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Steve Huff - Zony 35 1.4 is best 35mm ever

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by fractal, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    Steve Huff joins the chorus on this lens. Lloyd Chambers (who's never shy to take shots at Sony) recently called it "close to perfection" and the lens that makes the A7 series.

    http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2015/...-distagon-fe-lens-review-best-35mm-lens-ever/

    Yep. I said it. The spoiler. This is the best full frame 35mm lens I have ever used in my life. But remember, I only review items I love and adore, so if there is something out there I have not reviewed it is because I am not a fan of it, plain and simple. Before anyone says “you like everything you review” – well, YES this is true as I have said over 1,000 times here. If this lens was a dog it would not have been reviewed. So what you see me review on these pages is all gear that I love and adore because if it sucks, it is not worth my time, my 40-60 hours that it takes to do a review like this. With that said, this lens is indeed the best 35 OPTICALLY I have ever used.
     
  2. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    Sony Otus:)

     
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I have to take this with a huge grain of salt. I'm sure the lens is phenomenal, but how many times can Steve find a new lens is the best ever before those words start to lose meaning?

    I mean, even just looking at his 35mm Leica lens reviews:

    Leica 35mm f/1.4 ASPH: "Mark my words! I will never give up my 35 Lux! "

    Leica 35mm f/2: "The bottom line is I sold my Summilux and bought this Summicron! I feel that it is the perfect lens for the M9 and if I were to recommend a one-lens kit for the beautiful M9, it would be this lens. It simply delivers in every area."

    Leica 35mm f/1.4 ASPH II: "You only live once and this is about as good as it gets for a 35mm lens. I could EASILY be happy with this as my ONLY lens for my M, and probably will be. No, I can not afford it but I am finding a way to fund it because I know I can be 100% happy with this lens on digital AND film."

    I'm sure the Sony is fantastic, but I suspect all this "best ever" talk is about converting affiliate sales. Either that or Steve has a real knack for saving the best for last, time and time again.
     
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  4. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    Steve's not the only one. As I mentioned, Lloyd Chambers calls it near perfect. The samples from this lens speak for themselves. I have serious envy.
     
  5. Lisandra

    Lisandra TalkEmount Veteran

    216
    Jan 28, 2015
    I agree, steve says that a lot. Now that its out we can resume the discussion, and i still think its not as wonderful as the net says.

    Consider this... the sigma 35mm 1.4 art (yes sigma again) manages to be the same size with adapter and all, which only speaks on the ridiculousness of the size of this lens, lighter, and MUCH cheaper.

    DSC09884_zpsojcsuxpe.


    "oh but the performance"...well the performance is not better on the zeiss either. While some argue the center is sharper, I dont think it is, it just has more contrast and has the appearance of more sharpness. The edges on the other hand are noticeably sharper on the sigma, and the corners its a no contest. Its a bad buy to me...
     

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  6. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    These are my reasons for going the Sony Zeiss route rather than adapted Sigma, Nikon or Canon. Again my tastes are subjective to my needs and wants. But I hope I'm relatively fair and honest in my assessment.

    Simply put, in my opinion, the optical performance of the Sony Zeiss is better relative to any 35mm lens I've tried yet. It's the closest to being a wide angle Otus.

    At the focus distances that I tend to shoot, the corners are sharper on the Zeiss, centre is sharper, bokeh is smoother with a more linear fall off compared to anything including the Sigma Art.
    Whether this justifies another 600 over the Sigma is something you need to answer for yourself and look at whether you can afford it or not. I cannot afford a Zeiss Otus - I'd love one and have shot one once - but I would not compare it to a Canon / Nikon 50mm 1.2/1.4 and declare it to be a bad choice because it's larger. That extra step-up in IQ, sharpness, contrast etc... requires glass and that costs money to R&D and produce. From a cost/benefit perspective I cannot justify an Otus. Improvements in optical quality rarely go linearly with price.

    When I looked at fast 35mm options ....

