Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

Started Aug 6, 2016 | User reviews
abracadabenhotmailfr Contributing Member • Posts: 802
Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

ok so I brought the lens back home and tried it on AF-C. after 10mins I could not believe it was that bad. I thought either I had a lemon or something was wrong.
Focusing was really bad, breathing a lot, unable to acquire focus reliably on 60% shots out of focus. Impossible to acquire eye focus on A7Rii

I was ready to return it.

Then, I checked my A7Rii firmware version (2.0) and went for a quick upgrade.

Tried the lens again and it was night and day. The focus was way faster, super accurate. No more focus breathing. no more bothering sound.

I LOVE THAT LENS.

Been shooting a lot with canon 85 1.2L Mii which is 1 of 2 lenses I missed from my cannon days (with the 70-200 2.8L IS Mii).

Im pretty confident in saying that the Sony lenses at least matches the canon. I do find the focus a lot better and faster. I can't compare rendering side by side but I can say it has the same WOW effect to me. I find it a little sharper (but could also be the A7Rii MP> to 5fMkiii).
Its also lighter than the canon 85L.

The manual focus is a dream on the A7 combo with focus peaking and zoom and the focus lock button on the lens.

I really wanted the batis for the size but PQ of the GM is just outstanding. It will definitely become a reference along with the canon and zeiss Otus (which I never tried but seems to live its reputation)

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM
Telephoto prime lens • Sony FE
Announced: Feb 3, 2016
abracadabenhotmailfr's score
5.0
Average community score
4.3
Sony a7 Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM
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SilvanBromide Senior Member • Posts: 4,653
Re: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

abracadabenhotmailfr wrote:

ok so I brought the lens back home and tried it on AF-C. after 10mins I could not believe it was that bad. I thought either I had a lemon or something was wrong.
Focusing was really bad, breathing a lot, unable to acquire focus reliably on 60% shots out of focus. Impossible to acquire eye focus on A7Rii

I was ready to return it.

Then, I checked my A7Rii firmware version (2.0) and went for a quick upgrade.

Tried the lens again and it was night and day. The focus was way faster, super accurate. No more focus breathing. no more bothering sound.

I LOVE THAT LENS.

Been shooting a lot with canon 85 1.2L Mii which is 1 of 2 lenses I missed from my cannon days (with the 70-200 2.8L IS Mii).

Im pretty confident in saying that the Sony lenses at least matches the canon. I do find the focus a lot better and faster. I can't compare rendering side by side but I can say it has the same WOW effect to me. I find it a little sharper (but could also be the A7Rii MP> to 5fMkiii).
Its also lighter than the canon 85L.

The manual focus is a dream on the A7 combo with focus peaking and zoom and the focus lock button on the lens.

I really wanted the batis for the size but PQ of the GM is just outstanding. It will definitely become a reference along with the canon and zeiss Otus (which I never tried but seems to live its reputation)

Interesting observations about the differences before and after you upgraded firmware. It's my understanding that firmware version 3.1 for the a7Rii was specifically released to include support for the new GM lenses, so it does make sense that the lens did not perform as intended with firmware v2.0.

Meanwhile, good to hear that once the firmware issues were addressed, you are loving the lens. I've been similarly impressed with my copy, and would rate it as the equal of any lens I've had the privilege to shoot, over a number of decades.

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Former Canon, Nikon and Pentax user.
DPR Gallery: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4331313816

 SilvanBromide's gear list:SilvanBromide's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 35mm F1.4 Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 12-24mm F4 Sony a7 III +25 more
sumofallfears Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

SilvanBromide wrote:

abracadabenhotmailfr wrote:

ok so I brought the lens back home and tried it on AF-C. after 10mins I could not believe it was that bad. I thought either I had a lemon or something was wrong.
Focusing was really bad, breathing a lot, unable to acquire focus reliably on 60% shots out of focus. Impossible to acquire eye focus on A7Rii

I was ready to return it.

Then, I checked my A7Rii firmware version (2.0) and went for a quick upgrade.

