9 out of 10 points and recommendedFast, sharp, great color and contrast, buildPricey
I agree with most of what was said in the Slrgear review, but I believe they got a bad copy of the lens.reviewed October 13th, 2009 (purchased for $1,700)
My initial lens had the same issues at f/2.8, but was also great at f/4. I had rented one of these prior to buying one so I knew that it could be great wide open as well. After contacting Sony and having the lens serviced, this lens still exhibited soft images at f/2.8 throughout the range (worse at 200mm). I got them to agree to replace the lens and the 2nd copy was much better. At f/2.8, it is very sharp, but not as sharp as f/4, but usable for any purpose. I have enlarged images to 13x19 without any defects noticeable. Make sure you test the lens first to make sure you get a good copy as I have heard of others getting a substandard copy as well.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp wide open, great color and contrast, useful rangeheavy and expensive
The only other long zoom I have experience with is the Tamron 200-500. The Sony is both faster and sharper at all focal lengths. It was well worth losing the extra 100mm to go with this lens. I would have preferred a 200-500 Sony with the same IQ and aperture range, but this is the best that Sony offers right now.reviewed October 13th, 2009 (purchased for $1,500)
Some don't like the silver color of the lens, but I have found that it greatly improves the comfort of handling the lens in bright sunlight. It stays cool to the touch while the Tamron would become very hot. The finish does not seem to make wildlife take notice of you anymore than a black or white lens. It may even be better than white.