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Thread: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

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    Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Interesting and difficult test 3 different lenses , 3 different focal lengths and 3 different wide open apertures. Now all on tripods shot with the A7r with 2 second delay. I admit setting this up under my conditions was a challenge I normally can get extremely close but I maybe just a little off when moving the camera as far as image area, not my normal test scene and side light coming in on my face. But I am dead on with focusing as that really is the heart of it. So you may see a little area difference but each lens I focused on exactly the same spot. So here we have a 1.8/1.4 and a F2 assortment of lenses . Just for the record let me post the full frame of each lens at F2. I did not WB and they all have the same sharpening treatment. The only thing I did do is adjust the exposure to try and match each other as this fluctuates when shooting towards the wide open side of glass.

    BTW watch the bokeh at F2 on each lens which is interesting.

    Oh and yes folks I am squarely focused on the bird **** on the top of the lamp. Great texture. ROTFLMAO





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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Nice bokeh on all of them but notice the 55mm has a slightly cooler temp to it. If anything its actually more neutral
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Im going to post this but obviously I still have more onion to peel
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I tried to keep the lamp the same size.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Nice. Do the highlights on the chroma look a little better on the FE, or it could be just a slightly lower exposure? The 85 shows some CA. I assume DoF would be about the same since you moved the camera to capture the same scene.

    I am liking the 55 FE a lot! if it can stay on with the 135ZF.2, that's is pretty awesome, especially considering how much close you'd have to be with the same framing. Thanks!

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Give me a hour and i will have everything up
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Alright lets get the lone duck out of the way

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Lets take the 55mm at 1.8 and the 85 at 1.7



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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Lets move on to the F2 round but as you see above the 55mm is better wide open than the 85 at 1.7





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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Okay 2.8 across the board





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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    At 2.8 to me looks like the 55 and 135 even out which not surprisingly the 85 is still a touch behind a real testament to the 55 and 135 here. Folks let me interject here and 85 1.4 lenses on the market put any name on it will perform almost exactly. They all have lens aberrations wide open and almost all of them get really good at F2. This is normal until someone like Zeiss makes a Otus 85 1.4 that will be the size of a truck. The 85 1.4 glass is the look lens wide open but you need to correct it. Some maybe a little better and some a little worse. It really is the nature of the beast.

    Lets go to F4





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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    At 5.6 they should all be at there prime aperture setting. The 85 still looks a little behind but could very well be a contrast thing too.





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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Here is my bottom line anything close to the Zeiss 135 F2 Apo has got to be a great lens as i rate it one of the best around. Here is the second bottom line and that is the 55mm as it maybe the best lens around under 1k. Im not going to argue otherwise.

    Hope this helps and if you have a opinion love to hear it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I'll admit to having a bias towards the Sony 55. Of the initial 3- samples I prefer the first, which happens to be the 55; the reason is the hood vents. I really like that particular file over the other three because of this.

    It's the little things...

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Hey Guy,
    I'll trade you the 135 for my 25! Hehehe...

    A few questions:
    1. What adapter do you use?

    2. The 135 image has a special glow; almost looks like the light is on. Do you think that is a result of adjustments you made or is that a characteristic of the lens?

    Thanks for doing this. I was leaning towards a Sumicron 90, but now you've got me thinking to ditch that and go with the 55 + 135. And for the first time ever in your life you would be actually saving someone some money if I did that!


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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    One other thing of note I just noticed and that is sensor bloom if you look very close to the pink highlights it disappears faster on the 135mm than the 55 and the 85 is last given the apertures.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Adapters the 85 I used the Sony 4 I think it is but I manual focused everything. On the Zeiss 135 and let me be very clear as i noticed in Yosemite as Bob and Jack as my witness the metabones was pulling away from the body and the Novaflex was working perfectly and not pulling away. The Novaflex adapter is bolted on the 135 and i use the Metabones on the lighter lenses like my Zeiss 35mm. Ill just call it get the Novaflex if you have the Zeiss 135mm and it worked great with the 1.4 tel too.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Hey Guy,
    I'll trade you the 135 for my 25! Hehehe...

    A few questions:
    1. What adapter do you use?

    2. The 135 image has a special glow; almost looks like the light is on. Do you think that is a result of adjustments you made or is that a characteristic of the lens?

    Thanks for doing this. I was leaning towards a Sumicron 90, but now you've got me thinking to ditch that and go with the 55 + 135. And for the first time ever in your life you would be actually saving someone some money if I did that!


    Dave
    Crap i must be doing something wrong. LOL

    Now my 85 is good but at some point i may look at a Leica 75 cron or 90 elmarit. But for now i am going to wait it out for maybe the next FE 85mm
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    The 135mm is a look lens and its really nice. I highly recommend it weight and all. This is from Yosemite.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Test over and very happy with the 55mm. Obviously from the results it is recommended. I don't know of some troubles that some had like decentering and maybe shutter vibration which really seems off on a 55m but anyway this copy at least looks very good.

