Sony AF 35mm F1.4 G A-mount lens review by radi9red

reviewer#27579 date: May-20-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f1.4, Minolta 85 f1.4 RS G lens and many Minolta & sony alpha f1.4 f2 prime lens.
price paid:Clearance- brand new
positive:-Superb bokeh machine especially on my Sony A7R full frame.
- almost f1.2 similar bokeh at wide open
- excellent optics, low distortion and amazing clarity.
- much physically smaller compared to sigma 35mm f1.4 art or Sony zeiss Fe 35mm f1.4
negative:- if you buy it thinking its Zeiss like clinical sharpness then you might be a little disappointed

- focus is old screw style, a little noisy during focusing but again, it will sure outlive any Sam or SSM built-in motors.
comment:Came across this brand new lens at clearance price at a small local photography store.

Decided to buy it instead of the new Sony zeiss Fe 35mm f1.4 that would cost me double the price.

Read and researched many reviews that it was soft wide open and initially was hesitant prior to purchase. On my Sony A7R -36mp body with Sony la-ea4, it exceeded my sharpness expectations wide open at f1.4. At f1.4, Centre sharpness is relatively good and corners are acceptable. It's not those soft corners where it smudges and you cannot make anything out of it. Again, It does not have Zeiss like micro contrast nor micro details. However , at wide open, it is Sharper and outresolve my Sony 50mm f1.4. Almost close to Minolta 85mm f1.4 Rs g and that is a medium telephoto lens which clearly show the capabilities of this 35mm G lens.. If ever I need to stop the aperture down, it's not purely because it is unsharp, but probably needed to achieve deeper the depth of field.

This lens deserve the G grade tag. The bokeh and superb optics is indeed the why anyone would pay a fortune for this lens. It has far smoother bokeh than my Sony 50mm f1.4 and voitglander 35mm f1.2 ii. I would rate this lens to be in the same league as top 3 bokeh Kings from Sony Alpha series. (85mm f1.4 , Sony 135mm f1.8 and 135mm STF)

Not known to many photographers, it is extremely difficult to manufacture a physically small size 35mm lens and yet possessed large f1.4 aperture with smooth rendering bokeh and good sharpness. In addition, the lens closet focus distance is merely 30cm. This is simply amazing and considered an optics design and enginering feat during the 1990s era. Simply one of the works of marvel from Minolta engineer s

The advanced aspherical glass elements must have contributed to the coma control and perfect bokeh reproduction.

Although the image outputs are not zeiss-like , where Zeiss has high contrast and micro details, this lens produce beautiful sharp images that are classic Minolta/ rokkor generation. The lens strengths are for portraits, modelling and creative streets photography where you obliterate any background from the subject. Perfect subject isolation.

Haven't had time to try b&W shots yet on this lens but judging from the rendering of soft bokeh , tone and subject isolation wide open , it should do well even for bw photography.

Not suitable for video work using AF. Not SSM speed demon type of lens. Still focus slightly faster than my Sony 50mm and 85mm though.

If you appreciate good glass and not a pixel peeper photog, you will love this lens for sure.

Updated : September 2016
The Sony 35mm G lens - at F1.4, f1.8, F2. You should not attempt to AF in middle frame and recompose and shoot. Very likely you will end up having soft images. The lens has curvature characteristics and attempting to AF in centre spot and recompose ( at very low F-stops) with that razor thin depth of field explains why some photographers claims this lens is soft wide open.

Try choosing the AF Points on your camera accordingly and ensure the lens is parallel to the subject before you take the shot and this will produce excellent sharpness and bokeh.

Again, from the hundred of shots taken , this lens can produce bokeh that is close to my f1.2 lens.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 49
  • sharpness: 4.57
  • color: 4.96
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.76
  • flare control: 4.73
  • overall: 4.77 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania