With the official announcement of the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G lens many Alpha Shooters including myself are already curious about how this new lens with stack up against the more expensive Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM lens (my review here).
A very interesting comparison will be when the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters are added since these are supported by both lenses. Will the 200-600 offer better image quality and af performance than the 100-400 + 1.4x tele? Or will the GM lens maintain a slight edge?
In his 200-600mm review Sony Ambassador Mark Galer compares the lens with the 100-400 plus 1.4x and says that the 200-600 is sharper at 600mm than the 100-400 + 1.4x is at 560mm. He also mentions that it got more keepers close-up with the 100-400 than he did with the 200-600. The below video should start at the comparison but I’d also recommend watching from the beginning since it’s a very good review.
I have already pre-ordered the new Sony 200-600mm but since it won’t be shipping before August for now all I’m able to do is compare the paper specs of these two telephoto lenses.
|Lens Specifications||Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 G||Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM|
|Lens Mount:||Sony E-Mount||Sony E-Mount|
|Format:||35mm full frame||35mm full frame|
|Focal Length (mm):||200-600||100-400|
|35mm Equivalent Focal Length (APS-C):||300-900||150-600|
|Focus Motors:||DDSSM||Double Linear Motor + DDSSM|
|Lens Groups / Elements:||17-24||16-22|
|Angle of View (35mm):||12°30′-4°10′||8°-2°40′|
|Angle of View (APS-C):||24ﾟ-6ﾟ10′||16°-4°10′|
|Minimum Focus Distance:||2.4m (7.88 ft)||0.98m (3.22 ft)|
|Maximum Magnification Ratio (x):||0.2||0.35|
|Filter Diameter (mm):||95||77|
|Image Stabilization (OSS):||Yes (3 modes)||Yes (2 modes)|
|Zoom System:||Manual Internal||Manual External|
|Teleconverter Compatibility x1.4:||SEL14TC||SEL14TC|
|Teleconverter Compatibility x2.0:||SEL20TC||SEL20TC|
|Diameter (mm):||111.5 mm (4 1/2 in.)||93.9 mm (3-3/4 in.)|
|Length (mm):||318 mm (12 5/8 in.)||205 mm – 280 mm (8-1/8 – 11 in.)|
|Weight:||2115g without tripod mount||1395g without tripod mount|
|Press Release Date:||June 11, 2019||April 19, 2017|
|Price (MRRP):||$1,998.00 / £1,799.00||$2,498.00 / £2,449.00|
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more interesting specs here.
Focal Length and Aperture
The Sony FE 100-400 GM has a variable aperture of f/4.5 – 5.6 and it jumps to f/5.6 at 164mm, the maximum focus length is 400mm. The Sony FE 200-600mm G also has a variable aperture but this time it’s from f/5.6 – 6.3 and it jumps to f/6.3 at 400mm, the maximum focal length is 600mm.
The Sony 100-400mm GM uses a combination of double linear motor and DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM). Whereas the 200-600mm only uses the Direct Drive SSM motors, this may give the 100-400mm an advantage when it comes to focusing speed.
The barrel of the 100-400mm extends when you zoom by around 80mm. The 200-600mm on the other hand features an internal zoom mechanism that does not extend, therefore you don’t need to worry about zoom creep and there are no balance issues as you zoom in and out.
Size and Weight
The 100-400mm measures 205mm in length at 100mm which extends to 280mm at 400mm; the diameter is 94mm and it weights 1395g without the tripod mount attached. The 200-600mm is 318mm in length, has a diameter of 111.5mm, and weighs 2115g without the tripod mount, making the 200-600 around 720g heavier.
The 100-400mm features 9 circular aperture blades, whereas the 200-600mm has 11 circular aperture blades. This should mean that the 200-600mm is capable of producing slightly smoother bokeh balls.
Both lenses support Sony’s 1.4x (SEL14TC) and 2.0x (SEL14TC) teleconverters. The 1.4x will extend the reach of the 100-400mm to a maximum of 560mm at f/8, and the 200-600mm to a maximum reach of 840mm at f/9.
The 2.0x extends the 100-400mm to a maximum of 800mm at f/11 and the 200-600mm to a maximum of 1200mm at f/13.
It’s important to note that focal plane phase detection AF cannot be used with apertures of f/9 or above on many e-mount cameras, currently only the Sony a7III, a6500, a6400 and a6300 support focal plane phase detection AF higher than f/9 but also to a maximum aperture of f/11, and the Sony a9 supports phase detection up to f/16. If phase detection cannot be used then the camera will still use contrast detection.
Minimum Focus Distance
The minimum focus distance of the 100-400mm is 0.98m (3.22 ft) which also makes this lens ideal for macro photography. The 200-600mm has a much greater minimum focus distance of 2.4m (7.88 ft).
Image Stabilization (OSS)
Both lenses feature optical image Stabilisation (OSS) with mode 1 stabilizing on both horizontal and vertical axis, and mode 2 stabilizing on only the vertical axis for panned shots. The 200-600mm lens also has an additional mode 3 setting that provides stabilization for tracking and shooting dynamic, unpredictable sports action.
Range Focus Limiter
The 100-400mm has only two options for limiting the auto focus distance, these are from 3 meters to infinity and full-range. The 200-600mm has three options for limiting the focus distance, you can choose between 2.4 – 10 meters, 10 meters to infinity, or full-range. This can help speed up autofocus in some situations by preventing the lens from focusing on subjects outside the target range.
The Sony FE 100-400mm GM has a RRP of $2,498.00 / £2,449.00 and the Sony FE 200-600mm G has a RRP of $1,998.00 / £1,799.00, making the 200-600mm the more affordable lens.
If I learn anything further regarding the differences between these two lenses or see any other comparisons posted then I’ll be sure to update this article. As soon as my own 200-600 arrives I’ll do a more detailed comparison testing both the autofocus speed on a variety of different cameras that I own, and of course a comparison of the image quality.
If you are not already a member of the Sony Alpha Wildlife Shooters Group that I run on Facebook, then please do consider joining. Our awesome members share some fantastic wildlife photos along with shooting tips and tricks. If you prefer shooting sports then I also run the Sony Alpha Sports Shooters Group.
* Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Pre-Orders
* Check Sony 1.4x Tele (SEL14TC) Price & Deals
* Check Sony 2.0x Tele (SEL20TC) Price & Deals
* Check Sony 100-400mm GM Price & Deals
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