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How many Sony-fit 35mm primes do we NEED? We count 15, but there are more

Sony FE 35mm primes
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

We've just given the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM a rave review, and quite rightly as it's a truly excellent lens. We're also testing the much cheaper Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens right now, which we expect to be equally good for different reasons. But there were already 13 Sony 35mm primes on the market from Sony, Samyang, Sigma, Tamron, Voigtländer and Zeiss, so how many more do we need?

35mm is seen as the best lens for street photography, and as a general purpose semi-wide standard lens. 35mm primes are have wider apertures and smaller size (huh – usually) than a regular kit zoom, so they are popular for a reason.

But now there are SO MANY of these lenses for the full frame Sony FE-mount alone now that they need straightening out. Here are the candidates:

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony 35mm primes

Sony makes two 35mm primes under its own label, and two more with the Zeiss branding. 

  • Sony FE 35mm f/1.8
    Sony's regular everyday 35mm f/1.8 prime is a G lens rather than a G Master, but that does make it both affordable and a reasonable size.
  • Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM
    Sony's new premium G Master optic is not massively huge, nor massively expensive, but it is massively good and almost certainly the best FE mount 35mm prime right now.
  • Sony (Zeiss) Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA
    This super-compact Zeiss lens combines optical and engineering quality with a super-slim profile, but it is pricey.
  • Sony (Zeiss) Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA
    Before Sony started its G Master line, its Zeiss-branded lenses were its flagship optics. Now the Distagon 35mm f/1.4 goes head to head with the newer G Master lens.

(Image credit: Sigma)

Sigma 35mm primes

Sigma makes three fast 35mm primes for Sony FE; two are huge but the third looks a lot more practical.

  • Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary
    Just in for testing, this new Sigma 35mm f/2 is a sensible size and a sensible price, and we can't wait to find out what it's like to use.
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
    Once upon a time, a 35mm prime lens was a compact and portable alternative to a zoom. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is neither. Its a great lens, but HUGE.
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
    Is the Sony E-mount wide enough for f/1.2 lenses. It is if you are Sigma. But impressive as the 35mm f/1.2 is technically, it's bigger even than the f/1.4 version.

Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC AE

(Image credit: Future)

Samyang 35mm primes

Samyang's 35mm primes are miles cheaper, and now that the latest come with AF, you don't have to give up too much convenience.

  • Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE
    If you like the look of the Zeiss-badged 35mm f/2.8 but not the price, here's a cheaper alternative that probably won't match the Zeiss build and quality, but might come close enough.
  • Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE
    If you want an affordable everyday 35mm prime, this Samyang lens is a little shorter and lighter than the Sony equivalent and a whole lot cheaper.
  • Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE
    Samyang always delivers impressive specs for the price, and its AF 35mm f/1.4 is not just WAY cheaper than the Sony equivalent, but a lot cheaper than the Sigma f/1.4 lens too.
  • Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC
    Before it started making autofocus lenses, Samyang made a lot of manual focus primes, and many are still on sale, which makes things confusing.

Tamron FE 35mm f/2.8

(Image credit: Tamron)

Tamron, Voigtländer and Zeiss 35mm primes

Tamron's trio of affordable FE mount primes has really caught our eye, but what we really, really want to get our hands on are the two Noktons...

  • Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2
    There are no fireworks with the Tamron lens, just modest specs and everyday affordable practicality – and it will focus right down to a 1:2 reproduction ratio for half life size macro shots.
  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4
    Voigtlander is a name from the past, and a time when 35mm lenses were quite small. This one is manual focus and we haven't tried it – but we really want to.
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 Aspherical SE
    Is the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 not fast enough for you? Then go another 1/3EV faster with this f/1.2 version – anohter lens we really want to get our hands on!
  • ZEISS Loxia 35mm f/2
    Zeiss Loxia lenses are compact and portable but manual focus only – but this one can be 'declicked' for video. Don't rule it out if you're looking for a small and classy prime.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 


Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.