Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II | Review by Mobile01 | Lightest In Its Class!
The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II (SEL70200GM2) is not only the 65th new member of the E-Mount ring, but also the first second-generation G Master lens. It’s been more than five years since the launch of the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS. In that time, Sony’s G Master lens portfolio has continued to grow, with the FE 35mm F1.4 GM (SEL35F14GM), FE 50mm F1.2 GM (SEL50F12GM), and FE 14mm F1.8 GM (SEL14F18GM) the envy of FE-Mount users this year! With just over a month to go before the end of 2021, the SEL70200GM2 might just close the final chapter of this year’s G Master lenses!
Let’s get down to business! The SEL70200GM2 is not only a popular focal length in portrait photography as it. The also features frequently in landscape photography competitions. The most impressive part of this redesign is its “lightweight” build that improves mobility for any kind of photo shoots. It The lens has been reduced in weight by 29%, leaving the SEL70200GM2 weighing a mere 1045 grams. The focus mechanism has been enhanced with the XD Extreme Dynamic (XD) linear focus motor, making the second-generation lens four times faster than the first iteration. By comparison, the feeling is superb as it also significantly suppresses the effects from breathing. The It has a total of seven special lenses, with an ED aspherical lens added to the FE for the first time. The lens also has a magnification of 0.3x, which makes it much more practical for close-up photography.
Appearance and Features
▲ (Left) SEL70200GM2, (Right) SEL70200GM
At first sight, you will be impressed by the hood of the SEL70200GM2. It features more modern barrel- shaped hood with a rubber ring on the front designed to resist impact and scratching. I wonder if you’ve noticed that both lenses are of the same height and size, at 88.0 x 200 (mm), but the weight difference is considerable.
Originally a massive 1480 grams, the weight has been reduced by 29% to 1045 grams, and the SEL70200GM2 is also the lightest 70-200mm F2.8 in the world.
But do you think the SEL70200GM2 is simply designed to be lighter? No, not at all! The original manufacturer has put a lot of effort in weight distribution, so that its weight is concentrated at the tail end. This ensures that the centre of gravity is positioned on the tripod mount and that the lens is not top-heavy when shooting handheld. Compared to the previous FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS, the second -generation FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is more photographer-friendly in terms of weight and distribution.
The SEL70200GM2 has the same level of dust and moisture resistance as the FE 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS (SEL400F28GM) and FE 600-mm F4 GM OSS (SEL600F40GM) and uses magnesium alloy barrel components. The reason is simple! It is because most of these lenses are used for outdoor photography, and the lens body tends to get hot when exposed to the sun for a long time, which affects the quality of the image. Therefore, white is chosen for its least heat-absorbing colour. The colour of the “white cannon” varies across manufacturers, with some being whitish and others greyish, but it is a way to reduce heat absorption.
The SEL70200GM2 has a 77mm front lens diameter, 11 aperture blades, closest focusing distances of 40cm and 82cm for wide-angle and telephoto, respectively, and an optimum magnification of 0.3x, which is probably one of the best in its class.
With the help of special lenses, the number of optical structures has been simplified from 18 groups of 23 to 14 groups of 17. For the first time, we see the inclusion of ED aspherical lenses in the special lens specification, with one XA lens, one aspherical lens, one ED aspherical lens, two ED lenses and two super ED lenses. The coating technology used is Nano Anti-Reflection (AR) II to suppress flare, with fluorine coating is added to the front lens to prevent moisture and oil adhesion.
The SEL70200GM2 includes an aperture ring, which is a standard feature on the second-generation G Master lenses, to allow for more natural aperture reduction and smoother transition between brightness and depth of field when using the click switch. The SEL70200GM2 has an aperture range of F2.8 to F22 and an “A” option, with the aperture value controlled by the camera when the aperture ring is switched to “A.”.
However, if you have used the aperture ring before, you must have encountered some accidental touch, right? For example, you may have set it to “A,”, but because of the accidental touch, the aperture ring is switched to F22 or other aperture values by mistake. Yet the SEL70200GM2 includes an IRIS / focus-range limiter switch for the first time, allowing the aperture to be fixed at “A” or “F2.8 to F22.”. However, I think it’s a pity that since it’s called the focus-range limiter switch, it should be able to be fixed at all aperture levels!
The front end of the lens body is equipped with three “focus hold buttons” at 90 degrees to each other. This is because the SEL70200GM2 lens is most often used for animal or sports photography, and the combination of AF-C continuous focus and high-speed continuous shooting is pretty common. As such, the right index finger is essentially half-pressing on the shutter continuously. This is where the “focus hold buttons” function comes in handy. It simply stops the focusing action temporarily to fix the focus distance for the moment. But if you really don’t need this function, you can customise it to other functions via the menu
Does “Full Time DMF” sound confusing to you? Simply put, when Full Time DMF is switched on, the manual focus is activated when the focus ring is operated, regardless of your AF-S/AF-C/MF/DMF focus mode. It doesn’t matter which of the above is selected. The Full Time DMF setting takes priority so that the photographer can quickly correct the focus distance without the focus range limiter interfering with it.
The focus range limiter SEL70200GM2 also has the options of “FULL” and “∞-3m.”. The OSS optical image stabilisation has no official level of lens stabilisation. Sony currently only calculates the combined image stabilisation level of the body and lens, and the consensus is that it is 5.5 on the 5-axis with the Alpha 1, for example. I didn’t do any special testing here, but I could at least feel the image stabilisation.
