For photographers looking for long reach and telephoto capabilities, the 150-600mm zoom lens is a good option. This lens is especially loved by enthusiasts who love to capture distant subjects, such as wildlife. Sony owners don't have a native lens like this one, so the company will be releasing its version: the FE 200-60mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS (1,999.99). The FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS is more expensive than the basic Sigma 150-60mm Contemporary. It can also be used with Sony camera adapters.
It is slightly larger than the Sigma 150-60mm Contemporary. The Sigma is 10.2 inches by 4.1 inches larger than the Sigma's 12.5x4.4 inch (HD). The Sigma lens, as well as similar Tamron lenses, telescopes outwards when zoomed in. Because the zoom of the Sony 200-600mm is entirely internal, its dimensions do not change depending on focal length.
Although it may not seem important, the internal zoom can make all the difference when handling. A telescoping zoom requires a little torque, push-pull effort to adjust the zoom position. The 200-600mm's zoom control turns easily and smoothly—I was able to adjust it with just my fingertips while photographing a soccer match, which let me concentrate on moving the camera to follow the action.
It's not a perfect tool, but it is a dual-edged weapon. It was great for watching soccer games, as I could adjust the view angle between shots. However, it is a distraction for birding. You almost always need to see 600mm. You can easily nudge it and accidentally set the lens to an even wider aperture.
It weighs in at just 4.7 pounds. The lens comes with 95mm front filters, a soft carry case, rear and front caps, as well as a reversible lens cover. This G lens is not part of Sony’s top-end G Master (GM), but it features the same off white finish as its pro-grade telephoto lenses.
The 200-600mm lenses have internal seals that protect against dust and water splashes. This feature is also found on the higher-end 150-600mm lens, such as the Sigma 150-60mm Sports or Tamron 150-600mmG2.
The package includes a rotating tripod collar. The tripod collar can be secured using a thumbscrew and has two lugs that allow you to attach the strap. You can remove the tripod foot if the collar is not required. Arca Swiss tripod heads are not compatible with the foot. You'll need to either use a quick release plate or purchase a replacement foot.
A few controls are available on the lens. These controls adjust focus mode, range and the optical stabilizer system. Focus limiter allows you to search for subject over the entire lens' range at longer distances (beyond 10 m) and for those closer than 10 meter.
This zoom's minimum focal distance is 7.9 feet (2.24 meters), similar to other lenses. The zoom has a magnification of 1:5 at 600mm and close focus. Although it is not intended to replace a macro lens dedicated for photography, this zoom will be useful in pinches. You might consider the shorter zooming but more focused FE 100-400mm if you are looking for close-up work. It boasts slightly greater magnification than 1:3.
Sony also touts focus speed. Unlike adapted lenses which limit the maximum capture speed of the a9 to 10fps, the FE200-600mm can focus and track subjects at 20fps when paired up with the top-end company sports camera. The autofocus system is driven by a linear Direct Drive SSM motor (DDSSM). The focus system is keeping the subject on track in this frame sequence. It was captured with an a9 at 20fps.
To extend the reach of this lens, you can pair it with one or both of Sony's 2.0x or 1.4x teleconverters. They come at a price, and have a reduced ability to capture light. When paired with the 2.0x, the lens can be a 280-840mm zoom f/8-9 with the extender or a 400-1200mm f/11-13 with the extender.
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Field use is easy for the FE 200-600mm. I used the 60MP Imatest (Opens in new window) and a7R IV to test its resolution power.
Consistent resolution is provided by the lens, which has a range of around 4,000 lines for 60MP cameras. This zoom range covers most of the range. Although it is slightly sharper at 200mm (4.300 lines) and 600mm (4,000 lines), both are within our same scale.
The lab testing has shown that the FE200-600mm performs as well at f/16 wide open than it does closed down. As any lens on a digital system, working at the narrowest apertures—this lens goes down to f/32—will significantly soften images.
Practically, images can be cropped liberally to get sharp results. Above is the shot of the house finch. It's a 26MP image, taken from the 60MP sensor on the a7R IV. You can see the fine detail in its feathers. You'd get sharper results and a deeper depth of focus with a prime such as the FE 600mmF4 GM OSS. But that lens costs $13,000.
It is clear that the a7R IV can crop. This also shows how it will perform when paired up with an APSC camera. This type of lens will appeal to more than just a handful of a6400 or a6600 users. It can be used with any camera.
Although there's not a vignette to refer to, there is some pincushion distortion. At 200mm, we see 1.6 percent and at 600mm, 2.2 percent. This isn’t a significant amount and won’t affect images. It's simple enough to fix using the software tools such as Adobe Lightroom Suite's lens profiles.
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Canon SLR and Nikon SLR owners are spoilt by the many good and affordable 150-600mm zooms available from Sigma or Tamron. You can certainly pair one of them with a Sony camera using an adapter, but there is generally at least some level of drop in autofocus performance when doing so—a big concern if you're trying to snap shots of sports or songbirds.
The FE200-600mm lens is your answer. It focuses quickly and accurately—we've paired it with both the a9 and a7R IV with excellent results there. It's sharper than the finest prime lenses but it can still deliver excellent results across the entire range of the sensor's capabilities when used with the most advanced image sensor from the company.
You'd also expect it to have the same features as a $2,000 optic. It has protection against dust and splashes as well as an internal zoom mechanism and a tripod collar. The zoom control ring could have some tension or lock but this is just my opinion.
The FE 200-600mm is a great performer if you have a Sony camera and want a telezoom. The FE 100-400mm is part of Sony's premium G Master series. However, it offers a slightly better optical quality, but not so well for wildlife photography or other fields where a longer lens would be required. The FE 200-600mm lens is a good choice for backyard birding and your next Yellowstone trip.
- Telephotos with long reach.
- Focus quickly.
- Internal zoom design.
- Resistant to splash and dust.
- Teleconverter compatibility.
- Maximum aperture
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Premium zoom lens, the Sony FE200-600mm F5.6 6.3 G OSS. The lens' focal length makes it an excellent choice for sports and wildlife specialists. It also features an internal zoom that sets it apart among lower-priced options.