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

reviewer#44477 date: Mar-10-2020
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:35 1.8 Sony APSC lens (almost as good IQ wise but not FF), and modern 35 1.4 ZA emount (super Sharp, Super heavy, 40mm Batis f2.0 (Batis is sharper lighter, MFD and magnification better, smoother bokeh and AF faster but more expensive and bulkier looking)
price paid:USD 500 USED
positive:Great build quality, solid performance, magical pictures, not Extremely sharp* good for portraits, cheaper to own used (used USD500). Classic G glass Quality and Minolta Historical value. Great skin tones and portrait indoor low light lens.
negative:Can be heavy as compared to Sony 35 1.8 Apsc Alpha lens. New Price is a bit steep for todays standard (USD1,100) Blueish Magenta cast on shiny edges. AF can be a bit slower then modern SSM and emount lenses.
comment:Finally owning this 35 1.4 Sony G lens classic designed in the Minolta/Leica era is quite a historical pride personally for me as it was the epitome of lens making back then, the floating element was extremely hard to manufacture, and being wider angle vs 50mm it was more complicated and costly. I have tested this lens agaist the Sony 35 1.8 APSC many years ago and found it not worth the money to the APSC variant as the IQ was not miles apart. of coz if you shoot FF and want f1.4 you have to decide if this is worth it, then again today so many good and even cheaper options. Why choose this? if you can get a good used copy at a good price, 1. it is a classic legend to behold the Minolta/ Leica History of a lens that will be burried in the dust of history. 2. It is not as sharp as the 35 1.4 ZA lenses but I do find the ZA to be overly sharp if you were to shoot faces, also it is much heavier compared to this, when shooting portrait I prefer to have less facial flaws showing (don't need to impress anyone how razor sharp my lens is), I look for good expression and emotion in the capture. lens being too sharp kills immegination and revleals too much detail that may not be welcome. 3. gives that film look to images.
One down side is the Bokeh can be very nice if shot and focus on about 1m away, there are times the Bokeh can be quite nervous, also it being an older lens design there is blueish Magenta cast in reflected edges. but if you mainly shoot people there is no such issue, skin tones are beautifully rendered as well as organic nature will look fabulous. will not recomand for product photography with shiny edges. It is faily sharp lens at f1.4 and very usable without stopping down. not the sharpest today but if you see the lack of sharpness as a good trait for reducing facial flaws, it is actually its strengths compared to the modern computer designed lenes that will render clicical precision and softer bokeh. I embrace the ledgendary history and qualities of this lens for what it is. I think the best overall lens in this range is the Batis 40mm f2.0 but you loose one stop of light and a used copy will be slightly more expensive. if you purely love portait this 40mm Batis might be better, but if you do a mix of portrait and street photography, the 35 1.4 G paired with LAEA4 on A7mk3 seems like the ultimate winner.

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