One from the Sony A7II and Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4…

One from the Sony A7II and Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4

Many have been asking me when my full review for the Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4 Lens will be out. Well, I have been so swamped with all kinds of goodies lately, and I did not want to rush the Sony review so I will be wrapping it up within 10 days or so. For now, I will say that just as I thought in my 1st look report (see that here), this Sony 35 1.4 is the best 35mm lens I have ever shot with, period. For me it beats the Leica 35 1.4 Summilux, it beats the Zeiss 35 1.4 Zm, it beats the Nikon 35 1.4, and handily beat the Canon 35 1.4 L. It has an extreme sharpness at 1.4 but ONLY at the focus point. The background melts away into a beautiful bokeh and the color performance is top notch.

THIS lens, optically, is amazing. As good as it gets in the 35mm world. I will leave you with ONE shot I snapped an hour ago of my Stepdaughter Katie just before her Senior prom.

Review in about 7-10 days.

Indoor, NO flash (I never use flash) and just some soft window light. Shot at f/1.4. Click it for larger. Sony A7II. 



  1. I don’t get the need for a 35mm 1.4 on the A7 series of cameras…. they can shoot at higher ISO’s and generally speaking F2 or f2.8 lenses tend to be sharper and smaller. If you need to blow out the background you would be better served with a 50mm, 90mm or higher anyways. Just my two cents, i’m sure it’s a great lens and i’m looking forward to your review.

    • It’s about the look and character of the images at 1.4, same with Leica these days..teh Noctilux for example…it has a unique rendering at f/0.95 that no other lens delivers quite the same. TODAY, people buy fast lenses for the way they render an image wide open more so than for low light or high ISO use. This lens renders in a beautiful way at 1.4, better than any other 1.4 lens I have used. It’s about the uniqueness of your images using a lens like this.

      • A lens with f1.4 or less adds some kind of fairy dust to images. You could shoot anything and at 1.4 it somehow makes it looks interesting. It is a good effect but one should not rely too much on it. Fairy dust has to be used in moderation. HCB for example never liked bokeh heavy images. He would work on getting the right elements into the frame versus blurring the ones he wouldn’t like. Since we all are not HCB it is fine to use 1.4 here and there. D!RK

  2. Hi, does enybody knows which is he best lens (35mm/2.8, 35mm/2.0 or 35mm/1.4) for the landscape photographing?

    Thank’s a lot

  3. I am a Canon user with the 35mm f1.4 L which is a superb lens on my 5D. This Zeiss lens looks huge on the Sony a7 and costs half as much again as the Canon . No doubting it’s quality, but I wouldn’t say it “beats” the Canon lens. If you use Canon the pics taken by the 35f1.4 L will never cause you to want better, bokeh is superb as is sharpness and it’s one of Canon’s finest lenses. Doubt very much whether anyone could tell differences between any of Canon/Nikon/Sony/Zeiss lenses by looking at photos. Lab tests are designed to do this but who cares when you are happy with the results you get with your lens, which is all that matters surely?

  4. Could be a nice shot if only he had moved a few inches to the left to avoid the light on the side of her head

  5. Nice lens. I’m a huge fan of fast 35mm lenses (I’m still happily using the RX1 and its beautiful Zeiss 35mm f/2 as my travel/take everywhere camera). That said, I try to avoid using the 35mm focal length for portraits at close working distances … too much distortion/rounding of facial features. I feel like I need to be at least 6 feet from my subject with a 35mm lens for a portrait … and crop if I want to fill the frame.

  6. Great picture! First reviews talk about a great lens. Some contradicting posts cause irritation about sample variation, very soft images @f1.4, uneven sharpness from one side of the lens. How serious is sample variation and how would one cope with? I’d expect unnoticeable tight tolerances for that price.

  7. I have that lens too. It’s have to same IQ than my Zeiss Otus 85/1.4. I call this lens WA Otus.
    I have Loxia 35/2 too and biggest difference is Bokeh and of cause one stop faster.

  8. Still prefer my Lux 35mm FLE followed by my 35mm ZM Biogon. One is razor sharp and the other has warm colours.

  9. Looking forward to your full review. I am a bit put off by the size of the lens compared to Leica or Zeiss M lenses – interested in your opinion. One thing though, I don’t think 35mm is a flattering lens for portraits. I have never seen a 35mm portrait that I really liked. It tends to make noses larger and distort faces. I much prefer 50mm or longer, 85-90mm is a sweet spot for me. I know this was just a quick shot test, so no worries.

  10. I’m hoping for a crazy comparison with the Voigltander 35 f1.2. I really like my Voigltander 35, but wondering if the improvement in image quality with the Sony is worth the tremendous bulk. Sure looks good though!

    • The Son is larger for sure! Not really heavier but fatter more than anything. The quality is stunning. The Voigt can not reach this sharpness and pop and overall feel at 1.4. But it is a fine lens anyway. Love the 35 1.2!

  11. Hi Steve!

    Looking forward for your lens-review. Bokeh is really astronishing – so “calm”. A comparison with the 35 Summilux would be great.

    kind regards,
    Michael S.

  12. There is some super sparkle going on in the sample shot, it looks sharp, bright and colourful with lovely natural articulation of the skin tones too.
    Thanks for posting up.
    I like coming to this site to have a read now and then and check out your thoughts on the latest photo gear. Pretty cool!!!


    Personally, [and i make pains to qualify this, absolutely no offence] i wish you would refrain from using the word “beats” in your dialogue on camera gear as it sounds like a schoolyard term that kids might use in the playground i.e. my toy “beats” your toy, my bike, “beats” your bike, etc, etc.

    Perhaps it might sound a little more sophisticated to use a phrase such as “in my opinion, brand xxxxx appears to give much superior results to brands y+y+y+y from the samples i have so far taken” as an imperfect example.

    We are dealing with a form of art and a very sophisticated science when we discuss and review cameras and lenses, dont you think that this technology and highly developed art form deserve a better descriptive word than “beats’?

    Im just trying as a reader to give you some constructive criticism here, whether you accept it or not is entirely up to you as its your website , however, you do provide a comments section such as this to provide feedback and opinion on your articles from readers such as myself.

    So here is mine, with respect, but honesty too.

    Regs David.

    • While I understand your point, David, about the informal usage of “beats” in Steve’s review, I have to say, I disagree. Steve Huff Photo has always been a conversational and direct approach to camera reviews. Sure, cameras are amazing feats of engineering and there a many camera review sites that have a more scientific approach, complete with charts, graphs, and measurements (such as DPReview). This is not Steve Huff Photo. This is a WordPress blog that has blossomed into the success that it is. As informal as it is, it’s obviously working.

    • I would say there are plenty of readers who would disagree with you.
      Maybe DPR or similar sites with charts, graphs and use of scientific terms is more to your liking,
      but the regular visitors of Steve’s blog appreciate his style. hence why we are here on daily basis for more articles.

  13. Hmmm, I haven’t been getting great results with my 35L on the A7ii (via the mk4 metabones) … maybe it’s time to sell it …

  14. Best? Well. Shoot. Guess its time to sell a lens or two. Can’t wait for the full review. I love the rendering. Excellent saturation, lovely bokeh, and sharpness to spare.

  15. I am sitting on the edge of my seat for your review, Steve. With that said, why oh why isn’t Sony supported by Profoto? I just hate how Nikon and Canon still have a lock on off-camera flash systems.

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