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

reviewer#6225 date: Oct-15-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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:CZ 16-80 F3.5-4.5
(no direct comparison but within focal range)
CZ 85 F1.4 (my other prime)
price paid:1300 USD (approx)
positive:Available light capability
Good focal length for indoor
comment:This was my first prime lens after starting out with a 18-200 F3.5-6.3 on an a100. My goal was to have better indoor available light capability to take photos of my young kids. The combination of bright aperture and short focal length (50mm in full-frame terms) seems very well suited for that purpose, and this lens performs very well for my intended goal. I have since moved to an a700 and the lens is just as capable on that body, and focuses faster. I have not tried it on a full-frame body.

I like the capability to shoot at F1.4 or F1.7, but I must say that it's very hard to do so with a moving target that's relatively close, such as kids in action. The DOF is incredibly shallow and any misfocusing results in blurry results. But boy, when the focus is correct, the results are outstanding. Great sharpness in the center, lovely bokeh in the background, nice popping 3D effect and very realistic skin tones.

Stopping the lens down to F2.5, F3.2 or so makes things a bit easier and still produces great results, perhaps a tad less spectacular but a bit more reliable.

Although the build quality of the lens is solid, it is not quite as good as the CZ 85 F1.4, which is in roughly the same price range. The 35 doesn't have the nice metal hood, and the rubber zoom ring doesn't have the same feel as the metal one on the 85.

I never use this lens outdoors in anything approximating bright conditions. When stopping the lens down to F6 or beyond, I just don't see the advantage of using it over my CZ 16-80, which is also sharp and gives me zoom capability. So in my case, the 35 F1.4 is a special purpose lens and I really enjoy its qualities.

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