    Nikon Nikkor 35mm 1.4G : 100 dollars cheaper where I'm from. Not as sharp. Contrast not as nice. Adapted to the Sony A7x range, SLOW AF, you lose out on dust/moisture resistance on account of the adapter and the adapter adds bulk if you care about such things when the lens is already large. Total weight of adapter + lens is heavier than the Zeiss. No aperture ring. Not as good for video. Plastic lens body. Optically not as good as Zeiss. Still an excellent lens. Close focus is not as good whether the lens is mounted to a Nikon D810 or adapted to the A7x range. Nikons 35mm has a 1.7Tstop value.

    Canon 35mm 1.4L : (copy and paste from Nikon - same result). Again the Zeiss is optically superior. Canon has a transmission rating of 1.6Tstop.

    Before I start on the Sigma Art 35mm. Know that I think it's still an excellent lens - particularly for the money. However the Sigma Art 35mm with LAEA4 adapter does not have across the frame focusing. Nor does it have dust or moisture resistance on account of the adapter. Optically it's excellent but the Zeiss has moved it to another level above in terms of contrast and sharpness. If you forget the LAEA4 adapter and go with an EOS adapter you have SLOW focus. If you try adapting a Canon or Nikon variant via metabones then for all intents and purposes you loose out on things like continuous AF etc... Again Sigma do not provide an aperture ring, never mind a clickless one. The lens is heavier when adapted on the A7x range! Not as good for video or hyrbid stills/video work. Has a transmission rating of 1.7TStop.

    This lens launch reminds me of the Nocticron lens launch over at mu-43. The same arguments were made about the Nocticron when it was launched. Same comments were made about Steve Huff too over at mu-43. People balked at the price and nit picked the size in isolation to the other advantages that the Nocticron held over the Olympus 45 (an excellent and relatively cheap optic).

    Comparing on size / pricing metrics alone is silly if you are considering a fast 35mm 1.4 lens. Autofocusing high quality 35mm F1.4 lenses for full frame are large. Such lenses are niche products typically bought for wide angle portraiture and low light work /video. The Sigma cannot and does not compete with the Zeiss in terms of outright AF speed on an A7x body, build quality, versatility in video, aperture ring, and subjectively to my eyes does not perform as good optically. If you cannot afford the Zeiss, then the Sigma is a great option. If you don't need the Zeiss' capabilities or like the rendering then you should not buy it. Vote with your wallet, but it does not make the Distagon a bad buy for the reasons I've made above.
    Just my 0.02.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
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  7. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    It seems weird to me that people are so excited about this lens? If wide open bokehmadness is what you want, are you not better off with the 55mm?

    Conversely, if the 55mm is too tight and you want to fit more in the frame, don't you want to be able to see it in focus?

    I think almost all the photos in that Steve Huff review would have been better if he used the 55mm.
     
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  8. metalmania

    metalmania TalkEmount Regular

    123
    Dec 3, 2014
    USA
    With such a big lens on A7, I would rather using 6D with Sigma 35/1.4. The Sigma lens is the reason I still keep my 6D.
     
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Here's what Lloyd Chambers had to say about the Sony Zeiss FE 35/2.8 when it came out (bold added for emphasis):

    Here's what Lloyd Chambers had to say about the Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 when that came out (bold added for emphasis):

    Like Steve, Lloyd follows up these comments about how a lens is the best ever by posting affiliate links to B&H where he makes a few bucks for everyone who is persuaded to buy said lens.

    Again, I don't have any doubt that the new Zeiss is superb.
     
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  10. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Folks seem to take Mr. Huff to task a lot for saying every new thing is the "best ever", and it is true: he is generally pretty bubbly in his reviews. Couple of things, though:

    1: He doesn't say "Best Ever" every single time. (Maybe every other time or every third time?)
    2: Gear does keep improving (with the occasional 2 steps backwards)

    I am intrigued by this 35/1.4 but it is a bit of a niche. If I were doing pro photo assignments, I would look in to it. For more casual use (having the camera on my person just in case, while I'm doing other stuff) and for landscapes, I'm pleased as punch with the 2.8. If you get in nice and close (as I'm actually more apt to do without some gaudy zoom-sized optic) 2.8 can get decent subject isolation.
     
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  11. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
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  12. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Steve Huff does get a 'little' excited when he enjoys something. That being said, he does a number of things that I really like.
    He doesn't shoot charts or lines on a wall. He shoots in lots of interesting situations - low light, day light, indoors etc... More importantly for me, he allows end users submit their own reviews and images so you can see if their opinions and shooting envelopes align with your own. If you are on the fence for this lens, waiting for such user reviews on stevehuff.com is a good option, or at the very least rent one! I've put my opinion in the other thread and some thoughts here - but I'm only one person. Others (such as the very talanted Lisandra) has already mentioned that output isn't her cup of tea :) Rent one. Try one first hand. Judge with your own eyes what is best for you.
     
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  13. DigitalD

    DigitalD TalkEmount Veteran

    352
    Mar 2, 2014
    Miami
    David K Fonseca
    Maybe its the "best-ever" when it comes to native 35mm lenses for the Sony E Mount? :p I also have some envy for this lens but its size, at least for now, pushes me away. At least my wallet thanks me for that :p
     
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  14. Lisandra

    Lisandra TalkEmount Veteran

    216
    Jan 28, 2015
    Sorry to insist, but no, the sigma is noticeably sharper anywhere thats not the center.
     
  15. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    We just disagree and have different opinions lissandra, that's all :).
    It will be good for prospective buyers of either to hear from owners of either/both.
    I haven't seen any examples that make me think the Sigma is overall sharper and certainly its less contrasty wide open to my eyes. Looking at examples on the forum here and elsewhere I stand by my opinions on sharpness, color, contrast and pop.
    So we will just have to agree to disagree.
    One major disadvantage for me of the sigma is that the sigma has a t stop rating of 1.7 - so with an laea4 adapter and the obligatory 1/3 stop light loss, you are likely going to have an effective transmission speed of Tstop 2.0 wide open on an a7 body. Something to consider if you are thinking about low light work. In transmission speed terms that's only 1 stop faster than the 35 2.8 with a Tstop rating of 2.8.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
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  16. Lurch

    Lurch TalkEmount Regular

    42
    Apr 5, 2015
    Canberra, Australia
    Jason
    Steve certainly does get a little excited.
    BUT... did make me want to go out and get a second mortgage just for this lens!
     
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  17. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Sample variations maybe?
     
  18. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Possible but i doubt that it deviates from the norm distribution of quality control or that Sony still have the issues that they had with earlier runs off the 24-70.
    Every reviewer I've seen has explicitly commented on the sharpness of the lens. Very few people on the usual lens haunts are complaining that sharpness and contrast are anything less than excellent.
    Perhaps we are looking at images taken at differing focus distances as different lens have differing performance characteristics when you start shooting them outside of their optimum focus distances.
     
  19. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
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  20. Lisandra

    Lisandra TalkEmount Veteran

    216
    Jan 28, 2015
    And therein lies my problem with "real world" reviews...theyre not real reviews, theyre just a bunch of photos with an opinion. Sure you could still prefer the zeiss and i have no problem with that, but you cant look at random photos of different subjects edited to taste and determine from that which is sharper, has better color or is a better lens in general. That requires a proper test, or at least try to shoot within the same parameters as much as possible. Poor reviews like the ones huff does are why people are so loose with terms they dont understand. Terms like "3d pop" or my personal favorite "microcontrast". Is microcontrast real? yes it is. Do 95% of the people that use the term know what it is? no. Thats gonna include mr huff and puff.
    But this isnt my first time around, and i know this is a never-ending discussion, so her are some shots

    sigma center
    Sigma%20Center_zpslygbrkwp.

    zeiss center
    Sony%20Center_zpskuu5lzgd.

    sigma corner (far corner)
    Sigma%20Extreme_zpsqcpuj2g0.

    zeiss corner far

    Sony%20Extreme_zpsyk9jawkb.

    look at the first 0 in the 100% text under walgreens, while theres little to no difference in the centers, apart from the contrast, the far borders on the zeiss are gone compared to the art. If you actually cant see the difference, then think about this: The zeiss costs 600$ more...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
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