Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#46876 date: Aug-4-2022
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:Samyang AF 85 F1.4 FE
Sony FE 85 F1.8
Tamron SP 85 F1.8 USD
Canon EF 85 F1.8 USM
Minolta MD 85 F2
Sony 85 F2.8 SAM
Tamron SP 90 F2.5 Macro
Canon EF 100 F2 USM
Minolta AF 100 F2
Minolta MC 100 F2.5
Minotla AF 100 F2.8 Soft Focus
Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro D
Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro RS
Cosina 100 F3.5 Macro
Minolta AF 135 F2.8 Pocket Rocket
Canon EF 135 F2.8 Soft Focus
Vivitar 135 F2.8 Close Focusing
Minolta MD 135 F3.5
Sony 135 T4.5 STF
price paid:822 USD (used)
positive:Smoothest out-of-focus
Rubber focus grip
11 aperture blades
Fairly compact, deep, flocked hood
Travel case included
Lens Compensation
"Dust- and moisture-resistant design"
negative:Price, size, weight
Pincushion distortion
Chromatic aberrations
Corner shading
Plastic filter threads
Focus breathing
comment:I spent about a year with the A-mount 135mm STF. It seemed like a lens I would love as I like taking pictures of flowers, but I didn't like the amount of color fringing wide-open or the extending manual focus. This mirrorless lens doesn't seem that closely related to the older STF prime. To start it has AF and internal focus, and it is designed for digital mirrorless bodies instead of film SLRs.

This is the first GM branded lens I've used. I am not sure why I've avoided them other than that they are not inexpensive. This was the most I've ever spent so far on a single used lens--more than I paid for the new 20mm F1.8 G. It does seem to be about the cheapest used GM prime. Brand new it is currently $200 more than the 24 mm and 35 mm GM primes on sale. "Made in Thailand"

It is a rather large lens. It is considerably bigger than the 100 mm F2 primes on their AF adapters. It is slightly lighter than the manual A-mount STF, but it handles much nicer on the camera.

The choice of two partially overlapping AF ranges is unique. It is oddly implemented as a rotating ring with a lock button that doesn't really lock. I suppose this at least avoids adding another cheap looking two position switch to the left side of the barrel. Unfortunately there are AF/MF and Steady Shot override switches there.

The aperture control on the lens is nicer than the ones on the G primes, but the action is still not quite as solid as the ones on the little Sigma primes. The A position is fairly solid. The aperture control direction is opposite of that of the A-mount STF lens. The third step detents between 8 and 5.6 are three times further apart than the others. A small printed STF and some lines seem to indicate that this is the only STF zone, but the STF effect is still visibly effective outside that range.

I appreciate that the transmission values are used exclusively in place of f numbers. There is a T printed on the aperture scale, but in camera and the exif data treats these as F numbers. The 100 mm F2 primes are darker in the center when stopped down to F5.6, but they have less corner shading.

The aperture itself is not very symmetrical when fully stopped down to f/22, but it is fairly smooth otherwise. This may not be a lens for fans of diffraction spikes.

While it is not as well corrected in the focal plane as the old F2 primes at similar brightness, it is more corrected than the A-mount STF. The F2s are definitely sharper for document reproduction, but it is unlikely anyone is buying this lens for that task.

Autofocus works well despite using a simpler piezo linear motor (DDSSM in Sony acronym,) Piezo motors are inherently fragile, but the alternative linear motors probably are too. It has less breathing than the A-mount STF, but it still reduces its angle of view with closer focus.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 4
  • sharpness: 4.88
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 4.75
  • distortion: 4.75
  • flare control: 4.75
  • overall: 4.83 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania