Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)



Note: An unfinished review with partial data was published on the front page yesterday. Apologies for this.

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2020

Introduction

Super-tele zoom lenses have been around for many years in the DSLR world. Especially Sigma and Tamron have a long history of providing several different and also interesting designs up to xx-600mm. Interestingly, the OEMs never dared to go there to date. However, such lenses were not available for mirrorless systems ... that is until the release of the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS. You may think that such a lens from Sony is pretty much unaffordable - and for many users, it'll be out of reach indeed - but it's actually a very reasonably priced lens at around 2000USD/EUR. In fact, it has a lower price tag than the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4-5.6 GM OSS which may be a little surprising. So what's the catch?

When it comes to build-quality there is certainly none. On the contrary, unlike most other super-tele zoom lenses, the Sony lens does NOT extend when zooming. This also means is that it doesn't suck in air and as such dust. It's also formally dust- and moisture-resistant. Being a 600mm zoom lens means that it isn't small to start with. And when mounting the deep lens hood makes it even more impressive. Yet again, in the grand scheme of things, it is reasonably compact although it can't hide its weight of more than 2.2Kg. It's just inevitable that big glass translates to high weight. Of course, this also means that the Sony lens features a dedicated tripod mount with a detachable foot. It's not Arca-swiss compatible but there are some available from third-party suppliers if needed (e.g. Kirk or Wimberley). Thanks to the internal zoom mechanism, zooming is a joy and doesn't suffer from higher friction as in extending zoom lenses. The focus ring is very smooth as well. Typical for many Sony tele-lenses, it offers focus-stop buttons and the usual set of switches for AF, focus limiter, and image stabilizer.

We are still using an A7R II for testing and newer cameras, especially the A9 series, are certainly faster. However, even on this older camera we'd rate the AF speed as decent. If it's possible you should probably use the focus limiter to avoid hunting throughout the focus range. Manual focusing (by wire) works nicely. We haven't found any official figures regarding the efficiency of the image stabilizer (OS). We'd rate it in the 4 f-stop range which is pretty good for such a long lens. It has 3 different modes. Mode 1 is for allround purposes, mode 2 is for panning, and mode 3 is optimized for viewfinder stabilization over actual stabilization.

Specifications
Optical construction24 elements in 17 groups inc. 1x aspherical, 5x ED elements
Number of aperture blades11 (rounded)
min. focus distance2.4m (max magnification 1:5)
Dimensions111.5x318mm
Weight2115g
Filter size95mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresfocus hold button, dust- and moisture-resistant, 3-mode OSS, tripod mount, fluorine front element coating