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Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM
  
 
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM
FM member @Jman13 (admiringlight.com) just posted his review on the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM:

Here is Jordan's conclusion:

Pros
  1. Robustly built lens with very solid construction
  2. Excellent haptics, including positive switches and well damped zoom and focus rings
  3. Very fast, quiet and accurate autofocus
  4. Outstanding image sharpness at all apertures
  5. Excellent color and contrast
  6. Beautiful out of focus rendering
  7. Excellent control of both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration
  8. Excellent image stabilization good for around 4-5 stops of extra handholdability
Cons
  1. Expensive
  2. Some distortion throughout the zoom range
  3. Some vignetting that doesnít go away when stopping down

The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM is an outstanding telephoto zoom lens. The lens is very solidly built and has a pro-grade feel like anything out of Canon or Nikon. Itís also outstanding optically, with great sharpness, contrast, bokeh and color and a very fast and accurate autofocus system. Itís truly a pro grade lens, though youíll certainly pay for it.

Read the entire review at admiringlight.com

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More reviews on this lens:

DXOmark review | LensRentals review




Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM




Sep 03, 2017 at 04:14 PM
lightskyland
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Why are his conclusions so different from the various reviewers who have slagged the lens as unsharp?

Is this sample variation?



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:10 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


lightskyland wrote:
Why are his conclusions so different from the various reviewers who have slagged the lens as unsharp?

Is this sample variation?


It has to be . I rented it 3 times and found at 200mm not very good as i had to back off to about 193mm. This is at F4


In my mind Sony had issues when this first came out and than fixed those issues in production. So if I bought one than i would buy the latest production unit I could find. Thats my opinion and may not be fact.



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:23 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


lightskyland wrote:
Why are his conclusions so different from the various reviewers who have slagged the lens as unsharp?

Is this sample variation?


It looks like this lens has an extreme optical design pushing the limits of manufacturing tolerance. Therefore, although outstanding in the software simulations, it seems like the final product has high variability.
Also, it appears that even a great copy of the 70-200GM does not compare well with other brands on center resolution but it's as good or better in other aspects like bokeh quality and aberration control.



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:40 PM
snapsy
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


lightskyland wrote:
Why are his conclusions so different from the various reviewers who have slagged the lens as unsharp?

Is this sample variation?


I don't think so since Lens Rentals found the same relative performance on all the copies they tested. I think it's just a matter of different expectations and not directly comparing it to the Canikon alternatives.



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:47 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


GMPhotography wrote:
It has to be . I rented it 3 times and found at 200mm not very good as i had to back off to about 193mm. This is at F4

In my mind Sony had issues when this first came out and than fixed those issues in production. So if I bought one than i would buy the latest production unit I could find. Thats my opinion and may not be fact.


Being great at 193mm and not at 200mm looks like element spacing issue. (Copy variation)



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:57 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Fred Miranda wrote:
Being great at 193mm and not at 200mm looks like element spacing issue. (Copy variation)


Fred Im kind of thinking the same. Seems like a jump or skip in the element focus group if you will. Just not sure but makes the most sense to me



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:12 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


snapsy wrote:
I don't think so since Lens Rentals found the same relative performance on all the copies they tested. I think it's just a matter of different expectations and not directly comparing it to the Canikon alternatives.


Actually, I don't think Lens Rentals has ever published variation data on the FE 70-200 f/2.8 GM. The one copy they tested they said was middle of the road and they did say most lenses had issues, but I suspect there still might be a lot of copy to copy variation in performance at each focal length. Roger has noted that he is not 100% sure that he is getting best focus with this lens because there are 2 different focussing groups. It seems very likely the tests are fine, but he can't be sure. Perhaps that is why they haven't published the variation data.


Edited on Sep 03, 2017 at 06:53 PM · View previous versions



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:44 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


lightskyland wrote:
Why are his conclusions so different from the various reviewers who have slagged the lens as unsharp?

Is this sample variation?


