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In this commodity I’ll be comparison the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-five.6 GM OSS lens (SEL100400GM) with the Sony Atomic number 26 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II lens (SEL70200GM2) with the 2x teleconverter attached (SEL20TC).
The but focal length that I’ll exist focusing on is 400mm. Since a lot of people would like to know how the 100-400 at 400mm stacks up against the 70-200 + 2x at 400mm.
My Sony a7 Four has been used for all of the tests in this article autonomously from the sharpness tests where my Sony a7R IV was used.
Table of Contents
- Key Specs
Bodies & Handling+
- Size & Weight
- Lens Hoods
- Tripod Mountain & Collar
- Bodies & Handling Summary
Autofocus Speed & Accurateness+
- Autofocus Summary
Optical SteadyShot (OSS)+
- With OSS On
- With OSS Off
- Center Sharpness (Examination Chart)
- Corner Sharpness (Examination Chart)
- Center Sharpness (Manny the Mammoth)
- Center Sharpness (Frank Handheld)
- Sharpness Summary
- Vignetting Summary
- Chromatic Aberration Summary
- Distortion Summary
- Colour Rendition Summary
- Bokeh Summary
- Lens Flare Summary
- Sony Fe 100-400mm F4.5-v.6 GM OSS
- Sony Fe 70-200mm F2.eight GM OSS Ii lens + 2x TC
First just a quick comparison of the key specifications of these two lenses.
|100-400 GM||seventy-200 GM II + 2X Teleconverter|
|Lens Mount:||Sony E-Mount||Sony E-Mount|
|Format:||35mm total frame||35mm total frame|
|Focal Length (mm):||100-400||140-400|
|35mm Equivalent Focal Length (APS-C):||150-600||210-600|
|Focus Motors:||Double Linear Motor + DDSSM||Four loftier-thrust XD Linear Motors|
|Lens Groups / Elements:||xvi-22||14-17 + 5/8|
|Minimum Focus Altitude:||0.98m (3.22 ft)||0.85 m(two.69 ft) + 3mm approx with 2x.|
|Filter Diameter (mm):||77||77|
|Image Stabilization (OSS):||Yes (2 modes)||Yep (3 modes)|
|Zoom System:||Manual External||Transmission Internal|
|Diameter (mm):||93.9 mm (three.69 in.)||88 mm (three.46 in.) +
62.4 mm (ii.46 in.)
|Length (mm):||205 mm – 280 mm (8.07 – 11.02 in.)||200 mm(7.87 in.) +
42.vii mm (i.68 in.)
(49.two oz.) without tripod mount
|1045 g (36.ix oz.) (Without tripod mount) + 207 g (7.xxx oz.)|
|Price (MRRP):||$2,498.00 / £2,149.00||$two,798.00 / £2,599 + $548.00 / £499.00|
Bodies & Handling
Both lenses are K Master lenses and the barrels are constructed of magnesium alloy. Co-ordinate to Sony they are grit and moisture resistant but not waterproof.
Let’south take a expect a closer look at each of the lens bodies and how they handle when shooting.
Size & Weight
The 100-400 measures 93.9mm (iii.69 in.) in diameter and 205mm (8.07 in.) at it’s shortest length when the zoom is retracted and 280mm (11.02 in.) when the zoom is extended. It weighs 1395g (49.2 oz.) without the tripod mount.
The seventy-200 with 2x tele measures
88mm (3.46 in.) in bore and 242.7mm (9.55 in.) in length. The lens and teleconverter counterbalance a total of 1252g (44.ii oz.) without the tripod mountain.
This means that the
70-200 with 2x tele is around 5.9mm (0.23 in.) smaller in diameter and 37.3mm (ane.47 in.) shorter in length when the 100-400 is extended to 400mm. The seventy-200 + 2x also weighs around 143g (5 oz.) less than the 100-400.
Despite the 100-400 having a slightly larger diameter, both lenses make use of 77mm filter threads.
Both lenses feature iii customizable focus hold buttons, a focusing ring, zoom band, a focus limiter switch (total or 3m to infinity), AF/ MF switch and an optical stabilization (OSS) on/off switch.
On the seventy-200 GM II y’all’ll also find a Total Time DMF switch, an Iris Lock switch and an discontinuity ring with a clickable on/off switch.
