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Which fast 35...

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by mattia, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 13, 2013
    I'm slated to become a father for the first time in the fall, and I'm using it as an excuse to do a little bit of lens shopping.

    I absolutely love the look of a fast 35 on FF, and my current weapon of choice is the CV Nokton 35/1.2 II on a Hawks Factory helicoid to give it a little close focus. Love the look, love the bokeh, hate that it means I can't hand the camera to almost anyone else and expect a sharp photograph. And with the A7rIII, I now have a camera that should do great low light AF (unlike my original A7r which was pretty useless). My favorite AF fast 35 of years past was my Canon 35L, for the soft transition and smooth Bokeh.

    There are now 3 nice, big, heavy, native AF fast 35s. The Sony Distagon, Samyang, and now Sigma. All chunkier than my CV and a bit slower, but really about the same weight. The Sony is about twice the cost of the other two. But is it worth it?

    From what I've seen of the Sigma, it's bitingly sharp, but I don't particularly love the Bokeh if I'm honest. Bit nervous. And I'm a little hesitant on the Samyang, perhaps needlessly.

    Then there's the 'out there' option of an RX1R, though th slower AF and lack of IBIS (and high price for a slower lens) do put me off a little.

    Thoughts welcome.
  2. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    How about a TAP adapter? It will give your CV autofocus, and reduces MFD for the close focussing. You would certainly be able to hand the camera off to someone else as it is much like a native lens.

    It is expensive and I bought it 2nd hand, but I do have the Sony 35/2.8 which is a bit slower, but it is quite small and works great. With the improved low-light performance of the A7Riii maybe that is fast enough? I know some have the 3rd-party lenses you mentioned. They can be fine as well I am sure, and some here have 'em, but I think they are all quite a bit larger if that is important.

    There are always trade-offs.
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I recently went through this decision and decided to re-buy the Sony 35/1.4, a lens which I've owned in the past. I think it's very hard to beat for family photos, environmental portraits, and the like. On the other hand, it's not at all exceptional as a landscape lens. I think the Loxia and Sonnar both beat it for that.

    My decision to buy the Sony was mainly based on isolated reports of some copies of the Samyang and Sigma not focusing reliably, but it's hard to know whether those are real issues, user error, or bad copies. There are plenty of people who are happy with theirs, so there must be good copies out there. See this thread about the Samyang: Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AF E-mount for $549!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  4. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 22, 2012
    I've used the FE35/1.4 and it is great. It is just a bit too big for my personal taste.

    There is also a new Batis 40/2 coming out. Are you sure 35mm is what you want for baby portraits though? It seems much too wide to me, and you won't get much subject separation unless you're very close. For my two daughters, I found 55mm perfect. 35mm would not have been useful until they got a lot bigger and mobile (aged 2+) for me.
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  5. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Samyang might me the best deal, if you don't mind the size. Also you can consider Sony 28mm f2 for the size and fast af. I use tap af mostly with smaller rf lenses... RX1 images are magic, but no IS and slow af. You can use the Canon L 35mm with an adapter also. I have Canon 40mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.8 stm due to their size. I read that eye af works with the adaptors on the III series... Also the Batis 40mm f2 is coming... I prefer 40-50mm range more...
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  6. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 13, 2013
    Thanks for the feedback so far guys.

    I have (and love) the 55/1.8, so I'm good on that count. And I'm sure it will get plenty of use. The 35 is more for the environmental portraiture angle, so more mother and child shots than just child. I don't really click as well with 28mm though.

    I'd forgotten about the upcoming Batis 40/2.0 however; might be an interesting alternative, albeit likely not much cheaper than the Sony...
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  7. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    I'm a fan of the Sigma Art 35-f/1.4. The images are so sharp, colorful, contrasty and 3D popping. I personally think the bokeh is satisfactory. Fine art portraits taken by a photographer friend with this lens look amazing. I too think the 35-40mm range works best and also my preference.
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  8. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    With my first son I had a Sony nex 6 with the Zeiss 24,1.8... when my second son was born I was at full frame and bought the sigma 35,1.4 with a cheap auto adapter. Now my third son is coming... maybe tomorrow and I’m thinking of my voigtlander 40, 1.2. It’s super sharp in the center starting at 1.2 and by 1.4-1.6 it’s almost too sharp. The lens is very compact and is weighted perfectly.
  9. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    There's a really long thread on the 40/1.2 on FM. It has its quirks but overall was viewed pretty positively.

    Congrats on your third, whenever he gets here. :) 
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  10. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 22, 2012
    Oh well if you have the 55 already, the 40 might not make much sense...

    But if a primary aim is a lens for other people who need the AF, then wouldn't 35/2.8 make a lot of sense? I mean it's not like shallow DoF will make their shots better... in fact, there's a higher chance they'll miss the focus. Otherwise, the FE35/1.4 sounds like the perfect choice for a 35mm fan. It's lighter than it looks. The one downside might be that the 35/1.2 gets less and less use!
  11. christilou

    christilou TalkEmount All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2012
    Surrey, UK
    I've had the same problem, also owning the Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 II. The trouble is that it's weighty and therefore I rarely take it abroad. Instead I take the RX1 which is great for general sightseeing stuff as it's not having to focus fast. I have a hankering for the Zeiss ZM 35 1.4 with an adapter as I could also use it on my Leica.
  12. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 13, 2013
    The aim is for me and for other people to take photos with it. And I have the 35/2.8 already...

    I may just see if I can rent this ne or two of the lenses to test drive them. Or at least try them out in the store or something...
  13. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    I had the same dilemma a while ago. And in the end went with the Samyang AF 35 1.4. But its different scenario than youra since I use it for weddings.

    Had issues with low light AF. Its much better with the new firmware. No negatives (bokeh, colors, contrast). Its sharp from f2 but I mostly use it around 2.8-4 at weddings. My team uses the Sigma Art on their 5dmk3 and 6d and its much sharper and faster. If I could only comment on something is that the body feels cheap/plasticky. Personally love the size.

    I only got it instead of the Zeiss FE 1.4 because of the price. The Sigma FE 35 1.4 was not out then.
    If I could do it again, I’d go with the Zeiss if money was not an issue, 2nd option the new Sigma and last the Samyang

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  14. GabrielPhoto

    GabrielPhoto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Jul 3, 2013
    I had owned 4 copies of the Zeiss and two that I have rented so in total 6 of them and none of them has been even close to my one copy of the Samyang AF 35mm 1.4. This thing is incredible sharp wide open across the frame where every copy of the Zeiss dropped dramatically away from the center. CA is also a bit better on the Samyang.
    My one try of the Sigma Art was ok but I did not like the bokeh at all so I ended up with the Canon 35mm 1.4 L ii until I bought the Samyang.
    Really impressive lens. :) 
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  15. Luke

    Luke TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 27, 2013
    well I don't have that model at my disposal, nor do I have the location....nor the post-processing skills. But that photo could easily get me to buy the Samyang.
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  16. TedG954

    TedG954 TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2014
    South Florida and NE Ohio
    Ted Gersdorf
    Not 35mm but I'm a fan of the Sony 28/2.
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  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Wow! Did you get a great copy of the Samyang on the very first try?
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  18. Biro

    Biro TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Oct 21, 2012
    I just ordered (through Amin’s B&H link, of course) the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 for my A7III. I’ve kind of blown the budget lately and I just can’t afford the Sony Zeiss 35 anytime soon. Here’s hoping I get a good copy. This will be my only f/1.4 lens for my Sony system. Although I do have a number of f/1.8 Sony primes and the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 zoom.
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  19. JonathanF2

    JonathanF2 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2014
    Los Angeles, USA
    I'd either get a Fotodiox Pronto Pro adapter for your CV 35mm (Techart Pro adapter knock off, but with 2 year warranty) or just get another Canon 35L and an MC-11 adapter and call it a day. Use the lenses you're comfortable with! :D 

    Personally for me, I use the CV 40mm for street and Sigma 35mm Art for portraits.
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