Sony 85mm F2.8 SAM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 44    1 2 >>
reviewer#44188 date: Dec-11-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210 f4
Zeiss 16-80 f3.5-4.5
Tokina 80-200 f2.8
price paid:124.99 Used
positive:Performance\cost ratio is excellent
Sharp
Lightweight
negative:Very light and plasticky
comment:An absolutely fabulous deal for the cost, that's really all there is to say on it. If you need this FL and you're on a tight budget, or are looking for a cheap, small, easy carry portrait prime etc., this is for you. It's roughly the same size as the other budget Sony SAM DT 35\1.8, 30\2.8.

Performance is quite good, and the next step up in quality is going to cost you quite a bit more money.
reviewer#44168 date: Nov-10-2018
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 30mm f2.8
Sony DT 35mm f1.8
Sony DT 50mm f1.8
Minolta 50mm f1.7 (both versions)
Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro (AF and MF versions)
Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro
Lots of MF primes including 50mm, 90mm, 105mm, 135mm from Tamron, Zeiss, Soligor, etc.
Sony 18-70mm
Sony 18-55mm
Sony 24-105mm
A dozen or so Minolta zooms.
price paid:£69
positive:Sharp in corners
low CA in corners
low flare
fairly flat focus plane
quiet AF
small
light
easy to carry
Easy to use in MF
Useful on E-mount with adapter.
Lovely bokeh
negative:feels plasticky like all the DT lenses
not the sharpest lens in the 85-100mm range
comment:Another DT SAM lens, built on the same body as the 30mm and 35mm lenses and very much in the same style except that it's FF capable.

The 85mm seems sharp, particularly at infinity, though near-macro shots do not seem to have the bite of the specialist macro lenses which are better corrected for close-up work. But most of the time you won't see lens sharpness because of all the other things that get in the way (focus error, camera or subject movement, etc) so this is't a major issue.
The real reason I like this lens is its size and weight. It's only half the size of the AF Tamron (the later screw drive one) and less than half the weight of the old MF one. It's even smaller and lighter than the plastik fantastik (which has uncouth manners :-) so when you want to go simple and retro and compact this lens is the one to use.
Frankly, it doesn't make much sense on FF digital - it seems absurdly light and tiny on a big DSLR - and I preferred the Tamron 90mm on the A900. But on the lighter A58 (or indeed the late plastic film cameras) it does make sense, and I can stack two or three of the DT primes in the space one zoom would take.

It also works very well on E-mount. It stacks on the LA-EA1 very nicely without looking weird or too long, and you can hardly spot the join. The Nex6 /LA-EA1 combo doesn't give you usable AF but you do get Exif and auto aperture control, unlike MF primes. This lens works well in MF, with a 180-degree MF ring that has enough travel to be accurately adjusted by hand, even in darkness, and this isn't true for many lenses (the Minolta 50mm f1.7 RS has only a quarter of a turn). Also, the 85mm MF focus ring is smooth and without any stiction/friction (unlike the 50mm f1.7 RS which has too much on my copy).

Of course 85mm is a good choice for portraits, especially close-crop portraits on APS-C, and I personally find f2.8 wide enough to separate backgrounds without putting half the face OOF as well. If you have one of the small kit zooms of the 16/18-50/55mm f3.5-5.6 type on your camera, the 85mm f2.8 makes a lot of sense to add as an extra lens and gives better results than a digital crop.

F2.8 may seem a bit slow compared to the f1.8 or f1.4 available today, but in my years with mechanical film SLRs all my lenses were f2.8 or f2.5 and they all gave a bright view in the OVF.

I tend not to use the lens hoods on modern lenses as they are a bit fiddly and they only need a hand to shade direct sunlight. Plus the hood supplied blanks off the focus ring so I can't use it on the Nex 6. But the 85mm lens hood is usefully smaller than the 55-200mm DT one and fits that lens very nicely, even reversed.

