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Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lab Test Review

February 2014 | By Andy Westlake
Buy on GearShop$798.00

The FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* is one of the first three lenses available for Sony's full-frame E-mount system, having been announced alongside the Alpha 7 and 7R camera bodies. It offers a classic moderate wideangle view that's well-suited to a wide range of subjects, including such things as reportage or street photography. It uses a 7-element, 5-group optical design, which includes three aspherical elements to minimise aberrations.

The 35mm is a pretty compact lens (it's 37mm / 1.5" long, and weighs just 120g / 4.2 oz) which makes for a very portable combination when used with the A7 or A7R. The flipside of this, though, is its relatively slow maximum aperture; F2.8 is distinctly pedestrian for a modern prime. Despite this, it still commands premium pricing, doubtless as a result of that blue Zeiss badge. It costs about $800 / £680 / €800 at the time of writing, meaning it's significantly more pricey than other full frame 35mm lenses like the Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM (which is a stop faster, and includes image stabilisation) or the recently-launched Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G.

The FE 35mm F2.8 can also be used on Sony's APS-C E-mount bodies, on which it will behave as a 'normal' prime with a 53mm equivalent angle of view. But we think that the faster, cheaper and image-stabilised E 35mm F1.8 OSS is a much better choice if you're not planning on buying into a full frame system. However the little 35mm F2.8 does look like a very natural companion to the A7 twins.

Headline features

  • 35mm focal length
  • F2.8 maximum aperture
  • FE lens for full frame Sony E-mount cameras (also works on APS-C E-mount models)

Lens test data

The 35mm F2.8 returns excellent test results on the Alpha 7R. It's very sharp, exhibits relatively low chromatic aberration and distortion, and has acceptable levels of vignetting. In fact it's very close indeed to the benchmark Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, which is one of the sharpest lenses we've tested.

Sharpness Sharpness is excellent. The 35mm is extremely sharp in the centre of the frame wide open at F2.8, and while it's not quite so good towards the edges, it's still pretty impressive. The best results overall across the frame come from F5.6-F11, much as we'd expect on full frame. Indeed at F5.6 the central sharpness is literally off the charts here (helped by being tested on the AA-filterless 36MP A7R). Naturally diffraction causes some softening at f22, but it's not excessive, meaning this setting should be entirely usable when depth of field is a priority.
Chromatic Aberration Chromatic aberration is pretty low. There's a little blue/yellow fringing towards the corners of the frame, but this type tends to be relatively unobjectionable visually. It'll be automatically corrected by the camera's JPEG processing too.
Vignetting Vignetting is the nearest thing the 35mm has to a weak point. It reaches 1.8 stops in the corners wide open, although to be fair this is pretty typical for a compact F2.8 prime. However the vignetting never quite goes away on stopping down; even at F8 there's still 1.3 stops falloff. The good news is that the falloff profile is quite gradual, which makes vignetting less noticeable, and the camera can correct for it automatically too.
Distortion The 35mm shows an unusual distortion profile, with somewhat pronounced barrel distortion that appears only towards the corners of the frame (a 1:1 crop from the centre would look near-perfectly corrected). This distortion will be visible in geometrical compositions such as architectural shots, and require profiled corrections in post-processing.

The 35mm F2.8 generally compares favourably to other recently-designed full frame 35mm primes. It pretty much matches the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM for sharpness, but loses out on distortion and vignetting (the latter a consequence of its small optical unit). It's much the same story when we look at the Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM; the Sony's measured central sharpness is higher, but this substantially reflects the fact that it's tested on a much higher resolution sensor. However if we look at edge sharpness, the two lenses are a pretty close match, and again the Canon has rather lower vignetting and more-tractable distortion characteristics.

Summary

From the lab test results, the Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA is a pretty impressive little lens. It doesn't quite attain the same heights as the FE 55mm F1.8, but it's still impressively sharp. It's also very small and portable, but this does come with some trade-offs, particularly in terms of vignetting. Overall it's a good match for both the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R both physically and optically, but we do feel it's somewhat over-priced given its relatively slow maximum aperture.

Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length35 mm
Image stabilisationNo
Lens mountSony E (NEX)
Aperture
Maximum apertureF2.8
Minimum apertureF22.0
Aperture ringNo
Number of diaphragm blades7
Optics
Elements7
Groups5
Special elements / coatings3 aspheric elements
Focus
Minimum focus0.35 m (13.78)
Maximum magnification0.12×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeStepper motor
Full time manualUnknown
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight120 g (0.26 lb)
Diameter62 mm (2.44)
Length37 mm (1.46)
MaterialsMetal barrel, metal mount
SealingYes
ColourBlack
Filter thread49 mm
Filter notesLens hood accepts 40.5mm filters
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeALC-SH129


This lens review uses DxOMark data thanks to a partnership between dpreview.com and DxO Labs (read more about DxOMark and our partnership with DxO Labs). DxOMark is the trusted industry standard for independent image quality measurements and ratings. DxOMark has established this reputation with its rigorous hardware testing, industry-grade laboratory tools, and database of thousands of camera, lens and mobile test results. Full test results for this lens can be found at www.dxomark.com.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 350
12
DaveE1

Where is yabookie? He/she usually has a lot of negative things to say about ALL Sony gear. Don't let us down yabokkie.

Each and every compliment this lens receives must be replied to with the usual dismissive anti-Sony comment. I'll be shooting a Phase One and a Nikon for the next couple of days, so I may not get to see your anti-Sony comments. ;-)

16 upvotes
yabokkie

what's up?

4 upvotes
DaveE1

Just pulling your chain. A Sony product review is feeding time for trolls. lol

8 upvotes
ThePhilips

Sony? Weird. Label says "Carl Zeiss". Price tag also says "Carl Zeiss".

1 upvote
bluevellet

The DPR staff seems more invested in this lens report than they were with the A7's reviews. Barely 60 comments in and the staff is all over the place. They usually just sit back and watch the fireworks.

4 upvotes
yabokkie

wish luck to anyone who invested in the lens.

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer

Weren't they supposed to do so?
Sony seems to have bought themselves into DPReview lately with all the hallelujah.

2 upvotes
qianp2k

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3620926?page=4

I did above tests. 35 FE on A7R clearly outresolves Canon 35/2.0 IS on 5D3 from edge to edge and even sharper at pixel-level (full size). However Canon 35/2.0 IS on A7R thru adapter is about the same sharpness as FE 35 natively on A7R. If you don't care size and AF speed, 35/2.0 IS thru adapter on A7R is an option and I can hand-held at 1/15 sec for sharp photos viewed at full-size.

5 upvotes
Just a Photographer

No wonder at f2.0 only few lenses are sharp as a needle....
And you must have some steady hands at 1/15sec. Not many people will get the same results as you have at these kind of slow shutterspeeds.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
1 upvote
qianp2k

@ Just a Photographer. I can easily to have tack-sharp photos at 1/6 consistently and can push down further such as at 1/4 sec with Canon 35/2.0 IS on 5D3, thanks for excellent implementation of EFC (electronic first curtain) in 5D3 that I shoot with LV on back LCD (AF is pretty slow however). Check my samples below and some of them are in full-size.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/55485085@N04/sets/72157638303513145/

However due to lacking off EFC in A7R, I am unable to get tack sharps with A7R at 1/6 sec but still can manage to get sharp photos at 1/15 sec, thanks excellent 4-stop 'IS' in 35/2.0 IS. In comparison I can get take sharp photos hand-held with FE 35 at 1/50 consistently at least.

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald

But aside from being faster, cheaper, similarly sharp, and image-stabilized, what good is it?

0 upvotes
stevo23

@qianp2k - early on, people were having issues getting IS to sync up on the A7. Are you finding that to no longer be an issue? (Also, given the price of the adapter and lens combo, this is no bargain.)

1 upvote
qianp2k

@stevo23. In my limited experience (as I just got Metabones adapter on Friday), I could get consistent (if not everytime) sharp photos at 1/15 sec with 35/2.0 IS thru adapter on A7R (I don't know A7 which supposed only better with EFC) so it's not bad although I could get consistent sharp photos at 1/6 sec with 5D3 LV (EFC). I tried my 70-200L/4.0 IS (but have not tried with 70-200L/2.8 IS II that I own both copies) thru adapter on A7R. I believe I also experienced shutter-shock issue hand-held (have not tried on tripod yet) as reported by DPR and Fred Miranda reviews. At 200mm for example, I have a difficulty to get sharp photos at 1/60 or even 1/80 sec hand-held that can be achieved with 5D3 easily. Sadly shutter-shock is a real issue with tele lenses (such as 100mm or longer) in a specific range of shutter speed (1/30 or 1/60 to 1/160) as widely reported.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
qianp2k

AF thru Metabones III adapter is very slow, only usable under good light. It's better to use MF that fortunately is pretty easy with EVF - Sony implementation of 10x/14x magnification (I mainly used) and focus-peaking (that I actually used less).

