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Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
1 1438 Jan 23, 2020
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,998.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
10.00
10.00
9.0

Specifications:
Features:

Five extra-low dispersion elements
One aspherical element
Nano AR Coating
Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor (DDSSM) AF system with full-time MF override
Focus range limiter and focus hold controls
Internal zoom
Dust and weather-sealed construction
Front lens element fluorine coating
Compatible with optional 1.4x and 2x FE teleconverters

Specifications:

Focal Length 200 to 600mm
Maximum Aperture f/5.6 to 6.3
Minimum Aperture f/32 to 36
Lens Mount Sony FE
Format Compatibility Full-Frame
Angle of View 12 30' to 4 10'
Maximum Magnification 0.2x
Minimum Focus Distance 7.87' / 2.4 m
Optical Design 24 Elements in 17 Groups
Diaphragm Blades 11, Rounded
Focus Type Autofocus
Image Stabilization Yes
Tripod Collar Removable and Rotating
Filter Size 95 mm (Front)
Dimensions ( x L) 4.39 x 12.52" / 111.5 x 318 mm
Weight 4.65 lb / 2115 g
Weather Sealed Yes


 


      
jeffbuzz
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Registered: Jan 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2284
Review Date: Jan 23, 2020 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,998.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Useful focal range for wildlife and sports. Fast focusing. Great build quality. Weather sealed. Internal zoom. Good value.
Cons:
Slow aperture. Tripod foot. Size.

My favorite feature of the 200-600mm it is the internal zoom design. Yes, it makes for a longer package to carry. But the improved balance and sealing are worth it. Extending zooms like the 100-400mm are difficult to use on a gimbal because the balance point changes dramatically from one end of the zoom range to the other. This internal zoom design allows the 200-600mm to handle like a premium long lens should. The balance point barely changes from 200 to 600mm so you don't need to readjust the clamping point on the gimbal if you zoom.

AF performance is fast and quiet. There is no trouble locking and tracking moving subjects.

Despite the lens not wearing the "GM" badge, the optics are fantastic. Colors are clean and saturated with good contrast.

The relatively slow aperture can require using high ISO to achieve action stopping shutter speeds in anything less than full sun. I find myself shooting at ISO 1600 alot with this lens. f/5.6 is only available up to 300mm and the aperture drops to f/6.3 from 300mm up to 600mm. While the Sony sensors do fine at higher ISO it is still a sacrifice compared with an f/4 lens. Whether or not it is a worthy sacrifice is up to you.

Both the 1.4X and 2X teleconverters will work on this lens. Using the 1.4X TC brings your aperture down to f/8-f/9. The a7RIII loses phase detect AF beyond f/8. You are getting into really dark territory with the 2X converter bringing you down to f/11-f/13. The a9 is going to work OK at that level but the a7III and a7RIII will struggle a bit more. My preference to increase reach on the a7RIII is to switch to APS cropped mode in-camera rather than using a converter. Thus the aperture is not reduced but the recorded FOV is reduced by 1.5X by cropping the raw image.

It is difficult to compare this lens to anything else since it is rather unique. Third party SLR 150-600mm lenses from Tamron and Sigma cover a similar focal and aperture range but lack the internal zoom. Using them on Sony requires an adapter so AF performance will never match an E-mount lens. A similar focal range can be achieved with the Sony FE 100-400mm + 1.4X TC but at the cost of an even slower aperture and potential image degradation by the added lens elements. The 100-400mm is an external zoom which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your needs. It is easier to carry the 100-400mm (with or without the TC). It fits in a typical long holster bag and can be strap carried with no trouble. The 200-600 is a different beast. The increased size and weight make front carry a challenge for anything more than a casual stroll. Hiking with the 200-600mm is more enjoyable with a backpack which requires extra setup time before shooting.

The tripod foot has no Arca dovetail. Even Tamron puts an Arca compatible foot on their lenses now. So you'll need an aftermarket foot if you want to use an Arca clamp. Sony's tripod foot to lens barrel interface is not great. Oddly, the interface itself uses a dovetail. Locking the foot is a two step process with a safety catch and then a screw clamp. The OEM foot and aftermarket options using the same design will have a big knob that I find too easy to knock loose. Bolt-on feet like the Hejnar are cleaner with no external knob but rely on a secondary pinch bolt to eliminate play when the foot is tightened. Regardless of which foot I've used there always is some degree of play in the foot attachment to the lens.

The hood is another oddity. Unlike many "super" tele lenses it is not a giant metal bucket that clamps to the lens. It is a nice plastic hood that simply twist locks in place (forward or reversed). The 100-400mm hood has a release button while this one just twists and clicks in. I have a tendency to be hard on hoods as I'm taking them on and off alot. So on one hand it is nice that this one is relatively inexpensive compared to the 600mm f/4 hood (8% of the price today) so replacing the hood will not be overly painful if needed. The hood does seem a bit lightweight for a lens of this size. I don't think I'd stand the lens on the extended hood too often.

Overall I find the FE 200-600mm to be a great value. As a more affordable and more portable option to the 600mm f/4 it opens up a world of possibilities at 1/6th the cost by giving up 1-1/3 stops of light. The zoom is much more flexible than a prime for different situations. It is also less expensive than the 100-400mm + 1.4X combo. Unless you are prepared to invest in the f/4 lens, and if you are primarily interested in the longer 400 to 600mm end of the focal range, the 200-600mm feels like the best choice.


Jan 23, 2020
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Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
1 1438 Jan 23, 2020
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,998.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
10.00
10.00
9.0