I find the bokeh generally very good - with rear OOF lights, the circles are very smooth and with barely the faintest imprssion of onion rings. Front bokeh is almost as good, but I have seen some colour fringing on bright foreground lights. But altogether much better than many more complex lenses, and on APS-C the circles stay pretty close to circles even at the edges (another benefit of using FF lenses on APS-C).
reviewer#30690 date: Sep-26-2016
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-70 g
batis 85
g master 85
price paid:$199 new
positive:Amazed by the sharpness on the a7r2. I use it on my a99 and it gives great shots. With the laea3 and the a7r2 it focuses really well and is such a light combo that it feels like a steal.
negative:Slower and noisy focusing, but nothing major at all. Hate that I have to switch the af/mf on the lens and not on the camera body.
comment:I bought it as a stopgap to cover a theft but am keeping it. While trying to decide which to get, the batis or the GM I picked this up. It truly is a bargain for the money. I shot a runway show last week with medium light and it was fine. As a portrait lens it is brilliant. It is rare to shoot below 2.8 continuously and I don't miss it too much. I will be interested how it shoots on the a992
reviewer#26561 date: Apr-22-2016
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50mm f1.7
Minolta 50mm f2.8 Macro RS
Minolta 100 mm f2.8 Macro D
Sony 35mm f1.8 DT
Tamron 18-270mm
Sony 16-50mm f2.8 ssm
price paid:$105 USD, Used, mint
positive:Extremely light and sharp.
negative:Sometimes I see a bit of CA that needs correcting. This lens looks like a toy with its plastic build, but it's not a toy.
comment:I saw a copy for sale on ebay, mint used, with box, cheap, and could not resist and so happy I bought it. I wanted to get into portrait work and this was a good entry. I've taken some amazing portraits of my black dogs with it. Black dogs are not easy to photograph. If you need a lens of this length and find a good copy at a reasonable price, grab it. I'm hoping to get a good 85 F1.4 eventually and hope it's 'so much better' than this plastic lens, but we'll see. For the price, cannot beat this.
reviewer#20413 date: Nov-6-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta MD & AF 50 F1.4
Minolta AF 50 F1.7 & RS
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Minolta AF 50 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
Minolta AR 55 F2
Minolta MC 55 F1.7
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
Tamron SP 60 F2 Macro
Sigma 60 F2.8 DN Art
Tamron 28-75 F2.8
Canon EF 85 F1.8 USM
Minolta MD 85 F2
Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta AF 135 F2.8
Sigma 50-150 F2.8 EX DC
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
price paid:123 USD (used)
positive:Small and light
Very little distortion
Long, half rotation focus throw
55 mm non-rotating filter threads
negative:Axial CA
AF inaccuracy
Slow AF
Small, loose focus ring
Undersized circular hood
comment:I've been wanting to get this lens for several months. I had tried a used copy at a local retailer, but I could only talk them down to $175 from the $225 they were asking for it. They had also lost the packaging and hood. This copy looks mint and came with everything. I also tried a second copy that performed very similarly. "MADE IN CHINA"

This lens uses a similar optical design as the Contax Carl Zeiss Sonnar 85mm F2.8. It is slightly smaller and simpler than the Minolta MD 85 F2. It is considerably smaller than brighter 85's.

I now I have all four Easy Choice primes. This is the most expensive one, but also the only one that is designated to work with full-frame sensors. All of these lenses share the same outer shell. The 85/2.8 and 35/1.8 share the same 55 mm filter size and ALC-SH111 hood. The front element is slightly larger on the full-frame 85/2.8, but it seems to be slightly smaller than the one on the 50/1.7.

I like the smaller, slightly lighter design of the Minolta 50 F1.7 RS, but the accuracy of SAM is often worth the extra bulk. The SAM in this lens makes just about as much noise as screw drive on the 50 F1.7 RS. The focus is very slow, especially compared to the Canon 85 F1.8 USM. The lens barrel extends further at close focus than any of the other small primes except the 50/3.5 macro. The angle-of-view decreases significantly at close focus. It works fine on the LA-EA3 and the A7II.

Overall the optics are good. It is a bit sharper than the Minolta MD 85 F2, but it is not as sharp as the Canon EF 85 F1.8, and it has much more CA.

Sharpness might not be a reason to get this prime over the telephoto zoom lenses, the compact size and very light weight makes this lens very nice lens to carry around.

