The Sony Zeiss 35 1.4 Distagon FE Lens Review. Best 35mm Lens Ever.

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The Sony Zeiss 35 1.4 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.

This image was shot indoor, f/1.4, and with only a bit of natural light coming in from my kitchen door window. Click it for larger. 

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Yes.

Better than ANY 35mm lens I have used in life, and that includes those from Nikon, Canon, Leica, or whoever…and I have used the best of the best. At f/1.4 it is stunning. Absolutely stunning. The lens is a masterpiece of optical quality from detail to color to bokeh. It is auto focus and the ONLY weakness it has is that it is quite large. I am used to Leica lenses, or smaller Sony lenses and this guy is a beast. No bigger than a Nikon or Canon or any DSLR lens, in fact, it is a teeny bit smaller than those beats income ways but not by much. Weight is around the same with this lens being about a few ounces heavier than the Canon and Nikon. (1.32lbs  vs 1.4lbs). Even so, after 2+ months with the lens, I am so impressed that I can confidently say this IS INDEED the best 35mm lens I have ever used, or reviewed or held. Yes, beats the Sigma 35 1.4 Art lens for those that were about to ask.

Below is the video I made for my 1st look report which was published HERE

Paired with the Sony A7, A7r, A7II or A7s, this lens delivers the goods but I especially loved it on the A7II. To me, the A7II is the pinnacle of the A7 series. The build, design, features, 5 Axis IS, Af speed, and superb low light capabilities really flesh out this system and mature it to another level. Yes, I own an A7s as well and have shot with the A7R and A7 extensively but the A7II, for me, is the most polished and nice A7 body yet. Notice I said YET as I know there is something else on the way,  I feel it in my bones, and hey, this is Sony..and they are on a roll..and I bet they want to strike while the iron is HOT. In the mirrorless world I feel Sony and Olympus are on fire with Fuji right behind. Nikon and Canon are seriously MIA with nothing new, fresh or competitive and the others keep releasing cameras hoping they will stick, and they never do. Leica is always beautiful but most can not afford a Leica setup. Sony is doing most things RIGHT today from design, performance, new lenses and price.

This lens is a tour de force of a 35mm. Versatile for low light and AF which is accurate and pretty fast for a 35 1.4 design. This was shot inside a limo at night. No problem 😉 ISO 4000, ZERO NR, f/1.4

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Want to get up close and personal? The 35 1.4 has a minimum focus distance of .3 Meters which is GOOD.  1.4

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AF is snappy, even in dim light on the A7II – 1.4

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We can no longer say that “There is a lack of lenses for the Sony FE system”..because they now have MANY amazing lenses. The A7 system is less than two years old and Sony now has SO many good lenses..

1. The 55 1.8 Zeiss – A fantastic and sharp lens that gets rave reviews. 

2. The 35 2.8 Zeiss – Another fantastic sharp lens with the Zeiss pop. 

3. The 16-35 Zeiss – a superb wide-angle zoom, this one is one of the best I have tested for Ultra wide. (Review)

4. The 28 f/2 (stunner for cheap) – This is a must own lens, a superb value for under $450 (Review)

5. The new 35 1.4 (this review)

6. A new 90mm Macro! (Review soon)

7. Wide angle and fish attachment for the 28 (Review soon)

8. A pro level 70-200 – The standard 70-200 and this one is also fantastic.

8. Some mega pro zooms and some kit zooms

10. Zeiss Loxia Primes, the 35 and 50 (review of the 35 is HERE, the 50 is HERE)

and more.. From fisheye to ultra wide to telephoto to Macro Sony is now fleshing out the FE full frame lens system for the A7 series. They released lenses pretty fast and more will be on the way as there are many more planned lenses coming like a fast portrait prime. I feel an 85 and 135 will be here eventually, sooner rather than later.

This lens is stunning. This time at f/2. Crisp all the way around.

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I have quite a few image of Katie in this review as I used the lens for some of her Prom images..this one, f/1.4, converted to B&W using Alien Skin Exposure

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The Zeiss Magic & Pop Will Wow You

This lens is a Sony/Zeiss collaboration and it shows. Zeiss is a legend and has always been lumped in with Leica when it comes to image quality though they have always had their differences. With Zeiss you will usually get more 3D pop, richer and warmer color and USUALLY they are a tad softer than the Leica counterpart. With this lens, you are getting all of the 3D pop and color but even more detail where you need it over a Leica or other lens. At f/1.4 this lens could NOT be sharper. If it was, it would not be a good thing. As it is, it is PERFECT. When focusing on eyes (see and click on the very 1st image in this review) you can see what I mean. But it is here in all images I have shot with the lens so far and I have not had one hiccup with this lens, at all.

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With this lens, shooting wide open is where you will get the true character of the lens. If you want to shoot at f/2.8, you would be better off with the much smaller and lighter Zeiss 35 2.8 or Zeiss 35 f/2 Loxia. THIS lens, the f/1.4 Zeiss, seems optimized for wide open shooting, and this is where its beauty lies. Much like the Leica 35 1.4 Summilux FLE which is the lens that used to hold my title for best 35mm lens ever made for full frame digital. Today the Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4 take that title as it is just so good, again, with the only weakness being the size. There is no distortion, there is no offending CA or problems, there is no vignetting and there is no softness or focus issues. I feel the reason for all of this is because Sony and Zeiss REALLY took their time with it and wanted it to be a WOW kind of lens. This is also why it is large. If it were smaller it would have issues like distortion and other things so I think it is fantastic that Sony chose to go the route of optical beauty vs optical issues.

I have seen 1-2 reports of people buying this lens and saying it is “soft”. This is so not the case. If you are getting soft images with this lens you either have a bad copy, have an issue with your camera body, are not focusing in the right spot (shallow DOF here is VERY THIN at 1.4) or you are mistaking Bokeh for being Out of Focus. There is nothing soft about this lens in any way, shape or form.

As I look over the images I have shot with the lens I am thrilled that Sony did what they had to do as they created a masterpiece. Anyone who loves t he 35mm focal length will be THRILLED with this lens on any A7 series body. I used it mainly on my A7II which is the A7 I use 90% of the time these days. Still own and love my A7s  but the A7II just clicks all of my boxes.

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This lens is good for color or for B&W conversions as you can see above and below. You can go light on the contrast or heavy on the contrast. By default, this lens puts out a medium contrast  – not too hard and not too soft.

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But one thing remains a constant with this lens. It delivers the goods each and every time I bring it out or use it. From deep rich color, to beautiful black and white to nice creamy bokeh (background blur) that will not give you a headache, this lens shows what the Sony A7 system is capable of. I have tried the Sigma Art lenses. I have shot with the Canon 35L on a 5DII, I have shot with the Nikon 35 1.4 on a D800 as well as the Zeiss ZF 35 1.4. I have owned and shot with the Leica 35 1.4 Summilux, all versions. It is safe to say that I have had great experience with all full frame 35 1.4 lenses.

This Sony is the best one I have ever used for my tastes as it does everything right. Period. The one that comes closest is the Zeiss 35 1.4 Zf, then the Sigma Art 35 1.4. Last place would be the Canon 35L as it is getting a but long in the tooth, even when used on a 5DII or III. The size of the DSLR 35 1.4’s range from Large to Beastly and this Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4 is at the large end. It’s a beast, and a few ounces heavier than the Nikon or Canon (1.4 vs 1.32lbs). After a few snaps you do get used to the size, though I admit I will always prefer a smaller lens. If this lens could be made in a small size it would be one of those legendary must own lenses.

The Leica 35 Lux is small, but manual focus only, a not so close minimum focus distance (.7 meters vs .3 of the Sony) and it does not offer the overall total IQ of this Sony/Zeiss. It is also $5400, so quite a bit more expensive. It is a jewel though, a beautiful legendary lens that was at the top of the heap for IQ. It is good to know that this Sony is up there in the same league as the Leica at a fraction of the cost.

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Before I end this quick lens review, let me show you a few comparison shots. Below you will find the same image taken with the Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4, the Zeiss 35 f/2 Loxia, the 35 2.8 Zeiss, the 16-35 at 35mm and for grins, the Leica 35 Summicron at f/2 (I do not own the Lux). I will show each lens shot at f/2 to keep it the same aperture except the 16-35 will be at f/4 as  that is wide open for that particular lens and the 35 2.8 at 2.8 for the same reason.

It is a LARGE lens  – left to right: Leica 35 Cron, Zeiss 35 2.8, Zeiss Loxia 35, Zeiss 16-35, Zeiss 35 1.4

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I am not looking for detail or sharpness here, as ANY of these lenses will deliver on that. ALL are fantastic in their own right. But I am looking at color, pop, depth, bokeh, and overall character of image, which is why 99% of us buy these types of lenses…character. A lens like this is not bought for low light or high ISO use, it is mainly bought because so many of us LOVE the character of a fast lens.

YOU MUST click images for the correct view..

1st the 35 1.4 at f/2 on the A7II

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Now the Zeiss Loxia 35 f/2 at f/2 on the A7II

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Now the 35 2.8 on the A7II (at 2.8)

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Now the 16-35 at 35 at f/4

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and finally, the 35 Summicron on the A7II

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Which do YOU prefer? 

I still prefer the Sony Zeiss 35 1.4 but ALL are great, even the 16-35 at 35mm and f/4 renders a great image with contrast and pop. To me, the most amount of depth and 3D comes from the Sony 35 1.4 but all are great and most would have a hard time figuring out which is which. Goes to show, most lenses made today are good and get the job done though these lenses above are all $800 and up, all the way to $3300 for the Leica 35 Cron (though it is my #2 pick as the IQ is fantastic and the size is TINY). I will say if all you care about is corner to corner perfection your best bet is the Sony 35 2.8, but it will lack in Character compared to the 35 1.4, Zeiss Loxia, Leica cron, etc.

