Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 – First Impression by Jan Tichy
This is first partner review with the http://jantichyphotography.com.
The original review can be found here – http://jantichyphotography.com/pages/prvni-dojmy-sony-fe-85mm-f18/ but it is in the Czech language, so I tried to translate it in English.
Jan Tichy is respected Czech Photographer and big fan of Sony E mount cameras. He is also legacy lens freak and one of my good “photo” friends.
Here is his short review.
Today I was lucky to put my hands on the new Sony FE 85/1.8. It is lens that lot of people were hoping for, because at the price of just around 650 EUR (598 USD :-() it is slightly above half the price of comparable (by specification) Batis 85/1.8, so it can be a great portrait alternative with AF, for Sony mirrorless system.
How does it perform, is it worth it?
Build quality is rather solid. Barrel is made of light metal composite so it is light but sturdy. Filter diameter is 67mm. On the barrel we can find switch for AF/MF and multifunctional button that can be mapped for one of the user functions. Manual focusing is electronically coupled (focus by wire) and it is smooth, though it doesn’t react instantly when turned, but it allows graduated change of speed related to the speed of rotation.
I didn’t make any complicated or controlled tests, I rather captured few casual portrait shots during one afternoon, in the different lighting conditions (direct sunlight, shadow, reflected light). I haven’t noticed any worrisome vignetting. Chromatic aberration (except when shot against direct sunlight) seems also well corrected, there was nothing terrible that would caught my eye or that I would need to correct in the post processing. Lens is in the center (I shot portraits at f/1.8, so corner sharpness wasn’t important) very sharp right from wide open aperture and rendering of the fine structures is great. Together with high edge sharpness, it helps creating very solid 3D effect. Colors are neutral without noticeable shift, saturation is very good.
At short focus distances, out of focus areas are very smooth and pleasant. At middle focus distances, blurred background starts to be a bit nervous but at the same time, light 3D effect is more apparent. At longer focus distances (whole body e.g.), bokeh become rather nervous but 3D effect is strongest.
One of those important things :). It is hard to make any definite conclusions. Final firmware version which should optimize speed and accuracy of the lens on Sony mirrorless system, wasn’t available at time of testing, but when I went through all photos at home, considering that I shoot most with wide open aperture, there were very few blurred images, keepers rate was pretty high. Autofocus was accurate also in direct sunlight and deep shadows. It happen that it miss the target and run through whole focusing range and back, being not able to lock-up (which can be annoying), but overall impression suggest that autofocus works better than on Sony FE 50 1.8.
That was it, no more talking, take a look at images in the gallery.
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Disclaimer: All images were lightly processed without extensive processing that would affect character of the lens. Colors were left as they were without further adjustment (except for B&W of course). Chromatic aberrations weren’t corrected during processing. All images taken with Sony A7II. All images taken by Jan Tichy.
Author would like to thank model Evey for posing and Foto Skoda for lending the lens.