0 upvotes
yabokkie

compare it with Canon 40/2.8 and take into account the difference between the bodies (A7R vs 1Ds3), it looks that 40/2.8 could be a better lens (would appreciate any new test be done on a popular body first, or lower resolution A7, for easier comparison).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie

it's should be a good idea to get a couple of Canon 40/2.8, which is sold in Japan for about 100 US after cashback, as a good body cap than Sony FE35/2.8.

0 upvotes
Max Savin

The Metabones adapter costs $400 and weighs about as much as the Sony 35 FE. Size wise the combination of adapter and 40mm lens is heavier and bigger.

2 upvotes
l_d_allan

Canon is able to make the small, well rated 40mm f2.8 for a street price of ~ $150.

For me, the more expensive and larger Canon 35mm f/2 IS made more sense than the 40mm. Canon's 35mm was overpriced when introduced, but its current street price is a big improvement.

I find IS very valuable.

For the price, I would expect the Sony 35mm (and also the Sony 50mm f1.8) to have IS ... full stop.

1 upvote
InTheMist

The first test I compared it to was the D800 (non-e) and Sigma 35 f/1.4 Art.

I'll take the Sigma.

4 upvotes
yabokkie

I prefer the D800 (non-E) but A7R should have higher resolution shooting black-and-white test chart, which means the Sony lens is actually worse.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

Tests run by Roger Cicala using the Sigma on the D800, showed the FE to be both sharper in the center and corners (average) at f/2.8.

Oh and it beat the Canon 35mm f/2 IS mounted on the A7R (Metabones) too.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Zeisschen

The Sigma can't be compared. We're talking about the Sony FF mirrorless system and the Sigma is almost twice the weight and size of the camera itself. Of course the Sigma is a very nice lens in its class, but not on an A7. Apples vs oranges.

6 upvotes
yabokkie

like I said above, at same pixel count and shooting a black-and-white test chart, a sensor without low pass filter can have more than 12% higher linear resolution (depending on lens-body pair, wider gap for better lens).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

The Canon was shot on the A7R, the difference in favor of the FE compared to the Sigma on the D800, was 21% (center and corners) and the D800 AA filter is already weaker than most.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
yabokkie

@TrojMacReady, I just checked blog/2013/12/sony-a7r at lensrentals.com if it's what you refered. for center resolution
- Canon 35mm f/2 IS at f/4 on A7R: 1400
- Sony 35mm f/2.8 at f/4 on A7R: 1420
pretty the same within error (excluding adapter error).

I failed to find Sigma 35/1.4 on D800, but in blog/2012/11, it says 1000 at f/2.8 on D3X.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

FEb 25th 2013
Sigma at f/2.8, D800: 1171 center, 575 corner average.

As for the Canon, you conveniently left out the significant difference in measured corner performance. 560 average for the Canon on the A7R at f/4, where the FE scored 750. 34% higher on the FE.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie

> Sigma at f/2.8, D800: 1171 center, 575 corner average.
that looks about the same as FE35/2.8 (1320 on A7R).

> left out the significant difference
not at all. the average across the frame are about the same (1190 vs 1160, again excluding adapter error).

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

That's only if you care about average, which conceals the weakest link: corners.

σ would have been more telling than the average you quote.

But if you care so much about the average, the FE scores 24% higher than the Sigma average across the entire frame (and as said before, 21% higher in the corners too). Quick, pick your poison and swallow it. ;)

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
l_d_allan

> "Oh and it beat the Canon 35mm f/2 IS mounted on the A7R (Metabones) too."

IIRC, at least some of that difference reported by Roger C. in his LensRental article was the shutter-shock from the Sony A7r causing the Canon 35mm IS to be unhappy.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

I seriously doubt he would use IS running tripod stabilized resolution tests...
The effect you mentioned is not noted in the said article, probably brought up elsewhere for different shooting purposes.

2 upvotes
yabokkie

Roger says that non-FE lenses tend to have lower corner resolutions on A7R than on other cameras. I suspect this may come from vignetting but no vignetting results were given, or did I overlook them?

anyways, real estate got highest value at the center and lowest at the corners. whatever happens there will have least significance.

