Users of the best Sony cameras previously had to choose between the Zeiss Distagon FE 35mm F1.4 ZA – an expensive, premium lens – and the older Zeiss 35mm F2.8 if they wanted a 35mm perspective on an E-mount camera. The new FE 35mm F1.8 slots nicely in between, providing an impressive balance between performance and price – it doesn’t have the “G Master” designation of Sony’s premium lenses, and is much more affordable as a result.
Let’s take a closer look at this new lens for Sony E-mount users…
Sony FE 35mm F1.8: Features
As the name implies, the FE 35mm F1.8 sports a maximum aperture of f/1.8, however it also weighs an impressively slender 280g and has dimensions of 65.6 mm (diameter) by 73.0mm (length). This matches the portability of Sony’s full-frame Alpha cameras.
Its optical construction includes an aspherical element that suppresses aberration, and it also has a 9-bladed circular aperture to produce smooth defocused areas in an image and beautiful bokeh.
It’s useful for close-up work too – it has a minimum focusing distance of 0.22m and a magnification factor of 0.24x.
Design-wise, the lens looks and handles much as you’d expect, with a focus hold button and focus mode switch both placed to allow for convenient and fast switching between manual and automatic focusing.
When used in manual mode, its Linear Response Manual Focus provides fine, responsive manual focus control – useful for video shooters – while its autofocus mode uses a linear-motor AF drive system that’s reportedly quick, accurate and quiet.
Something worth noting is that Sony describes the construction of the lens as a “dust and moisture resistant design”, but later clarify that it is not guaranteed to be dust- and moisture-resistant. So it clearly lacks the extensive weather-sealing of a G Master lens, and you may want to think twice before taking it into any really extreme weather.
Sony FE 35mm F1.8: Pricing and availability
The Sony FE 35mm F1.8 is actually fairly reasonably priced at £630 or $750, meaning it won’t be too expensive for Sony mirrorless camera users to plug the long-held gap in their arsenal. We’re looking forward to getting hold of one and seeing how it handles – we’ll update you when we do.