DETAILS!

Below is a 100% crop from this 35 1.4 Zeiss on the A7II. Plenty of detail for me! THIS is wide open!

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My Final Word on the Zeiss 35 1.4 for the Sony FE System

I love this lens. Period. For me, it is the absolute best 35mm 1.4 lens I have ever shot with, used or tested when it comes to image quality. As you know, I do not go by charts or graphs, I go by real world shooting. Using a camera and lens for what they are meant to be used for..images..memories…the main reason we take pictures! For pros, if you have a 35mm in your kit you owe it to yourself to give this one a try. It is a beauty of a lens and now takes the title as the best 35mm lens I have tested or used. THAT says a lot. If you have this lens and you are not getting astounding quality with it then you may have a dud, which is not cool, but it is NOT the norm for this piece of glass. For me, this lens is perfect for just about anything you want to shoot. Environmental portraits, fashion, every day life, landscapes, still life or what have you.

This lens takes the A7 series to the next level. AF is speedy for a 35 1.4 (bested the Art 35 1.4 when I used it on the Canon 6D) and 100% accurate on my A7II. Never did I get a misfocus. I also shot some personal images on my A7s and the results were just as fantastic as they were on the A7Ii with a slightly different feel due to the different look of the A7s sensor (slight).

So I highly recommend this lens. It’s the best of the native lenses I have used for the FE system. $1600 is expensive but cheaper than the competition while being better. Bam. Sony did it again.

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Where to buy?

You can BUY/ORDER OR PRE-ORDER this lens at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE. 

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197 thoughts on “The Sony Zeiss 35 1.4 Distagon FE Lens Review. Best 35mm Lens Ever.

  1. I made some more comparative tests between my 35 mm lenses; Sony/Zeiss 2,8, Sony/Zeiss 1,4 and Zeiss Loxia. I looked at the photos without knowing which was with at first. Although tripod, small differences tends to be because of how well it was focused, or shake in one series without tripod.

    Once more a landscape at F4 and this time there was no significant differences I could see, just seemed to be hint lower sharpness in the 1,4 lens. Factors like camera shake affects sharpness much more than the difference of the lenses.

    Two different stilebens at F1,4, F2, F2,8 and F4. I could not see any difference in “3-d”. Contrast is just a bit higher in the 2,8 lens, slightly lower in the 1,4 lens and the Loxia in between. At F4 all seemed the like.

    The only significant difference was low sharpness at the sides and corners of the Loxia at F2 and F2,8. The F1,4 lens at F1,4 is better than the Loxia at F2 in the center and even better than the Loxia at F2,8 in the sides and corners!

    These findings are really significant and has made me change my mind and I will take my autofocus lenses out more!

  2. Sorry, correction again. I mixed up the two pictures of the bookshelf. The Sony-Zeiss had warmer color in this photo for some reason, that is why I mixed them up. The The Sony-Zeiss was clearly was clearly with large margin the best in both the photos at F1,4. The Contax-Zeiss has haze, distortion and less sharpness. No competition really.

  3. I have got the 35/1,4 Sony/Zeiss and I do not think it is the best lens ever. It is good at f1,4 but at F2 and below it is without competition beaten by the Loxia 35 in my opinion!

    Look at that Loxia 35 smoothness and sharpness, look at its resistance against haze and the stars around the sun (the same with the Loxia 50) as the extra bonus! I am in love! In my opinion, only when taking photos of a city skyline by night or similar photos, the Sony/Zeiss 1,4 or Sony/Zeiss 2,8 image is to prefer, because of the coma aberrations of the Loxia becomes visible.

    The Loxia is a renewed old and simple deign, the Sony/Zeiss designs are new and complex. That makes me think: how are my old, simple, new and complex lenses compare? I made one simple shot comparison between my 35mm lenses on a tripod, with manual focus, silent mode and stabilization turned off, released with a remote control and here is my ranking:

    First a landscape at F4,5: 1) Loxia 35 is by far the sharpest and best in the center. 2) Sony/Zeiss 2,8 was clearly below in the overall experience, second in the center but about the same in the edges. 3) Contax/Zeiss Distagon 2,8 sharp, just a bit less contrast, especially duller green colours. 4) Sony/Zeiss 1,4, better contrast but unsharp, was it out of focus after all the careful preparations? 5) Contax/Zeiss Distagon 1,4, the lowest contrast, warm color and unsharp, was it out of focus too? 6) Sony/Zeiss 16-35 at 35 mm, better contrast, even more unsharp. Now we see a pattern and there was actually no one out of focus. Huge difference in sharpness between 1) and 5). 6. Contax/Zeiss Planar 35/2, the black swan in the G family. The Planar design in a 35 mm lens is supercompact, contrasty and supersharp but it is nevertheless a turtle because of some horrible fuzzy aberrations, probably coma and/or colour, that shows up in particularly in bright light. In the beginning, the G family was originally thought of as having the Contax/Zeiss G Biogon 28/2,8 as the wide angle option in a traveling kit, and that is perfect and I am still married to it, but it is kind of dead now, because..

    I compared my more than 30 years old Contax/Zeiss 1,4, made in West Germany contrary the Sony/Zeiss 1,4 in a photo of a bookshelf af F1,4: the Contax/Zeiss is much warmer and clearly sharper in the center. At the edges about the same, the one better at the left, the other on the right, indicating some collimation differences. The Contax/Zeiss 1,4 is overall sharper and looks more 3-d and real, perhaps because the wood is better displayed with warm colors, clearly the one to choose, if one was to use the picture.

    Another comparison of Contax/Zeiss 1,4 and the Sony/Zeiss 1,4 in a photo of a stileben with teddy bear, plants and a busy background: In the Sony/Zeiss 1,4 the subject is smaller due to focus breathing and it looks better due to a better color balance and better contrast, bokeh both good. ”3-d”? Both good I think.

    I am surprised the old lenses held up so well, but the will be retired now, except some of them, or be sold. Most of my Contax/Zeiss lenses, probably keep as a memory or sell.

    I will continue to use my Loxia in general, and because it is so light, maybe also bring the Sony/Zeiss 2,8 as an autofocus complement that everybody can clic with on the travel, and certain conditions, where it will display a better image. The Sony/Zeiss 1,4 will be kept for certain very dark situations.

  4. Hy Steve…..great job……but what you think about compartion to the rx1r2….its important for me what you think abouded….

  5. Hi Steve
    Love your reviews.. Have bought my camera and lenses due to your enthusiastic enjoyable reviews.

    I am contemplating buying the SONY A7S II .. I own the OMD EM1.. and fast primes.. Sometimes I take photos in low light bars, small gigs.. at some small venues, i have to really crank up the ISO.. Hence my thought to buy the A7S II. But I am also wondering if the A7 II would be good enough in these low light situations.. OR is A7S II the only way to go.

  6. Also, It would be more helpful, if the last entered comment, went to the top of the list, rather than the bottom, in case of important issues, like this one.
    Happy New Year to You & Your Family

    1. I do not (and never really have) offered full size images for download. Usually images with crops. Sometimes I will throw 1-2 in a review but for this one, it was not needed. This is still my fave lens for the A7 system in regards to what a beautiful image it can render.

      1. Thanks. You helped me with a decision on a Nex-7 three years ago and I had no regrets. I bookmarked that review and 3 years later, I’m looking at your reviews of the A7RII paired with the 35MM Distagon. I’ve looked at many reviews and yours are most helpful in my opinion.

        1. Same here! 🙂
          NEX-7 owner looking to get A7RII + 35 f1.5

          Did you get it in the end?
          I’m a bit worried that the EVF is in the middle now (I have a big nose). Do you find it comfortable comoared to the NEX-7?

  7. This is a great review, and gorgeous photos!

    Sorry if you’ve mentioned this elsewhere but if you were to choose two or three lenses for a shoot out in the field somewhere for your A7ii, what would they be?

    Having played around with most of the Sony/Zeiss lenses, they almost all seem uniformly great and I just can’t decide!

  8. I’m torn between this lens and the new Batis 25mm. I mainly do landscapes and street photography. Some portraits but it’s not my focus. I’m in the process of selling off my Canon lenses/adapter to fully commit to Sony. So I’d like my first lens to be something that takes care of most of my needs. My only issue with only having a 35mm lens, is that I often want a wider lens when I’m shooting landscapes. I prefer to only traveler with two lenses…but I may eventually change my mind on that 😀

    My thought is that the 25mm will appease my landscape photography, but it might not be the best for portraits/street photography. The 35mm seems like it may be the best of both worlds, but I question it’s use for landscapes.

    The two directions I’m thinking about going are:
    1. Get the Batis 25mm and later get a 50 or 85mm portrait oriented lens
    2. Get the 35mm Distagon, and later get a 16mm lens and then a 85mm or 70-200mm lens for portraits

    I welcome any suggestions!

  9. Two reasons that prevented me to buy this lens which are its weight and its size. I use the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH with my Sony A7R, this combination delivers strong results.

    Sony E-Mount System should focus on smaller and lighter equipment.

  10. I find the shallow depth of field distracting.
    Obviously it’s just me, as everybody else seems to think shooting wide open with any fast lens is the best thing since the kodak brownie. I don’t mind rationalising an f1.4 lens for low light use, but when shooting wide open again and again, it becomes really repetitive. Like those damn vsco presets from a few years ago. Now it’s all about bokeh.