0 upvotes
km25

Why did they not just use the 35mm f/2.0 from the RX1? The camera's sells are going to crash and burning any ways. Sony drops the ball again. Where is their road map of lens, this would at least show what lens are forth coming. Something tells me they have little or no idea. They are depending on a third party for their lens, an excellent lens maker that is not noted for putting out new lens with any speed.

0 upvotes
stevo23

How do you figure they dropped the ball? Did you read the report? The lens rocks and it's only 4.6 oz. If you had an A7 and had used the lens, you would know this.

4 upvotes
Andy Westlake

The RX1's lens has a huge rear element placed very close to the sensor, which means the design simply can't be translated into an interchangeable E-mount lens.

13 upvotes
yabokkie

people don't learn lens design in a sudden.
give Sony 5-10 years and I'm sure they'll improve a lot.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1

"The RX1's lens has a huge rear element placed very close to the sensor, which means the design simply can't be translated into an interchangeable E-mount lens."

It can - when mechanical shutter is finally eliminated.

1 upvote
Peiasdf

If this lens is f/2.0 or faster I would have a A7 sitting at home now. Fast 35mm is way more important to me than fast 50.

3 upvotes
bluevellet

Got a Sony RX1 instead?

3 upvotes
InTheMist

I'm just not a fan of mirrorless, but I'm with you: I "see" in 35mm.

0 upvotes
yabokkie

I'd like to be a fan of mirrorless but this lens is just yet another 35mm not f/2, sold at a ripping-off price.

0 upvotes
SDF

I agree with the review. Like everything about the lens except the price. I will pick one up when it drops to $600 used.

1 upvote
Jogger

I wonder if Zeiss will release real Zeiss lenses under the Tuoit brand for FE mount. Maybe they could do something like a full manual 35/2 with aperture ring.

2 upvotes
stevo23

I saw a rumour that they were planning to create manual focus Zeiss lenses for the A7. I suspect they will be recycled G series and ZM designs that are corrected for the A7/r's unique sensor.

1 upvote
Plastek

What about rainbow-coloring across entire frame?

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588565

^ IMHO a lens that got a varied color shift on a whole frame is unacceptable, regardless how sharp it is.

8 upvotes
Andy Westlake

Realistically, that's not the lens itself, but a complex mixture of lens, sensor and image processing.

5 upvotes
Plastek

Realistically I would argue that it's an issue with lens itself, cause somehow there are other FE lenses that work just fine.

But if you prefer to use this excuse then well... same can be said about next to every single issue that lenses got - chromatic aberrations are also a function of sensor and a lens (that's why CA is more pronounced on film-age lenses when used with digital sensor than it was on a film cameras). Sharpness is also a function of lens, sensor, and (to a very high degree) image processing (lenstip.com wrote a lot about this issue and how manufacturers manipulate with image to make it appear "sharper" in reviews).

In either case - I see no reason to skip this very notable problem in a review.

3 upvotes
Andy Westlake

We'd cover this sort of thing in a full review, but this is just a brief presentation of formal chart testing results.

6 upvotes
Horshack

That radial gradation occurs on lots of camrea+lens combinations and is made worse if you have Sony's vignetting correction enabled, as Sony's implementation is applied to the raw file in a coarse/crude way. Here's D800 + 70-200mm f/4 VR image that demonstrates the same concentric rings but without the raw color gradations that is introduced by Sony's vignetting correction:

http://horshack.smugmug.com/photos/i-K2cw346/0/O/i-K2cw346.jpg

1 upvote
Stu 5

You might both find this an interesting read on the subject:

http://www.leica-boss.com/2013/12/the-problem-with-sonys-zeiss-fe-sonnar-t-fe-35mm-f2-8-za-sel35f28z/

1 upvote
Just another Canon shooter

@Horshack: This seems to be old-fashioned flare from a bright source made worse by JPEG compression and/or RAW conversion. I do not see diffraction-like color rings there.

1 upvote
stevo23

I don't see it anywhere in any of my shots - even at blue sky or white walls. I never apply corrections in camera - this is always sure to ruin shots.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
onlooker

@Stu 5: Good information. So it does seem that sensor has a lot to do with it.