With the aperture ring set to
yous can control the aperture in-photographic camera as usual, this will probably be the preferred setting for most stills shooters. The iris lock prevents you from accidentally moving the aperture ring which is a very welcome characteristic.
The 100-400 features 2 stabilization modes (Mode 1 & Mode two) whereas the 70-200 MkII features 3 modes. Fashion i stabilizes both the horizontal and vertical axes, Mode 2 stabilizes simply the vertical axis for panned shots, and Fashion iii provides optimum stabilization for tracking and shooting dynamic, unpredictable action.
You’ll as well find a zoom torque ring on the 100-400 that allows you to change the smoothness of the zoom action from smoothen to tight. On the smooth setting the zoom lens will extend under its own weight when held pointing down, on the tight setting information technology won’t.
Both lenses feature very similar lens hoods simply not identical. The 100-400 uses the ALC-SH151 hood and the 70-200 GM II uses the ALC-SH167 hood.
Both hoods feature pocket-size doors to permit the operation of circular polarizing or variable ND filters.
There’due south a flocked interior that helps forestall reflections and silicone rubber is used on the circular front end border of the hood. A minor button is used to release each hood earlier twisting them off.
Tripod Mount & Neckband
At that place’due south a chunky release knob on each lens to allow them to rotate inside their collars. There are markers to help with alignment only no clicks like on some other lenses. The collar cannot be removed from either lens but the feet do come up off the collar exposing a 1/four″-xx thread on each.
Both lenses use exactly the same tripod mount and pes. To exist honest it’s a pretty poor design since it’due south too modest and uncomfortable to hold the lens by. In that location are too no dovetails to allow you to mount the lens straight to a Arca-Swiss compatible tripod or gimbal head, and so yous’ll need to add an boosted plate which is a hurting when you exit it at habitation or it comes loose.
I’d recommend replacing the foot with a third-party solution such as the Kirk LP-65 (B&H Photo). This is larger and more than comfortable to comport the lens with than the original foot. There are besides dovetails for mounting directly to an Arca-Swiss uniform tripod or gimbal caput and an integrated quick disconnect system. The
Kirk LP-65 is compatible with both the Sony 100-400 GM and the Sony 70-200 F2.8 GM II.
143g (5 oz.) in weight of the 100-400 over the seventy-200 + 2x doesn’t audio like a lot merely it is very noticeable when you compare these 2 lenses side-past-side.
The extra 42.vii mm (1.68 in.) of length that the add-on of the 2x teleconverter adds to the seventy-200 doesn’t actually impact the handling.
The chief difference here is that the 70-200 is an internal zoom lens and the 100-400 is an external zoom lens. The zoom ring of the 100-400 has a lot more than resistance even on the smoothest torque setting. Equally the lens extends the balance is too thrown off which makes the treatment a niggling more than awkward.
On the smoothest torque setting the 100-400 will drop back downward to 100mm when pointed skywards, then you’ll need to change the zoom torque to tight to foreclose this. But on the tight setting zooming is at present a lot more difficult.
On the other hand the internal zoom of the 70-200 is a pleasure to use. Yous can go from 70-200 or
140-400 (with 2x tele) with but a brusque twist of the wrist, and there is just the right corporeality of resistance to prevent accidentally changing the focal length.
Both focus rings tin can be plant towards the front of the lens. I’ve ever wished my 100-400 focus band would take a lilliputian more resistance, as when manually focusing the slightest knock will throw the focus out. The 70-200 thankfully has a little more than resistance to it.
Bodies & Handling Summary
Both bodies are well built to typical GM standards just with the 70-200 F2.8 GM 2 being four years newer it gains some extra bells and whistles like the boosted Mode 3 OSS, the full-time DMF switch, and the aperture ring that nosotros are now seeing on the newest GM lenses.
143g (v oz.) of weight saving over the 100-400 definitely gives the lxx-200 a slight edge and this weight deviation is noticeable.
The biggest difference is the zoom design. In one case you have used an internal zoom lens and so external zooming lenses speedily become cumbersome to use.
Zooming with the 70-200 requires just a short twist of the wrist and it doesn’t throw the balance off at all, then it will sit much happier on a gimbal caput. The 100-400 notwithstanding requires a fiddling more forcefulness fifty-fifty on the smooth torque setting, simply this setting isn’t very helpful because every bit shortly equally you point the lens up it will drib dorsum downwards to 100mm unless you modify the torque to tight, but at present zooming smoothly is out of the question.
The 70-200 F2.viii GM 2 takes the clear win for me when it comes to the body design, controls and handling.
Autofocus Speed & Accuracy
The Sony 100-400 GM uses a combination of double linear motor and DDSSM (Straight Drive SSM) focus motors, whereas the seventy-200 F2.8 GM MkII features four of Sony’south newer XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors.
Do the faster focus motors help to negate the two stops of calorie-free loss when the 2x teleconverter is attached?
You can find out in this video that I’ve put together.
There is very niggling difference in AF speed and accuracy between the two lenses.
The Sony 100-400 is maybe marginally faster when shooting in AF-S way, simply there’southward really nothing betwixt them when shooting in AF-C fashion.
My keeper charge per unit for my canis familiaris Frank running towards me and besides perched birds when shooting with the Sony a7 IV was very similar.
This is really a very good performance for the lxx-200 F2.8 GM Ii with the 2x teleconverter attached.
I’ll take to call this one a draw because information technology’due south and then close between them.
Please note that your AF operation may vary depending on the camera that you are using and likewise the field of study and lighting atmospheric condition at the time.
Our Sony Alpha Wildlife Shooters Facebook Group member Mike Kim also summarized his thoughts on the lxx-200 F2.8 GM II with the 2x in this postal service.
I recently bought the Sony lxx-200 F2.8 ii lens. I had sold my Sony 100-400 a while back and I accept but been using my 600 F4. I took the new lens out late this afternoon for some testing. I already know the lens work extremely well by itself and with the 1.4x teleconverter. I have watched Timothy Mayo’s helpful video with the 2x so I was curious to meet how it’ll perform today with fast/erratic flying birds.
Less than ideal lighting with the warm weather but I have to say the new seventy-200 works very well with the 2x. The autofocus is quick and snappy just I did discover the AF will hunt a bit and occasionally will lose focus when the bird (Black Skimmer in this instance) was flying right higher up the water and it required a fleck more attention with the busier backgrounds. For comparison, my 600 F4 will concur the focus like a vice grip in this aforementioned scenario simply that’south similar comparison the proverbial apples to oranges. That said, information technology still performed very well and I would not hesitate to employ this setup again when I desire something lightweight and portable. The lens is a keeper. For reference, no sharpening software was used for Lightroom post processing. Simply AI DeNoise and a little bit of brightness/contrast applied.
Optical SteadyShot (OSS)
Both lenses characteristic Sony’due south Optical SteadyShot (OSS) stabilization congenital-in, 5-axis stabilization becomes available when used with Alpha bodies that characteristic in-body stabilization (IBIS).
Using mode 1 on both lenses I shot a static subject area handheld at a altitude of 15 meters.
I was able to take the shutter speed downwardly to 1/100 sec on both lenses and still achieve an passably sharp images (by my standards) when shooting with the Sony a7R IV.
With OSS On
With OSS Off
For these sharpness tests I’ve used my Sony a7R IV with its large 61MP sensor to push button the limits of each lens, autonomously from the shots of Frank which were taken with my Sony a7 IV.
Center Sharpness (Test Nautical chart)
The nautical chart used hither was the Edmund Optics Resolving Power Nautical chart shot at a distance of x meters on a sturdy tripod and manually focused on the eye.
The shutter was triggered with the Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander (B&H Photo).
These are raw images just with chromatic abnormality correction applied in Lightroom.
I’ve merely applied CA correction because the seventy-200 + 2x suffers pretty badly from information technology which yous volition discover after in this article.
Without the CA correction the 100-400 takes an easy win since the CA impacts the sharpness of these high contrast images.
All images are 1000px crops.
Corner Sharpness (Test Chart)
The post-obit images were focused on the corner of the image (to avert field curvature contributions) at 400mm. CA is more visible in these corner shots fifty-fifty with corrections practical in LR.
Heart Sharpness (Manny the Mammoth)
In these shots I focused on Manny’s label which was effectually 15 meters abroad. The images are 1000px crops.
Center Sharpness (Frank Handheld)
Although it’south not possible to control this type of real life shot likewise every bit the test subjects, I thought some people might still like to meet a comparison.
Beast Heart AF on the a7 Iv was used to shoot these 2 images at a very close distance of around 4 meters away, they were also shot handheld.