    I understand this is a lens review and the whole purpose is to show what the lens is capable of, but I can’t help but think some of the above images, especially the close up portraits, would look better if shot at f2-4. Unless f1.4 is needed for low light photography, i think the 35 2.8 is a better lens. Too much depth of feld can also be detrimental to the photograph.

  11. Hi Steve,
    I am looking for a fast prime for my sony a7, I currently have my voigtlander 40 1.4 and would like to add another fast prime to my lens collection, I am choosing from the zeiss 35 1.4, ZY mitakon 50 .95 and the voigtlander 50 1.1, any recommendation as I know you are the guy who had tested all these lenses. My main concern is the IQ, bokeh and FAST! Thanks.

    1. If you want small and amazing, go for the Zeiss 35 1.4 ZM. If you want a lower price but still an amazing lens that is 90% of the 50 Lux go for the Voigtander 50 1.5 VM. It’s gorgeous, especially in chrome. Skip the 50 1.1, its not that great these days when compared to others.

      1. Thanks Steve, I think I am gonna go for the voigtlander 50 1.5 chrome version. It looks sexy and produces some nice bokeh!!

  12. Thanks for the review Steve!

    After much mucking around with delays in communication with the local aussie Leica team who weren’t all that interested in supporting a working professional on the M system (despite having spent excess of $40k worth of kit in a few months), I’ve now jumped shipped over to the Sony A7s system!

    As much as I absolutely adore the M system, the lengthy repair process and lack of interest wasn’t ideal for my need to be operational weekly. After spending time with a loan A7s from my dealer, I ended enjoying the similar renderings (though definitely not quite the same), and for the support & repair service it ended up being the winner.

    So I went kicking and screaming. Though I confess I have still retained my love child 75mm lux, 50mm lux, and 50mm dream lens! BTW the Sony 135mm 1.8 is absolutely gorgeous!

    Soon as I can get some breathing space, and enough weddings under the belt with the A7s system, I will post up a review/comparison experience.

    This 35mm FE is on my hit list of comparisons with the 35 FLE, soon as my dealer gets one in I’ll be giving it a spin.

  13. Hi Steve,

    I now own this Lens coupled with my a7r being the first native E-mount prime I’m in awe of its images a great lens that will become one of the all time greats.
    I will be using it very soon at a wedding.

    Cheers

    Thanks for the great reviews

  14. Steve,
    This Blog is costing me a fortune. I sold my Olympus OM-D1, and associated lenses to fun buying the A7II. I’m sure to be a candidate for the A7SII when that comes out.

    I have been shooting like crazy. The 55/1.8 seems to be glued on to my camera most of the time. I tired the 16-35 Wide Zoom, but the size bothered me.

    Sad that they don’t have the Loxia 35 anywhere in stock. I want smaller than the 35/1.4, plus I am having a blast shooting in Manual. Maybe the Voightlander 35/1.2 is in my future as I like the low light fun of 1.2.

    Such great stuff, and hat’s off to Sony for pushing the envelop.

  15. Hey Steve,
    I bought the Sony RX1R after reading your fantastic review. I love the 35mm focal length and I LOVE the IQ I get from the RX1R. Many times I’ve thought if a camera had the RX1R IQ, image stabilization and faster AF, it’d be perfect the perfect camera. Is the A7ii + this 35mm that camera?

  16. Thanks again, Steve!
    You said it’s the best 35mm: I wonder how this would compare against the RX1.
    I do own and love my little monster, and its 35mm it’s pretty damn good.

  17. For what is worth, I have sold all my Leica equipment and drifted to Sony. Selling my last Leica Lens the 35 FLE. Agree with Steve, other than the size, its Sony with the edge.
    Nailing the focus withe the M-240 is not easy, at least the keeper rate will be lower than with AF. Have been using Leica all my life and feel comfortable with rangefinder focusing.
    al

  18. My concern is the amount of distortion and vignetting in both the Zeiss 35mm F/1.4 and the 35mm F/2.8. This is another test that should be performed. Yes, you can turn on camera corrections in camera, and it shows you a corrected image on the back of your LCD screen and viewfinder (as best as i have been able to determine), but it only applies the corrections to jpg files, not the raws. Before i switched to Sony, i had both the Canon 5DII & III, and the 35L. I don’t recall having as many issues with vignetting and distortion with that lens as i do with the Sony 35 F/2.8. Its overly annoying to have to do all the perspective controls and lens profiles within Lightroom. While i find the Lens profile works in Lightroom, often its not accurate and requires you to manually adjust each image for perspective and distortion. So i would have to say that Canon has both of the Sony 35’s beat in the distortion/vignetting aspect of things. For a $1500 USD Lens, the 35mm F/1.4 should not have these issues, certainly no distortion, a little vignetting can be lived with. Oh, and i will say that the Chromatic Aberration was pretty bad in the Canon 35L

    1. The Canon vignettes more than the Sony 35 1.4, in my experience shooting it on a 5DII – as for distortion, there really is none with this lens. None that would be visible or noticeable in any photo.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to write back. I never noticed any significant vignetting on the canon, with the MKii or MKiii

        I see a fair amount of distortion with the Sony 35mm 2.8, which I currently own, especially in the corners. When shooting interiors it’s quiet noticeable, especially if you tilt the lens up or down, I never had the issue with the Canon 35. Don’t get me wrong I love the Sony system, it’s just new and I’m trying to sort out the kinks. I’m just wondering if it’s worth the jump to go from the 2.8 to the 1.4, if there is a reduction in distortion the I may considering selling my 2.8 and getting the 1.4. Like everything when you change systems there is a learning curve, and living here in Vietnam (I’m an American) there isn’t A lot of people you can talk to about these sorts of things. As a matter of fact me and a two others are edu arguing a lot of people on Sony.

        Just a heads up I have the 28mm F/2 and it severely distorts if your not dead straight on with you angle. I bought the first one in VN and had to take it back as it was a bit soft. I’m sure with JPG files and with the in camera controls turned on its fine, I just wished it corrected the raw files as well, saves time with the work flow and my sanity haha. Again thank you for your time

        Kelly

        1. “Just a heads up I have the 28mm F/2 and it severely distorts if your (sic) not dead straight on with you angle.”

          Kelly, there are two categories of distortions in an image. The first are optical distortions produced by inherent distortions/flaws in the design of the lens itself. It is the skill of the lens designer in minimising these as much as possible. The ones we more easily see are barrel, pincushion, and the stretching of the image at the left and right edges of the frame caused by wide angle lenses.

          However, in your statement above, this distortion is a second category, and it is not the fault of this particular lens. It applies to any lens. This is perspective distortion and will occur in every lens to a lesser or greater degree when the sensor (or film) is not parallel to the subject. It is most noticeable when using wide angle lenses and the effect diminishes, as the focal length increases, to a point where its impact on the images is hardly noticeable.

      2. Interesting, the 35 2.8 has quiet a bet of distortion in the corners. Maybe i just didn’t notice the vignetting in the canon for some reason. A few of the sample images i saw from the Sony 35 1.4 showed quiet a bit.. and to be honest with you, i have only shot a few frames with it at the Sony shop here in Vietnam. Sorry if it seems I’m asking dumb questions, but there isn’t a wealth of information over here, and certainly no one to go to and talk with about these things, no one here knows much of anything, especially the Sony staff.

        I responded once already, but the internet here is up and down, the under sea cable was cut yet again, so if there are any repeats i apologise

        1. Kelly, LOL! know what you mean about SE Asia and the internet. One of my places in Thailand, the internet is dreadful. Like awful.

          There is a wee bit of distortion, it’s certainly not completely free of it. I notice it only when applying the Adobe lens profile in Lightroom (yes, it’s out already!).

          It’s got pixie dust though and I think worth the money.

  19. Received the FE 35 f1.4 yesterday. First f1.4 and f2 images exhibit a kind of glorious look that is hard to describe more specifically. While I usually use autofocus, my first impression is that manual focus will be my preference for this lens. The autofocus on this lens is not fast and manual focus works so well on the A7ii that it is a joy plus it gives the precision needed when shooting wide open. This lens is going to be great fun.

  20. Just curious whether Sony is doing any in-camera correction for this lens the way they do for some of the crappy Nex (crop) lenses. Is it consistent on other cameras?

    1. No, on or off doesn’t change the output .RAW and JPEG look the same, so I see no in camera correction unlike the cheaper but still fantastic 28 f/2. This is why it is so large.

    1. Oh and RAW with the only correction in Lightroom being the Adobe lens profile released for this lens the other day. No other corrections, no sharpening etc.

    2. Mike, why is it “wrong” to pixel peep? If you really want to discover how a lens is really behaving, this is necessary. Why is is that so many visitors to this site have a hang-up about this? How many would buy a car without looking under the bonnet? And how many who say they abhor pixel peeping actually indulge in it?

      1. Dunno Terry, but I’ll admit I always do it when testing a newly acquired lens. Just in case it’s decentred/faulty in some way.

        I think the problem is togs lose touch with what makes a great photo and base too much on peering around the thing at 100%+ magnification. Some lenses don’t necessarily stand up to micro contrast pixel peeping but still turn out a great photo.

        Also depends upon your monitor. In my quest for bankruptcy I recently acquired an LG 31″ True 4K monitor and, frankly, it’s a different world.

        1. Mike,

          I bet that monitor of yours is something! Aren’t they working on 8K now? And just when you thought it was safe to come out of the water. :D) Your bank manager is going to love you.

          Of course, you are right, pixel peeping per se doesn’t help one iota in producing a great photo. But if you’ve just shelled out a wad on a lens, I’d pixel peep just to make certain I hadn’t acquired a duff version. As the saying goes, a carpenter needs to know his tools. Same with any lens.

