Sony FE 85mm F1.8 E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44491 date: Apr-3-2020
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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:Sigma EX 70 F2.8 DG Macro
Samyang 75 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 F2.8 Macro D
Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro RS
price paid:undisclosed (new)
30 FPS tracking
Lens Compensations
Hood included
negative:Axial CA/purple fringing
Somewhat busy bokeh
AF-S problems
Focus breathing
Lack of distance scale
Metal surfaces
Plastic filter threads
1980's MF switch
Wide--more like 82 mm
comment:After lugging the Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 around last week I decided to make another offer for this lens. This is the most I've even spent on a single lens so far. This came out the same year as the Tamron and is $150 cheaper than that lens--suggesting it is a lower end lens. Canon has discounted their EF 85mm F1.8 USM to less than half the price of this Sony. "Made in Vietnam" just like Tamron's OSD primes.

Unfortunately, I have AF-S issues using this lens. Often the A7III will confirm focus and not move when given an out-of-focus scene. It often spends a good deal of time racking focus in AF-S on both the A7III and A6000. It is quicker in AF-C. The adapted 85mm F1.8's lock focus much quicker in AF-S. There are currently no firmware updates for the lens.

The anodized black finish does look nice and seems durable. However the parts sticking out the front that are plastic. I would prefer soft surfaces to touch and metal filter threads. The redundant MF switch is a nod to the cheapest SLR lenses of the past. It has a focus hold button like 1988 Minolta lenses.

Image quality is poor. It is a fairly sharp wide-open, but the high amount purple fringing is just as bad the old Canon while backgrounds are busier and less blurred.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 13
  • sharpness: 4.92
  • color: 4.92
  • build: 4.46
  • distortion: 4.85
  • flare control: 4.85
  • overall: 4.80 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania