Showcase Sony 35mm F1.4 Zeiss Distagon FE ZA

bargainguy

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Reading this discussion with interest. A few months ago, I was looking at the 35/1.4, as my only two native FE lenses were the 55/1.8 and 28/2. Wanted something faster than the 35/2.8 to throw a background if need be.

Loved the rendering of the 35/1.4, but it was too huge for me, and I had heard about QC problems. In the end, I went with an RX1R with 35/2 Sonnar. Absolutely enamored of that camera/lens combo and one of these days, I'll get around to doing what I intended to with it - street shooting in stealth mode, which wouldn't be so easy with the 35/1.4 on an a7xx body. Once I do, I'll post back.
 

addieleman

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Fashion show – f/2.8 · 1/200 s · ISO 1250 · EV comp. -1 · A7R2 – full res
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addieleman

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Wasn't the intended use, but this lens has served me extremely well in the past month for family snapshots in difficult circumstances, as in dimly-lit restaurants. Like others have said, the A7R2's Eye AF works a treat and makes this lens really shine. This is my wife, showing her as the friendly person she is.
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NickCyprus

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I'm looking to hear opinions from owners of this lens, especially for low light af accuracy and speed (please include camera body used).

I have the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 and even if I use it on my 1st gen A7 (which is a slow af camera body), I find the lens not painfully slow to acquire focus in very low light situations - basically looking to see if the 35mm f/1.4 is the same or better...
 

addieleman

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I'm looking to hear opinions from owners of this lens, especially for low light af accuracy and speed (please include camera body used).
Hey Nick, I just made a little video of the A7 with the FE 1.4/35 in fairly dim light. I played a bit more with it and I think the lens behaves well on the A7, even if it's not a speed monster. In my book Eye AF is virtually useless on the A7, only single-shot and not very eager to lock on an eye, but that may be my lack of experience; Eye AF on the A7R2 works way better in terms of locking-in to an eye and supporting AF-C. On the A7R2 I always have the impression that the FE 1.4/35 focusses a bit slower than the FE 2.8/35 which is really snappy; this is the first time actually I put the FE 1.4/35 on the A7 so not a lot of experience there. Can't compare it to the FE 1.8/55 because I must be one of the few people with a FF camera who never owned this lens. Anyway, try to judge for yourself from the video, I'd have no hesitation to use this lens on an A7.

 

NickCyprus

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Hey Nick, I just made a little video of the A7 with the FE 1.4/35 in fairly dim light. I played a bit more with it and I think the lens behaves well on the A7, even if it's not a speed monster. In my book Eye AF is virtually useless on the A7, only single-shot and not very eager to lock on an eye, but that may be my lack of experience; Eye AF on the A7R2 works way better in terms of locking-in to an eye and supporting AF-C. On the A7R2 I always have the impression that the FE 1.4/35 focusses a bit slower than the FE 2.8/35 which is really snappy; this is the first time actually I put the FE 1.4/35 on the A7 so not a lot of experience there. Can't compare it to the FE 1.8/55 because I must be one of the few people with a FF camera who never owned this lens. Anyway, try to judge for yourself from the video, I'd have no hesitation to use this lens on an A7.

Ad, wish I could rate your post with all options except "sad", "agree" and "funny!!! Thank you so much and thank you for taking the time for the test :2thumbs:

I see you mention Eye AF on the A7 - was not aware the original version had that :confused-69:

It seems to perform quite well indeed!

I don't actually need 1.4 (very narrow depth of field for the type of photography I want the lens anyway) but its always something nice to have :)

I need a wider angle af native lens that my 55mm and contemplating between a 35mm or a 24-70 zoom.
The other downside to the 35mm IMO is that its not very drastically different in FOV that the 55mm.

Decisions decisions...

Again, thank you very much for the post ;)
 

addieleman

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I see you mention Eye AF on the A7 - was not aware the original version had that :confused-69: It seems to perform quite well indeed!
Neither did I, until I checked the menus and discovered that I could assign Eye AF to a custom button. Maybe it has been added in a firmware update, my A7 is on V3.20, the latest I believe.
I don't actually need 1.4 (very narrow depth of field for the type of photography I want the lens anyway) but its always something nice to have :)

I need a wider angle af native lens than my 55mm and contemplating between a 35mm or a 24-70 zoom.
The other downside to the 35mm IMO is that its not very drastically different in FOV that the 55mm.

Decisions decisions...
Decisions indeed... I'll complicate the matter a little more. If you can live with f/2.8 (as you would have to anyway when going for a zoom lens), the FE 2.8/35 is also an option. I use the little 2.8/35 all the time and the 1.4/35 is for when I expect to encounter low-light conditions, and that choice is governed by the sheer bulk and weight of the 1.4 lens. It's so big that camera and lens barely fit in a ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag. Depends on the use case of course, if you carry a bag full of equipment to an event, it's not an issue and the 1.4 lens is a very powerful weapon for getting almost any shot.

For me a 50mm (I have the FE 1.8/50) is redundant when I carry a 35mm, I guess the same would be true for a 1.8/55. Having a 50mm only would be too restrictive for me. The flexibility of a 24-70mm zoom is wonderful and at f/2.8 for the GM lens you rarely will miss a faster aperture. At f/1.4 and 35mm depth of field is limited enough that it's difficult to get two people in focus but one person at 1m or so isn't a problem at all. Group shots at large apertures? Forget it, curvature of field will spoil it unless you know how to position the people to counter for it. Don't ask how I know. With our present-day sensitive cameras it's hard to run into circumstances where f/2.8 won't suffice.
Again, thank you very much for the post ;)
You're welcome, glad to offer some help.
 

WestOkid

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Thanks for the demo Ad.

Nick eye AF has been there since introduction. I used it but because you have to hold the assigned button and press the shutter, it isn't as effective as the A7r II. Sony didn't invent this feature (D800* have it too), they just have the best implementation since the A7r II so now they mention it.

Also - Nick I know you said you don't need 1.4 for DOF, but in the case of focusing, it's needed for light gathering. So even if you do want to shoot @ large aperture, you need a lens that has one. Turn off "settings effect " and the lens should focus wide open before stopping down to the desired aperture on the 55z. This is how DSLRs and most cameras work.

Note: because of focus breathing some lenses like the GMs and the change in focus algorithms of cameras like the A7r II, settings effect off won't work anymore. However, It should still work for the 55 original A7 combo.
 
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NickCyprus

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@addieleman and @WestOkid I just checked my A7 and its also on version 3.20 and in fact its there! Didn't see it hidden in the menu. Thanks!

Killer tips Gary! Thanks ;)
I've read about that behaviour before (from Ad :) ) but to be honest I've never tried it before at an event - will definately give it a go next time.
 

addieleman

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This lens sat in my storage bag way too long, so I decided to play around a little and get a feel again for the amount of background blur it can deliver. Full res

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f/2 – ISO 100 – 1/640 s – EV comp. -1 – MF on tripod

I was a bit surprised by the not-too-smooth bokeh in the background, clearly visible double lines show up in this crop (100 % viewing).
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Yohan

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I like the 35/1.4.
 

Amin Sabet

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Amin Sabet

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Amin Sabet

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I'm having a lot of fun with Eye AF :).

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Amin Sabet

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christilou

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