          I need to know how my lenses perform across the frame between f5.6 to f11 and pixel peeping is the way to see it clearly. Pixel peeping is, after all, only the same as when I blew up my 35mm K25 slides to 60″. So I just don’t get it when pixel peeping is maligned.

          Now, have I got room for an LG31″ 4k monitor?

          1. Terry, it really is. It cost me £900 and that was discounted from like £1100 or something nuts.

            But, having A7r and a bunch of pricey glass I thought what the hell. Got a top spec Clevo laptop to go with it, GTX980M 8GB gpu and 32gb RAM. It’s all cost an absolute fortune.

            The trouble is, I was the worst for pixel peeping. For a while that’s what I though buying all this crazily expensive gear was all about. It became a really bad habit until I looked back at some stuff I’d done years back in Bermuda with a 5mp HP POS. They were awesome shots, like stunning.

            Plenty of new 4K and up monitors coming on the market now, I’d hold on a while. Prices will drop a bunch and quality will improve. I’m pretty certain a normal UHD 4K would have done the trick at less than half the money to be honest.

          2. Mike, got my Clevo just over two years ago so spec is somewhat behind yours. i7, GTX660M 2gb, 16 RAM, two drive bays, SSD and HDD, 3x USB3 and 1x USB 2, and full HD shiny screen as I find it is better for viewing. Matte screens are not as good in this respect, IMO. I don’t like the keyboard, though, so use a wireless model.

        2. This hits the nail on the head. Everyone zooms in to take a look at the details sometimes. The problem today is that so many photographers, and photography review sites and forums, have placed doing this (and the results they see) as being the most important thing.

          It’s funny really, as when we see a great photograph (that is to say, a photo that moves us, inspires us, stops us in our tracks, makes us think) it has so very little to do with us holding a magnifying glass in our hands.

          Imagine the stupidity of this conversation:

          “Look at this incredible photo by Josef Koudelka!”
          “Eh? It’s bullshit! Look, if you zoom in 500% you can see that the lens he used and the film gives…[insert whatever is the measure by which pixel peepers live by today]”

          This is why I like this website. 100%+ crops take up so little space in a review. Which is as it should be, IMO. 🙂

          1. Yup DW!!! Yup, yup, yup!

            I recommend folks get a few real books, as in books actually printed on actual paper.

            Magnum Contact Sheets
            Inferno by James Nachtwey
            Garry Winogrand
            Vivian Maier
            Vietnam Inc. by Philip Jones Griffiths

            You get the idea.

            Did they pixel peep? Ummm . . . no not really. They did dodge and burn with the old film development skills and they had to get it right “in camera”.

            These days we can make our photos look like anything at all and I find I add film look and grain these days. Funny how a lot of presets for sale out there are based on reproducing the look of old film.

  21. Well, after three trips to the main post office who seemed to have lost it for a while and a fast chase with a Post Office van, I finally got it!

    Wide open. Focal point. Razor sharp;
    Bokeh. Perfect bokeh. Like perfect bokeh;
    Pop. Yes WOW pop, more pop than my Pentax-FA 31mm Limited;
    Colour. Vibrant colour;
    Handling. Doesn’t feel heavy, but certainly quite big, actually I like this;
    CA. Slight green and purple wide open on high contrast edges, but you need to pixel peep to notice, LR deals with CA no problem;
    A still hate this manual focus-by-wire thing, it’s a load of old pony.

    Well done Steve, never let ’em get you down!

  22. Hi Steve, I received my copy yesterday, thanks for the review. Take a few test shots and download to PC, the pictures are nothing but STUNNING!! The only disadvantage is the size and the weight like you said, make it almost like carrying a DSLR. I still like the small package of the Sony 35 but this one has much more character like you said. Excellent review, thanks for all the opinions.

    1. That’s a relief to hear. Going to fetch mine tomorrow. Can’t wait!!!

      This is the most expensive lens I’ve ever bought. More than my Pentax FA Limited’s, more than my FE 70-200/4.

      Admittedly, this was a big step and now I really need to sell off all the Pentax gear. Sadly.

    1. Same here. They are delayed and wont deliver today. It is my daughters 8th BD and was hoping to use it. It really sucks….

  23. Steve, No offense intended by this question. Just wondering if you bought the lens or if Sony gave you the lens to keep as a gift?

    1. What you are doing is TRYING to start trouble but of course not. This is a review sample lens that goes right back to Sony. Not my lens. Only a few of the larger sites get to keep review samples. The lens i used here is a standard review unit, marked NOT FOR SALE OR RESALE, and it must go back to Sony. Also, 75% of what I review? I RENT IT with my own money. I spent $6500 in rental fees last year for reviews. Thank you.

      1. I dont think he is trying to start a trouble, I have the same question in my mind for a long time as there are several blogs that review lenses.. we, common citizens, dont know about those things.
        Your stuff is great!

  24. Rangefinder lenses can be much smaller and also much higher performance than slr lenses because they can be designed without having to clear a mirror unlike slr lenses. The contax G2 lenses were probably the finest lenses ever and just as small as leica lenses. Why this lens has to be so large is more to do with being auto focus plus the sensor of a digital camera has lenses in each of its pixel positions that has to be considered. Digital cameras have a lot of processing going on to get good edge performance, the lens design is linked to this processing. Put the lens on any other camera (if poss) that was not designed for this lens and you would get a different set of results IMHO.

  25. Love the photos this lens is incredible. At $1600 it is a very good deal and a bargain if like me you shoot 90% of your shots with a 35 mm lens or the equivalent. I don’t own a Sony yet but I think I am about to buy the A7 2 and you can believe that I will beg, borrow and save to put this lens on it.

  26. Hi Steve, I would be very happy to know how the Summicron 35mm ASPH behaves with the A7II, any better than with the previous A bodies? Thanks in advance.

  27. Gosh, it seems I have the last word -now that’s a first ! The characteristics here are really all too subjective. I have read so many lens reviews over the years that differ significantly- all apparently from reliable unbiased sources who were telling it as they saw it. So “best ever ” is a sincere enthusiastic reaction I can understand but hard to prove even if true?

    The truth is all of these lenses are brilliant. No doubt this is indeed a very special lens. I would be happy with any of them and despite being a Leica shooter I also love Zeiss lenses and wish them well.

    I am a great fan of the European photographic legacy ,so any success I celebrate be it : Schneider Leica Zeiss Rodenstock Sinar. etc These are all small companies competing now in a David versus Goliath scenario.
    For what it’s worth if I was using a Sony A7 I would be shooting mostly with a Loxia 50mm- that’s just me. Most people do not consider stuff I find important. I am philosophical about this.

    Rgds

  28. Honestly, these pictures epitomize why I don’t like digital. These look plastic and so so digital and characterless to me, absolutely no soul. It’s my opinion of course…

    1. Could be Lightroom. I’ve found Phase One Capture Pro has a better RAW engine or whatever it’s called, turns out a much better photo. Got the tip off from a Nat Geo tog who really knows how to get the best out of Capture One, although I never really mastered it and being a bit lazy stuck with Lightroom when I got a new computer recently.

      With a bit of work it is possible to get rid of the plastic look and Steve’s done this with the balck and whites above.

      The shipment date for my FE 35/1.4 has been put back to next week. ARGH!

      1. I shoot Sony (poorly) and I agree, Capture One is great. But it’s SLOW. I use DxO for most of my photos and Capture One only when I want to put up with the pokiness.

        1. The new version, version 8, is supposed to be much faster, like twice as fast.

          I find the whole interface very tricky to use, not user friendly for dummies like me. But on the few occasions I’ve managed to crack out a finished photo, the Phase One RAW motor does a much better job than Adobe’s in my opinion.

  29. The Leica comparisons don’t make much sense to me. The Leica lens is designed to achieve the optimal optical performance in a small design. This Zeis design has a completely different goal, it’s optical quality over size considerations. The Zeis is made of cheaper components and at lower tolerances then the Leica. This is not necessarily bad, it allows a great performing lens be sold at much less then the Leica. People who shoot Leica think this Zeis is ridiculous and defeats the purpose of a small camera system, people who shoot the A7s will love the Zeis and think the Leica is over priced for its performance. Both sides are right and wrong.

  30. Hi !
    Great review! I am really liking what I see from the combo of the A7 II and this new lens. Havig sold off all my Canongear years ago I’m now happy with my Olympus Em-1 and all my lenses. Sure, sometimes I miss the special full frame feel of some pictures I see and when you started raving about the A7 II I could feel a small pang of GAS. This lens look fantastic to me.
    I notice in the comparisons that the blue “bokeh”-ball is absolutely round in the background to the right on the picture from this new lens and that the same blue “ball” is deformed, oval or such, in the other shots. In the other shots there is also some croma at the edges of the “ball”. Is this distortion something that affects the result of what is in focus or is it just affecting the blurry areas in pictures? Just curious.

  31. Once you have your set of perfect lenses for the Sony you will have a hard time finding the small body under all that massive pieces of steel 😉 On the other hand the camera is so advanced in technology that it must not fear a comparison to a full size dslr. So i guess it is alright.

  32. Did you process the Images ? I guess you did cause you said before that this is what you normally do.
    I ask because while this might be a nice (and for a small system far to big) lens, the colors dont look natural at all. Saturation is on the high side. This looks great on some images and not so great on others.

  33. By the way Steve, maybe you could add the new Zeiss Batis series lenses in the growing list of full frame lenses for the E-mount system 🙂

  34. To all those not accepting that this lens may be better performing than any Leica 35mm.

    The Sony Zeiss 35mm Distagon seems to be made with very few compromises and for maximum performance, hence the size. Only an Zeiss Otus 35mm would probably topple this lens and would be even bigger.

