Reviews |Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II Review

Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II Review

Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II Review

Price when reviewed



Our Verdict

There will always be some photographers who want the very best lenses and need the widest possible apertures, but the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II is very enticing. It’s attractively compact and weighs 794g. Its price is still high enough to give pause, but it’s a lot lower than the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II’s, and it delivers excellent quality images.


  • Short, lightweight design
  • Great close-focusing capability
  • Excellent sharpness


  • Much more expensive than its predecessor
  • Extends when zooming from 70mm
  • Wider than its predecessor

What is the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II?

The Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II is a telephoto zoom lens aimed at professional and enthusiast photographers who don’t want the bulk, weight or expense of the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II. Its focal length range is a popular choice for portraiture, especially at events and outdoors, but it can also be used for sport and all sort of other photography.

As you might expect, the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is the replacement for the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS.


  • Product type: Telephoto zoom lens
  • Announced: 12th July 2023
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 70-200mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 19 elements in 13 groups with 1x aspherical element, 1x advanced aspherical (AA) element, 1x Super ED (extra-low dispersion) element and 3x ED (extra-low dispersion) elements
  • Coatings: Fluorine-coated front element
  • Focusing system: Internal autofocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 70mm: 29cm, 200mm: 45cm
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.5x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Filter size: 72mm
  • Weight: 794g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 82.2 x 149mm


While it’s designed to cover a full-frame sensor, the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II can be used on an APS-C format cameras such as the Sony A6700 announced at the same time. On this smaller format, it has an effective focal length range of 105-300mm.

The lens is constructed from 19 elements arranged in 13 groups with six special elements including three ED (extra-low dispersion) elements and one Super ED (extra-low dispersion) element to reduce chromatic aberration. Plus one aspherical element and one advanced aspherical (AA) element to reduce aberrations and maintain sharpness across the frame.

The Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II has a dust and moisture resistant design and its front element is fluorine coated to make it repel water droplets and fingerprints.

The OSS in its name stands for Optical SteadyShot, which means the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II has optical image stabilisation built-in. In this case, there are three settings, 1, 2 and 3. Mode 1 is the standard option intended for general use while Mode 2 is designed for use when panning to follow a moving subject. Mode 3 makes the image in the viewfinder more stable so it’s easier to follow a subject that’s moving erratically.

There are five switches on the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II. These comprise, the OSS on/off and mode switches, an AF/MF switch, a Focus Range Limiter and a Full time DMF switch

The AF/MF switch is used to set the focus mode while the DMF (direct manual focus mode) switch enables the focus ring to be used to adjust the focus in autofocus mode. It’s convenient for finessing the focus with close-up subjects or when there are distractions around the subject.

The focus range limiter has three settings, Full, Infinity to 3m and Macro. They are handy when you know the approximate distance to the subject or you’re shooting through something like foliage that could get in the way of the AF system.

There’s also a zoom lock and three focus hold buttons.

Sony has worked on the close-up capability of the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II and it can capture half life-size (0.5x) images throughout its focal length range, that compares with 0.07x (70mm) and 0.13x (200mm with the original FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS.

Achieving half life-size reproduction with the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II means shooting at the closest focus distance which is 26cm at the 70mm and 42cm at the 200mm end. This translates to working distances of 9cm and 20cm respectively. The working distance is the distance between the front element and the subject.

Mounting the lens vis the Sony 2x Teleconverter takes the magnification to life-size (1x) with focus distances of 29cm at 70mm and 45cmm at 200mm. The working distances are 9cm and 20cm.

Sony supplies a tripod foot and collar with the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II. This has a threaded hole for attaching a tripod quick release plate, plus a hole to received a pin if the plate has one. The collar can be tightened or loosened by turning a knurled knob. It can also be removed by rotating the knob beyond the loosening point.

Build and handling

The Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II looks and feel like a high quality lens. At 149mm long and 82.2mm in diameter it’s also 15% shorter than the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS which is 175mm in length and 80mm in diameter.

Further good news is that the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II weigh 794g, 46g less than its predecessor.

Its zoom ring, which sits closest to the camera, is around the centre point of the barrel in the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II’s shortest configuration. That’s exactly where my hand goes when I support the lens. It means that there’s no need to move your hand when you want to zoom in or out. The ring moves smoothly, although I’ve felt slicker, with about the right degree of friction.

Although there’s a zoom lock, the lens didn’t extend in length when I kept it unlooked as I walked with the camera hanging on a strap. This may change with wear.

In comparison with focus ring, the manual focus ring moves very freely. However, that’s useful because it means you can reach out from the zoom ring with just your index finger and turn it easily.

Unlike the zoom mechanism, the focusing is internal. Consequently, although the lens extends when zooming from the shortest to the longest focal length, the front element doesn’t rotate nor the lens length change during focusing.

As usual, the focusing is by wire so there are no physical end points to the ring’s movement, and there’ no distance scale on the barrel. However, when MF Assist is activated via the menu, the camera automatically enlarges the area where the AF point is in the viewfinder or on the screen. This can be joined by focus peaking to help with manual focusing.


I tested the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II on the 61MP Sony A7R IV, and it was’t found wanting in the detail or sharpness stakes. It also focuses quickly and quietly with no suggestion of focus breathing.

Throughout the focal length range the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II shows very good sharpness across the frame, even when the aperture is wide open. Closing down from f/4 to f/5.6 brings out a little more detail, but it’s not a major difference, while the corners of the image get a little brighter. This sharpness is maintained well through the aperture range, only dipping slightly at the smallest aperture – f/22.

Some correction profiles are applied automatically to the Jpeg and raw files, and currently they can’t be turned off when processing the raw files in Adobe Camera Raw. That may come at a later date, but there’s usually little reason to do so.

Whether it’s down to the corrections or the optical construction, the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II keeps aberrations and distortion under excellent control. Straight lines are straight and there’s no sign of chromatic aberration along high contrast edges,

Flare is also controlled very well.

The Sony A7R IV has in-body stabilisation, but lens-based stabilisation is usually a better option with telephoto lenses. When I shot with the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II at 200mm on the A7R IV, I got the odd image acceptably sharp when using a shutter speed as slow as 1/3 sec. I had to increase the shutter speed to 1/25 sec to get consistently sharp results that look good at 100% on a computer screen. That’s a compensation factor of around 4EV.

Shooting at the wider apertures produces attractive background and foreground blur with rounded highlights with no obvious aberrations.

Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II sample images

These images were shot with the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II review on the Sony A7R IV. Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution sample images from the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II.


Lenses with a focal length of 70-200mm are very popular for a wide variety of photography, and although some photographers prefer an f/2.8 lens, f/4 makes the size, price and weight much more acceptable. The Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II is an excellent lens. Its relatively short length comes as a pleasant surprise and it feel nicely balanced on a Sony A7-series camera.

Sharpness is maintained well across the frame and all the traditional flaws are kept in check very well. The extra stop of the light brought by the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II may be helpful in low light conditions, and when you need a bit of extra background blur, but the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II is a very attractive option for considerably less cash.