0 upvotes
Plastek

Not really. It's not sensor-specific problem as it occurs in both: A7 and A7r which got very different sensors - both: in megapixel count and AA-filter.

2 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

Corner and edge performance is poor even on this high resolution sensor with no AA filter. 1+ vignetting at f/22? There seems to be a price to be paid for the short flange distance.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Andy Westlake

No, corner and edge performance isn't poor at all. For example, here it is compared like-for-like to a favourite lens of Canon shooters, the EF 35mm f/1.4L USM. [Sony FE 35mm F2.8 vs Canon EF 35mm F1.4L](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/lens-compare-fullscreen?compare=true&lensId=sony_zeiss_fe_35_2p8_za&cameraId=sony_a7r&version=0&fl=35&av=2.8&view=mtf-ca&lensId2=canon_35_1p4&cameraId2=canon_eos5dmkii&version2=0&fl2=35&av2=2.8)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
22 upvotes
Plastek

I'm afraid that it's not really how it works.

There are multiple examples where lenses with higher maximum aperture perform worse of these with lower on an equivalent apertures. Take for example 35 f/2 vs 35 f/1.4 from your own reviews - at aperture f/2 Canon 35 f/1.4 performs worse even though it's stopped down than wide-open 35 f/2.

It's not an art to build a dark, but sharp lens like Sony did. It is an art to build bright and at the same time sharp glass (look: Zeiss Otus).

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Andy Westlake

@Plastek: The Canon 35/1.4L is a relatively old design, from December 1998 - compare it the slightly closer-to-contemporary [EF 35mm F2](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/lens-compare-fullscreen?compare=true&lensId=canon_35_1p4&cameraId=canon_eos5dmkii&version=0&fl=35&av=2&view=mtf-ca&lensId2=canon_35_2p0&cameraId2=canon_eos5dmkii&version2=0&fl2=35&av2=2) and it performs better at all apertures. Meanwhile, compare the recent [Canon 35/2 IS to its near-contemporary Sigma 35mm F1.4](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/lens-compare-fullscreen?compare=true&lensId=sigma_35_1p4&cameraId=canon_eos5dmkii&version=0&fl=35&av=2&view=mtf-ca&lensId2=canon_35_2_is&cameraId2=canon_eos5dmkii&version2=0&fl2=35&av2=2), and the Sigma does better at all apertures. But this doesn't prove that faster lenses are 'better' than slower ones - just that comparisons can go either way, depending on how you choose to make them.

8 upvotes
Richt2000

Mine is tack sharp in the corners. Far sharper than my Canon 35mm lenses (35/1.4L and 35/2 oldy)

Maybe you don't own one, or are just trolling...

5 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

@Andy: It is poor for that sensor. The center-edge performance is very uneven, even well stopped down, vignetting is too strong. The 35L should be compared on the 7D sensor (multiply by 1.6 but then you lose the borders); and the 7D sensor has an AA filter.

Also, much of what DXO measures is aliasing, not resolution, anyway.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake

@Just another Canon shooter: " Also, much of what DXO measures is aliasing, not resolution, anyway." Congratulations, you've just ruled yourself out from commenting on our lens data. As it happens, the contribution of aliasing towards the MTF50 date we're presenting here that's derived from a slanted-edge test is generally very low. It's only ever remotely significant with exceptionally sharp lenses - which is mutually contradictory with your assertion that this Sony lens is poor.

5 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

Congratulations, you just made a fundamental contribution to sampling theory.

To get back to the topic, the 7D turns 1,500 into about 1,920 (see the f/1.4 data), so the 35L in what yo posted would get to 1,920 corner resolution on a hypothetical 46mp sensor with an AA filter. The Sony gets to 1,500 on 36mp, no AA filter. And this is f/2.8, it is even more pronounced when you stop down and really need the corner performance.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
stevo23

I'm not sure where you get that about corners or edges. Mine is sharp all the way out by f/4. It certainly beats the Canon 35 f/2 in this respect. I compare it to the Sigma 1.4 in most ways.

2 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

Beats the 35/2 (IS?) on the same sensor?

Check this out: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3620926?page=4, the post with many pictures. There are real world samples on the same sensor. The Sony is visibly softer at the edges, although by a lot. It is softer even at f/8!

This confirms the DXO measurements, if you take into account the sensor differences.