    The small Leica lenses are beautiful, like jewellery, but don’t think that a semi wide lens of that physical size would be as well corrected as probably this Sony lens. The prices of the Leica lenses reflect availability and desirability, not necessarily shear performance. Corrections add bulk. Simple as that. Ask size how big a perfectly corrected lens would be, the answer would probably be so big that you would not be able to carry it around. Physical rules apply for Leica as well 😉

  35. In order to say that one lens is greater than another you would have to do a proper blind test between all of the great 35mm lenses from Canon Nikon ZeissSony Leica etc, first on their respectiv camera bodies then on a mirrorless body such as the Sony A7r. Then get a panel of judges to compare and mark, hopefully getting an unbiased result. Would anybody care though?

    If you are an artist who needs his pictures to look a certain way a particular lens renders subjects then buy into that system and hope there is consistency in various lenses you may buy for it. Can’t say I am an artist but I have bought and use Canon cameras and have the 35mm f1.4 which is an incredibly great lens which I am happy with and which gives a consistent colour signature as my other Canon lenses.

    Some of the readers of Steve’s reviews must be extremely rich guys with money to burn to absolutely pledge to buy a lens this large and expensive on the strength of a few pictures he has taken with it and his affirmation that this is the greatest 35mm lens ever made. I am not disputing his findings here, but I would be doing a bit more in-depth investigation before investing.

    1. I say rent one and try it, that is the only way one would know if the lens is for them. Size, weight, performance. That is what I do many times. I spend thousands per year at lens rentals.com to try gear I would not buy 1st.

    2. I’m an artist that wants the best subjective quality I can afford! I’ve shot with Canon 35 1.4 L… I traded that lens in for the Zeiss 35 1.4 ZM… I used to think canon L lenses were the best ever and I’ve gotten some amazing images but I prefer the Zeiss now. I just ordered this lens and it is arriving Friday. I can’t wait to test it out against my Voight 35 1.2…

  36. Pictures look very nice on this lens only thing really wrong with this lense is the price. I don’t mind the size and the weight. If it was priced at the same as the sigma art I would buy it for sure.

    1. Well, it’s better than the ART and in line price wise with the other big 35 1.4’s it seems. It is expensive though, I agree. Yesterday I shot with the old 35 2.8 and enjoyed it but it doesn’t do what this lens does. They are all like paintbrushes..tools…we choose what suits us best. Many good choices.

  37. These are cool reviews! Stumbled across your site after looking towards a mirrorless system. It’s nice to see pictures of people and not graphs. Continue bring the good reviews! It’s a new website I now check daily. db

  38. I own an A7. And a D600. The problem with Sony is not really the lack of lenses or great lenses, it’s the lack of those lenses at “affordable” prices. Sony wants $1600 for this lens. Well, it BETTER be good/great for $1600. If it wasn’t, that would be a crime. The challenge is not to make lenses that cost a relative fortune that are great…ANYONE can do that. The challenge is to make a very good / great lenses that some fair percentage of enthusiasts can afford. With the Nikon ecosystem, a person can spend far far FAR less on a lens portfolio for the same-ish performance as Sony lenses. THAT is the problem with the Sony lens selection, and the Sony ecosystem.

    1. The 28 f/2 should be right up your alley. FANTASTIC lens, under $450. Small as well, but it does have distortions that need correction due to the smaller size. Either way it is a fantastic lens. How much is the Nikon 35 1.4? $1500. The Canon 35 1.4L? $1500. So $100 less than the Sony, so in reality you can not get a GREAT 35 1.4 for Nikon or Canon with the Nikon and Canon name for much less. Cheaper off brands will not compare in IQ to these lenses, so you get what you pay for it seems. Sony priced it in line with the others, and it’s a Zeiss.

  39. Hi there. I apologize if this is a stupid question but will this work on my Olympus E5 Mark II? Thank you Steve for the great review as always.

  40. The Zeiss is probably a very nice lens. Regardless, I will stick with my Leitz Summilux 35mm f/1.4 v2 … I prefer it’s “not very perfect” sharpness and flare control but *stunning* rendering qualities, over all the more technically wonderful lenses I’ve had over the years. Did I mention that it makes the Zeiss Distagon look like a bazooka? 😉

  41. This lens makes no sense for a mirror less system, way to large and heavy. I’m sure the iq is very good, but at that size just shoot a canon or Nikon.

  42. “Last place would be the Canon 35L as it is getting a but long in the tooth ….” Sorry, but I’m not convinced. The test charts at SLRgear.com indicate that the Canon 35/1.4L is slightly sharper at every aperture than the new Sony Zeiss FE 35mm f/1.4 or the Nikon 35/1.4.

    1. Your opinion isn’t relevant in the slightest, because you don’t seem to be able to understand that:

      1) measurement results on an APS-C camera like the Canon 20D have no direct relevance to measurements made on a full-frame sensor like the Sony A7R

      2) from a pixel-level sharpness perspective, measurements made on a 12-megapixel sensor like the Canon 5D are much more lenient for a lens than those made on a revealing, high-resolution 36-megapixel sensor like the Sony A7R’s.

      3) higher values in SLRgear.com’s blur index do NOT indicate a higher sharpness — in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

      Here’s a comparison of SLRgear’s measurements of the Canon EF35mm f/1.4 and the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4. Methinks the difference is quit obvious.

      1. Wow, that’s such a condescending reply. Oh … my … goodness. That’s just obnoxious. You actually wrote “Your opinion isn’t relevant in the slightest, because you don’t seem to be able to understand… ” Really? This is the way you talk to people? Anyway, let’s pretend you had a bad day or something and ignore that tone. Your link shows the Canon lens is slightly sharper in the center and blurrier at the corners at every aperture, and that’s comparing full-frame to full-frame. Yes, that’s my point exactly. The same goes for the APS-C comparisons, with the Canon showing more purple at every aperture. Not that this small difference matters much, but it is inconsistent with Steve’s remark about the Canon lens. If the sensors tested made the Canon lens test better than it is, I am willing to learn, but please reply only if you can turn off the condescension or use a filter or something.

  43. Hi Steve, thanks for the full review. I’ve got the lens and used it intensively for more than a month with my a7s. All comments you made about this lens is true to me except about its focus speed. Do you find that the focus speed on a7II is much faster than a7s? I find its response is just so so on my 7s

    1. Well, it’s the fastest 35 1.4 I have ever used in regards to AF. Much quicker than the Sigma Art and 6D combo I tested…it’s not a speed demon by any means but for a fast 35, it is quick and accurate on the II.

      1. There is a new version firmware, 1.21, updated from 1.20. Only published on Sony Japan site so far but should make its way to the other Sony sites soon. I asked about this on Brian Smiths(no relation) site and he said this update should improve the auto focus of the 35 1.4 and a few of the other new lenses. There is a couple of threads about this on DPR. For myself, I am USA based and although it is remote, should bad things happen with the new software installed, I want Sony USA not to have firmware as an excuse.

        Brian

  44. Steve, you’re killing me man. first you convinced me to go out and buy the voigtlandler 40mm 2.8. Now i’m reading this and want this lens too. Despite owning the fantastic voigtlander 35 1.2 w/close focus M mount.

  45. Great review. Some of the “prom” pictures…looks like you’re using flash. Care to share what flash or flashes you use with the Sony system?

  46. I’ve had this lens for 2 weeks now and it is very good really happy as this is the only auto focus lens I have for my Sony A7r well it was worth the wait I’m getting stellar results with it it’s clean creamy goodness I had to pay 1800 here in Canada that’s cheap for a great lens there is no Leica lens that is that cheap ( btw I shoot Leica as well ) well worth every penny I highly recommend it

  47. Excellent review Steve. I can say with all honesty that my results and enjoyment have ALWAYS been consistent with those found in your reviews. I’ve never been disappointed. Keep up the great work!
    Hopefully you’ll be receiving two new Zeiss Batis lenses on your doorstep any day now 😉

  48. I’d like to come back once more. Looking in Photoshop to the “comparison pictures” (I wanted to compare this Sony/Zeiss to the Loxia and the Leica), I like the bokeh of the Sony the most and Loxia the least, althought Loxia is véry close to the Leica in that department (IMO). On the other hand I think the color signature of the Loxia is the most friendly one, with about the same difference between Loxia and the two others as I find in bokeh between the Sony and the Loxia+Leica. This confirms my belief that the Loxia was more concieved as an all around lens, where the Sony/Zeiss was more for wide open shooting with emphasis on bokeh character. IMO this was in both cases the right decision, being more at par with the /2 versus /1.4 apertures.
    Other remark, in the close focus picture of the earring (image 3 of 30), I guess you autofocused, as the focus is on the hear instead of the jewel, which I can’t imagine it was done intentionally. Also, when creating a similar frame with my Loxia and my wife, I end up with a slightly larger focus distance, which I think confirms my idea that it was shot with AF. To demonstrate the close focus, I would have preffered to lock the focus to the minimal distance (focusing manually) and then approaching until the jewel was perfectly sharp. That’s why I prefer the Loxia: I’m deciding where to focus, not the camera…
    Conclusion: in my case I absolutely choose the right 35mm – the Loxia – since I’m more an all around shooter and because I like the Biogon colors sooo much. Still, maybe, one day, when I have enough cash, I could buy the Sony just to be able to create such a lovely bokeh. But who know, maybe there will be a Loxia 1,4/35 by then. And honestly, I think both the Loxia and Leica have beautiful bokeh as well.

    1. Ah, those writing errors! Second paragraph must be: “… as the focus is on the HAIR instead of the jewel,…”

  49. Thanks for the great review, Steve!! I didn’t wait for your review to buy this lens and find it every bit as spectacular as you describe.

    Now the Sony A7/FE system has a really nice collection of compact primes for achieving top quality images without any bulk at all, and then now there is one truly professional lens for professional work. When the lens was announced I was very sceptical about the size, but now that I’ve used it for two weeks, I’m hoping Sony will make matching 50mm and 85mm lenses.

  50. Great review, it could be a really superb lens. However, the weight is an extremely important factor for me and will be a deal breaker with this lens. One of the main reasons I’ve switched from Canon to Sony A7II was that it’s significantly smaller. So I’ll invest in Loxia or ZF in the future.

  51. Great Review and thanks for the samples!! I only have an a6000 but will be purchasing my first Full Frame Camera soon; the A7 II. In the meantime I intend to purchase this lens first to pair it with the my 24-70 f4. I watched your your video regarding this lens the day it came out and was floored with it’s IQ; just what I’m looking for 🙂 and I’m more than willing to pay for it before I buy the A7 II as I’m just smitten with my a6000 and it’s awesome AF System. Anyhow thanks for the review and keep up the great work!

  52. Looks like a winner, but I’m staying with Leica (M Monochrom and M-E) with the 35mm f/2.5 Summarit that I bought mostly after reading your review. Not as much bokeh, but what there is is positively exquisite.

    No new systems for me, the CCD Leica does everything I need it to do, and I really enjoy using it.

  53. It seems a little bit strange that Sony has decided almost to kill one of the main idea of mirrorless – relative compactness with the same functionality comparing to DSLR. I do not believe it would be impossible to fulfill the idea harmonically. Pentax makes its FA Limited really “tiny” in terms of DSLR optics. Of course the distance between sensor/film and lense must be taken into consideration, in case of FE and K-mount it is about 2 cm (I’m looking at my K to FE adapter size), but again even with this plus 2cm (and of course optimized ergonomic and design, because FA Lim mounted via adapter to A7* looks a little bit… angular let’s say) it would be smaller then even 55/1.8 (at least 43 and 77mm, 31mm would be alike). Yes, they are f/1.8~1.9, not 1.4, but AF. So why? No money? Inferiority complex before DSLR and attempts to sell the products to “wedding pros” and other model shooters who still think the huge size is decisive?

    1. How is having more lens options killing the main idea of mirrorless???

      You don’t have to get an f1.4 glass if you don’t want it.

      Use the Zeiss f2.8 or f2 Loxias.

      I want a smaller body and EVF and small lenses when I don’t need the speed AND I want an f1.4 lens when I do need the speed.

      How is it a problem that we have options for both! It’s a bonus.

      Also an f1.4 autofocus lens will never be small I’m afraid…

  54. Lens looks good, but for me whats the point of having a small full frame mirrorless camera when you have to attach a football size lens on it? The whole point for me is small camera small lenses (discreet), thats why I started shooting with Leica film cameras 20 years ago and now digi. The prices for Leica’s are horrible, but the FLE is a lens I’ll have for a life time.

    1. So you can use a small lens on it as well as a large f1.4 lens.

      Also EVF! You only get it on mirrorless and EVF is crucial to me for example.

  55. I like the picture of the group, outside, in front of that short white car.
    The two poles of public lighting protruding above the heads, contribute to embellish the image, is not easy to be so clever.
    Great photographic skills!

    Apart from that, I would like to know why that reddish dominant color on the asphalt, down in the middle?
    Someone put he photographer to the blush, had hot flashes, or what?
    I hope is not a problem with this phenomenal 35mm lens.

  56. I think you got it right Steve. I sold my Leica M9 last summer because the sensor on the A7R was just that good and I could not resist it. I had been using my Leica M Summilux 35 mm f 1.4 FLE using either a Novoflex or Voigtlander Leica M to Sony E adapter on the A7R. The Summilux 35 performed beautifully except for vignetting which required post processing to remove. I received my Sony/ Zeiss 35 mm f 1.4 FE lens at the beginning of April and I can’t get over how good it is. The only negative as you mentioned is the size. My Nikon D800 E made me realize that only very special lenses can handle a 36 megapixel or greater sensor. Clearly, Sony is thinking towards the future for higher resolution sensors. I also love the very close focus feature of this lens. Thanks for the great advice. This lens is a keeper.

  57. So beside no native fe mount for the Sigma 35 art (possibly changing in the future to achieve this), what are the points of the Zeiss that makes it better?

      1. Sorry, but I find that rather suspect that the AF is better. The camera affects the AF a lot and coming from an a7r and a D800, there is no way I can believe that the AF is faster than if it were attached to a D800. AF on the a7r, with really any lens, is truly terrible.

        1. Lol Steve obviously meant that FE35/f1.4
          focuses faster on A7 cameras than Sigma35/1.4 on A7 cameras with an adapter.

  58. Thanks for another great review, Steve.

    The lens sure looks like a winner! I’m going to pass on buying this one for now, though, as tempting as it looks… I have the Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, and it sits in the perfect niche of tiny, easy and fast to use, and really high quality. Doing a lot of backcountry sports and adventure photography means I’m keen on small and light as a first preference, especially when a pack full of climbing gear or hiking gear!

    Keep up the good work! I’m loving the reviews lately.

  59. I just ordered one through your link from B&H….I was also looking at the Zeiss 35 2.0 manual focus…I do not remember which site, showed a comparison where the Leica was sharper.

    I am OK with manual focus (most of the time), cheaper and lighter. Should I wait for the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon or did I make the right choice?

    Thanks for all the great reviews and hard work Steve…

    1. If bokeh character has your priority, you definitaly must go for this Sony/Zeiss. If not, the Loxia is superbly built, more handy (if you don’t need AF), and offers the best manual focus capability on the planet.

      1. I’m puzzled by the best manual focus line… the Loxia isn’t aperture coupled to the Sony, so to get accurate focus you have to have it wide open , and then stop down to your correct F stop.. unless you only shoot wide open like Steve.. 😉 Seems like a pain.

  60. It is no doubt a great lens …as there are quite a few these days on the market. The truth is sort of brutal: the marginal differences you will note as an reviewer or enthusiast or a “pro” do not have any meaningful impact over the final picture you made, processed and finally showed to an audience.
    Because the recent lenses (but also cameras) are so good that the tiny, pixel -level differences are marginal to practically make your photo a winner or a loser. It is great to see an enthusiast here, on this (and other) forums but when you show your outcome to you family and friends (typical audience) believe me, nobody will even put a comment on the lens quality differences you have pointed here (and many did in another forums). The content will make it (sure, a minimum quality shall be involved to not distract from the picture subject but with recent hardware (of a semi, -pro level) it is just there.
    Summary: such detailed tests are for …us (pixel p….)

    best regards

    1. I am in no way a pixel peeper, in fact I despise pixel peepers. They sit and view images at 100% looking for details and flaws. I never do this. I look at an image either resized down (and I look at qualities that us shooters/enthusiasts and gear lovers find important like Bokeh, color, contrast, and all kinds of things) and differences are clear but all are fantastic. None are ever bad. These reviews are not for everyday people or soccer moms, as they do not care. It is for the same audience i have had for years and years…enthusiasts and camera geeks. 🙂 I do not cater to pixel peepers though as that has nothing at all to do with photography, it is in a class by itself.

    2. You are right, the differences in IQ are so marginal, most of the available lenses are more than sharp enough at all apertures.

      However, what makes the difference for me is the low light performance of this f/1.4 lens. The difference with the Loxia or the 35/2.8 is literally night and day. Most of my paid shoots are events in low light, where the f/1.4 (with AF!) beats the other lenses handsomely.

    3. I feel I strongly need to confirm Steve’s point, although I personally tend to think detail at 100% has its importance. Still, this is only when it’s relevant to show that much detail, when the detail is part of “the story” of the picture. Otherwise I equaly detest comments about lesser IQ on pixel level, when the picture is not at all about detail, like in a typical street shot. But, as far as I can tell, from all those years that I follow this site, there has been no picture that I remember where Steve wanted to show detail, other than a few specific “review shots” to meet the longing for this kind of information from people like me. It’s not Steve’s shooting style. BTW, in this review, none of the pixs shows pixel information. And I think this lens is first of all about character. Thére is the relevance.

      1. Correction: one picture IS showing pixel detail. Thanks for that, Steve. But apparently I overlooked it. That how important I find this in this review… 🙂

  61. “t is auto focus and the ONLY weakness it has is that it is quite large. I am used to Leica lenses, or smaller Sony lenses and this guy is a beast. No bigger than a Nikon or Canon or any DSLR lens, in fact, it is smaller than those beats but not by much.”

    No, you are wrong and should change this line in the review. The Sony Zeiss is bigger than the Canon, Nikon (at least longer) AND Sigma 35mm f1.4 lenses. It is also heavier than both the Canon and the Nikon. Thats pretty imbalanced, the FE mount being mirrorless.

  62. Really nice snaps but I (like others here) can’t get pass the size & weight. I’ll stick with my voiglanter adapter & my 35 mm Zeiss f2, works for me. Thanks for all the info Steve.