The larger ALC-SH102 hood from the DT 55-200 lenses also fits this lens and doesn't vignette on the A58. It doesn't seem to vignette on the Maxxum 70 either, but I can verify when I get my film back.

Test chart comparison with a bunch of zooms at 85 mm.
reviewer#19379 date: Oct-15-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 2
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF20. Sigma super wide 2. Minolta AF28f2. Minolta AF35f2. Zeiss FE2,8/35. Minolta AF50. Sigma 50mm f1:4. Zeiss FE1,8/55. Sony 2.8/85 SAM. Minolta AF135.
price paid:£96.00
positive:Small, Light, inexpensive and far better optically than a lens should be at this price.
negative:Plastic fantastic build.
comment:Bargain, bargain, bargain. If like me you need to carry to many lenses, small and light is the way to go. This lens is sharp and has great colours.
reviewer#16293 date: Jul-3-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 2
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Leica Elmarit-R 60
RMC Tokina 135 2.8
Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS
price paid:249 €
positive:Optically very convincing, super cheap.
negative:Well, it's sheer plastic ...
AF is unreliable in lowlight
comment:This lens is a a perfect example for the term "plastic fantastic".

It produces over all great results, sharpness, colour, distortion. Only flaw is the AF, which needs plain daylight and starts hunting at the slightest signs of darkness.

The build quality is ... ehm .. elementary. Everything works, fair enough.

reviewer#12153 date: Mar-2-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm 1.4, Zeiss 24-70, Minolta 135 2.8.
price paid:Can't remember
positive:As sharp as my 24-70 Carl Zeiss, Small and light. Quick and consistent auto focus.
negative:Other than it may not be as sharp as the Zeiss 1.4, I can't think of any.
comment: While some complain about this being plasticy, I revel in the fact. I spent the afternoon taking 50-60 head shots for a theater group. This lens is VERY consistent and sharp.The small stature and light weight means you can shoot with it for 4 or 5 hours without getting cramps.
This is a real jewel, the price is ridiculous!
The light weight also translates into less camera shake.
reviewer#12143 date: Feb-18-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f/1.4
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-f/4 Contemporary
Minolta 50mm f/1.7
Minolta 70-210 f/4
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp even at f/2.8
Inexpensive
Great bokeh
Good color
Good flare control
Well controlled CA
negative:Noisy AF
Cheap plastic build
comment:
missing
reviewer#12102 date: Jan-23-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:* Sony 70-200/2.8
* Sony 50mm/1.8
* Minolta 50mm/1.7
* Sony 135mm/2.8[T4.5] STF
price paid:250
positive:* Light fast lens (plastic construction)
* Moderate Tele with wider aperture in a tiny package
* Compact size
negative:* Plastic construction (front element wobble)
* Lens focus creep when AF not engaged (no dampening)
comment:I got this lens since my brother had this lens and raved about it. And his raves were well founded. This lens is fast, both in terms of light gathering and in terms of focusing. It is lightweight, compact, and performs quite reliably.

The lens is also sharp, though I find that it doesn't have the contrast rendering ability of the 70-200/2.8 and while it does blow the background out of focus, it really wants alot of room to work.

Like the other Sony Plastic Primes, I found that after about a year of use, there is much wiggle and loosening. I love the light weight benefit of plastic, but I really hate the impact it has on the build quality and durability of the lens.

The image quality is very nice, be it for wildlife, portraiture, or even landscape. I find the shallow DOF to be both a blessing and a curse at the working focal length on an APS-C body. I'll update once I've had more time to work with it on an full frame body.

The lens is fast and sharp. I find myself using it and the Sony 35mm/1.8 quite a good deal. However, I also find myself worrying about when it will fail. Maybe that's just a plastic vs metal body bias, but the 85mm has focus creep as well, when AF is disengaged.