Both images take been cropped to 4000px here. You tin download the full resolution JPEG and RAW files along with farther real-life images in the samples section at the end of this article.
Both lenses are very precipitous centrally at 400mm, but if you look closely at the smallest bar groups on the test chart you’ll see better separation between the confined with the 100-400.
Still, you will actually need to pixel peep to see the difference. At real life viewing distances you are unlikely to discover.
Stopping both lenses down to F6.iii improves the sharpness a trivial over their broad-open up apertures, with a further small increase in sharpness at F8.
As to be expected corner sharpness isn’t quite so stellar every bit the central sharpness. Chromatic aberrations also touch on the sharpness more in the corners, fifty-fifty on the 100-400 which is fantabulous at handling CA.
Still, the 100-400 appears to off-white better in the corners over again due to the poor CA operation of the seventy-200 + 2x.
I’ll be covering chromatic aberration a little further down in this article, simply I’ll mention it hither briefly because the 70-200 + 2x suffers a lot more than from chromatic aberration than the 100-400, and this has a large affect on the sharpness of these loftier contrast test chart images.
Chromatic abnormality has less of an touch on the shots of Manny and Frank where there isn’t then much of a difference in contrast.
I take to requite the win to the 100-400 for sharpness. Do yous agree?
Vignetting, also known as “light fall-off” is simply the darkening of image corners when compared to the center.
If you lot are shooting JPEG’s and then vignetting tin can be controlled using in-camera lens corrections and if you are shooting raw and then you tin apply lens corrections in post.
The following SOOC JPEG shots have been taken with in-photographic camera lens corrections turned both on and off.
With Lens Corrections Turned Off
With Lens Corrections Turned On
The 100-400 suffers more than from vignetting than the 70-200 + 2x when the in-camera corrections are turned off.
At f/11 the
70-200 + 2x is no longer showing signs of vignetting but it is still clearly very visible on the 100-400.
With in-camera corrections turned on vignetting is no longer a business organization for the seventy-200 + 2x only the 100-400 even so shows a minor corporeality when shooting at the maximum aperture of f/5.6.
I think it’s pretty clear that the 70-200 + 2x wins this examination.
Here we accept a expect at how each lens handles chromatic aberration.
Since I’ve already compared the Sony 100-400 vs the Sony 200-600, I know that the 100-400 is excellent at handling chromatic abnormality.
The post-obit shots (500px crops) were taken with my Sony a7 Iv with both lenses at their maximum focal lengths and apertures. So the 100-400 was at 400mm f/5.6 and the lxx-200 + 2x at 400mm f/5.half dozen.
With Lens Corrections Turned On (Center)
With Lens Corrections Turned Off (Center)
With Lens Corrections Turned Onorth (Corner)
With Lens Corrections Turned Off (Corner)
Chromatic Aberration Summary
With lens corrections turned on the 100-400 shows barely any signs of colour fringing in the centre of the frame or in the corners. Plow off the corrections and the centre is notwithstanding very expert but the corners testify a small amount of color fringing which is almost gone by f/11.
With the 70-200 + 2x colour fringing is visible in both the center and corners with corrections turned on, turn them off and this becomes even more than visible which definitely has an touch on epitome sharpness when shooting high contrast images.
The Sony 100-400 claims an like shooting fish in a barrel win here.
Distortion refers to a lens’s power to represent direct lines as direct lines. Telephoto lenses like the 100-400 and seventy-200 are by and large more than decumbent to pincushion distortion.
Here’s a comparison between both lenses at 400mm with lens corrections turned off and on.
With Lens Corrections Turned Off
With Lens Corrections Turned On
With lens corrections turned off both lenses are display signs of
pincushion but the 70-200 + 2x fairs better here than the 100-400.
With corrections turned on whatsoever visible pin cushion distortion is corrected on both lenses.
The Sony seventy-200 + 2x claims the win here.
Since we all perceive color differently and many photographers will manipulate the color of their images in mail service, I practice wonder if information technology’s even worth including this examination. Merely hey ho, permit’s only have a quick await at how these two lenses return colour when shooting SOOC JPEG images with the Sony a7 Four.
Color Rendition Summary
I’ve stared at these two images for quite some time only struggle to see much of a difference when it comes to color rendering. Please do let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.