I think simply variation may well be part of the difference in reviews, but seeing lots of Jordan's reviews my take is that he is just taking a different approach and one I think makes sense for this lens. It seems from all the available data that this lens is a reasonably sharp lens, but not as sharp as the competition. Despite falling a bit short of the competition it seems to perform exceptionally well for the types of things that many people use it for. See Josh's and Helena's shots as examples of just how useful this lens can be. Is it as sharp as the Nikon lens--not in most parts of the frame and almost focal lengths. Is it as sharp as the Canon--not overall but there are places where each lens does a bit better but quite a few more places in the frame and focal lengths where the Canon will do better. Is this a very useful lens for Sony with some nice features that is sharp enough to get the job done even for a Pro in almost all circumstances--Yes. It was this latter question that Jordan was answering and most reviews that have slagged it have focussed on the first two questions.



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:50 PM
Phillip Reeve
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM



Steve Spencer wrote:
Actually, I don't think Lens Rentals has every published variation data on the FE 70-200 f/2.8 GM. The one copy they tested they said was middle of the road and they did say most lenses had issues, but I suspect there still might be a lot of copy to copy variation in performance at each focal length. Roger has noted that he is not 100% sure that he is getting best focus with this lens because there are 2 different focussing groups. It seems very likely the tests are fine, but he can't be sure. Perhaps that is why
...Show more
That is not current information.

Quote Roger http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1501614/2#14129668:

"We tested it, thought the results were accurate, but Sony insisted they couldn't be, they knew the lens was better than we showed.

Given that the lens had new technology, we were completely willing to consider our results might not be accurate and tried several suggestions from Sony, and several of our own ideas. Then we waited and repeated tests on later batches in case just the early ones had problems. Our results were always the same and as we investigated the lens more we found multiple reasons to be more comfortable with our results. They are valid and accurate.

There is still the possibility that the lens performs better close up than at infinity, but that always exists. But the Sony computer generated results that are way better than our real world tests are done at infinity. So a lot of time was spent confirming that the lens isn't as good in real life as Sony thought it was going to be.

Doing all this took many months. By the time we were done we figured not many people cared and we had lots of other things to do, so I never wrote up an official report. And there's the part that Sony fanboys are becoming the worst and writing a negative Sony article means hours and hours of responding to emails and comments. "




Edited on Sep 03, 2017 at 06:52 PM · View previous versions



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:51 PM
 

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Steve Spencer
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


deleted see below in response to Phillip to avoid redundancy.

Edited on Sep 03, 2017 at 07:01 PM · View previous versions



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:55 PM
snapsy
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Steve Spencer wrote:
Yes, but we still don't have the copy variation data. I totally trust Roger that the data is published in middle of the pack data, but how wide is the pack. That is a different issue and one we don't have data on.


Yep, I deleted my redundant post when I saw Phillip's post above, which has much more specific data.



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:57 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Phillip Reeve wrote:
That is not current information.

Quote Roger http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1501614/2#14129668:

"We tested it, thought the results were accurate, but Sony insisted they couldn't be, they knew the lens was better than we showed.

Given that the lens had new technology, we were completely willing to consider our results might not be accurate and tried several suggestions from Sony, and several of our own ideas. Then we waited and repeated tests on later batches in case just the early ones had problems. Our results were always the same and as we investigated the lens more we found multiple reasons to be more comfortable
...Show more

Yes, it is clear Roger has done lots of testing, and should be commended for it. I think his MTF results very very likely represent the real world performance of the lens. I do not think he has ruled out the possibility that I noted above and that he himself raised int he comments on his blog. I don't think it is likely, but it hard to eliminate that possibility totally. If he has ruled it out he hasn't said so or how he tested to rule it out. He also hasn't published the variation data for this lens. From your post it looks like he just hasn't had the time and doesn't want the hassles that would come with another blog post on this lens.



Sep 03, 2017 at 06:59 PM
Phillip Reeve
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM




Steve Spencer wrote:
Yes, it is clear Roger has done lots of testing, and should be commended for it. I think his MTF results very very likely represent the real world performance of the lens. I do not think he has ruled out the possibility that I noted above and that he himself raised int he comments on his blog. I don't think it is likely, but it hard to eliminate that possibility totally. If he has ruled it out he hasn't said so or how he tested to rule it out. He also hasn't published the variation data for this lens.
...Show more
As I understand it he is sure in his focus and results by now. He only leaves the possibility that it performs better at shorter distances but some time ago I tried to find full resolution samples which contradicted his results and didn't find any. In the end it is still a solid lens but not as sharp as the comoetition.



