2019-06-18

Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G + Sony 600mm f4 GM Review | Stunning Telephoto Lenses


Last week, Sony announced two new telephoto lenses, the super tele-zoom FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G lens and the prime FE 600mm f4 GM Lens. We were lucky enough to get our hands on them to try them out and let you know what we think.



Sony FE 200-600mm f4 G Lens

The very first thing that’s obvious about the new super tele-zoom is the size and weight. It’s actually surprisingly comfortable on the front of the Sony mirrorless cameras such as the a9 and shooting with it, handheld, is totally achievable.

This partly due to the fact that it has an internal zoom mechanism which means that as you zoom, the lens stays the same size and it has a consistent, stable feel. You don’t suffer from a shift in weight while shooting and it helps to steady your hand.



This also has the added benefit of helping with dust and moisture resistance. Without the lens moving in and out, there are fewer spaced for dust and moisture to enter the body of the lens.

Image Quality

That zoom range, 200-600mm gives you quite a lot of versatility when you’re shooting. You pull it back to 200mm to get a slightly wider view of things, and punch right in to 600mm to get a super close shot. It’s perfect for wildlife or sports and because the lens is lightweight enough to handhold, you can stay fairly mobile.



That focal range also allows you to control your background and the environment in your photo. When you zoom in, the compression is changing and the look of the photo changes a lot. At 600mm, you’re going to have a very different looking background to 200mm and again, that just helps with the versatility.

It’s been designed for high resolution throughout the zoom range so you’re keeping that consistent quality throughout.



The actual image quality of the lens is great with photos looking sharp throughout the zoom range. I actually found that it wasn’t just sharp at the centre of the image, it was nice and sharp out towards the edges as well.

In terms of aperture, it’s a f5.6-6.3 but because we’re working with these much longer focal lengths, the compression means you can get some really lovely out of focus elements in your shot and the bokeh is nice and smooth, especially at 600mm.

It’s also worth noting that the colours looked really nice as well.



Autofocus

I’ve got to say though, the thing I was most impressed with was the autofocus, and this goes for both lenses. It really was lighting fast and with the Sony A9, I was easily able to track subjects as they were moving around the frame, lock on, switch between targets super fast, it was amazing. I didn’t get even one instance of it hunting or being unable to lock onto someone. I was relying entirely on the Ai in the A9 and it was absolutely flawless.

The 200-600mm has a DDSSM motor driving the autofocus and it is powerful and quiet so you’re getting that lightning quick autofocus but it’s still nice and quiet.

Sony FE 600mm f4 GM Lens

This is a big lens and at first, I was worried about how it might feel on the front of one of the small Sony mirrorless cameras, but Sony have quite cleverly gotten round this issue. The 24 elements in the lens are loaded towards the back of the lens so the centre of gravity is close to the camera. That gives it a really nice feel and the balance of the lens is great.



I was mostly shooting with the lens on a monopod but I was able to take a few handheld shots. The lens is actually surprisingly light, in fact it’s the lightest lens in its class and while I wouldn’t want to shoot with it handheld all day, it’s definitely possible to grab a few shots with it.

Image Quality

The lens is housing 24 elements and as I mentioned before, they are all towards the back of the lens keeping the weight centred close to the camera. You’ve got 3 fluorite elements, 1 XA, extreme aspherical element and an 11 bladed aperture which ultimately helps to create super smooth bokeh and at f/4, it looks so good. The out of focus areas using this lens are super smooth, you haven’t got any artifacts or weird looking areas, it’s just lovely.



It also gives the lens excellent flare resistance and high clarity and contrast.

If you’ve ever used a converter to extend your focal length, you’re probably used to a slight dip in quality but here, as a G Master lens, it’s able to maintain that high resolution, even when using a converter. That means you can use something like the 2x converter to extend this out to 1200mm.

Autofocus

Again, it’s the autofocus which was just mind blowing. The 600mm has two XD Linear motors, so no gears, it’s contactless, it’s frictionless and it means that the motors can move back and forth through the lens 60 times per second. That’s ridiculously fast and it was so noticeable while shooting. The speed with which I could switch between subjects was like nothing I’ve ever used. It wasn’t hunting for focus and it makes tracking fast moving subjects incredibly easy, especially with the A9.



Image Stabilisation

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Image Stabilisation in the lens. I mostly shot with the lens on a monopod but when I did shoot handheld, the I.S was a critical part of making that a possibility.

Sony have added a new stabilisation mode as well, mode 3 which is specifically for tracking moving subjects, so when you’re moving the lens around a lot. That’s perfect for all kinds of sports where you’re following people or cars all over the place.



Adding to the E Mount system

These two new lenses complement the existing range of Sony lenses perfectly. A super tele-zoom and a new G Master prime lens are great additions and in particular, the 200-600mm lens offers a truly great option for anyone looking to push telephoto work without spending a small fortune.

You can see more of our impressions along with sample images and video in our video below:

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