Today Sony finally announced pricing and shipping times for their upcoming release of the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master OSS lens and teleconverters. First introduced in early February alongside the FE 85mm f/1.4 GM and FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lenses, the 70-200mm GM will be shipping in July and cost $2,600. The 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters designed to exclusively fit the new 70-200mm GM will each cost $500 and ship in July as well. Sony allowed me to use one of the first retail production models off the assembly line and share my images with you, so let’s dive into sample images and my thoughts on how it stacks up.
One of the first things to notice is that this lens is fairly heavy. I find this true but I’ve been using the lightweight f/4 type FE lenses for some time now and my arms have gotten puny. If you are fresh off the DSLR boat than a 3 pound 4.3 ounce lens probably isn’t far from where you came from. It’s also bigger in size than anything Sony has made before for mirrorless, coming in at 3.5 inches by 7.875 inches. That’s around an inch longer than the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS and a little bit beefier in diameter.
The new lens hood for the 70-200mm GM is actually pretty interesting and something I haven’t seen done before. There is a retractable slot in the hood that you can open and close in order to access screw-on filters that would be attached to the end of your lens. Something that I was hoping for when I saw this was that it would also give you the ability to reach the focus ring while the hood was reversed, but this is unfortunately not the case. As it stands, you still can’t have manual focus control while the lens hood is reversed due to the location of the ring at the end of the barrel.
Speaking of the focus ring however, it is incredibly smooth to twist. If you are the type of person who notices these little things and likes having your fingers pampered with easy pushing and pulling than this is for you. The zoom ring is a bit stiffer as it should be to prevent unwanted changes to focal length, but it is still slick enough that if you brace your camera and lens at that spot it’s likely you are going to have slight changes to focal length millimeters throughout your shoot as I did.
The side of the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens features four toggle switches on the left side and three focus hold buttons placed at 90-degree intervals. The toggles include AF/MF control, a focus limiter, Optical Steady Shot control, and stabilization mode control. I tend to change AF/MF and OSS settings often in-camera during normal shooting with other lenses, so it is nice to have quick access physical controls to these (when I remember they are there).
The lens’ tripod mount is removable, but not by taking off a ring. Rather all you have to do is push in a button and you can slide the foot base right off very quickly and easily. To put it back on you just slide it in and it clicks into place. For those that don’t use a tripod until night comes or for special occasion, this is perfect for being able to store away a little piece separately in your pack that you can bring out and attach in no time for the few times you use it.
70mm, 1/200 s @ f/8, ISO 800
The internals of this lens has 23 elements in 12 groups, with 6 extra-low dispersion and 3 aspherical glass elements. The glass has nano anti-reflective and flourine coating. The overall sharpness from this lens is probably the best I’ve seen from any Sony FE lens placed on an Alpha mirrorless camera. There are 11 circular aperture blades that produce some wonderful out of focus areas as you can see in the images. The image quality from this lens is simply remarkable and fully deserving of the G Master moniker.
I will update this article with pre-order information once available.