85mm Dilemma

Started Apr 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
nemist Regular Member • Posts: 381
Re: 85mm Dilemma

I own/ed a Sigma 85 and Minolta 85 1.4. I haven't shot the CZ 85, but I owned the 135 1.8 for a long while, so I have a feel for all the AF 85s. I haven't shot the Samyang, but while I considered buying some of these other 85s, I shot my Minolta in MF.

I have looked back and marveled at how sharp and the generally pleasing quality of the Sony 85 2.8. It's extremely sharp, has great tonality and wonderful bokeh right from 2.8, and it's small and cheap! It struggles with high contrast areas though. AF is only ok. Build is plastic, but I really don't care. But the little secret about this lens is the minimal focus distance is shorter than all these other 85s, which gives you a little more latitude when shooting, and as you get closer, more things are thrown out of focus, even at 2.8--same principle as a macro lens. However, if I were shooting this lens on APSC, I wouldn't bother, not enough DOF control.

The Minolta and Sigma's share their own range--I like the Sigma more. By quite a bit. I shot the Minolta as my only 85 for a some time, and got some good photos. It's lacks as much pop as the Sigma because is not as sharp. The Sigma is sharp right at 1.4. Stopped down a little it is devastatingly sharp. And it's not just sharp, the contrast is very snappy. Makes for POP. Plus the AF is faster and quieter than the Minolta. And I have 4 years left of manufacture warranty. What do I do when my Minolta breaks--its make in 1984 or something...

Lastly, even though I occasionally shoot at 1.4, I nearly always shoot at around 2-2.8. Something to consider. And if it's between just the Sony 2.8 and Samyang, I would go the Sony. But then again, I was trying to focus on FF OVF--not nearly as reasonable as focus peaking (A99!).

The CZ is great but cost a bit much in my opinion for no silent AF, no quick AF, no weather sealing, and no internal focus. But quite sharp across the frame and the micro contrast of the Zeiss lenses is spectacular. It's optically different, but for a portrait lens I just want lots of central sharpness.

Hope this helps.

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