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Steppenwolf
8 Jan 2013 - 2:58 PM


Quote: Not when I compare my Canon 70-200 with my Canon 70-300 IS USM on the same bodyt - I would say the lens is a major player in speed of AF because the lenses have the motor as well as contribute to the processing required to adjust focus.


I think you like being deliberately obtuse, Mikehit.

When "Sooty" says that the Sony 70-400 is slow to focus (according to "all" reviews) my assumption is that those reviews are comparing the 70-400 with a similar lens - i.e. similar focal length range, similar aperture. If you compare a 70-300 with a 70-200 you'll find that they will be different - obviously. You need to try the lenses on a different body (and you may find even bigger differences).

It's down to two factors - 1: the speed that the camera can work out how far to adjust the lens and 2: how long it takes the lens to move. Factor 1 is mainly down to the camera's AF system, but it can obviously be affected by the lens's aperture. Factor 2 is dependent on the camera's speed and the lens's gearing (if it's a screw drive) or the speed of the in-lens motors (if it's piezo-electric) and how far the elements have to move (further for long lenses - except for AF mirror lenses, of course, which are instantaneous Grin).

Many people think that SSM lenses are faster than screw-drive, but it's not true. The SSM lenses seem to be quicker because you can't hear them moving - so you think they're focused before they are. They did a test on the this on Dyxum a few years ago using various lenses that were available in both SSM and screw-drive - there wasn't anything between them.

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8 Jan 2013 - 2:58 PM

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mikehit
mikehit  56329 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
8 Jan 2013 - 3:25 PM

Not obtuse, SW just wanting to understand the thinking behind what you say.

Quote: my assumption is that those reviews are comparing the 70-400 with a similar lens

If you don't explain your assumptions I won't know...and layering assumption on assumption is never good for a gear discussion.

I agree the body does make the difference but that is not how your post read: and IMO the maximum aperture can also make a difference in that the wider the max apertture, the more light there is for the AF to work with.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315208 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
8 Jan 2013 - 5:42 PM

Here a well known street photographer explains why he tried and gave up on Sony Nex and tried and gave up on Fuji, well worth a read.

http://jonathanauch.com/uncategorized/year-olympus-omd-em5/

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41199 forum posts United Kingdom198 Constructive Critique Points
8 Jan 2013 - 6:18 PM

It's a bit hard to compare exactly like lenses, if you're going to split hairs. There aren't many 70-400mm lenses out there.
All I'm saying is that it is expensive for a lens that is not really better than one costing half the amount. I don't know enough about the system, but a criticism I read of the NEX is that their lens choice is limited, and they are comparatively large (for some lenses at least).
Leica users generally say they prefer it to the M9 because of the size and cost, rather than the image quality, but then Leica isn't just about that. It's a different way of working, the same as that between SLR and rangefinder, and now also screens instead of viewfinders. Leica is something you either get on with or you don't, but when you get it right the images have a great and unique "look".

Steppenwolf
9 Jan 2013 - 9:06 AM


Quote: It's a bit hard to compare exactly like lenses, if you're going to split hairs. There aren't many 70-400mm lenses out there.


The guys who know about Sony/Minolta stuff (i.e. dyxum.com) reckon that the 70-400 is about the nearest a zoom lens gets to prime quality. And the reviewer ratings it gets on their lens directory are astonishing. I don't think they're all wrong - "wisdom of crowds".


Quote: I agree the body does make the difference but that is not how your post read: and IMO the maximum aperture can also make a difference in that the wider the max apertture, the more light there is for the AF to work with.

The aperture obviously makes a difference - partly because it allows in more light and partly because it allows in more off-axis light. But the camera is still in control. I've got an old Minolta 100-400mm f4.5-6.7 lens which is a superb quality lens (and very small) but was always a bit of a pain on the A700 because the focus hunted in low light. However, on the new A77 it now works perfectly. Modern AF systems can handle smaller apertures.

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41199 forum posts United Kingdom198 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jan 2013 - 10:48 AM

Using a site like Dyxum is hardly a definitive source, as it bills itself as

Quote: Welcome to Dyxum - home of the Minolta / Alpha-mount dSLR photographer



If I wanted independent reviews of any product, I'm hardly likely to get one from a biased source like that. If you read reviews from plenty of other independent testers, the reviews are good but not particularly outstanding. And to be fair, a lot of reviews of the lens on bespoke sites are really testimonials from people who maybe haven't tried much else to compare. Many 'reviews' start by saying things like "I wanted a step up from my consumer zoom, and I tried this and its fantastic". The fact is, I'd expect a 2k lens to be better than a 200 one, significantly. But in comparison with like products? As far as being "as close to prime lenses as it can get", there will be as many different opinions as there are reviews.

Steppenwolf
9 Jan 2013 - 2:43 PM

So which are these reviews that say the 70-400 is "not that fast, out of focus highlights are horrible and the silver colour is not that attractive. They also say that it is no better than equivalent lenses from other manufacturers"? Let's see what they actually say.