I am not saying that the Sony is a bad lens, as Andy says. The corner problems with short flange distances are not invented by me.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

Yes, on the same sensor:
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/12/sony-a7r-a-rising-tide-lifts-all-the-boats

2 upvotes
stevo23

@Just Another Canon Shooter - wow.

I think so many people are not looking at the numbers, only the shape of the lines. Look at the actual resolution numbers.

But also, it's ridiculous to just look at resolution. The other things really matter like distortion, CA etc. Add them all up and the 35mm FE is an exemplary lens.

0 upvotes
mediman30

Its bigger brother the 55mm is an absolute gem and ranked 2nd as best lens ever tested on DXO and I'm very pleased to know that Sony sticks to the same idea with its little brother.

To potential UK buyers of these 2 lenses, if you want to save some cash I bought mine on Ebay through a seller in Japan called matsuiyastore. I saved almost £300 on the 55 FE lens. The lens plus shipping fees (£573) and UK customs duties (£19) in total £592. Super fast delivery too! ;)

8 upvotes
Stu 5

Why was the customs duty so low? That is far less than it should have been and sounds like it has been calculated incorrectly. Did you pay it or did the retailer include it in the price?

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
mediman30

Yes, I paid for it. I was very surprised myself but that's what UK customs charged me, £19.86 to be exact. It is an amazing lens, love shooting at 1.8 now and it is still tack sharp!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Stu 5

Hmm. It would have been interesting to see what value and description the seller declared on the label. I am guessing looking at their page they included the VAT at their end in the price? The thing to be careful about is if they actually handed that VAT payment over. If not you are responsible and customs can come after you for the VAT payment again. Or did you pay the VAT to customs yourself? Just that it is not uncommon for these companies to lie on customs labels about the contents and/or value. Just not the thing you think of checking when you get the parcel either.

0 upvotes
mediman30

@Stu 5 - an import parcel invoice was sent to me by Parcel Force Worldwide stating that the parcel sent to me from overseas is subject to payment of Customs charges raised by Border Force on behalf of HMRC. The import VAT was £6.36 and £13.50 for Clearance Fee. I paid it online as they suggested and the item arrived in 2 days. Also, the item was declared in Japan as a camera lens with a Japanese ¥ value.

1 upvote
Overmars

Thanks for that mediman30.

1 upvote
Wolfgang Fieger

Very good quality AND lightweight. That is exactly what we should expect from the FE system. Good to see that Sony sticks to the idea

9 upvotes
dynaxx

Why wouldn't a metal barrelled Zeiss lens cost more than the two plastic 35mm Canikon lenses mentioned in this Lab Test Review ? Compare the three lenses when they have been used for five years ( and their re-sale values ) and you'll see where the value lies.

The slower f/2.8 is inevitable is you want to keep the weight down to 120 grams and still have a durable construction.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
RobertSigmund

+, the humble "Canikon" lenses have at least a distance scale, and in the Canon case, stabilization! Sorry, I am no Canon fan, but their offer is better in this instance.

7 upvotes
abortabort

The Sony has a focus distance scale, it just appears (somewhat more usefully) on the display rather than the lens.

Agree the SLR lenses are better 'value', but those lenses on the A7 are rather big. So if it's a specs sheet you are looking at sure, they are better (own both Sigma 35mm f1.4 and Canon 35mm f2 IS), but keeping the lens this small with this high performance is a trick in itself. Compared to other '35mm equiv' lenses in mirrorless system cameras the Zeiss 35 trounces the all.

Saying that, the comparison I would like to see more closely is with the little Canon EF 40mm f2.8... that is a good performing lens, around the same size with adapter and costs a fraction of the Zeiss (also have the 40mm).

Still buying the Zeiss for the A7, makes more sense for that system than the SLR lenses.

6 upvotes
Andy Westlake

@abortabort: [Sony FE 35mm F2.8 compared to Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/lens-compare-fullscreen?compare=true&lensId=sony_zeiss_fe_35_2p8_za&cameraId=sony_a7r&version=0&fl=35&av=2.8&view=mtf-ca&lensId2=canon_40_2p8_stm&cameraId2=canon_eos1dsmkiii&version2=0&fl2=40&av2=2.8)

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Plastek

Buying native lens always makes more sense than buying other lens and toy with adapters. ;)

@Andy Westlake - why would you compare DSLR pancake with regular Mirrorless lens? Pancakes got very different priorities than regular lenses.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Andy Westlake

@Plastek - I'm just pointing abortabort to the comparison he requested. I don't understand why you'd be so upset about this.

