Long-rumored Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens arrives

Sony FE 35mm F1.8
(Image credit: Sony)

This is a moment that many Sony FE users have been waiting for – the announcement of a lens to fill what has for a long time been a hole in the Sony lens line-up. An FE 35mm F1.8 lens has arrived.

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

(Image credit: Sony)

 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

(Image credit: Sony)

 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.

Read more:

The best Sony cameras 

10 tips on getting the best out of your Sony camera

The best Sony lenses

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  

An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.