I would buy this lens again if I lost it. For the price, it's a great lens.
reviewer#11975 date: Sep-6-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:* Sony 35mm f/1.8 DT SAM
* Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM
* Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM II
* Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DT SAM II
* Minolta 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 (Original)
* Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (Beercan)
* Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 II APO EX DC HSM
* Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 116 PRO DX-II
price paid:200 USD
positive:* Sharp wide open
* Circular Bokeh wide open
* Accurate auto focus
* Bright colours and contrast
* Modern lens coatings
* Very small and lightweight
* Full frame compatible
* Lens hood supplied
negative:* In lens SAM speed is average (no difference to in body screw drive) and noisy
* Small and too light manual focus ring
* Plastic fantastic build quality
* New pricing increasing slightly
comment:Although not as versatile as some zooms such as budget variable aperture Sony 55-200mm DT, Minolta 70-210mm f/4 beercan and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 it has the advantage of:

1. Bokeh

The Sony 55-200mm has the worst onion-ring Bokeh I have ever seen on a zoom lens, the Beercan good but not great and the Sigma more similar to a 70-200mm fast telephoto.

The 85mm f/2.8 on the other hand produces excellent circular highlights wide open.

If you like outdoor portraiture I would recommend taking a look at this lens over the APS-C only Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT which has less background compression and aesthetically less pleasing hexagonal Bokeh.

2. Sharpness wide open

The lens is sharp wide open, whereas the other budget portrait lens including the Minolta Beercan 70-210mm f/4 Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 needs to be stopped down to at least f/5-5.6. The lens also out resolves either zooms by a fair margin.

3. Accurate auto focus

I have not had any focus issues with the lens and have used it to shoot with the sun behind the subject.

4. Smaller and light weight

Usually I carry my camera and telephoto lens in a shoulder bag. After attaching the diminutive 85mm I did not notice my camera in my bag at the end of the day for the first time.

The small size is also less intimidating for street shooting and after a long day the light weight is good on the shoulders.

5. Modern lens coatings

Similar to other Sony kit and budget primes lens, the 85mm f/2.8 has better colour contrast and flare control than the older Minolta lens which require ideal light conditions.

Areas of improvement ...

1. Build quality

The lens build, like most Sony budget lens, is plastic fantastic. Although this keeps the costs and weight down considerably, a tougher polycarbonate or plastic similar to what they use on the camera body would go a long way to the survivability of the lens. I would expect the rubber focus ring, like the 50mm f/1.8 DT, to show wear with weekend use after a year as it does not have the tank like build quality of the old Minolta primes.

2. SAM motor

The internal lens auto focus motor is only marginally faster than the budget kit zoom. It does not feel any faster than an in camera body screw drive motor. It is also very noisy - again similar to a in camera body screw drive motor.

3. Pricing

The lens has slowly crept up in price since release.

Compared to the ~$300-400 Canon 85mm f/1.8 it is relatively expensive for a lens with a smaller aperture however it does have the 2-stop benefit of sensor stabilisation and much less chromatic aberration.

Other alternatives in the same price bracket include the much heavier and manual focus only Samyang 85mm f/1.4 and the older Tamron 90mm f/2.8. I chose the Sony due to the in camera chromatic aberration compatibility, light weight, pocketable size and colour contrast.

Overall the Sony 85mm f/2.8 represents a lot of value for money for the price and I highly recommend it for those on a budget looking for a carry anywhere 85mm prime lens.
reviewer#11723 date: Mar-12-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:other 85mm
price paid:180 GBP
positive:Very sharp stopped down a bit
Light
Cheap
It's a prime
negative:Cheap build, very plastic.
AF is poor, hunts a lot.
Af/MF switch means no DMF
comment:If i'd have paid more i'd have been cheesed off with it but for the price this is a pretty wicked lens. I won't use it much over my other lenses so it made sense not to spend much on an 85mm.
It's sharp in the centre at 2.8 (as you'd expect) and sharp almost across the frame when stopped down. Very little distortion.
The Af/MF switch on the barrel means no DMF, which is a pain, similarly you can't use the Af/MF button on the a99 to fine tune the focus.
It hunts a fair bit in low light and makes a fair old noise whilst doing so. No back/front focus issues so far.
Nice Sony colours, same as the DT 35mm f1.8
It cost £180 though, so i can forgive all of this. It's a damn good lens considering the price.
reviewer#11298 date: Aug-9-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50f1.7
Helios 58f2.0
Sony 18-70f3.5-5.6
price paid:300 USD (new)
positive:lightweight, cheap, sharp, good colors, contrast, accurate AF
negative:Cheap build, relatively slow AF
comment:If you dont have money for minolta 85f1.4 or CZ and want AF this is lens you need. Its sharp, good Af (relatively slow), nice colors. OK, plastic build but price is low.....

