Further experience with the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS

After the second journey with the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS I can give a final evaluation: the lens is a keeper and it's indeed the most appreciated lens in my Sony arsenal. It won't be the most used one, because my landscape workhorse is the Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 thanks to its very versatile focal range; but it's the one which delivers the best quality and which I don't have (almost) anything to regret. This means that the transition from Nikon to Sony for landscape is now complete — at the moment, the only Nikkor lens that I'm still using is the 300mm prime, which is mostly a wildlife lens.

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 120 mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 200

Pointe du Brouis et la mer sous le mistral.

I think that the lens only has a couple of pitfalls. The former is the effectiveness of the stabiliser: it's very good, but not at the level that I expected. Sometimes I get a few slight motion blur; so in certain circumstances I prefer to switch to ISO 200 (which I've almost never used in the daylight with my Sony stabilised lenses). In the case of the photo above, the problem was the gale-force mistral blowing so strong that it was shaking me. Alternatively, the monopod helps. In any case, it's a big step forward with respect to the old, not stabilised Nikkor primes.

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 147 mm, 1/100 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100

Cap des Mèdes.

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 194 mm, 1/80 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100

Le littoral à Hyères.

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 177 mm, 1/500 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100

Le littoral près de Le Pradet.

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 131 mm, 1/1250 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 100

Vue depuis Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer.

Not a friend of the sun

The really relevant problem of this lens is the poor performance when the sun is in the frame. Since I like to have sunset landscapes, this is not a negligible point. I never had strong issues with my Nikkor lenses, including the couple of zooms — they did flare a bit, but not so badly as Sony zooms do. The 70-200mm seems to be the worse in my arsenal, producing not only well-localised flares, but also a large greenish blob, faint but visible and reducing the contrast, as shown in the photo below (note that the sun is already very close to the horizon, thus its brightness is reduced). You might not notice it at the beginning, because of the bright background of the page — but it stands out when the photo is viewed in a dark context (try to click on the photo to zoom it at full screen).

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 70 mm, 1/2500 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 200

This doesn't mean that the lens can't be used for sunsets: with some care, the flares and the blobs can be moved into parts of the image where they can fixed (e.g. with the spot removal tool of Lightroom). Below there is a variation of the previous photo where post-processing has been applied. In this case I could move the largest greenish blob into an area where there's only a black terrain silhouette, which facilitated post-processing. But I don't think the task will be always so easy, and in some cases a sunset photo could be ruined.

Sony α6000 + Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 70 mm, 1/1600 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 200

Le coucher du soleil sur Cap Bénat et Porquerolles.