The SEL70200GM2 has three OSS modes to choose from: Mode 1 is universal and suitable for most scenes;, Mode 2 is designed to optimise panning shots;, and Mode 3 emphasises compositional stability when shooting dynamic, unpredictable movements, so photographers can switch freely according to the subject matter.
The SEL70200GM2 uses the same tripod ring mechanism as its predecessor, with a screw and positioning hole at the bottom. The tripod ring can be temporarily removed to reduce weight for prolonged hand-held operation, although the ARCA mounting system is not included. In addition, the tripod ring can be switched between “vertical” and/ “horizontal” during operation. However, there is no feedback for the positioning, so you have to align them yourself
The SEL70200GM2 has a metal ring and a thin rubber ring around the rear of the lens to improve the seal and prevent moisture or dust from entering the lens. As you can see from the picture above, there is plenty of space between the rear lens and the ring, which allows the SEL70200GM2 to be used with 1.4x or 2x rangefinder lenses.
Indoor Portrait Comparison | SEL70200GM2 vs. SEL70200GM
We were unable to work outdoors due to the typhoon. So I could only compare the bokeh whilst shooting indoors. Despite this, I still put them up for your reference. The exposure parameters are the same for both photos.
Focus Speed Comparison | SEL70200GM2 vs. SEL70200GM
The SEL70200GM2 is equipped with four high powered XD linear motors and advanced control technology, giving it an overwhelming advantage over the SEL70200GM’s original conventional RDSSM ring-driven ultrasonic motor, with an overall focusing speed of up to 4 four times faster and much better accuracy. The following video comparison will give you a better idea.
Focus Breathing Comparison | SEL70200GM2 vs. SEL70200GM
The SEL70200GM2 has also been enhanced to suppress the “effects of breathing” to better meet the needs of video recorders. As you can see from the video below, when the SEL70200GM2 changes its “focus distance”, the size of the subject and the background remains almost the same, except for the change in visibility. However, when the SEL70200GM changes its focus distance, it looks like a “zoom” and the changes in the foreground and background can only be described as “extremely dramatic!”!
Resolution Comparison | SEL70200GM2 vs. SEL70200GM
While The SEL70200GM already has a high standard of performance, the SEL70200GM2 is delivers even better performance, especially in terms of clarity. I’ve paired it with Sony’s flagship Alpha 1, which comes in at 50MP, so I’m sure it’s a good match for a double-lens! Here is a comparison of the 70mm and 200mm performance of the first and second generations. We also cropped the centre and the fringes for comparison.
Dispersion Suppression Comparison | SEL70200GM2 vs. SEL70200GM
The results of the dispersion test below have some variation because it was done outdoors., However, we did our best to keep the variation to a minimum as it was not easy to focus accurately on the same position with the windy interference, especially when comparing two telephoto lenses. However, you can see in the picture below that the SEL70200GM2, which is slightly out of focus, has less purple fringing at F2.8 than the SEL70200GM. This alone is convincing! The other point is that both the Generation I and II lenses are the choice at the time of launch, so it is only natural to want an upgrade. The test is just a way to whet your appetite for a good buy. I don’t even need to push it!
Flare Suppression Comparison | SEL70200GM2 vs. SEL70200GM
SEL70200GM2 and SEL70200GM are two lenses with AR II coating and AR coating, respectively, mainly because of the difference between the former and the latter coating, which can effectively suppress the possible effects of strong light or spotlight sources. The difference should be visible from the open aperture, as the SEL70200GM2 starts to show ghosting at F5.6, while the SEL70200GM is at F2.8, which can be seen at the bottom left of the centre of the image.
Experiential Tips and Concluding Remarks
In fact, the SEL70200GM2 arrived a little earlier than the Alpha 7 IV, but the official launch sequence was somewhat controlled, so the photos taken with the Alpha 7 IV and the SEL70200GM2 could not be shown at the same time. Since the Alpha 7 IV had arrived late and I had to post this article before the SEL70200GM2 launch, I felt that this test was not as thorough as it could have been... I wished they were launched at the same time.
Let’s get back to the main topic. As the first GM II lens, the SEL70200GM2 has been completely overhauled from the inside out with lots of features. The 70-200mm F2.8 lens with internal zoom and internal focus weighs in at 1045 grams, which is a feat in and of itself. The weight has been tailored for you, so you don’t have to worry about it being top-heavy, whether you’re operating on a tripod or hand-held
The SEL70200GM2 is also superb in terms of focus speed. Whether working with a single lens or with a 2.0x magnification lens to shoot black kites, with the combination of “AF-C + birds”, the Alpha 1 can be left to handle the continuous shooting. Basically, as long as the shutter speed is above 1/2000s, it has a 90% hit rate. With the 2.0x magnification, the image quality is somewhat affected. However, with the aperture forced down to F5.6, the AF speed is almost unaffected, which I find quite impressive. General portrait shooting is a piece of cake for the SEL70200GM2, especially with the Real-Time Eye AF.
The SEL70200GM2 has taken the image quality of this series a step further! The SEL70200GM is already good enough, but with consumers demanding better quality, there’s no stopping it! If you’re a motion photographer, the SEL70200GM2’s breath suppression performance is definitely a worth while buy. The price of the SEL70200GM2 in Taiwan was revealed yesterday at an MSRP of NT$76,980. Just like the SEL70200GM, the price of the first-generation lens should be reduced soon, right? But However, there is no news on the official website yet. It took a lot of time to take the samples below, so make sure you click on the larger images when you have time to enjoy them!