However, the Canon 40mm F2.8 pancake is unusually good for a small lens, and obviously makes for the most-compact available option on the EOS 6D. The price of the 6D and 40mm F2.8 isn't radically different from the A7 with the 35mm F2.8, either. So if you were thinking of buying a smallish full frame camera with a prime in the 35-40mm range, it makes perfect sense to consider how the Canon 40mm compares to the Sony 35mm. Obviously the A7 is a lot smaller than any SLR, but that's only ever part of the equation.

[EDIT] I do agree that it makes less sense to use adapted EF lenses on the A7.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

To compare a non FE lens to this one, one needs a good adapter to use it on the same sensor. What we see is a body-lens performance.

0 upvotes
radissimo

f1.4 in the 4/3 terms ,sharp from wide open and small! wow

3 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

and f/0.5 in P&S terms!

5 upvotes
Petka

Wow! f/0.2 in smartphone terms. Quite a lens!

10 upvotes
Just a Photographer

Could have been f1.4 at 35mm...
But Sony and Zeiss know that all those Sony lovers don't care anyway - so they rip you off with a f2.8 lens for the same price you could have bought a 35mm f1.4 lens and 50mm f1.4 lens instead.

Quite a good Jedi mind trick from Sony I must say.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
rhlpetrus

I think the f/1.4 at m43 equiv comment is proper. The A7/r are quite small cameras, ML, good prices, and for many real competitors to the OM1 or any premium crop ML. Sony need to get the AF and a few other issues resolved, plus some more lenses and the system will be a real alternative to dslrs (and I'm a dslr user/Nikon). But it's quite pricey, even though one does not buy lenses everyday.

1 upvote
Just a Photographer

No its not rhlpetrus.

You should compare 35mm sensors with 35mm sensors, not with other sensor sizes. This comparison is like apples with pears.

Just because the A7 is in a small mirorless box doesn't mean its the same as a 4/3 mirrorless box or with a Nex 6 or Nex 7.

The conclussion is wrong because those 4/3 systems and e.g. the NEX series also have different smaller lensmounts and therewith lenses with smaller image circles and even smaller lenses then the A7 needs.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
TrojMacReady

I looked long and hard for an AF ~17.5mm f/1.4 lens for µ4/3 that is smaller and couldn't find one. But I'm sure you can point to one to support that claim.

1 upvote
Just a Photographer

In fact I can - Just take a look at the Fujinon lenses.
Not 4/3 but its APS-C sized.

They are all f1.4 and their smallest is 14mm.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
TrojMacReady

In fact you can't, since you fail to mention a single µ4/3 lens within those relevant specs, which you did mention in your initial claim.

Instead you come with Fujinon lenses that are irrelevant (different equiv. FL) except one: the 23mm f/1.4. Which would translate to about f/2.1 equiv. aperture and it's 2.4 times the volume (2.5 times the weight too) of the FE 35mm, being both wider in diameter and quite a bit longer. Not smaller by any stretch of the word.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Just a Photographer

@TroyMacready do you always comment your own answers with +1?

Still it has a wider aperture then this Zeiss lens.
Anyway you can't please a Sony lover more then trolling them ;)

0 upvotes
DrugaRunda

How much larger is this combo comparing to RX1 as the price is about the same for A7r + this 35mm.

1 upvote
Revenant

http://camerasize.com/compact/#488.394,468,ha,t

2 upvotes
KL Matt

Too bad this 35 isn't also f/2 like the RX1. It's about the same size lens housing, you'd think they could have given people the extra stop at this price.

0 upvotes
RobertSigmund

An overpriced piece of glass. There are better and cheaper alternatives (Sigma and Canon are mentioned), just not for Sony E mount!

7 upvotes
NektonFi

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/12/sony-a7r-a-rising-tide-lifts-all-the-boats

"Just in case you missed that, the Sony A7R with 35mm f/2.8 lens shot at f/2.8 outresolved the Nikon D800e with either the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G shot at f/4 or the Zeiss 50mm f/2 shot at f/5.6. Stopped down to f/4 to even the playing field, the Sony was clearly higher. In fact, the only lens-camera combinations we’ve seen with that kind of MTF50 is the Zeiss Otus 55mm mounted to a D800e."

