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Lens review

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

17 July 2023
Maciej Lata││o

6. Distortion

After attaching the tested Sony 70-200 mm f/4 to an appropriate camera we got a huge surprise in the folder dealing with correction of lens's aberrations. The option connected to distortion simply got deactivated. Usually it means that the producer gave up on optical distortion correction and all the necessary tasks have to be performed by the software of the camera.

When you consult JPEG files we generated on the smaller APS-C sensor the correction indeed works very fine. All results we got there are more or less zero. Official distortion values at 70, 100, 135, and 200 mm amount to, respectively:+0.01%, -0.04%, -0.04%, and -0.02%.

Sony A7R III, APS-C, JPEG, 70ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, APS-C, JPEG, 100ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, APS-C, JPEG, 135ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, APS-C, JPEG, 200ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion


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In order to check the real level of this aberration you have to consult RAW files developped with independent software. First symptoms of problems became visible almost immediately. At 70 mm you still deal with an almost imperceptible pincushion variant of +0.50%. At 100 mm it increases to +1.14, at 135 mm to 1.30% and at 200 mm it reaches already +1.41%.

Sony A7R III, APS-C, RAW, 70ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, APS-C, RAW, 100ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, APS-C, RAW, 135ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, APS-C, RAW, 200ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion

Let's talk about the performance on full frame – JPEG files at the beginning. Once again we can praise the efficiently of the camera's software as it is able to diminish distortion to levels that are tantamount with zero. At 70 mm you get a value of +0.02%, at 100 mm +0.01%, at 135 mm it's -0.06%, and at 200 mm - +0.09%.

Sony A7R III, FF, JPEG, 70ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, FF, JPEG, 100ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, FF, JPEG, 135ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, FF, JPEG, 200ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion

Of course the real image of this aberration can only be revealed after analyzing RAW files registered on full frame.

At the shortest focal length you deal with 'pincushion' of +1.41% that, when you pass to 100 mm, increases quickly to a level of +2.63%. Further increase of distortion along with the increase of focal length is definitely slower: at 135 mm we got +2.73% and at 200 mm it was +2.89%.

It's true that distortion levels not exceeding 3% are perhaps not such a big problem but you also have to remember that you deal here with a 70-200 mm telephoto lens. Such optical systems aren't especially demanding when it comes to correction of geometric deformations so it's a pity the producers didn't want to fight that aberration even a bit more efficiently.

Sony A7R III, FF, RAW, 70ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, FF, RAW, 100ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, FF, RAW, 135ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion
Sony A7R III, FF, RAW, 200ámm
Sony FE 70-200 mm f/4 Macro G OSS II - Distortion