Edit: I heard bad comments for the MF ring, they have rubber around and its easy to use.
reviewer#11212 date: Jun-26-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.7
Sony 35/1.8
Tamron 70-200/2.8
Minolta 100/2.8 macro
price paid:€ 110,-
positive:Really light weight, very sharp. Fast and accurate aufofocus. Use it a lot at F3.2, it's really sharp and has nice bokeh.
negative:Akward range on APS-C camera. It's a nice portrait lens, but with streetphotography it's too long.
Manual focus feels crap, not much response. Build is too plastic.
comment:If you can get it for the right price, you should own one. I don't use it a lot, but when I do it shines... Not a great MF lens!
I like my 35/1.8 prime better.
reviewer#11074 date: Apr-26-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-80Zeiss, Sony 50/1,4
price paid:250 euro (new)
positive:Great sharpness and color
negative:This lens is not build to last forever.
comment:Great little lightweight lens for portraits and with +4 an +10 filters for close-ups. Build quality and and plastic mount are not problem with such a low prise.
If you have sony 16-80Zeiss, then this lens is probably less useful.
I have used it with NEX-7 via EA-1 about 1/2 of year. Sold.
reviewer#11051 date: Apr-18-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 1.7
Minolta 50 2.8
Minolta 70-210 f4
Sony 18-70
price paid:195usd (used)
positive:Sharp
Great Bokeh
Light
negative:Plastic (though that helps keep it light)
No SSM
comment:My new favorite portrait lens. Sharp even wide open at 2.8.
No noticeable distortion or light fall off.
Amazing bokeh.
The optical quality of this lens is truly top notch.
The lens is plastic, it doesn't feel particularly solid, but on the plus side, it is very compact and light. It may earn a permanent spot in my bag.

reviewer#10773 date: Dec-11-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 17-50
Sony 16-50
Canon 85 1.8
price paid:350 USD (new)
positive:Sharp, relatively cheap, lightweight, and compact
negative:So-so build
comment:This lens is sharp wide open. Very capable and reliable. It makes an excellent complement to either a Tamron 17-50 or Sony 16-50 mounted on another body. That's like 16-85 in 2.8. Perfect for events and all around shooting.

I only wish it was made a little better. I paid quite a bit more since I bought it locally (should have gotten it in the US!). The outer plastic material is quite prone to scratches, the flat black finish easily exposes fingerprints and smudges. The lens barrel/ focus ring has a little play to it, but should not raise any concern optically.

Compared to the competition's (canikon) offering, this lens is rather slow. However, what I value is the fact that it becomes stabilized when mounted on our Alphas. It makes a lot of difference in real world shooting.

Over all I'm a satisfied customer.
reviewer#10740 date: Nov-30-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sony 16 - 50
zeis 16 - 80
sony 35 dt
minolta 50
price paid:176 CAD
positive:Price
Weight
Sharpness
negative:plastic
sam not ssm
comment:I bought this lens used to fill a portrait hole in my lens line up. I also own the sony 35 dt f1.8 easy choice. I love the 35 and the new 85mm sam was an excellent addition to my line up of lenses. This lens is identical to the 35 in size and weight. In your bag you will not be able to tell them apart. Image quality is fantastic. Sharp from corner to corner. The plastic lens is sturdy enough. Most of us know how to care for our equipment and it may even survive a drop. I am not going to test this theory. :) For the money you cannot beat the easy choice lenses. After all it is about picture quality right. I have been a wedding shooter for 18 years and this lens is now part of my working line up.
reviewer#10551 date: Sep-30-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:€97
positive:sharpness, contrast, colors
price
weight
negative:none
comment:I bought this lens NEW for €97. It was demo unit, but in like-new condition with full warranty. Excellent bargain.