    Next week I will run the Zeiss 135 with and without the Sigma 1.4 tele so folks can get a good idea on that combo.
    Last edited by Guy Mancuso; 30th January 2014 at 14:32.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Thanks Guy, this is very useful. BTW, have you spent any time looking at the corners? I think I was even more impressed there.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    No not yet I may shoot some tomorrow to be sure of everything . I did a real quickie yesterday and things looked fine but I should double check .
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Thanks Guy, this is very useful. BTW, have you spent any time looking at the corners? I think I was even more impressed there.
    My copy of the FE 1.8/55 ZA is sharp edge to edge on the long side of the sensor wide open. The very corners are very well usable from f2.5. At f4 everything is extremely sharp.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Thanks Guy, this is very useful. BTW, have you spent any time looking at the corners? I think I was even more impressed there.
    Guy a few things to note. I too am curious about corner performance. Having in depth tested lenses all my life, I know what
    arduous work it is and it can't all be done in a day. Very useful information, thanks!

    One thing though....are you sure you didn't pull the wool over our eyes and simply use the same focal length lens in all the images you posted? Seems the engraving on the circular glass (just under the bird****) indicates the 135!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Lol its funny I noticed that when I was focusing it too. I thought it was kind of funny it was there.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Now if you want to do it right, you have to find headlamps that have engraved "55" and "85" and then we can consider all your findings valid.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 30th January 2014 at 19:23.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Wow all three look great. I prefer the Zeiss 135 the best but the FE 55 is a very close second. I am trying to justify not getting the 55 but it keeps getting harder to not buy it with the results it produces.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I agree the 135 is better controlled and looks the best with the 55 just a notch below it but I'm being real picky here as the 55 is extremely good. I also agree its a hard lens the 55 not to buy. I'm glad I got it. Its hard to ignore how good it really is wide open and that alone makes it worth it.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    And there were those who complained that the 55 1.8 is a 'ridiculous price' for an ordinary 50mm lens. Sure, its expensive, but it seems to be testing in the extra-ordinary category...
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Guy, it's often a crap shoot when trying to match a 1.4x to a 3rd party lens (Meaning the 3rd party lens manufacturer doesn't have a 1.4x for their lens). In this case Zeiss doesn't have a 1.4x for the 135mm. More often than not, in cases like this, I've found the Tamron Pro 1.4x does a slightly better overall than the Tokina 1.4 and by a wider margin improves upon the Sigma, which seems to designed with Sigma 's own lenses in mind. It's more performance in the corners than anything else.

    Obviously there's no substitute for actually testing them on lens being used.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Have to admit that I'm glad the 85mm performs as it does relative to the rest. 85mm is a portrait lens and I'd hate a portrait lens that looked like the 55mm.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Thanks Dave. In Yosemite Jack and I tried his Nikon 1.4 but the rear element on the Zeiss would hit the 1.4 so that was out. Than we tried the Sigma 1.4 which fit perfectly and I got some nice results at F4 actually it was almost perfect. So I ordered one and will test it next week and also check the corners. The shots we took in Yosemite it was of a house across the lake so not a good testing scene. So I'll give it a full run next week when it comes in.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Have to admit that I'm glad the 85mm performs as it does relative to the rest. 85mm is a portrait lens and I'd hate a portrait lens that looked like the 55mm.
    Totally agree Ben. The 85 is supposed to be the Mojo lens and why I have that lens. I could back that 55 off with a negative clarity setting to soften it up if needed. But its nice to have 1 laser in the bag in that focal length. Be great for a lot of things including copy work.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I was going to ask the question if Guy could redo the test again but this time on human skin tone to see how these lens render at such texture for portrait work. Based on the textures I have seen on the chrome of the light rim, I felt the 85mm was smoother and this could be translated to a more pleasant skin tone. Such test should not be undermined when compare to a more scientific test.
    Last edited by PSon; 31st January 2014 at 06:55.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I have a big model shoot towards the end of Febuary. Maybe I can do something sooner
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    My take: 55 equals the 135 -- and that means it's damn good. 85 does not meet 55 or 135 until about f2.8. At f4 and 5.6, they're all lasers. I suspect photographer had on a dark blue or black shirt and his reflection from being closer is why the 55 chrome highlight looks a little smoother
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I agree Jack my take as well and really to be expected between the 85 and 135 the surprise is certainly the 55, I did not expect it to that good wide open. I had neutral grey on actually
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I actually did 2 tests but the first one I dismissed since i forgot the 2 second delay. I will post a couple of the 55 and than I will do a knock down on clarity as soon as C1 decides to wake up here. Im spinning beach balls. LOL
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Gets a little more interesting here as I will post a straight 1.8 shot than the same shot with Minus 8 clarity and minus 23 structure. This is in C1 but the beauty here is you can take down the crispness to more a portrait style. We can always back off very easily without killing the file but you can only add so much sharpness. So nice to have a very crisp lens like the 55mm than back off when needed. I ll post full frame and crops





    Now the crops. Im focused on the Made In the USA





    Notice to the right or left even though out of focus how much smoother the minus clarity and structure are
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Okay enough of knocking it down , How about at its best aperture 5.6







    Point here is you can do a lot in post and this is pretty normal I would most likely be adding clarity to a landscape shot like this
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Oops small mistake it was -13 structure. Just caught that. My bad
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Okay lets get back to what I WOULD do with this file at 1.8 again I added clarity 10 points added some saturation and added some vignette and now its a much better image as a piece of art now not a test bed. This would be more normal for us to do.