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41199 forum posts United Kingdom198 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jan 2013 - 6:54 PM

Here's the first one if you google it

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/432-sony_70400_456

I'm not saying the lens isn't good, just that it doesn't sound that outstanding in the field. I would go as far as to suggest that as a flag-waving Sony user, you might be a little biased as you will not hear a word said against them, as has been demonstrated on many threads. Every camera system has its shortcomings and every system has its adherents. I suspect you may have shares in the company....

Tongue

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315208 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jan 2013 - 7:39 PM

That`s one Horrible looking lens Smile

Steppenwolf
10 Jan 2013 - 9:57 AM


Quote: Here's the first one if you google it

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/432-sony_70400_456



So it says:

"The Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 SSM G is an impressive piece of engineering. The resolution figures are very good across the zoom range. Lateral CAs, vignetting and distortions are generally very well controlled and not field relevant. The only real optical weakness of the lens is the quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) at the long end of the zoom range. The build quality of the lens is excellent and matching or even exceeding its Canon/Nikon counterparts - some may not like the silver finish though. Thanks to the new SSM ("Supersonic Motor") AF operations are very silent although the AF speed isn't overly impressive (still good enough). It's not a cheap lens but neither is the direct competition."

Doesn't quite match your summary and it doesn't make a direct comparison with any other lenses so your statement that "it is no better than equivalent lenses from other manufacturers" is pure invention. The only fault is the bokeh, in their opinion. Some people like its bokeh. It's a matter of opinion.

mikehit
mikehit  56329 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jan 2013 - 10:26 AM

I think Sooty's summary "I'm not saying the lens isn't good, just that it doesn't sound that outstanding in the field. " is quite reasonable in that the quote you gave says CAs, vignetting and distortions are 'generally very well controlled' (not exceptional) and 'AF is not overly impressive'. But neither do I see anything to suggest that it is 'as near a zoom gets to prime quality'. Sounds to me like the Sony is pretty much on a par with the CaNikon equivalents.

Some people have switched from Canon to Nikon to tahe advantage of their primes, but the differences between Sony 70-400 and Canon/Nikon 100-400 would not make me want to switch from Canon to Sony or vice versa in the same way.

Last Modified By mikehit at 10 Jan 2013 - 10:32 AM
Steppenwolf
10 Jan 2013 - 11:06 AM


Quote:
Some people have switched from Canon to Nikon to tahe advantage of their primes, but the differences between Sony 70-400 and Canon/Nikon 100-400 would not make me want to switch from Canon to Sony or vice versa in the same way.

I wouldn't switch from one system to another because of one lens either. In any lens range there are good and bad lenses. Some lenses get a reputation among the cognoscenti for being exceptional - and some get the reputation for being dogs. In the Sony range the 70-400 G has an exceptional reputation among these knowledgeable folk - some saying that it's as near to a quality prime across its whole range that you can get. It's regarded as a significant improvement on the Minolta 100-400mm APO, which I have and which is IMO faultless - and I don't normally use zooms because they're usually poor at the extremes unless they're very expensive.

The Canon 100-400mm is not exactly a star of the Canon range despite the L designation. It's due for replacement I believe. I seriously doubt that it could achieve the sharpness of the Sony - but I haven't seen any comparative reviews. A former colleague used to have one of these push-pull 100-400s and he was prettty disappointed with its IQ. Mind you his camera was pretty cr@p too, so who knows.

mikehit
mikehit  56329 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jan 2013 - 11:29 AM


Quote: Mind you his camera was pretty cr@p too, so who knows

That's the main problem nowadays: different sensor (with or without AA filter), different AF mechanisms in lens and camera....far too many variables for a genuine cross-platform comparison unless you have the money to take the plunge and 'try it out' (or know a very friendly dealer!).

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41199 forum posts United Kingdom198 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jan 2013 - 5:01 PM


Quote: Doesn't quite match your summary and it doesn't make a direct comparison with any other lenses so your statement that "it is no better than equivalent lenses from other manufacturers" is pure invention. The only fault is the bokeh, in their opinion. Some people like its bokeh. It's a matter of opinion.

I think it does match my summary, pretty well. In no review I read does definitively it say that it's faster, sharper, fewer aberrations etc than any of the comparable lenses. This review only says the build quality may be better, but not the performance. I would have thought that if significantly better than other mainstream manufacturers, they would have said so, but not even Sony make that claim.
And while the out of focus highlights are a matter of taste and personal opinion, not many say they like them, or indeed few are complimentary about them. Crowd mentality, eh? Can't all be wrong.

And yes, the colour is also a matter of taste, but I bet most would prefer a different one, like black.

Nick

Steppenwolf
11 Jan 2013 - 8:48 AM


Quote:
I think it does match my summary, pretty well.


I don't.


Quote:
And yes, the colour is also a matter of taste, but I bet most would prefer a different one, like black.



I think the reason for these high end lenses being made in reflective colours (like white or silver) is that they're made using high dispersion elements which are more affected by temperature changes than the normal glass. So black wouldn't be a good choice.

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