For a lot of sports/wildlife photographers Sony hasn’t been the best system in previous years with it’s lack of range in good telephoto lenses. However last year Sony released this gem the FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GMASTER lens which was the first step for Sony to show everyone that they’re serious about getting their gear into the hands of professionals. So here are out thoughts.
- Aperture Range: f/4.5-5.6 to f/32-40
- One Super ED Element and Two ED Elements
- Nano AR Coating and Fluorine Coating
- Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor
- Two mode Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
- Zoom Torque Adjustment Ring
- Internal Focus; Focus Range Limiter
- Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
- Nine-Blade Aperture Circular Diaphragm
Aesthetic and Construction
Immediately when you pick the FE Sony 100-400mm GMASTER lens you will notice that it has a compact form factor. It feels like you’re holding something the size of a 70-200mm. It’s constructed out of a reinforced plastic that feels super light, which for this many optics/elements is incredible. For some people they may be turned away with the feeling of the lens as its competitors have a more solid feeling construction, which is more attractive to people who are on the field.
The switches are super tactile and feel premium. On the side there is a resistance wheel which you can turn to make zooming through the focal length really smooth or tight. A note if you do leave it at it’s smoothest the lens will slowly creep out as you move. The focus/zoom rings are nice and wide and feel amazing.
Two nifty features that they’ve implemented into the construction:
- Lens hood with filter door: For those who use NDs and Circular Polarizers you can leave the lens hood on and flick the door back and adjust the strength of the filter.
- The tripod foot is easily the best tripod foot we’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t jiggle and you can easily take it off with it’s slide/lock construction.
It was a joy to use. It is super responsive, as soon as you put your finger on the shutter button. It will track and accurately focus on subjects no matter where you are in your focal length. The only thing to really note on is it’s depth of field and lighting performance. Being a variable aperture lens at 400mm your maximum aperture is only F5.6. For sports photographers who need shallow depth of field to clearly seperate a player from the field, at F5.6 you do not really get that pop. In addition we noticed that to get the sharpest out of the lens throughout the whole focal length, you needed to stop down by at least one stop.
The two mode optical image stabilisation combined with the amazing Sony IBIS was a dream. It felt like the image was super still which made it really easy to shoot sharp photos at long focal lengths and video capture that little bit easier.Where this lens is attractive is that it has a versatile telephoto l focal length which you can use for nice compressed landscapes and tight portraits of animals from metres aways.
One amazing thing with this lens is that the images are super sharp from the center to the corners. It didn’t matter which focal length we were shooting at the images came out with great contrast, clarity and sharpness. We shot these photos using an A7R II.
The Sony FE Sony 100-400mm GMASTER is a great lens. It comes at a premium price tag like the rest of it’s family. Although the DOF performance and construction isn’t perfect, the image quality, speed and overall performance is fantastic. If you’re looking for a versatile super telephoto lens that can be used for sports, wildlife, portraiture, landscapes but is light enough to travel with you everywhere; this is the lens to go for.
Purchase the Sony FE 100-400MM GMASTER lens today: https://bit.ly/2rjvTdJ
Watch out full video review here: