Sony AF 35mm F1.4 G A-mount lens review by ricardovaste

reviewer#11365 date: Oct-2-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Lenses.
price paid:Traded
positive:+ Characterful or even quite smooth bokeh at wider apertures
+ Quite compact for a 35/1.4
+ Quite quick to focus
+ Great focal length
negative:- My particular copy can be inaccurate focusing between f1.4 and f2.5 (will describe below).
- Vignetting can be very strong at 1.4 (and this isn't something that would usually bother me)
- Build isn't terrific. Focus ring has came loose, and the rubber grip on the barrel has too.
- CA and LaCA can sometimes be bothersome.
comment:I've used this lens extensively 'in the field' since around Nov 2011, writing this review in Oct 2013. There were some initial frustrations with focusing, but it certainly grew on me and I've become quite fond of it. I should mention that although I've dabbled with many lenses like anyone has, and a fair share of 35mm type, part of the reason I've came to like this lens is how I've learnt to use the 35mm focal length. That's a big part of it really. So the fact that it's a 35/1.4 G isn't irrelevant, but not everything, if you get what I mean.

I think the strong points are obvious. Colour, bokeh, quite small, quick to focus, easy focal length. It's rendering has never exactly "taken" me, but it is nice. It has a look, like many lenses do. And with it being 1.4, and 35mm, you can really take this lens with you anywhere and everywhere - very versatile.

I had trouble with focusing when I first bought it, or shortly after buying it. I would get along fine, but occasionally something would be off at wider apertures. Wide open, almost always fine, but stopped down a little things would be off - so I assumed it was focus shift and tested this, but couldn't replicate it. So I assumed it was some sort of user/lens quirk and moved on. Overtime it became less of an issue and I don't really have any trouble with it anymore, so perhaps just a case of learning how to get on with it.

Vignetting can be quite strong. You can tweak this after, but that does depend upon the situation. This is at 1.4... so if you think that could be a problem, consider carefully. For me, I can usually compensate by stopping down or brightening the corners, and it isn't very common that you'd have a subject right in the corner. The rubber grip on the barrel is loose, and the rubber focusing ring. I'm not rough with my equipment at all, but it is often on my side all day so can take knocks etc. But still, I'm surprised given it's had a very short life so far.

What I love about the 35mm focal length is it doesn't present any "tricks". It doesn't try to do anything different. It just is what it is, and asks you do use it with purpose. The same could be said for 50mm, but with that you really can still isolate people. With 35mm, you have to accept a certain level of insertion, to consider the frame carefully (as you can't simply blur out distractions). It eventually becomes quite familiar, like an old friend, and you no longer think about framing the image, but about anticipating, inserting, waiting. When you come to actually life the camera to your eye, it's already there. // This may make absolutely no sense if you're not a die-hard-disturbed 35mm lover //

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 50
  • sharpness: 4.57
  • color: 4.96
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.74
  • flare control: 4.72
  • overall: 4.77 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania