I was curious to see how the Sony 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 GM lens would handle the low lighting conditions of an ice hockey game, so I booked some tickets for a local team to find out.

**Note: Full resolution SOOC JPEG images are available to download, but the RAW files are password protected to help keep my hosting costs sensible. However, I do provide the username/password to all members of my monthly GAS email. All images are copyright protected and may be used for personal use only.

All of the following shots were taken from the stands. This was my first time shooting ice hockey, so I know the images could be a lot better! 🙂

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

259mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 12800 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

400mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 20000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

235mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 10000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

400mm | 1/500 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 10000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

259mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 12800 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

342mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 8000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

139mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 10000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

309mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 12800 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

235mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 8000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

253mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 6400 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Ice Hockey game taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

221mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 10000 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

With a maximum aperture of f/4.5 which soon drops to f/5.6 when you zoom past 170mm, this certainly isn’t a fast low light lens. I played around with various ISO settings but the majority of shots were well over 5000 ISO if I wanted to keep the shutter speed at 1/1000 second to freeze the action.

In the 100-250mm focal length focusing was not an issue, but above this it was hunting pretty badly for focus, to the point where I’d need to zoom out, acquire my subject, then zoom back in.

If I was shooting indoor sports for a living, the 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 GM lens would probably not be my first choice, at least paired with the a6500, the story could be very different when paired with the Sony a9. Hopefully at some point I might be able to afford the a9 to make the comparison.

If you love shooting ice hockey or any other sport with your Sony Alpha camera, then I’ve setup the Sony Alpha Sports Shooters Group on Facebook where you can share your photos with fellow sports shooters.

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