Those wanting to add a 70-200mm lens to their Sony kits will likely be considering the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS lenses. With that in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at these lenses to see which might be the best investment option.
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Primary Shared Features
- Sony E-mount, full-frame compatible
- 70-200mm focal length range
- A constant max aperture
- Does not extend with zoom/focus changes
- Built-in Optical SteadyShot with 2 modes
- Included tripod mount ring and lens hood
- Focus hold buttons
- Focus range limiter
Primary Advantages of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens
- Wider Aperture: f/2.8 vs. f/4
- Better weather sealing
- More Aperture Blades: 11 vs. 9
- Higher Max Magnification: 0.25x vs. 0.13
Primary Advantages of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens
- Smaller Size: 3.1 x 6.9″ (80.0 x 175.0mm) vs. 3.5 x 7.9″ (88 x 200mm)
- Lighter Weight: 29.7 oz (840g) vs. 52.2 oz (1480g)
- Lower cost
Other Spec Differences: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS vs. FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
- Front Filter Size: 77mm vs. 72
- Elements/Groups: 23/18 vs. 21/15
- Filter adjustment window in hood vs. N/A
Image Quality Differences: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS vs. FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
The FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS is sharper than the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS in most direct aperture comparisons and shows less lateral CA overall. As can be expected from a wider aperture lens, the f/2.8 lens has less peripheral shading at f/4 than the f/4 lens has wide open. That difference is mostly erased at f/5.6 and the f/4 lens has even slightly less vignetting in some f/8 comparisons. The f/4 lens has slightly less distortion.
Who should opt for the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens?
Wedding and event photographers, who need to freeze action in low-light situations, will greatly benefit from the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS’s twice-as-wide aperture which allows them to freeze motion in half as much light compared to the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS. Portrait photographers will also appreciate the increased background blur the f/2.8 lens is capable of, enabling even better/more desirable separation between the subject and background. The mount gasket seal of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS indicates that it is a better weather sealed lens compared to the f/4 lens. That Sony proudly offers a gasketing illustration for the f/2.8 lens (shown below) but not the f/4 model bolsters this assertion.
Those planning on using their 70-200mm lenses in inclement weather, such as sports photographers, will likely want to spring for the f/2.8 model.
Who should opt for the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens?
Those who do not need an f/2.8 max aperture can enjoy many of the benefits found in the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS – including a highly useful focal length range, a constant max aperture, OSS and included accessories – in a lens that’s smaller, lighter and less expensive. Photographers who intend on using their 70-200mm lenses in good light and in pleasant weather, those who prioritize smaller/lighter gear because of transportation limitations (hikers, backpackers, etc.) and/or those who are budget limited will likely find the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS to be the perfect lens for their needs.