  63. I like the lens review BUT simply cannot afford the price of these lenses! The Samyang 35mm f/1.4 does the job nicely for me…

  64. Hi Steve,
    Been popping in too your site for a couple years now. I appreciate the reviews, the stories people share and your ‘Real-world honesty’.
    I’ve sold all my existing gear and I’m ready to choose my mirror-less camera for future photography. I am honestly beaten to death with my own research into the different systems and narrowed it down to Fuji XT1 or the Sony A7ii. Funny that Lightroom has finally (slightly) improved the handling of the X-Trans RAW files but numerous people complain now of Sonys RAW files having a compression to them that robs them of some detail (not shared by the Sony made Nikon sensor) once uploaded to Lightroom or PP. Is there any ‘Real-world’ truth to this or is this pixel-peeping madness?. I DO want to make prints with either camera and I’m confident that either camera could do so with great results. So, my question is…to a non-pixel-peeper but rather a 20×30 printer of photos, is this a concern or no? Most prints will be portrait and cityscapes/landscapes.
    I appreciate any light you can shed on this and will continue to enjoy your website.
    Thanks

    1. IMHO? The Sony A7II kills the Fuji for IQ in all ways. That is my opinion. The body is also better made, feels better, and with the newer lenses it is a superb all around great system. You will never get the full frame look from the Fuji, I did a side by side once between it and a Leica M, was no contest. Fuji is nice, but does not do full frame and if you like the richness and depth of full frame, you will love the Sony A7II. I have a 40″ wide print in my living room from an A7II shot, it is gorgeous. Pixel Peepers are full of hot air and never even print or use their files for anything but peeping. Has nothing to do with real photography, at all.

      1. Thanks Steve
        Next step is to get both in my hands and compare with my lenses of choice…Sony, definitely the new 35 and the 55 Zeiss. Fuji, the 56mm and 23mm…really looking forward to your review of the new 90mm macro! If Sony is my purchase, I’ll have HUGE interest in that lens.
        Ciao

  65. Ordered 3 hours ago, should be here Friday/Monday.

    I actually ordered it after I read your review on B&H Photos sales site. Yes I caved. £1100. It hurts. I feel physically sick. I feel dirty and used. But I have a feeling this is going to feel so good!

    Now all my Pentax gear (FA 31/43/77, 100 Macro WR, K 50/1.2, 15/4 Ltd, +++ lenses + K-3 and K-5IIs have to go and I have to eat of bins for the next six months, but if you say it works Steve, I’ll buy that . . . oh already did.

  66. Looks like a great lens except for the size and somewhat the pricing too. Price and size are interrelated for me, because the size will likely make me use it less than a small lens like the 35/2.8. And it’s simply a bad idea to pay $1600 for a lens that I won’t use as much due to the size and weight. Still very tempting to buy one, but I think I will pick up the 28/2 instead.

    1. I do worry though. I have several FE lenses, and am in the processing of getting more, but I can’t help but worry that Sony might move on from E mount at some point and we’ll be left with lenses that won’t fit new cameras. This would (hopefully) be many years from now, but there is an advantage in lenses made for longer flange distances; they’re adaptable.

      Having said all that, it won’t stop me loving these lenses, it’s just more of a worry in the back of my head.

  67. You showed stunning image quality coming from this lens, my only concern also is the size which you had mentioned above. The reason I love my A7II is the size and its versatility. I used to pack with lighter and small bag, one body with 35 Loxia n FE55 or 35 n 50 Summilux This 2 lenses already wow me so if it’s not for G.A.S I’ll pass and wait for 85 or 135mm.

    By the way, the great thing about Leica lens is they are unique, each has character on each own. I bet if you are hobbyist and perfectionist you will always have Leica in you collection Steve IMO.

    1. No camera or lens offers perfection. They each offer a look, a character, and some are amazing, some are just OK. I am a lens and camera “connoisseur” … I love CHARACTER and I love BEAUTY. This lens has both as the way it renders is gorgeous, right up my alley. BUT it is large. Huge. After shooting for a day with it I forgot the size as the A7Ii body is small and sturdy, so it is still MUCH smaller than a D800 and 35 1.4. MUCH. BUT, I love the 35 Loxia for its size and feel on the A7 series. THAT is my 35 of choice due to size, being MF and also a beautiful rendering. While this lens is the best I have used optically, it is not the best for size or weight. So you have to ask yourself what is more important to you? This lens is for those who will not mind the size and who love the look it produces.

      1. Hey Steve, Wow, does it really weigh 2.2lbs?? B&H and Adorama both have it listed as weighing 1.4lbs, which is in line with the Sigma Art.

        I had the Sigma on my A7 with the adapter and while the lens was amazing, the AF was very hit and miss. The Sony while a little longer than the Sigma will still be smaller without the adapter and I was not bothered by the size of that combo. I absolutely loved the IQ of the Sigma, so I can’t wait to get this lens with the spot on AF and even better IQ and character.

      2. “Yep, the Sony is 2.2lbs, the Voigt is 1.3lbs, so almost 1lb heavier.”

        As good as this Sony is, you’re going to unload it once the novelty wears off and the size/weight reality literally weighs in..

  68. Indeed, a stunning lens with loads of character. If only the size… Still, I’m in doubt. I’m surely not trading in my Loxia 2/35, but maybe, if I have some extra cash, I could be seduced to add this one to my collection. For those character shots, with nice bokeh, this one makes a difference.

    1. Don’t trade in the Loxia! I have both the Loxia and the 35/1.4 and would not trade in the Loxia, ever. The Distagon is every bit as great as Steve describes (especially in low light it is phenomenal), but the Loxia is just that much more convenient with its size and the IQ is “close enough”. The Loxia is the lens you take everywhere with you, wherever you go, while the Distagon is the large lens you grab when you need that extra stop of performance (light, bokeh, AF).

      The Loxia also has (arguably) nicer bokeh and more character in my opinion. I have some more comparison images on my blog if you are interested.

      1. I read the comparison. @f/2 which lens has more 3d pop, the distagon or the loxia/biogon? I’ve the distagon 35 f/2 nikon mount and i would not miss that 3d feel…
        One problem I see on the loxia, on the other hand, is focus shift, I read in reviews: you have to focus wide open then stop down to meter: correct?

        1. I had and have zero problems with the Loxia. There is NO focus shift, in fact, its not even possible as what you see is what you get. I focus and shoot wide open all the time, never an issue. That lens for me stays glued to f/2. Never a focus issue, and I have never needed to stop down to meter, ever. That is a false story or someone doesn’t know how to use the camera or lens.

  69. I’m struggling to justify the size in my kit. I have the Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 now, and I like it, but it is not as robust as this lens optically. Decisions, decisions…

    1. Hey dolemite,

      When I use VM 35/1.2 on a7s, I love the output but I always lust for 35 lux, cron or zm 35/1.4 due to the weight and size. This makes me use my 50 lux 90% of the time and take the VM out only if I really want the rendering of 1.2 on that particular shot.

      So I guess the question would be “Did you ever complain about the size and weight of the VM 35/1.2?”. If so, you should not even think about this lens.

      After years of switching lenses, I realize I always prefer size/weight first. Most of the time, I found the marginal gain on image quality really doesn’t justify the trouble of using the larger/heavier lenses. Of course, if you are a professional photographer and you absolutely need the extra bit of image quality you can ever get, that’s a different story. Otherwise, I would rather choose a lens with sufficient quality and size/weight that would make me want to go out and shoot.

      Best Regards,
      Wayne

      1. Thanks for the reply Wayne. Although I’ve never complained about the size and weight of my CV 35 1.2, I am a recent convert to mirrorless with mf glass as opposed to SLR/SLT. So EVERYTHING seems small! I have come to the conclusion though that I love the lens I have and I need to master it before I look for something else. I’m new to the 35mm focal length anyway, and need time shooting with it before I jump ship so soon…

  70. I want to love this lens but the size really pushes me away. If I was shooting professionally I would need it hands down, but I feel the Loxia or even the CV 35mm 1.2 will suit my needs more. If it was at least the size of the 55mm it would be so much different. I feel like they used the same design principles as the Rokinon 35mm 1.4 because the size is very comparable. I do understand that to get this kind of aperture size and to fix the distortions. CA and other things that make this lens so sharp its necessary to be this big but it would have been nice to push the envelope a little further and reduce the size a bit.

    1. It’s just not possible to have it all – there is a reason some lenses are smaller and some are larger. The Voigtlander would be HUGE if it needed AF and was not an RF design. This lens, on the A7 is still MUCH smaller than say a Nikon 35 1.4 on a D800. Like MUCH smaller. Still full frame, a better lens and smaller. No way possible to have a lens of this quality, with Af, and with optical corrections in a small package. There are always trade offs.

        1. Well my Brand New Voight 35 1.2 may be going up for sale since I’ve acquired the Sony Zeiss. This is not an offer to sell it to you. I may try to sell it on this site but have not decided yet. All I can say is that the IQ of the Voight is like night compared to Sony day. Not to say the Voight is bad. Its just that the Sony is so good.

          I’ll continue to own my Voight 15 III and 21 f1.8 II on the close focus adaptor. Was thinking about keeping the 1.2 incase a new M mount off brand digitital camera appears next year.

          Brian

    1. You may wait a long time! I’ve had this lens for several weeks now and it is not going anywhere soon. I suspect that the majority of people who own this lens will not be quick in selling it either.

      I sold off my Nikon Gear including D800e and 1.4G’s 24 35 58 and 85 lens for the Sony E Mount A7ii. This lens sits way on top of that Nikon heap and is the best reason to continue to own the Sony E mount. Currently I only have the A7ii I’m but hoping for a A7Rii with EFCS and IBIS to test out more of this lens’s capabilities.

      Steve is spot on with his comments and its not about my choice being validated!

