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Thread: Sony 35/1.4G question

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Sony 35/1.4G question

    I'm a lurker here (some may recognised my moniker from another well know internet user group) and I have a question about the 35/1.4G.

    My ideal camera would be a full frame shooter with a fast autofocus 35 lens. If I made an investment in a Sony A900 then the 35/1.4G would be a logical choice.

    I've rarely seen opinions, much less examples from this lens apart from DPreview. Does anyone have any samples or opinions?

    It seems from reading this group and around that shooters go for the 24-70 Zeiss instead rather than this lens. It also comes at a price which is a long way towards the 24-70 - does that reflect its quality?

    TIA for any answers.

    LouisB

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    I don't own this lens, but I've talked to many that do. Essentially, it isn't the sharpest thing out there, especially for the money, but it has a rendering that is very pleasing. Many consider it more of an artisan lens...whatever that means If you prefer sharpness, find a used Minolta 35mm f2. It'll be a bit cheaper, and it's a razor that performs excellently on the A900. The Minolta 35 f2 is probably one of the top few used Minolta lenses that you can get, but it is a bit hard to find, because no one wants to give them up. Mike over on the onlinephotographer.com used this with the A900 and loved it.

    All of that being said, the 35mm range of the Zeiss 24-70 is the sweetspot of that lens, so you have that option as well. Beautiful performer (that's what I have.) Also, I've heard incredible things about the Schneider C-Curtagon 35mm 2.8 m42 lens on the A900, and I've got one of those on the way for when I don't want the bulky zoom. I'm excited to test it out. Cheers.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    I think it's not worth the price. Too expensive for what it does. Basically you get outstanding sharpness only in the very center, but the sharpness drops dramatically as you move away from center, even when stopped down. It has very nice bokeh, which makes it good for environmental portraits and wedding photography.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    IIf you prefer sharpness, find a used Minolta 35mm f2. It'll be a bit cheaper, and it's a razor that performs excellently on the A900. The Minolta 35 f2 is probably one of the top few used Minolta lenses that you can get, but it is a bit hard to find, because no one wants to give them up. Mike over on the onlinephotographer.com used this with the A900 and loved it.
    Thanks for the comment. Is the 35/2 an autofocus lens (pardon my complete ignorance!).

    LouisB

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Yes, the Minolta Maxxum 35mm f2 is an AF lens. Essentially, every Minolta Maxxum lens works on the A900, and they started making them in 1984, so there are a TON of used lenses to be had that are very good. They are all AF, except a couple of specialty lenses, like the 135 STF.
    Last edited by douglasf13; 5th May 2009 at 10:13.

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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Sorry, wrong thread, please ignore

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Hi Louis

    It's good to see you posting here and a very big welcome! I hope that you make it over to the "dark" side of Alpha photography...the 900 is a very fine instrument to use and a real photographers camera. There are also some very, very good lenses available, especially those from Zeiss but as others have also said don't ignore the Sony G or older Minolta AF lenses.

    I have never regretted flogging my DMR and R lenses and that was after operating them both together for a while....just no contest!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    The posts are pretty accurate. I have the 35 1.4 and have seen it tested head-to-head with the 35/2. The 2 is marginally sharper, but the 1.4 has the better bokeh.

    As all I shoot are portraits, the 1.4 EXCELS at what I use it for. I even upgraded from the Minolta original version to the Sony (which cost me $200 more) to get a newer lens with the focus clutch, ADI, and better coatings.

    I also have the 28/2, which is absurdly sharp. People with wrinkles probably wouldn't approve of using either f/2 lens on them as much as the 1.4 ;-)

    Here is an example of what it does...

    Last edited by gsking; 6th May 2009 at 14:30.

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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Quote Originally Posted by gsking View Post

    Here is an example of what it does...
    Oh Hell
    And there was I, thinking that the 35 f1.4 was one lens I didn't want


    p.s. that's a lovely photo (and it wasn't just taken with the lens!)

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Jono,

    Thanks for the kind words. Now, that shot was taken on the A700. The edge softness may crop up (no pun intended) on the A900.

    I can dig up some other samples, but they all exhibit the same character.

    The older lens and the Sony were optically identical.

    To satiate my curiousity, I tested it (at f/8) against the 55mm 645 lens (at 5.6) on an 11mp FF sensor...and as expected, the MFDB won out...probably due to the extra sharpness due to lack of AA filter.

    Greg

  11. #11
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Quote Originally Posted by gsking View Post
    Here is an example of what it does...
    damnit...

    I've been really complaining about the lack of a 35/1.4 to rival the canon version on my old 5D cams. On wedding days with canon, the 35/1.4 was one of my go-to lenses. Your sample has a VERY similar character and obviously doesn't lack for sharpness as far as people-shooting is concerned.

    Really Lovely.

    BTW... how's low-light focus with it?

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. #12
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    One more thing...

    I've been running around the web looking into this lens a bit more. Even though I trust web samples about as much as the economy, one thing I THINK I'm seeing is that this lens performs better on full-frame than the higher mp aps-c cameras. Not sure if it's a pixel density thing or not, but samples I've seen on the a300-ish cameras are not that impressive (could be the photographers though )... but some of the a900 samples are pretty good.

    Not bitingly sharp like the zeiss lenses, but sharp and "pleasant".

    This one might make it back onto my list. Would love to try one out.

    ETA: Just notices the above shot, as lovely as it is, was shot at f/4. I NEED for an f/1.4 lens to actually perform AT f/1.4 and would be interested in gsking's thoughts (samples?) about his copy at f/1.4
    Last edited by Shelby Lewis; 6th May 2009 at 19:09.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    It is a weddings photographer lens, no doubt. Shelby, when you buy it, please let us know and show us some photos
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    ETA: Just notices the above shot, as lovely as it is, was shot at f/4. I NEED for an f/1.4 lens to actually perform AT f/1.4 and would be interested in gsking's thoughts (samples?) about his copy at f/1.4
    Shelby,

    Good point. It was the only one I could find easily on my website at work. I'll dig up some more.

    Low-light focus is same as any other fast lens on a Sony camera. Never had issues with it. Sharpness drops a bit wide open, but seems to recover quickly.

    It shoots a lot like the 100/2 does bokehwise, and I'd say both are similarly sharp at f/2. (where the 100 trounces the Minolta 85mm) I'd say the 35mm is a BIT sharper wide open than the 85mm, but there may be sample-to-sample variation).

    One of the biggest gripes, especially wide open, is the CA. It does have some nasty fringing if you shoot high contrast. But you don't get that often shooting f/1.4, fortunately.

    Hope these help.

    Here's one at f/1.6 where I missed the focus



    And one more at f/1.6 and the last one at f/1.4




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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    BH Greg! (remember I'm British).

    The samples from 1.4 look outrageously good. I thought this lens was a bit weak but I could live with the sharpness and oof area performance. Colouration is very natural, as well. Lovely, delicate contrast (or is that a product of the sensor?).

    My benchmark for a 35/1.4 would have to be my Leica Summilux 35-asph f1.4 Here is a comparison shot from an M8 - not to start a Leica/Sony war but to emphasise how good the Sony lens appears to perform, imho.

    My interest has arisen because I am thinking of doing a reportage project in my school which will inevitably include scenes which are in low light. A really decent 35 lens with autofocus could in these circumstance be very handy indeed. I emphasise autofocus - I know it is lazy but, sheesh, I just want to ensure I get something in focus in fluid situations.

    I'm also interested in the Zeiss 85/1.8. I figure with these two lenses alone (and possibly the 50/1.4) I could shoot 99% of what I want. With my M8 as well I'd probably get 100% of what I want.

    If anyone has any comments about this combination for reportage I would be interested.

    Thanks again for all the comments and samples so far. Lots to think about.

    LouisB

    PS What is the reliability of Sony kit like?

    Attachment 15929

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Nice shot, Louis. I also think sometimes that a 35, 50 and 85mm lens are all I really need, and that Sony 35 looks good. I've got an m42 Schneider 35mm on the way, which is supposed to be great, but it is manual, doesn't have a great minimum focus distance, and is only f2.8 That Sony sure is tempting

    As far as reliability with Sony, I've been using their DSLRs for 3 years, and I've heard of very few problems. From what I've read and heard about, and this isn't scientific at all, the most common issue with Sony DSLRs is that the control dials get a little wonky sometimes over time, and skip around between settings every once in a while. I've had it happen to both my A700 and A900, but a little blast of electrical contact cleaner in the control wheel cavity fixed it right up, and lots of Sony users have done the same. I think it's just grime build up in there. I've heard of A700 users who've used the camera in the rain and have literally had water funneling out of the control wheel cavity without issue, so I doesn't seem to be an actual sealing problem.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 35/1.4G question

    Btw guys, there are some very interesting Sony lens reviews here: www.kurtmunger.com including the 35/1.4.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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