Tried the lens again and it was night and day. The focus was way faster, super accurate. No more focus breathing. no more bothering sound.

I LOVE THAT LENS.

Been shooting a lot with canon 85 1.2L Mii which is 1 of 2 lenses I missed from my cannon days (with the 70-200 2.8L IS Mii).

Im pretty confident in saying that the Sony lenses at least matches the canon. I do find the focus a lot better and faster. I can't compare rendering side by side but I can say it has the same WOW effect to me. I find it a little sharper (but could also be the A7Rii MP> to 5fMkiii).
Its also lighter than the canon 85L.

The manual focus is a dream on the A7 combo with focus peaking and zoom and the focus lock button on the lens.

I really wanted the batis for the size but PQ of the GM is just outstanding. It will definitely become a reference along with the canon and zeiss Otus (which I never tried but seems to live its reputation)

Interesting observations about the differences before and after you upgraded firmware. It's my understanding that firmware version 3.1 for the a7Rii was specifically released to include support for the new GM lenses, so it does make sense that the lens did not perform as intended with firmware v2.0.

Meanwhile, good to hear that once the firmware issues were addressed, you are loving the lens. I've been similarly impressed with my copy, and would rate it as the equal of any lens I've had the privilege to shoot, over a number of decades.

The GM 85mm sucks when used on the 3.10 firmware with a7rII, you have to upgrade to 3.20

 sumofallfears's gear list:sumofallfears's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony a6500 Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 +1 more
SilvanBromide Senior Member • Posts: 4,653
Re: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

sumofallfears wrote:

The GM 85mm sucks when used on the 3.10 firmware with a7rII, you have to upgrade to 3.20

Interesting, but that wasn't my experience. I had firmware 3.10 when I first acquired the 8f1/4 GM and it worked fine. I've since updated the firmware to 3.20 and didn't notice any change in the way the lens performs.

Also Sony's firmware release notes mention adding support for GM lenses in firmware rev 3.10, whereas they indicate that the only change in 3.20 was addition of support for recording video to SDHC media.

Curious to know what specific lens performance changes you observed between firmware 3.10 and 3.20?

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Former Canon, Nikon and Pentax user.
DPR Gallery: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4331313816

 SilvanBromide's gear list:SilvanBromide's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 35mm F1.4 Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 12-24mm F4 Sony a7 III +25 more
Jeff2013
Jeff2013 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

abracadabenhotmailfr wrote:

Been shooting a lot with canon 85 1.2L Mii which is 1 of 2 lenses I missed from my cannon days (with the 70-200 2.8L IS Mii).

Im pretty confident in saying that the Sony lenses at least matches the canon. I do find the focus a lot better and faster. I can't compare rendering side by side but I can say it has the same WOW effect to me. I find it a little sharper (but could also be the A7Rii MP> to 5fMkiii).
Its also lighter than the canon 85L.

When I received my GM 85, I immediately tested it against my beloved Canon 85mm f1.2.  At f1.4, the central sharpness was very similar when viewing 100% crops on a 5K monitor.  The real difference was off-center, or mid-frame, where the Sony killed the Canon (if you look at the field sharpness graphs on DXO, they demonstrate exactly what I was seeing).  Of course, when shooting portraits, I rarely frame the eyes in the center of the frame, so the GM has a huge advantage, for the way I shoot.

I previously thought that they would be placing the 85mm f1.2 in my casket when I pass, but after shooting the GM, I just couldn't go back to shooting it, so I sold it.   

Now, I am nervous.  I absolutely love my Canon 70-200mm f2.8 II... and the new GM 70-200 is now shipping.  

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Sony a7R IV Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016) Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 +9 more
OP abracadabenhotmailfr Contributing Member • Posts: 802
Re: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2

sharpness is definitely excellent across the frame but the canon wasn't too bad either (though I agree it was softer off center below f2 in comparison.

I have to say I think the build on the canon was better with metal outside too. but its heavier too lol.

