9 out of 10 points and recommendedRock solid body, quality glass, sharp detailAF is finicky
I'm new to dSLR's but enjoyed years of Sony PnS's with their built-in macro function. This helped me develop a hobby of flower macros. When it was time for dSLR upgrade, there really was no other choice than the A700 and this was my chosen macro lens. It's detailed, sharp images are beyond impressive. The auto-focussing (AF) is finicky but not unusual for macro lens. I find it easier to work in Manual Focus mode and to move in and out on the composition. Also, you'll take better shots with a stablizer (tripod, monopod, etc.). I certainly recommend this fantastic lens!reviewed December 31st, 2007 (purchased for $350)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedGreat quality and build, smooth rings, sharp pictures, excellent lens bagslight looseness at lens connection on Sony A700, long with hood on
Received it today, nicely packaged, and immediately set to work taking pictures. I like the strong build, great attachment ring to my monopod, and excellent balance at that. On my Sony A700, the lens is a tiny bit loose when twisted and snapped on the camera body. This doesn't affect pictures but gives a slight uncomfortable feeling when handling the camera/lens on a stabilizer (monopod/tripod).reviewed August 7th, 2008 (purchased for $880)
You need an external flash rather than the built in flash to avoid dark regions due to the lens (with and without the hood...when extended to 400+mm zoom).
Free hand, I shot sharp images out to 400mm but after that I needed to prop myself or move to a stabilizer for sharpness. At 500mm, I found I need to run with MF rather than AF; but, if I changed the AF mode to spot (rather than wide), AF worked OK.
After researching this against the Sigma 50-500mm, I'm very satisfied I chose this lens...you will be too!