A quintessential professional zoom, there are numerous 70–200mm f/2.8 lenses on the market, and—remarkably—this is the lightest one for full-frame sensors in the world, weighing in at only 2.3 lbs (1045 g). But that’s not all they’ve improved! The second version promises to be faster, sharper, and more easily usable, as well.
Containing two aspherical elements, one XA element (manufactured to 0.01-micron surface precision), two ED elements, two Super ED elements, and one ED aspherical element and coated with Sony’s exceptional Nano AR Coating II, the 70–200mm f/2.8 II promises breathtaking image quality from corner to corner, even at f/2.8 or at 200mm.
The aforementioned elements and coatings have been engineered to provide not only outstandingly high resolution and an aberration/flare-free experience, but also more nebulous qualities—exceptional clarity and exquisite, perfectly circular bokeh, for example. Check out the sample photos below, and you’ll see that they just flat-out look great.
One of the most astonishing areas of improvement in this new version over its predecessor seems to be its focusing capabilities. The hybrid linear/ring-type motors used in the first version have been replaced with four XD (eXtreme Dynamic) Linear motors in two groups. Sony claims that this new arrangement is capable of auto-focusing up to four times faster than the original 70–200mm GM, bringing you darn close to instant focus.
Incorporating two independent focusing groups into the lens’s design also enables it to focus significantly more closely. While its predecessor had a minimum focusing distance of 3.15 feet, the FE 70–200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II is capable of focusing as little as 1.32 feet away from its subject, a reduction of more than 50%! Even at 200mm, the new version need only have 2.69 feet of separation.
Poetry in motion
Videographers will be pleased to know that their needs were given special attention in the lenscrafting labs. In addition to the smooth, quiet function of XD Linear motors, Sony ensured that focus breathing was kept to a minimum. If you’re taking manual control, the linear response of the focus ring will ensure you maintain total control, and (in a significant physical upgrade) the new version sports a manual aperture ring with a click that can be disabled for silky-smooth iris changes mid-recording. The new exterior includes an aperture lock, should you want to keep that control on-camera. Focus shift and axis shift while zooming have also been significantly reduced.
Balanced for even panning and contained within a constant-sized barrel, this lens promises top-tier stability, as does the optical stabilization system. As usual, a fluorine coating and dust/moisture resistance seal the whole package to enable a clean and confident photographic experience.