I own a Sony A7R ii and was on the look out for a 85mm portrait lens. I already own a Zeiss Batis 25mm and was looking at buying the Zeiss Batis 85mm to add to the family.
However, Sony recently launched the FE 85mm f1.8 which was price less that the Zeiss. Although the Sony is still a premium priced product compared to equivalent lens from Canon, Nikon, Pentax etc... It is just as good as the Zeiss Batis in my option. Yes, the bokeh on some of the shots maybe a little rugby ball shaped but I am not a professional and nor am I making money out of my photos. I am an enthusiast photographer....
I really liked the focus button on the lens, definitely prefer using this for Eye Auto Focus than the back button.
Overall, really happy with the purchase and glad I picked the Sony over the Zeiss and saved some money for future additions.
Sony have done it. They've finally released a more affordable lens than the 85mm 1.4 G Master.
This is literally my favourite lens EVER. And I own the Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART for my Nikon cameras!
It's as sharp as nails. Focussing is quick and effortless. The size is convenient too.
I did manage to do a VERY quick and unscientific test with the 85mm 1.4 GMaster. I was very surprised to find focus speed was slower on the G Master. It also seemed to hunt more than the 1.8. Using the same subject in low light, the 1.8 locked on with no issues. The 1.4 G Master hunted.
So for me. I would literally get this lens and simply forget about its more expensive big brother.
My only issue is that its so good that my wife & I are fighting over who gets to use it (we're professional photographer/videographers). It seems the only solution is to buy another! Except Amazon have no stock at the time of writing :(
I've been using this lens on my Sony A7RII for the past 6 months, having made a big decision to ditch my Canon 6D using the 135mm F2 back in December last year. It has taken me some time to get used to the Sony A7RII as it's a much more advanced camera with many more settings to configure. I had been tempted to go back to Canon on a few occasions, but the small, lightweight profile of this camera and lenses made me stick with it and I'm happy I did.
I did a lot of research on what lenses to buy on a budget and wanted something similar to the Canon 135mm F2 which had been a great lens, giving similar results to the unaffordable Canon 85mm F1.2. A Sony G lens would be nice of course, but that is also unaffordable.
My preferred focus settings are Lock-on AF: Center with continuous AF which means I can focus and recompose each shot without losing focus on the subject (most of the time). I also have face detect on and set eye AF using the button on the side of the lens, which is very useful. I must say, focussing on the Sony is light-years ahead of the Canon 6D, but it does take some time to fully understand the numerous focus settings.
The performance of this lens for the price is unbelievably good. It has impressive sharpness wide open, shallow DOF and gives a very pleasing bokeh - more of a Cat's Eye bokeh in some situations but this is not a problem for me. Chromatic aberration is insignificant and easily removed in Lightroom. I shoot almost entirely at F1.8 but tested this at F22 and the results are again extremely good with excellent edge to edge and corner sharpness.
I've added one of my favourite shots of a squirrel (shot through a glass window) [1/320 sec - F2 - ISO 100] Note: Photo quality will be lower due to Amazon reducing the quality.
The build quality of the lens is better than I had anticipated - It's all metal and feels like a premium lens. It's not weather sealed which is the only disappointment, however, I used it for 4 days in Lapland, where it snowed every day with a temperature between -7 and -15. It survived coatings of snow and still works fine (I took plenty of Silica Gel sachets and kept them in my bag to soak up any moisture).
One of the main reasons for leaving Canon was to reduce gear weight and size, and this lens is both compact and lightweight - I can leave it attached to my Sony A7RII (with lens hood attached) and it fits perfectly in my Think Tank Turnstyle 10 v2 sling bag with room for my Sony 28mm F2, Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod, Godox TT350S Flash and other small accessories.
I've got nothing but praise for this lens and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great value portrait lens that gives professional results.
As Sony system owners we're used to paying over the odds for lenses. However, this lens is one of the few exceptions. In my opinion it offers the finest price/performance ratio of any native Sony FE lens - third party providers included.
It naturally lends itself to portrait photography, but it's capable of so much more. It's become one of my favourite landscape lenses - although do note that it isn't weather-sealed. Go for the Zeiss Batis if you require weather sealing, otherwise this is more than adequate. Don't even think of the expensive f1.4 unless you have very specific requirements.
I couldn't be more impressed by this lens. Highly recommended.
Love this little lens. It's much smaller than my Sony G Master 1.4 however, it is much quieter and a third of the price! The image quality is almost identical to it however, the bokeh is a little bit more cat-eye shaped. It surprisingly focused better during video than the G Master, and I'm guessing that's because Sony slowed down the focus of the G Master to avoid the noisy motor sound. So comparing this to the G Master, value wise it's definitely better, however if you want the best bokeh quality and better performance in high backlighting go for the G master. Have a look at some images I took with this lens and the A7s/A6300. These photos can also be seen on my instagram @muinphotography