Sony FE 100-400mm Versus FE 200-600mm Lens Comparison

In 2019, Sony released the well-received FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens. Although it comes with a lower price tag and a longer focal length than the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS, the overlap in other areas can make deciding between the two a challenge.

In this comparison review from PhotoRec TV, Toby Gelston takes an in-depth look at both of these Sony telephoto zoom lenses to determine their strengths and weaknesses in both optics and practicality. In addition, Gelston also throws the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter into the mix as an add-on for the 100-400mm to see whether the now 560mm f/8 is a comparable alternative to the 200-600mm.

While I’m “Team 200-600” through and through as a bird photographer, I can admit that most of the other people I talk to and have used both as well are more impressed with the 100-400mm for its sharper image, better autofocus, and smaller size. Although I find the 1.4x teleconverter on the 200-600mm to be a little too soft and slow, I’ve heard nothing but good things from photographers putting in on their Sony 100-400mm lenses.

Have you used one or both of these Sony lenses? What are your thoughts between the two? Let us know in the comments below.

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6 Comments

Jerome Brill's picture

I wouldn't mind trying out the 200-600. I'm not sure I'd trade my 100-400 for it. I personally need the compactness. I did buy it used so I have some room to add the 1.4x if needed. I'm happy with it as is though.

One thing he did mention at the end of the video is replacing the mount with an arca which I recommend. The RRS is $100 bucks. I ended up trying the Kirk one for $80. Then I added the Peak Design Anchor mount and extra connector. That brought me back up to $100 bucks but with more versatility. It works pretty great. Now when I strap the camera I don't have to worry about lens creep by keeping the camera horizontal.

Tom Reichner's picture

I was looking forward to an article that compared these two lenses to one another. Instead, all I got was a suggestion to go to another site to watch or read a review. FStoppers is being inundated with 'articles" that aren't really articles at all - they are just things that try to get us to go to other sites for content. I feel cheated - as if what I really spent 2 minutes of my time on was only an advertisement.

Will FStoppers ever step up to the plate and do away with these non-articles? I sure hope so. I want to stay right here on this site for photography content. And I sure as heck don't want anyone using FStoppers as just a way to generate revenue by directing people to other sites. That is manipulative and I will not be manipulated.

It’s not a binary decision and the respective lenses have different utility. When I shot Canon gear, the 100-400 was a great performer which had a variety of applications from some wildlife, portraits, some sports,etc. Yet it had limitations and I had long primary lenses (500, 600) which afforded better bokeh, af (larger apertures), worked better with tc’s, and simply af’ed better.

The videographer doesn’t say which bodies he used in the review, though my experience with both lenses on an a7riv gives the edge to the 100-400. It simply focuses more reliably and IQ is a tad better on this camera. On the a9, the 200-600 performs really well and it would be my primary “poor man’s choice” for wildlife. It isn’t that much larger (especially comparing the bayoneting on the 100-400 and if one wants to use a gimbal, the weight distribution changes on the 100-400.

As much as I would like a 600 f/4 the price is prohibitive and is nearly 2x price of a used Canon 600. Consequently, the 200-600 offers a lot of bang for the buck and I find carrying two bodies in the field, one with a 100-400 for near action, larger animals, and the longer 200-600 an ideal combination.

Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

Clearly 100-400 mm is superior. I felt 200-600 mm is much better with A9 and not so good with A7rIII. I think 1.4 with 100-400 is better than 200-600.

Alejandro Espeche's picture

I live in the yungas (pedemontan jungles) and I travel them using a motorcycle, weight and size is important to me, that extra kilo means carrying less water. With temperatures exceeding 45 degrees celcius it is important to hydrate.

In my A7R3 the 100-400 works for BIF, small birds and because I can focus on a meter I can make close ups of flowers and insects.

I am really very happy with that lens.