Sony 70-200 f/4 Lens Review | Great Value E-Mount Zoom

A 70-200mm lens is a staple for any professional photographer, and this Sony 70-200mm f/4 E-mount telephoto zoom is great value for money. Here's the review.

As a professional photographer, I mainly shoot events such as weddings and outdoor adventure sports.

A 70-200mm lens has been a staple in my bag for over 10 years of business.

I love the compression you get at the telephoto range, and the flexibility of the zoom allows me to really get in close on far-away subjects. 

I was excited when the camera gear company Moment sent the Shotkit team a Sony 70-200mm f/4 to play with.

sony telephoto lens attached to camera body
Sony 70-200mm f/4

Super sharp, lightweight, rugged and durable with amazing image quality. Useful image stabilization and custom buttons add to the value.

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Second to the 16-35mm focal range, 70-200mm is my favorite zoom lens.

The 16-35mm focal length allows me to capture wide-open landscapes or intimate moments.

Then, when it’s time to compress my subject on the background or get close to y subject, I can pull out the 70-200mm.

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 lens hits all the main points that I’m looking for in a lens of this focal length.

It’s compact, lightweight, and has awesome performance. Read on to hear why I think you should check out this lens and see if it fits your needs.

Sony 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Review | Specs

  • Very Sharp
  • Lightweight for the focal range
  • Rugged and durable
  • Beautiful lens flare
  • Image stabilization
  • Excellent autofocus
  • Slightly expensive (but great value compared to the f/2.8 variant)
  • Sony E-Mount/Full Frame Lens
  • Aperture Range: f/4 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 39.3″ / 1 m
  • Weight: 1.85 lb / 840 g
  • Length: 6.9″ / 175 mm
  • Diameter: 3.1″ / 80 mm
  • Filter size: 72mm

Build & Ergonomics

Sony A7III camera with Sony 70-200 f/4 G OSS lens

I’ll talk through the size and handling as well as some of the features that this lens has.

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 is very light and compact for a 70-200mm lens, packing a punch for its small stature as a long lens.

It is fully featured with an af/mf switch, focus range selector, and optical steady shot mode selector. I’ll talk through these features and how I do or, in some cases, don’t use them.

I rarely use the focus range selector as I find that it focuses just fine on full. I almost always use mode 1 for optical SteadyShot, and I get great results. 

(Mode 2 is for intentional panning to get motion blur such as when shooting race cars and the like.)

Optical SteadyShot is great to have because it allows me to shoot at lower shutter speeds, especially in cases of low light, since this lens is an f/4 rather than an f/2.8. Optical steadyshot is also great for video shooters who want extra stabilization.

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 features two focus hold buttons for shooting in landscape or portrait orientation, I like to program these to Eye AutoFocus, which allows me to ensure that my subject is sharp in my images. You can program them to control various other camera features too, which is really handy

The lens hood makes this lens much bigger but keeps light off the front element keeping images clear and contrasty

The rubber zoom ring and focus ring makes the lens very easy to handle. The zoom ring has a nice short throw allowing quick zooming.

Additionally, the lens does not extend when zooming, which is nice because it keeps its compact size regardless of focal length.

Although this is only an f/4 lens, it has been more than adequate for me. If low light is a problem, I will shoot with the Sony 85mm f/1.8 instead since I carry both lenses with me most of the time.

Essentially, the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is a classic wedding photography lens. It’s great for ceremonies where you can’t get in close with a wider lens. And I find that I get really nice closeups with this lens.

Additionally, I love shooting the Sony 70-200mm f/4 for landscapes. The compression gives a unique perspective that provides something different from the landscapes I shoot with my 16-35mm.

A 70-200mm lens is also great for shooting sports that require you to be at some distance from the subjects involved – that’s why you’ll often see the famous white-barrelled Sony lenses at the side of soccer matches and the like.

Focus Performance

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/5000 f/4 ISO 400

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 lens has excellent autofocus. It locks on to subjects quickly, and it tracks seamlessly. I’ve photographed mountain bikers or runners moving through the frame and haven’t had any focus or tracking issues.

The focus range selector on the Sony 70-200mm f/4 allows you to limit the focus range, so it doesn’t grab close subjects when you’re subjects are beyond 3 meters or about 10 ft. This is handy if you’re shooting through a crowd and want to stay focused on the faraway subjects instead.

The focus hold buttons are located at 0 and 270 to make them easy to use in landscape and portrait orientation.

The focus hold button can be used to briefly hold focus on a subject or programmed to eye AF. However, the focus hold button becomes less useful if you use the back button focus as I do.

Programming to Eye AF is great for portraits or photographing human subjects, which is primarily what I do.

The manual focus ring on this lens is easy to use for rack-focusing video. It has a nice firm feel without being too tight.

Overall the focus performance of the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is very good, and I have no complaints. This lens lives up to the high quality I’ve come to expect from my Sony equipment.