OP abracadabenhotmailfr Contributing Member • Posts: 802
EDIT: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2
5

ok, I didn't find how to edit the original post so here are a few afterthoughts:

1) the build is great, but all plastic outside. Others like the canon 85L or the zeiss feel a little more sturdy with metal outside. BUT the Sony is substantially lighter so all in all I prefer the sony.

2) I really, really, really thought 20 times about why I didn't get the batis which would be more convenient for travel IMO. BUT, every time I went back to my C1pro 9 to open the shots, I was really loving the look they have. every time. bokeh, sharpness, contrast, color.... Just outstanding. Ive been shooting it 99% of the time at 1.4 though.

The eye focus of the a7rii and the GM at 1.4 is killer. its so easy to acquire focus for portraits... which is what you'd use the lens for most of the time.

Killer combo.

So yes the lens is bulky and thats the only real thing I can reproach to it. but the PQ outweighs the size IMO.

If I want to travel light Ill just carry my 55 1.8 (which I love too)

I have to say that I have been very pleased and surprised with how Sony managed to become on of the leader of serious amateurs, semi-pro (which is where I fit) and part of pro market.

They have been leading technology on bodies and now they come out with these lenses. Not to mention their flashes.
I had been shooting canon and nikon for years and switched to sony and got one of the very first A7R shipped. Then upgraded to A7Rii and never looked back.

thumbs up Sony, continue! and thanks for listening to your users too

Felipe Rodríguez
Felipe Rodríguez Veteran Member • Posts: 3,300
Re: EDIT: Awesome BUT make sure you run 3.2
1

abracadabenhotmailfr wrote:

ok, I didn't find how to edit the original post so here are a few afterthoughts:

1) the build is great, but all plastic outside. Others like the canon 85L or the zeiss feel a little more sturdy with metal outside. BUT the Sony is substantially lighter so all in all I prefer the sony.

2) I really, really, really thought 20 times about why I didn't get the batis which would be more convenient for travel IMO. BUT, every time I went back to my C1pro 9 to open the shots, I was really loving the look they have. every time. bokeh, sharpness, contrast, color.... Just outstanding. Ive been shooting it 99% of the time at 1.4 though.

The eye focus of the a7rii and the GM at 1.4 is killer. its so easy to acquire focus for portraits... which is what you'd use the lens for most of the time.

Killer combo.

So yes the lens is bulky and thats the only real thing I can reproach to it. but the PQ outweighs the size IMO.

If I want to travel light Ill just carry my 55 1.8 (which I love too)

I have to say that I have been very pleased and surprised with how Sony managed to become on of the leader of serious amateurs, semi-pro (which is where I fit) and part of pro market.

They have been leading technology on bodies and now they come out with these lenses. Not to mention their flashes.
I had been shooting canon and nikon for years and switched to sony and got one of the very first A7R shipped. Then upgraded to A7Rii and never looked back.

thumbs up Sony, continue! and thanks for listening to your users too

Hi

I've just bought a mint used 85 GM and, of course, I've been gathering around here all the info/experience about the lens I've been able to find.

It's funny how your photography experience fits mine: ex Canon (I also had the 85L lens) and Nikon shooter, kind of semipro (I have a too good daytime job that keeps me from jumping into a real pro career), now absolutely amazed by Sony gear.

I'm eager to receive the 85 GM and try it.

And I just dropped these lines to let you know there is a Spanish photographer with a very similar background than you.

Thanks for sharing your experience and best wishes!

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http://www.felipe-rodriguez.com
Bokeh
Dadme un mundo sin contornos,
Un espacio feliz que ignore los perfiles.
Concededme, sí, la dicha redonda
De flotar sin conciencia en el fondo
Desenfocado de mis fotografías.
Give me a world with no edges,
A happy space knowing nothing about outlines.
Grant me, please, the round joy
Of thoughtlessly floating on the blurred
Background of my photographs.

 Felipe Rodríguez's gear list:Felipe Rodríguez's gear list
Nikon Z7 Nikon PC-E Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art +12 more
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