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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Point here folks get real familiar with your post processing. As a Pro I would be a complete failure in the market not being very good in post. Do not under estimate this.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Same settings as above image. Nice bokeh here

    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Okay and I hate talking price since it is so subjective but the pundits out there complaining about its cost well I don't disagree a 1000 dollars for basically a 50 sounds like a lot of money than sure. But if you appreciate a amazing lens and have good use for it not to mention performs better than almost anything else than this is a bargain. Looking at the Otus or a Leica 50 mm that cost 7400:00 dollars for a 50 and given its performance against something like those two great lenses than it does not feel so bad. I have spent so much money on lessor quality glass that paying 1k while feeling heavy budget constraints that to me this was far worth the cost. But I'm also very serious about having the best glass in my hands as well so to me this was worth it. Your mileage will vary no doubt.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Btw this lens feels faster than any other 1.8 lens I have used. The look seems more like a 1.4 to me. Being so sharp wide open it makes the OOF area seem like a faster falloff
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Btw this lens feels faster than any other 1.8 lens I have used. The look seems more like a 1.4 to me. Being so sharp wide open it makes the OOF area seem like a faster falloff
    The 55 seems like a scathingly sharp lens... these shots, if you'd have passed them off as medium format, I think you could've fooled some people.

    The reason it looks like a 1.4 is because as the recent DxOmark tests show us, this is actually a true T1.8 lens, meaning it's physical aperture is likely larger to compensate for transmission loss. Most lenses lose anywhere from 0.2 to 1 stop in transmission relative to their advertised f/ aperture, especially zooms, some f/2.8 zooms are actually T3.2 or slower. If DxO rated the 55 as t1.8 there is no physical way it can also be f/1.8 because no glass in existence has 100% transmission.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Point here folks get real familiar with your post processing. As a Pro I would be a complete failure in the market not being very good in post. Do not under estimate this.

    Historically I've used Aperture as I'm a Mac guy. I'd flirted with LR and C1 in the past but switching required too much effort. That said, I ended up getting creative cloud and tried LR again recently when Aperture didn't have raw support I needed. I liked the output I got a little better and preferred the way the tools behaved. Now I'm trying C1 again and like the output but not sure on the way it organizes libraries.

    Anyway, point being post tools can be as variable wrt quality and usability as the hardware. Easy to get stuck in old habits - though some of those habits might be good.

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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    And there were those who complained that the 55 1.8 is a 'ridiculous price' for an ordinary 50mm lens. Sure, its expensive, but it seems to be testing in the extra-ordinary category...
    Those complaining were probably fooled by the f/1.8 max aperture, which is almost exclusively found in cheap 50 mm lenses. Had it been f/2, I'm sure fewer would complain. Makes you think about what silly preconceptions a little number can introduce.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Btw this lens feels faster than any other 1.8 lens I have used. The look seems more like a 1.4 to me. Being so sharp wide open it makes the OOF area seem like a faster falloff
    I don't think the aperture is larger than f/1.8, but since the background rendering is so smooth, you don't notice the background in the same way as with other similar lenses. It also has the very nice property of being able to isolate things even at ~10 meters distance. Can't say that about many other standard lenses. It looks more like medium format to me.

    In my opinion, this lens is a gamechanger. I've used it for a couple of weeks and it's the best standard lens for 24x36 that I've tried so far (out of ~15 or so). I'd choose it over the Noct-Nikkor any day. The only drawback I've found is that the manual focusing ring is almost impossible to use with gloves, since the surface is level with the rest of the barrel.
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    Re: Sony 55FE 1.8 vs Sony ZA 85mm 1.4 vs Zeiss 135mm F2

    I don't know Guy. When I got my Canon 50L I tried to match the 'look' of my old Pentax Tak Super, even matching the f1.2 to 1.4 the canon had a lot more 'modern' contrast. I rode the minus clarity but it looked like a PP rendition rather than a lens rendition. I could get close but it never really replaced the look, it would always look too modern. I'm not quite sure you can get that super sharp 55mm to give a portrait rendition in post. Colour, focus roll off, contrast, structure, it's still not going to be how they design it for a portrait lens. The great thing though is that if you want 'less' sharp there are pretty much all the rest of the world of lenses out there to choose from, most at a fraction of the price! .
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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