Sony FE 35mm F1.8 announced

Sony just announced the  35mm F1.8. We will preorder it and review it as soon as possible. Here is what information we have found so far.

Specifications

Diameter 66 mm
Length 73 mm
Filter Thread 55 mm
Weight 280 g
Max. Magnification 1:4
Close focusing distance 22 cm
Number of aperture blades 9, rounded
Elements/ Groups 11/9 – one aspherical element
You will be able to pre-order it soonish at amazon.com | B&H Photo for $748 and support the blog (affiliate links). The price in Germany will be 699€ and it should be available from August. 

Handling

Comes with AF/MF switch and configurable focus stop button.

Sony claims linear focus. Yay!

Hands-on images

dpreview.com

Sample Images

imaging-resource.com – 24 full resolution images mostly wide open

Sony.net – some are available in full resolution, heavily processed

Promo video with more bokeh samples

Images Quality

Bokeh

Out of focus highlights seem to be rendered with a smooth transition and some color fringing.

Cat’s eyes  are about average.

The transition zone appears

The first samples don’t tell us much. In the not that demanding scenario bokeh looks smooth without the stronger bokeh fringing of the FE 2/28.

One still-frame of the video shows busier corners at longer distances and also some LoCA in the model’s hair but it is a more challenging scenario.

Chromatic Aberration

I see quite a lot of of axial CA in samples.

Sharpness

The off-center eye of the model shot at f/1.8 looks very sharp. There are no samples yet to judge sharpness of the corners.

Sony’s MTF diagram looks very promising as well. Sharper in the center than the 1.8/85 with little astigmatism one only a little stronger falloff in the corners and certainly sharper than the FE 2/28.

Samples show rather strong coma wide open.

First Impressions

From the spec sheet two aspects stand out to me: The weight and the magnification. At 280g the Sony is 90g lighter than the competing Nikon Z lens and 20g lighter than the Canon RF lens. it is less than half the weight of Sony’s own ZA 1.4/35. While it doesn’t reach the 1:2 magnification of the Canon RF 1.8/35 macro a magnification of 1:4 is very respectable for a 35mm prime.

The samples available so far don’t make me excited since there seems to be quite a bit of CA and bad coma correction as I would expect from a lens of this speed and weight but on the other hand it is very light, sharpness looks good and bokeh mostly fine.

I was a bit surprised by the price in the US, usually we have to pay quite a bit more in the EU but the difference is smaller this time. The prices seems to be a bit steep but if no further weaknesses become appear it could be justified since a 1.8/35 covers a wide range of applications.

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I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

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13 thoughts on “Sony FE 35mm F1.8 announced”

  1. I think it’s quite overpriced for what it is, when you can buy Sigma 35 1.4 Art at $599. Only advantage of this Sony is compactness..

  2. Just bought the Zeiss 35 2.8 ! Nearly the same price, I’m wondering if I should regret or not… Sharpness of the Zeiss is great but sometimes I would be happy to have a bit more (less) depth of field

  3. Of course many of us will be interested in your comprehensive comparison of the new Sony 35 with the equally new Samyang and Sigma 45mm lenses as candidates for relatively compact walk-around companions. Of course, also, many of us will have already purchased (and perhaps sold) one or more of those lenses before you have the time, energy, and opportunity to make such a comparison. In the mean time, your thoughts on one or more of the lenses will be greatly appreciated. 🙂 (I’m hoping that the Sigma will be good.)

    1. its available now!
      I’ve seen a comparison between the highly regarded Sonnar 2/35 from the RX1 and the new FE 1.8/35. Looks promising, as bokeh on the new FE seems smoother.
      So in terms of what people have been asking for, we’ve been served by sony.

  4. Hi there, New to the sony world (previously canon but just bought an a7iii) Street / landscape / night cityscapes are my usual areas and I was super excited to buy my first lens. I was looking at the 35mm f2.8 for street photography as its just so tiny but this 1.8 release is making me think that I should wait for a review from you guys. If I’m okay with the price, do people think this is likely to be a better option? Thanks so much,

    Odie

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