The wide open sharpness of this lens is remarkable. Stopping down not required. Colors & contrast excellent, no CA.
reviewer#10547 date: Sep-28-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.7
price paid:£196
positive:Light, Sharp and inexpensive.
negative:Lenshood marks very easily.
comment:I bought this lens shortly after purchasing the Sony 30 Macro having been very impressed with that lens. I have been very pleased with the quality of the images produced by this lens, and with the Sony Summer cash back deal well worth the money paid - £166 after the cashback of £30.
reviewer#10539 date: Sep-23-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50 F1.4
Sony 35
Sony 16-50
Sony 16-105
price paid:£190
positive:IQ, weight
negative:None
comment:Another excellent lens in the "cheap" series. I love this lens as much as I do the Sony 35 F1.8 and Sony 50 F1.4. IQ excellent, focuses quick enough for all my purposes. Light and easy to carry around. The build quality seems absolutely fine to me - again on a par with the other two primes I have mentioned. There really is nothing not to like with this lens - if you like this focal length I cannot see a huge reason to spend about £1000 more for the Zeiss equivalent. I own and use the Zeiss 24mm F2 which I have reviewed here and yes it is an outstanding lens. But if the Zeiss 85mm is as good as that lens it still would not be worth my while or pennies to spend an extra £1000 and "upgrade" to the Zeiss. That is how good this lens is, rather than saying anything negative about the Zeiss 85.
reviewer#10432 date: Aug-5-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- 50 mm 1.7
- 16 - 50 mm 2.8
price paid:159 euro (new)
positive:- light
- small
- sharp
- no distortion
- great value
negative:- non
comment:
missing
reviewer#10198 date: May-14-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Samyang 85mm
price paid:£140
positive:small and light
quite sharp
negative:colours a little flat
cheap build (but okay really)
comment:Basically it is an 'easy choice' lens and if you want a light carry round for travel portraits and low light it is fine.
The build is okay and again light weight and non-intrusive.
However....it is a bit boring. The colours aren't special, the contrast not wonderful. The Samyang eats it for breakfast.
reviewer#10148 date: Apr-26-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:minolta 50 1.4
sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC
price paid:$200 (used)
positive:sharp
light weight
negative:so plastic
not fast AF
comment:mine has excelent condition although it is second hand.
this will be my another walk around lens..hehe

the shrapness is very good ^__^
reviewer#9763 date: Jan-7-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Rokinon 85 F1.4
Min 28 F2.8
Min 50 F1.7
SONY 18-55
SONY 18-70
TAMRON 70-300
MIN 135 F2.8
price paid:225
positive:Good color
Fast Lens
Sharp
negative:It's plastic
comment:The reviews by Kurt Munger on this lens are correct. It's sharp and a great lens on APS-C.
It focuses in near darkness, good corners, no vignetting and very sharp. Just have to get used to the narrow DOF.
How can such a tiny lens beat out the bigger lenses ? It does.

On Sale at B&H until tomorrow ! $224
reviewer#9741 date: Jan-2-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- Minolta 50/1.4
- Minolta 50/1.7
- Minolta 135/2.8
price paid:150 EUR
positive:+ as sharp as needed from wide open
+ bokeh rendition is pleasing to my eye
+ cheap
negative:- SAM
comment:Firstly a comment on the price. I scored a practically new item soon after it's release, but it had a destroyed front cap and the hood is fairly scratched as well.

I like this lens a lot on FF. It produces very pleasing pictures with nice bokeh - perfect for portraiture.
As mentioned I dislike the SAM motor, mainly because I like to override the AF and with SAM you have to flick the switch on the lens - makes it unusable for what I want. Still, the price more than makes up for it. The build is in my opinion not problematic, since it's a very small and light lens and thus easy to carry anywhere.
The choice to buy it was really easy - as sony calls it ;)