24 upvotes
balios

This Sony looks like a great lens, but if you're shooting Canon or Nikon, then the Sigma is just as sharp (if not sharper) and is F1.4.

1 upvote
NektonFi

Yes, the Sigma 35mm 1.4 is a great albeit a heavy lens. Different tools.

7 upvotes
Rbrt

The Sigma is in the same price range - at least here in Canada.

0 upvotes
Plastek

Sony sells it's A7(r) relatively cheaply, so no wonder that the lenses are super-expensive. How do you expect them to earn money? Full Frame E-mount isn't a system for people who want to build a collection of lenses. It's for those who like high-tech (let me quote Sony manager: ) "wow"-effect bodies.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
balios

Whether its a different tool depends on the user, which I'm sure is the reason you compared to a Nikon 35/1.4G on a D800e.

1 upvote
Cane

So unless it's the best lens at the cheapest price.....

0 upvotes
topstuff

No idea what RobertSigmund is on about. His comprehension is clearly suffering, perhaps influenced by his prejudice. Empirical data points to the opposite conclusion - the Sony appears to perform better than practically any alternative.

4 upvotes
Rocker44

Sharpest wide-angle lens under a grand?
Good for the landscapers with the smaller A7/r body.

3 upvotes
sportyaccordy

A little too tele for landscape work. But I am sure Sony has a real deal wide angle coming

0 upvotes
Bervilat

Seems awesome for a portable landscape camera if you are willing to stitch panoramas. I would be happy with it.

1 upvote
Richt2000

@sportyaccordy
Rubbish. I have taken award winning landscapes at 300mm!

Landscape doesn't mean ultra wide angle - it means photographs of the planet. Big or small.

9 upvotes
The Lotus Eater

@sportyaccordy @Bervilat

A good landscape composition does not necessarily require you to get the entire landscape in the frame!

0 upvotes
KL Matt

Razor-sharp wide open. Wow.

2 upvotes
sportyaccordy

Literally off the charts.

3 upvotes
Plastek

Literally it's not.
It begins to touch limits at F/4. Which isn't wide-open.

4 upvotes
Just a Photographer

For most Sony people F4 is already wide open.
Most often 5.6 or 6.4 is also wide open to them ;)

0 upvotes
alzurzin

This review is deja vu ! If readers were to go back in history to the Zeiss Contax G lenses, the 35 and 45, you may find almost exactly the same comments and results. The Z35 was a tad soft in the corners, and the Z45 was the most nearly-perfect lens ever designed. Methinks, the new Zeiss lenses are not much more than the old ones rebranded and repackaged. Not that this is a bad thing, for the lenses are superb. But, I do wonder why all Zeiss 35 lenses have the same, consistent qualities and weaknesses. And, why are we calling the new crop of lenses "Sony lenses", when they are designed and branded by Zeiss ? Why not call them Zeiss lenses ? The distinction is important: the Sony lens is from Minolta; the Zeiss is designed by Zeiss (but most likely manufactured in Japan by Cosina). As for the 2.8 stop, it's irrelevant given the smaller stop is adequately offset by higher ISO.

0 upvotes
alzurzin

Also,,, The days of super fast lenses are gone: it's better to have accurate lenses than inaccurate faster ones, when there are no appreciable IQ losses for ISO of 100 to 800.

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer

Sure Alzurzin, and I'll bet you like to use flash too and disregard the thin DOF you can get with large aperture lenses.

Unfortunately you can't with those Sony A7 lenses. At least not those short - dreamy - DOF's that people really like.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TJer

I see a lot of people making comparisons with the Sigma product but what about something closer to the FE's own "pedigree", the Carl Zeiss Planar Touit 1.8/32 Sony E. I realize they are only similar and not exact but if you look at the Dxo test results and even their pricing, while using an equivalent camera mount, NEX-7, for the actual tests, I'm sure you'll agree that the test results are pretty close to being right on the money. Hard to agree with the arguments against Sony/Zeiss, the overpricing, taking advantage of their captive audience, etc. when it would appear the same kind of quality option is very similar in many respects. Am I off base in my understanding of what I'm looking at? I have the 35mm FE and really enjoy it on both my A7r and my NEX-6!

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater

"Unfortunately you can't with those Sony A7 lenses. At least not those short - dreamy - DOF's that people really like."

Sure, I guess some people need ultra-thin DOF to disguise their sh*tty compositions.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 350
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