      Brian

      1. You would be surprised ! i got my 50 art lens only two weeks after they began to sell it in the shops !!! Same thing with the 24mm 1.4 Art that just came out … There are always people reselling those GREAT lenses just after buying them … i know it’s insane but that’s a fact

        this new 35mm is mind blowing steve … thanks for your review

    2. I struggled with this as well but purchased a used 35 1.4 as well for my A7RII… looking for something to compliment myy 55 1.8 and 90 2.8 Macro… I think this will be the 3 I use most for awhile…

  71. I think this lens is good, but not great. I could point out glaring lens problems in your posted images alone. I know we’re not comparing apples to apples, but the 35FLE beats this lens hands down. That and it’s smaller… But it is more then double the price, so there’s that.
    And before you ask if I’ve shot with both, the answer is yes. I do own both, and I use both with their respective cameras (M240/A7II) and I honestly wouldn’t keep the 35/1.4 FE if it weren’t for my wife not wanting to use a RF camera. Again it’s not a bad lens, but your enthusiasm sometimes seems less then genuine.

    1. No, it doesn’t. It’s a fantastic lens, and the FLE has an issue or two in itself (CA being one of them). I am not the only one raving about this lens but to me sounds like you have an agenda to defend your Leica purchase. I love Leica but I love whoever makes a great product, I have no pull to any one brand, I use what works and works well. This lens, optically and with features (close focus alone is a huge plus) beats the Leica 35 FLE. I have owned the FLE and had it for 1 1/2 years – it is a superb lens, no question but has less depth (thank this lens), less 3D pop (than this lens), different color signature (cooler) and is manual focus and $5500. I have looked at over 500 of my FLE images and over 200 of my Sony 35 1.4 images – I prefer the images from my Sony A7II and this lens over my old M9 and the FLE. This lens is more refined and just has a gentler way of dealing with details. Everything is fantastic from color, sharpness, bokeh, pop, depth, etc. Only weakness is size and that is all. No issues with this lens that I could find, none.

      1. “Only weakness is size and that is all.”

        I own a Leica so I don’t have a desire to buy this lens, but I would say that even if the size is the only weakness, I would also have to add weight as a weakness as well. It’s big and heavy (almost twice the weight of the 35 Summilux, and 2-3 times the size). Granted, you’re paying $3300 dollars more for the 35 Summilux, but I think its worth the difference. I would have to agree with Dick in that I was not impressed with some of the posted images.

        I don’t want to sound negative, Steve. I’m just giving you my honest opinion.

        1. Hmm. Well another Leica person and I would bet you did not shoot with this lens on an A7 body, is that correct? Most Leica buyers defend their purchases as they have 10’s of thousands invested in them. They are blind to the fact that other brands beat them these days in many areas. All but size really. Not in performance, IQ, color, or price. Only in size. I LOVE Leica, I was accused by thousands as being a Leica Fanboy, but that was never true. I use and adore what is amazing and works well. When something comes along that beats my fave, it is then the fave for the right reasons. This lens is large, as I said. It is also the best 35 I have ever used or tested, so for some it will be worth it. Others not so much. Those who shoot a Leica M will have no interest in this lens as they shoot Leica and this lens will not mount on a Leica. I just report the facts, plain and simple. Doesn’t matter if you do not like my photos, thats all personal pref as well but the lens is beautiful and its only weakness is size. No 35 for the A7 system beats it IMO, and I have used them all.

          1. well said Steve…and for the same reason you mentioned here I made an exercise: collected some members of my family and showed them the few examples you made using several lenses tested. Asked them to point at their favorite and explain why their selected this particular one.
            There was no winner …there was a hesitation what to chose, and the Sony was not anything which beats the other ones, not at all.
            With all respect ….you (and we all enthusiasts) are fan-boys! You (some of us) see what most people would never notice. Even if they do it is very subjective whether it is a quality or a drawback…..color, pop, bokeh, pop…they are all VERY subjective characteristics ……
            Mostly this is nothing more than marketing…

            Keep the good work for us …spoiled men. We do not have to show the stuff we make to an external audience 🙂

          2. Hi Steve
            Did you compare the Sony lens to the 35 Lux FLE mounted to a M9 or a M240? From your answer above it sounds like the former. I like the Sony lens results. Beautiful glass. D!RK

          3. Hi Steve,

            I didn’t intend to attack you. And I’m not justifying my purchases because they’re expensive (I can afford what I want, and I only use what I like). I have owned and used professionally more gear then you’ve tested and you’re a photography reviewer. I keep what works for me, and that’s all there is to it. I use my M gear because it’s the best IQ I’ve found. Maybe I just have a slightly more fussy eye for subtleties then the average photographer? Don’t get me wrong, I have the 35zeiss because when I need AF, I can just pull it out. It still beats the 35L, 35G, 35ART in my opinion for rendering.. It just doesn’t beat the 35FLE.

            With that said, I’d have to disagree with you about all the points you mentioned. You notice that everything that you said was “better” about the FE is actually subjective. So technically I could say that I like the Summilux for all the same reasons you like the Zeiss. One thing I will contest though is your 3D pop.. I hear that being associated with Zeiss lenses all the time, and a few of the older lenses in fact do have a lot of 3D pop. But most modern Zeiss lenses lack the pop these days. 3Dness is now confused with the use of shallow DOF and overuse of the words “3D pop” when showing off an image. I actually feel the 35FLE is the perfect balance of subtle Leica and in your face Zeiss. But done right, not done wrong like modern zeiss. My problem with Zeiss is they can’t shake the vintage look. It’s the way the colors render, mostly wrong in comparison to Leica’s lifelike tones, but zeiss is contrasty so they work with Sony sensors.. And the only reason they even appear vivid is because Sony overcooks the colors in their A7 sensors.

            So yeah, it’s a good lens, but it’s not a better lens.

            This is the same underdog love story that has people thinking the 50/2 ZM and 55 1.8 are on the same level as the 50APO. Yes the 50APO is stupidly expensive, but there is no lens on the market right now that has the subtle sharpness of it.. But I suppose I’m blinded by my $$ again?

          4. Also one more point to add.. The 35FLE is much better on the M240 the on the M9 IMHO, but maybe because I’m use to the colors from the M240 now.

            Oh and I wasn’t attacking your photos, I wouldn’t attack someones work. I was just saying that by viewing your images (not even looking at my samples), I can already tell their are problems with the way the lens renders that would erk me in real world use. Again, not your photos fault, the lens is at fault. And something I’ve noticed in my own images as well.

          5. Yes, it would have been nice to test the FLE on the modern, equally sized sensor, like the one from the M240, before kicking it off the throne. 😉 But in the end it doesn’t really matter. It is not that someone would buy one lens or the other. There is a decision prior to the lens selection that is about how someone would like to experience photography. Image quality is one aspect of many to make that call but not the only, and in many cases not the decisive one. Once you decide on a direction, the lens choices will fall into place. The overall good info is, that you don’t need a fortune to get superior image quality anymore. It is all a bit closer within reach now. Now we can focus on what and how we want to photograph. D!RK

      2. Hey Steve, thanks for the review.
        You have mentioned “Depth” here and in the review. What do you mean? I suppose it’s not DOF, right?

      3. Just wondering are you shooting in raw or jpg? I have the lens and I shoot raw my images look flat and don’t have that pop as seen in your images.

        1. Anytime you shoot RAW you are shooting without any processing applied so your images will look flat unless you tweak contrast, color, sharpness, etc. Takes me about 5-10 seconds per image with the RAW sliders to adjust each one. But if you want a certain look, you must tweak the RAW’s.

    2. Dick, would you mind pointing out those glaring lens problems in the images Steve provided?

      I own all of the three Sony/Zeiss 35mm lenses and agree with all of Steve’s findings. I think the enthusiasm is genuine in this article.

      1. Slight blooming in the in focus highlights (and in near focused image), which can at certain distances (usually closer up) cause the image to look flat and dull. The falloff is also a bit strange in the sense that it looks contrasty but clearly has a double image effect, this can be jarring especially in closer focused shots (see his shot of the girls earrings, pay attention to the mouth area). The bokeh itself looks really plastic and bokeh circle highlights have a halo effect. The colors aren’t lifelike and tend to shift to the greens, which can cause problems with skin tones. Overall I think the amount of work needed to get the colors to where they should be is daunting. There is also a small amount of veiling flare even when using a hood in certain light which can add to the washed out look of the images. The thing that bothers me most, the subject doesn’t look lifelike like previous Zeiss lenses. In fact, I think Zeiss has lost their touch, I haven’t seen good Zeiss lenses since the ZF/ZE lineup. You want 3D pop, try the 35/2 ZF/ZE lens, that’s real 3D pop (at the sacrifice of great bokeh, but still, that’s pop).

        I will say that the bokeh, although plastic, is better then the 35ART in the sense that the 35ART tends to be really contrasty in the OOF areas and that can cause it to be more jarring then the Zeiss. And I am being overly harsh, it’s a good lens, it just isn’t the best 35mm or 35mm equivalent lens out there.

        Hopefully the newly announced Batis series doesn’t follow the plastic bokeh trend.

        1. Thanks for pointing that out. Is the pale line between her lip and the background green area a problem with the lens or the sensor or something else? I’m talking about the photo showing the earring in the macro shot.

    3. I agree Dick
      The Sony FE 35mm f1.4 is great in the centre but not so great in the corners.
      It doesn’t really compete with the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 zm, Leica 35mm f1.4 FLE, Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ii and also the awesome Sigma 35mm f1.4 art.
      This can be easily seen from the MTAs as well.
      Again it’s a very nice lens but there are a number of better, and smaller, 35mm lenses

      1. Harold, I know this is an old thread, but only now, I came to the conclusion that I need a quality, fast 35mm prime to use with my Sony A7rII.
        I read that you mention better and smaller 35mm lenses and that made me curious. I suppose this mean I’ll have to use and adapter (different mount than FE-mount)? Can you tell me more about these better 35mm lenses?

        Many thanks!

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