As luck would have it, I got to check out all the Sony (plus one Minolta) 300mm zooms and primes—shown below, and of course I had to do a comparison between each lens at 300mm. I used the Sony 75-300mm, Sony 70-300mm G, Sony 70-400mm G (@300mm), Sony 300mm F/2.8 G, and the Minolta AF 300mm F/4 APO G.
I used a controlled environment for this test. The entire shoot was done inside, at a distance of about 32′ or 9.75m. A 3200k studio light was used for illumination of the subject, which was a large stamp against a white background.
The results posted in the comp review mimic real world results at longer distances if you don’t have heat shimmer or haze. I chose this distance because it was about all I could get out of my space, and it’s about the same distance as you would shoot a small bird or animal at a bird feeder or zoo. I love shooting animals, but they move so darn quick!
All crops were taken at the best focusing—period, done by hand. The auto-focus system was not used, and should never be used for test images because it isn’t precise/reliable enough to get the absolute sharpest shots every time, especially when looking at 100% crops of 24mp images.
Here are some quick observations by me; The Sony 300mm F/2.8 has better image quality at F/2.8 than the Sony 75-300mm or Sony 70-300mm G has at any aperture! Check it out. The Sony 300mm F/2.8 has incredible image quality at F/5.6, and puts all other lenses here to shame. Note; before you send hate mail, understand the two less expensive zooms are actually pretty good on their own; The reason the crops look so soft is because the others are so darn sharp. When you put 100% crops side-by-side, it’s easy to notice the differences. When I was looking at them individually, I didn’t notice so much difference. The lesson here is the more money you spend
the better image quality you get. We go from a $200 lens to a $6300 lens, is the difference worth it to you?
The reviews of the Sony 300mm F/2.8 SSM G and Minolta AF 300mm F/4 APO G are coming up soon.