Review Sony EF 35mm F1.8

The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 has everything needed to become a popular lens. It’s not too big, not too heavy and yet nice and bright. Of the three 35mm lenses that Sony now offers, the FE 35mm F1.8 is also the cheapest.

Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS Sony FE 35mm F1.8:

PROS

CONS

  • Good image quality
  • Compact

  • Bright

  • Programmable button

  • AF/MF switch

  • Corner sharpness at full aperture not optimal

  • Sometimes some purple edges when shooting with high contrast

The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 offers a good compromise between brightness, dimensions and price.

The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 is a lens that many Sony users have been wanting for a long time. Sony already had a bright Distagon T* FE 35mm F1.4 ZA and a compact Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA. Both are Zeiss designs and relatively expensive. The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 offers Sony much better brightness than the 35 mm F2.8 and a more handy size than the 35 mm F1.4. And it’s also cheaper than both.

It is therefore not surprising to assume that the Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 will become a very popular lens. It is at any rate a popular focal point for street and documentary photography. The great thing about a 35 mm is that you only get a bit more distortion. That’s because it’s a wide angle but a very moderate one. When you photograph people in their environment, they still look very natural.

The relatively high brightness of F1.8 of the Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 will be sufficient for many photographers and ensures that you can shoot in low light with this lens. The difference is only two-thirds of a stop compared to the much larger and more expensive F1.4 Sonnar. At full aperture, you can also use F1.8 to isolate your subject nicely from a blurred background. If you combine the Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 with the Sony FE 85 mm F1.8 for portraits, you have a set of two lenses with which you can handle a multitude of subjects.

BUILD 

The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 is not a heavyweight. Nevertheless, it feels very solid. The lens has a wide, metal focusing ring that turns very smoothly. It also has an AF-lock button and a switch to change from autofocus to manual focus.  The Focus Hold button can also be programmed. The lens has a nine-bladed diaphragm. The lens is weather-resistant and has gaskets in the lens and an additional gasket on the mount. It does not have image stabilization.

FOCUSING

The autofocus of the Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 is fast and accurate. Manual focusing is almost linear, and that’s very nice. It actually makes manual focusing much easier than with older Sony lenses where it made a lot of difference how quickly or slowly you turned the focus ring. Linear manual focusing is also a great advantage if you want to film with this lens. It ensures that you can make reasonably good focus pulls with the Sony FE 35 mm F1.8. The shortest setting distance is about 22 cm, and the largest magnification is 0.24x. That’s not as good as, for example, the Tamron 35mm F2.8 FE, which goes up to 0.5x, but it’s quite reasonable for a wide-angle lens.

IMAGE QUALITY

The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 has a high center sharpness at full aperture. The corners lag a little behind. Also, the contrast at full aperture is not optimal, although we certainly do not want to call it soft. The images already look good at full aperture. Stopping down a bit to F2, the contrast is already optimal, and if you stop down a bit further, the corners also get better and better. At F5.6 and F8, the lens reaches the highest sharpness and decreases slightly from F11. Overall, the Sony performs well, although it does not reach the extreme sharpness of, for example, the new Sigma 35mm F1.2 Art.

Top row: center sharpness (left) and corner sharpness (right) at full aperture. Bottom row same, but then at F5.6. 

Of course, a Sony lens makes optimal use of the lens corrections that are available on the Sony cameras. Distortion is therefore minimal and not a problem with this 35mm.  Vignetting is also already corrected quite well in the camera, and, even at full aperture, you see little of it.

Sensitivity to backlighting is also fairly low, although it is recommended to use the supplied lens hood. Sometimes you can see a green spot with the sun in frame. Actually, the only downside we could find during the test period is that the Sony is not completely free of chromatic aberrations. If you shoot trees against a light sky, the branches in the corners can sometimes get a purple edge.

Sometimes some color flaws occur at high-contrast transitions.
 

Sony FE 35mm F1.8

 specifications
  
field of view (diag)63°
sensor formatfull frame
min. setting distance22 cm
filter diameter55mm
diaphragm blades9
image stabilizernone
dimensions (dxl)66×73 mm
weight280 gr
mountSony FE
particularsProgrammable button
importerwww.sony.nl
list price€ 700.00
  
resolution8
contrast8
chromatic aberration7
distortion4
vignetting4
autofocus4.5
flare4
finish8
  
final score8

ConclusiON: REVIEW Sony FE 35mm F1.8 oN Sony A7R III

The Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 is an attractive and versatile lens if you like fixed focal lengths.

If you like shooting with fixed focal points, then the Sony FE 35 mm F1.8 is really a lens that should be high on your list. It’s reasonably bright and yet nice and light and compact, so you’ll love to take it with you. It is optically better than, for example, the compact Sony FE 28mm F2.0, and it’s weatherproof. Although the price is lower than that of the other two 35mm lenses from Sony, it’s still hefty. Nevertheless, we don’t find it unreasonable given the good optical quality, the solid construction and the additional operating possibilities.