Sep 03, 2017 at 07:29 PM
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Phillip Reeve wrote:
As I understand it he is sure in his focus and results by now. He only leaves the possibility that it performs better at shorter distances but some time ago I tried to find full resolution samples which contradicted his results and didn't find any. In the end it is still a solid lens but not as sharp as the comoetition.

Phillip, my read on the lens is exactly the same and I think Jordan's review is completely consistent with that read. That is what matters and helps explain the difference in reviews. Jordan is focussing on the lens' performance in its own right and notes that it is a solid lens for Sony shooters. Others have focussed on comparing it to the competition and note that it isn't as sharp. It might seem these two views are in conflict, but actually they are not. Both things can be and I think are true.



Sep 03, 2017 at 08:29 PM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


This lens appears to be more suitable for photojournalism and people's images. Conventional wisdom dictates that this lens' focusing distance is best somewhere between the MFD and about 15 feet or so for that purpose. In my usage, even from this so-called not so sharp lens, is sometimes even too sharp. The rendition is lovely and the bokeh is smooth. So, no complaint from me in this respect. I am not sure, of course, it seems to me that this lens may perform less at longer distances and LR did the test or tests at infinity.

I took this lens on a landscape oriented trip last November. While it performed just fine but now, I would take my 100-400mm GM on that kind of trip to get compressed effects of certain landscape images. Werner Utsch's Tuscany images come to my mind and he used his 70-400mm lens for that purpose.

I bought the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art became available and I sold my Sony Zeiss ZA 135mm f/1.8 lens. Used outdoors and at f/1.8, the Sigma takes the cake. But if it is coming down to smaller aperture setting and since it is a native lens, I would prefer using the GM lens. As matter of fact, I will use it today for a session in downtown LA later on.



Sep 03, 2017 at 08:34 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Steve Spencer wrote:
Actually, I don't think Lens Rentals has ever published variation data on the FE 70-200 f/2.8 GM. The one copy they tested they said was middle of the road and they did say most lenses had issues, but I suspect there still might be a lot of copy to copy variation in performance at each focal length. Roger has noted that he is not 100% sure that he is getting best focus with this lens because there are 2 different focussing groups. It seems very likely the tests are fine, but he can't be sure. Perhaps that is why
...Show more

Roger didn't post the numbers and variation graphs but it does not look good at all. (At 70mm, 135mm and especially 200mm)...so all over the range. It's the worse GM as far as variation goes! One may have to try a few copies before getting an acceptable one....

I can't share the numbers but maybe he will in a future article on lens variation.

As far as resolution at different distances, it's possible this lens performs worse at infinity compared to other distances which could explain the discrepancy in test results.



Sep 03, 2017 at 08:37 PM
SoundHound
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


Before I bought my 70-200 F2.8 GM I called Lens Authority hoping to buy a battered but tested and approved copy. I was told by one of the head guys that "We haven't had any problems lately." So I bought a new lens from Adorama thinking to get the latest issue.

For sure the GM is not as good as the Nikkor FL zoom but then nothing else is. Word I heard was the GM got softer closer to 200mm wide open but was fine at F4.0. Really hard to test for all this. That said when I got the Nikkor I could see it in the VF and from the 1st all pictures were much improved. Really the only disadvantage of the A9/GM system that I can only use the FL in MF.



Sep 03, 2017 at 09:59 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM



Yea I don't shoot Canon or Nikon so those comparisons mean nothing to me. I shoot Sony and its gotta stand on its own. We know the difference between good and bad.


Steve Spencer wrote:
Phillip, my read on the lens is exactly the same and I think Jordan's review is completely consistent with that read. That is what matters and helps explain the difference in reviews. Jordan is focussing on the lens' performance in its own right and notes that it is a solid lens for Sony shooters. Others have focussed on comparing it to the competition and note that it isn't as sharp. It might seem these two views are in conflict, but actually they are not. Both things can be and I think are true.




Sep 03, 2017 at 10:17 PM
photomadnz
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Jordan at Admiring Light reviews Sony FE 70-200f/2.8 GM


I have actually just traded a 70-200 GM which is only being used a couple of times as the customer wanted the 100-400 GM instead. Im fairly impressed with it so far. Its pretty damn sharp wide open at 200mm which hasnt been the case with the last couple Ive tried. All other focal lengths are great too. Later in my day Ill link in a test raw wide open at 200mm and you judge.... Im happy though and this one might go to me


Sep 03, 2017 at 10:30 PM
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