Such a subjective topic. Like to colour rendition in that we all perceive bokeh differently and what one likes another may not. Once more, I do wonder if I should include this section. Still, hither are a few images shot from f/5.6 down to f/11. You will demand to click on the images to open a larger image to see the finer details.
The lxx-200 features 11 aperture blades vs 9 for the 100-400, and then this should give the 70-200 a slight border when it comes to smooth and creamy bokeh.
Even at f/v.6 both lenses are more than capable of smoothing out a distracting background providing a nice separation between your bailiwick and background. That’s providing of grade you have a sufficient distance betwixt your subject and the background. For these shots the distance was around 5 meters. To my eyes the 70-200 looks only a little smoother.
If y’all look at the images more closely you’ll meet that both lenses produce lovely round bokeh balls in the central part of the frame.
Nevertheless, you might too notice that the nice round balls plow into cat’south-eye bokeh balls just off from the middle of the frame on the 100-400 at f/five.6. Whereas the 70-200 + 2x the bokeh assurance remain dainty and round until you get closer to the edges of the frame.
Yous’ll find some further real-life examples in the sample images at the end of this commodity.
I’ll take to give the win to the 70-200 here, but information technology’south certainly not a large win. Do you lot concur?
Lens flare can result in less contrast in your images when shooting confronting a bright sky.
Sometimes unlike colors may be visible in circular or semi-round halos or “ghosts” and even odd-shaped semi-transparent objects of various color intensities.
Lens flare can exist reduced by keeping the hood on your lens, but typically non eliminated completely.
Both lenses characteristic Sony’south Nano AR Coating that helps to subdue lens flare and ghosting.
Shooting confronting a bright sky both lenses appear to lose similar levels of contrast, I wouldn’t say that one is worse than the other.
If y’all push things a niggling further and so both lenses volition display some
flare and the 100-400 will likewise display some small rainbow colors.
Lens Flare Summary
Both lenses appear to handle lens flare very well, so it appears that
Sony’south Nano AR blanket is working its magic here. I’ll call this 1 a draw.
I was actually expecting the Sony 100-400 to win this comparing by a mile and although it certainly handles chromatic aberration better than the 70-200 + 2x, at that place is really very little betwixt them when it comes to sharpness providing loftier contrast isn’t an issue.
The 100-400 is sharper, only you practise really need to pixel peep to see the deviation and unless you are cropping heavily yous are unlikely to find.
AF performance at least for the tests that I carried out was first-class for both lenses, adding the 2x teleconverter to the 70-200 F2.8 MkII didn’t appear to negatively touch on the autofocus.
Because the 70-200 F2.8 GM MkII is an internal zoom lens, I much adopt the treatment over the external zoom of the 100-400 which I at present discover rather cumbersome, especially afterward shooting with the splendid Sony Atomic number 26 200-600 lens (B&H Photo) which is also internal zoom.
If you already own the Sony
70-200 F2.8 GM Mk II lens but would like to shoot at 400mm then adding the 2x teleconverter is an excellent option, I wouldn’t hesitate to add information technology to my lens afterward doing this comparison.
If you lot don’t own either lens and are trying to decide which to buy, then I guess information technology simply comes down to which focal length you will exist shooting at the most and what the lighting weather condition will be like.
In low low-cal the 70-200 F2.8 will always perform meliorate than the 100-400 F4.five-v.6. So if you shoot indoors a lot so this lens will probably be the better tool for you, and then adding the 2x for the extra reach when needed in brighter environments.
If calorie-free isn’t then much of an upshot and you ofttimes shoot closer to 400mm, then the 100-400 makes more sense, and it’southward also compatible with both the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters.
Alternatively if yous are shooting at 400mm and above then I’d definitely recommend taking a closer expect at the Sony FE 200-600 instead, for this you lot might find my Sony 100-400 vs 200-600 Comparison helpful.
Here’s a small-scale collection of real life sample images shot with each lens, they have only been cropped to my liking, no other processing.
You can download the full resolution SOOC JPEG or RAW images by clicking JPEG / RAW in the caption of each epitome. For JPEG’due south information technology’southward best to right click and select “Save Link Equally” otherwise the image will be loaded into the lightbox.
Sony Fe 100-400mm F4.5-five.6 GM OSS
Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS 2 lens + 2x TC
And that’southward it for this comparison. If y’all found it helpful please do drop a comment below.
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