By B&H Photo's
A Classic Telephoto Zoom, Refined and Reimagined
Nine years in the making, Sony has retooled their classic, workhorse telephoto zoom lens with the FE 70-200mm f/4 Macro G OSS II, introducing performance upgrades in autofocus, stabilization, magnification, and sharpness while reducing both its length and size. Remaining a portable, workaday stalwart for events, sports, and portraiture, this latest iteration expands its capabilities into video and macro applications.
Improved Optical Performance
The biggest change to the optical design of the lens is the introduction of a floating focusing element, enabling the lens' high-resolution .5x "half-macro" magnification, shrinking the minimum focusing distance to 10.2" at 70mm. This increased resolution is available across the entirety of the zoom range, as is the lens' improved corner-to-corner sharpness. The lens features aspherical, Advanced Aspherical, Super Extra-low dispersion, and extra-low dispersion aspherical elements to reduce and suppress chromatic and spherical aberrations. Nano AR Coating II controls flare and ghosting, while the rounded, nine-blade diaphragm supplies the lens with its soft, smooth bokeh.
Faster, Video-Optimized Autofocus
Chief among the 70-200mm f/4 II's enhancements is its faster, video-optimized autofocus system. Featuring 4 XD Linear motors, two for each of the lens' focus groups, the lens now performs 20% faster than its predecessor and supports focus tracking while zooming. The new autofocus system also works with the Alpha 1's blackout-free 30 fps high-speed continuous shooting, double the rate of the f/4 OSS I.
For those eager to apply the lens' virtues to video, Sony has introduced several features from their cinema division. The new autofocus system has near-silent operation while dramatically reducing focus breathing and focus shift. The Linear Response MF system to ensures a consistent, natural-feeling operation, while the full-time Direct Manual Focus (DMF) feature makes it easy to make quick adjustments using the focus ring while in AF modes.
Rounding out the improvements to image quality, the lens' built-in SteadyShot optical image stabilization is designed to work in tandem with the camera body's stabilization system to ensure sharp images while shooting handheld even at the longest focal lengths.
Redesigned for Portability and Durability
In reconfiguring the 70-200mm f/4 II, Sony has kept in mind both the endurance of the lens and its user, reducing both the length and weight of the optic by 15% to 5.8" and 1.7 lb, respectively. The internal zoom mechanism minimizes front-heaviness to reduce strain while focusing, while its dust- and moisture-resistant design and rubber control rings make it suitable for inclement conditions.
Other design features include:
- A removable and rotating tripod collar for added stability and reducing strain on the camera's lens mount.
- Three focus hold buttons and an AF/MF switch on the lens barrel for intuitive tactile control and rapid access to select settings.
- Three-mode optical image stabilization switch to ensure sharpness in varying shooting conditions.
- A full-time DMF switch for manual focus override during AF-C mode.
- Zoom lock and focus range limiter switches to prevent unwanted lens extension or to constrain the usable focus range between a set limited range or full for improving focus speed.
- A fluorine coating for the front-lens element to repel water, oil, and other contaminants and facilitate lens-cleaning.
The FE 70-200mm f/4 GM OSS II is compatible with Sony's optional FE 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. These teleconverters allow for life-size, 1:1 macro photography throughout the entire zoom range. When used, the 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters will provide effective focal lengths and apertures of 98-280mm f/5.6 and 140-400mm f/8, respectively.