Sony AF 35mm F1.4 G A-mount lens review by brian33

reviewer#7171 date: Mar-27-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:50/1.7
price paid:1300 EUR
positive:very sharp under the right circumstances
great, unique bokeh
lovely color
short MFD
negative:lens is soft at wider apertures on distant subjects
comment:OK you guys ready for the final word on the 35G?? ;)

See the sample images post here to look at the images I'm referring to below:

I feel that a lot of the talk and questioning and soul searching around this lens can be dispelled with a couple important pieces of information concerning its sharpness:

At wide apertures it is both sharp and not sharp. Specifically it is (relatively) sharp at wide apertures when the object you focus on is near. As soon as you move away, that sharpness falls away. So for instance:

f1.7, very close to object in question, very reasonably sharp (and I've since changed my sharpening technique when resizing photos so I could have made this image pop even better)

f2, move away from the the object you focus on and the lens has had it, it's just not sharp (and believe me 100% crop of this image proves it's not a question of the focal plane or anything, this image is sharp nowhere, the focus was spot on the subject)

f7.1 Stopped down and it's razor sharp no matter the distance

f2.8 This is close enough that I could have opened up to f2 and the image would still have been nice and sharp

f3.2 and it looks absolutely lovely at close distances

f4 and slightly farther away it looks fantastic

f2.2 back wider open again and the lens is really problematic: almost impossible, in this iffy light, to get the camera to focus properly on the subject and even when it does, the focus point is quite soft. This shot went through several levels of sharpening.

f3.5, even here, at this distance to the subject the sharpness is not optimal and this image went through several levels of sharpening

f1.4 Sometimes sharpness isn't what you're after and you're just happy to capture the moment [IMG]smileys/smiley1.gif" align="middle[/IMG]

Anyway I hope this range of photos shows what this lens is good at and what it is not so good at: it's very sharp when focusing on close subjects, and needs to be stopped down considerably to be sharp when focusing on subjects far away.

I've always loved its bokeh and that's why I've always enjoyed shooting images with it, but it's got definite limitations. I shoot around them and when shooting street photography, I grab the 50/1.4, never the 35G. But at a party in low light? Always the 35G, never the 50.

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