that you see a white, immoblie ring with a black G mark meaning the series of the tested lens, the producer's logo, and three round focus lock buttons.

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

Further on you find a manual focus ring, 20 mm wide, almost completely covered by rubber ribbing. The ring doesn't have any markings and it's a focus-by-wire construction. It moves quite smoothly but, in our opinion, its resistance could have been a tad more pronounced. Running through the whole distance range needs a turn through an angle of about 180 degrees – the precise value depends a bit on the focal length and speed of your turning. Still, it has to be said these values allow you quite precise settings.

A black, metal ring that doesn't move and turns into a hood mount and a non-rotating filter thread, 72 mm in diameter, is the last part of the tested lens. On that ring you can find an inscription informing you about the minimum focusing distance – at 70 mm it amounts to 0.26m/0.86ft and at 200 mm to 0.42m/1.38ft. These are excellent values per se, practically unheard-of in this class of equipment.

The front element is flat, immobile, 56 mm in diameter, very shallowly hidden inside the barrel. When you change the focal length from 70 to 200 mm it extends along the whole optical system on a honogeneous tube, making the whole instrument longer by 56 mm.

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

When it comes to optical construction, you deal here with as many as 19 elements positioned in 13 groups, two elements more than in the f/2.8 model, presented almost two years earlier. Inside the new lens you can find as many as four low dispersion glass elements (one Super ED and three ED ones), two aspherical lenses (one ordinary one and one Advanced). Additionally, you get a round aperture with nine blades that can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum.

New Nano AR Coating II layers are supposed to ensure good performance against bright light and the front element is also covered by special fluorite coating. The instrument is also dust- and splash-resistant.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps, a hood, and a tripod adapter. There is no case added to that.

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

Optical stabilization

Producers declare that the Sony 70-200 mm f/4 II is equipped with an image stabilization system as efficient as 4 EV. In order to check that claim we set the lens at 200 mm and took several dozen photos with exposure times ranging from 1/250 to 1/2.5 of a second and the stabilization switched on and off. For every set of photos we determined a percentage of out-of-focus shots; then we presented it in a form of a graph of exposure time which was expressed in EV (with 0 EV being an equivalent of 1/200 of a second).

Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Build quality and image stabilization

The maximum distance between both curves reaches about 4 EV and such is, in our view, the real efficiency of the stablization mechanism of the tested lens. It is an excellent result, in perfect accordance with official declarations of the producers.