UPDATE:
Had a chance to test this in movie mode on the A77 in both MF and AF mode.
It is a real joy to use this lens for amateurish videography. I enjoyed the MF a lot, and the AF was surprisingly slow and almost silent. I just like this even more than I did!
reviewer#9543 date: Oct-29-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 75-300
Tokina 70-210
Minolta MD f/3.5 35-70 (macro)
price paid:130 GBP
positive:Just brilliant. Bokeh is creamy and superb. Beautiful little telephoto that will bring your portraits to live. Great for street photography too.
negative:None.
comment:So it has a plastic mount... so what! If you look after your kit, it doesn't matter. This is a diamond lens. Full of character. It brings portraiture, proper portraiture photography to everyone. Affordable and wonderful. My previous favourite for portraits was the MD f/3.5 35-70mm (macro) lens, used with a glass fitted adapter, no longer, this little lens has replaced that brilliant piece of glass.
reviewer#9393 date: Sep-5-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:MINOLTA 24-85mm, MINOLTA 100mm f2.
price paid:400 USD (new)
positive:Light weights nerly nothing compared to f1.4 version.
negative:Not as sharp at f 2.8 and 4.
comment:This is a nice little lens. It is good but not super. Not sharp at 2.8 better at 4 and needs 5.6 to be sharp all over on FF. At APS-C it is much better, sharp from f4. Has nice colors and contrast.

Makes a very good walk-around companion on my A450!

It gave very good results on my 7D.

I do not use it on my A900 as the MINOLTA 100mm f2 is that way much better.
reviewer#9369 date: Aug-29-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Min 85/1.4G
price paid:205 usd used
positive:small size
good colors
light weight
inexpensive
negative:bayonet hood
inadequate barrel info
comment:A remarkably pleasant and high quality lens. It lacks the halo effect of the much faster, larger and heavier 85/1.4G, but I do not notice any difference in edge sharpness or contrast at mid-ranges. The 85/1.4G is perfect for people: this lens is good for everything.

I'm not particularly keen on the lens shade -- and, where the lens shade is circular (as here) I much prefer a clip-on version over the bayonet version as being easier to use.

I like the clear orange dot for attaching the lens (and I always paint a similar dot on the bottom lens cap, since my close vision is not as good as it once was.) I really like the compact size and the light weight: this lens can be put into a pocket easily (and that can't be said of the 85/1.4G.)

The SAM motor is no different to my ear than the normal screw-drive: it may be slightly slower then the 85/1.4G, which I've found really responsive, but it's not an impediment to use. I encountered an annoying tendency to run through the entire focal range when focus is lost when I first started with the lens, but this may just have been clumsiness on my part, since I haven't experienced it recently.

It's light weight because it is plastic -- but tough plastic. I get a feeling that the lens would bounce, safely, if I dropped it, which is reassuring. I'd like more info on the lens body and at the 55mm filter ring. I prefer Minolta's informative style in this respect to Sony's blankness.

This lens is extraordinarily good value. I once used the 85/1.4G for everyday use, but now prefer this lens because it is so much lighter (and one doesn't worry about the front element as much.) I pair it with my 24/2.8 for travelling light -- and now I want a 180/3.5 to go with it. If only that lens existed...

reviewer#9339 date: Aug-16-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 2
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 50/1.7
Minolta AF 70-210/4
price paid:200 Euros
positive:image quality
low price
very light
negative:cheaply built
2.8 is a bit slow for a prime
very slow AF
comment:The good thing about this lens is its image quality. For a lens that cheap it is really astonishing what images it is capable to produce. Even when underexposing the images come out really good when slightly lighting up on the computer. Better image quality than beercan on 85mm imo.
But everything else about this lens is pretty bad. Completely made of plastic you have to take good care of it. I call it Barbie and I do not think it will last as long as the 80ies Minolta lenses. Autofocus is VERY slow and if you want a prime for low light photography this is pretty useless with F2.8. The AF/MF switch on the lens is a bit confusing and pretty useless since Sony Alpha cameras have this switch built in the body.
If you want a cheap tele prime because of greater image quality compared to a zoom you can try this one out. But it is not made for fast situations because of the damn slow AF. This can ruin many of your photos. If you want a prime for low light better save your cash for the Minolta AF 85/1.4.
reviews found: 44    1 2 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 44
  • sharpness: 4.69
  • color: 4.68
  • build: 3.39
  • distortion: 4.68
  • flare control: 4.43
  • overall: 4.38

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