Sony 70-200 f/4 G OSS Image Quality

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/800 f/8 ISO 250

So far, everything I’ve discussed has been good, but image quality is something that sets this lens apart even more. To start, the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is one of the sharpest zoom lenses I’ve owned.

It does fall off a little bit toward the edges of the frame. If you want max sharpness, go for the f/2.8 version of this lens, but you’ll only notice the difference if you really zoom in on images in Lightroom.

The lens is quite sharp regardless of focal length and aperture, especially in the middle of the frame. Depending on how you use the lens, your subject will not often be on the edge of the frame, so sharpness in the middle is what is important.

Bokeh is one thing I love about this 70-200 lens. Despite its f/4 minimum aperture, it still gives great bokeh and allows for that beautiful look that separates my subject so eloquently.

Another unique feature I love is the lens flare when shooting just off-axis from the sun. The Sony 70-200 f/4 OSS provides a unique yellow/orange glow that is really beautiful and cinematic. The transition from yellow to blue makes really dynamic images if you love shooting backlit scenes.

Distortion and croma are minimal on this lens, and it gives great image quality, especially if you use the lens profile in Lightroom to correct any issues.

Overall, I’ve felt that I get very impressive image quality from this lens. And when weighing any potential sacrifices against the value, it’s a good pick, as you’ll come to see in the next sections.

Sony 70-200 f/4 Sample Images

Here are some sample images taken with the Sony 70-200 f/4 using a Sony a7III.

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/125 f/4 ISO 100

Sony A7C + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/500 f/4 ISO 200

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/1000 f/5.6 ISO 100

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/1000 f/4 ISO 100

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/125 f/6.3 ISO 640

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/250 f/4 ISO 200

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/1250 f/4 ISO 400

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/200 f/4 ISO 400

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/200 f/4 ISO 250

Sony A7III + Sony 70-200 f/4 | 1/320 f/4 ISO 64

Here are some additional sample images shot by Mark, which illustrate this lens’s ability to handle fast-moving action.

Both photos were taken at 200mm on a Sony a7 IV.

zoom sony lens kid playing soccer


Alternatives to the Sony 70-200mm f/4

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 is my favorite native Sony full-frame telephoto zoom, given its balance of performance and price. It might help you to see why when you compare the alternatives below.

The Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM is much more expensive. What you get is better low-light performance. Therefore it’s slightly sharper, but it’s also bigger and heavier.

Conversely, the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 is less expensive. It is also better for low light, but it sacrifices 20mm on the telephoto end.

Also, the Tamron is obviously a non-native lens, so it won’t hold its value quite as well. Regardless it’s a good alternative for the budget-conscious photographer.

There are also some offerings in the 70-300mm range, but they often sacrifice an extra stop or two of light at the telephoto range, reducing bokeh and low light performance, which are both important features for me. 

Sony also makes a 100-400mm lens, but it is quite expensive and doesn’t have a constant aperture. A non-constant aperture is frustrating if you like shooting in manual.

You could also consider a prime lens like a 135mm or 85mm, but you lose versatility which is one of the things I love about 70-200mm focal length.

Value for Money

Sony A7III camera with Sony 70-200 f/4 G OSS lens

At around $1500, this lens is solid value for money, even though it’s not cheap. But when you compare it to the f/2.8 G-Master lens, it starts looking pretty good.

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 has a great combination of features and quality that make it similar to the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 at almost half the price.

To me, it’s not worth paying twice as much for an extra stop of light (f/4 vs. f/2.8.) And the Sony 70-200mm f/4 performs really well for most of my requirements.

(As I mentioned, I also have an 85mm f/1.8 that I can use for those low-light situations.)

Sometimes gear value includes how the lens fits in with the rest of your kit and meets the needs that you have.

I love how compact and lightweight this lens is for a telephoto lens. It means that I bring it and use it more often. Heavy lenses get left behind when my camera bag gets heavy, which is why I love how lightweight Sony lenses are.

When you consider the versatility of this lens, you realize how good value for money it is. You’d have to buy at least two prime lenses to cover this zoom range.

f/4 is a great ‘compromise’ for photographers who want the versatility of a great zoom lens but not the higher price tag of an f/2.8. This is why I also enjoy using the Sony 24-70mm f/4.

Sony 70-200mm f/4 Review | Conclusion

In summary, if you want a telephoto zoom lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras, this is a great option. It covers the 70-200mm focal range at f/4 for a good price. 

Some of my favorite images have been created with this lens due to the compression of a subject on the mountains or the incredible golden lens flare.

The Sony 70-200mm f/4 works great for events such as weddings, and I also love shooting it for action sports like mountain biking as well as landscapes. It’s a versatile lens that checks a lot of boxes for what I need from my gear.

sony telephoto lens attached to camera body
Sony 70-200mm f/4

Super sharp, lightweight, rugged and durable with amazing image quality. Useful image stabilization and custom buttons add to the value.

Check Current Price
Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Marc and Brenda Bergreen are professional wedding photographers and adventurous storytellers based in the Rocky Mountains.

Build Quality9
Ergonomics & Handling 8
Image Quality9


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