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LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
  
 
millsart
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


So much working getting "good" copies of Sony glass....

They really should have something like a direct purchase, "hand-selected" option for an additional premium, where they go and pull a bunch of gear of the production line, test it out, and only select the really stellar copies. Everything else that simply meets "spec" can go and get shipped to all the normal retailers, same as before.

Just shouldn't be such a lottery, or require trying and sending back 4 or 5 lenses to find one that is acceptable.

Yes, enthusiast types the frequency photo forums maybe can be a little OCD and obsessive about testing, but we aren't seeing lenses that simply were a case of someone being too picky, but rather that simply don't produce acceptable levels of IQ for any price point, much less the rather high premium Sony glass commands.

Sony really is known as something of a premium brand, costing a fair bit more than the likes of Fuji, Olympus etc (on the whole). One shouldn't have to audition the likes of 20 or 30 lenses in order to put together a complete kit.

Guy, question for you....

How many total copies of all the different focal lengths have you had to go through in order to put together your present working kit ?

Consider just Sony native, and then also what it took when you factor in copies of the Voigtlanders, Sigma etc too. Probably is what, 40+ lenses ?

You likely need to spend as much, if not more time, testing lenses to make sure they are acceptable to do a job and you spend shooting jobs, and that probably shouldn't be the way its supposed to work.



Jul 03, 2017 at 12:43 AM
GMPhotography
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


Been lucky and cursed . 5 FE 35 1.4, 2 GM 85, 4 24-70 F4s, 3 28 F2, 70-200 F4 2 of them, 1 Sony 85 1.8 I got blessed , 55 1.8 I went through 2 , got lucky with the 16-35 F4. Interesting part every Loxia or Batis first one won and done. So final count a mixed bag. I lost a lot of money on the 35 1.4. But I have a good one I'll never give up on.

GM 24-70 got real lucky with one



Jul 03, 2017 at 12:58 AM
GMPhotography
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8




GMPhotography wrote:
Been lucky and cursed . 5 FE 35 1.4, 2 GM 85, 4 24-70 F4s, 3 28 F2, 70-200 F4 2 of them, 1 Sony 85 1.8 I got blessed , 55 1.8 I went through 2 , got lucky with the 16-35 F4. Interesting part every Loxia or Batis first one won and done. So final count a mixed bag. I lost a lot of money on the 35 1.4. But I have a good one I'll never give up on.

GM 24-70 got real lucky with one


Lost countless money on time spent testing



Jul 03, 2017 at 01:00 AM
chrisgibbs
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


3 GM 2.8/24-70 (best zoom I've ever owned)
1 FE 1.8/55 (best normal I've ever owned)
1 FE 4/70-200 (a somewhat underwhelming lens)
2 RX1Rll's (superb rendering 35)
1 FE 4/16-35 (sharp, about it)
2 GM 1.4/85 (most special rendering I've owned)
1 RX10ll 2.8/24-200 (how'd they pull that one off, superb)



Jul 03, 2017 at 01:12 AM
chez
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


millsart wrote:
So much working getting "good" copies of Sony glass....

They really should have something like a direct purchase, "hand-selected" option for an additional premium, where they go and pull a bunch of gear of the production line, test it out, and only select the really stellar copies. Everything else that simply meets "spec" can go and get shipped to all the normal retailers, same as before.

Just shouldn't be such a lottery, or require trying and sending back 4 or 5 lenses to find one that is acceptable.

Yes, enthusiast types the frequency photo forums maybe can be a little OCD and
...Show more

This should not be the case. Sony charges a premium and should deliver a premium...not 4 lemons for each premium. Does anyone know what happens to the returned lenses?



Jul 03, 2017 at 01:15 AM
pdmphoto
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


chrisgibbs wrote:
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Unless you're buying a very spendy Zeiss Cinema lens, chances are they're all simply Japanese (made under license) Zeiss, none of those mentioned are true German Zeiss.

It's a bit like these Mercedes SUV's made here in the US, down in Alabama, they really don't compare "copy to copy, fit & Finnish wise" to the German made G-Class.


I was referring to the QA process, not where or who they are made. Sony/Zony lenses have proven to be a mixed bag. Not so much for the Batis and Loxia lenses.



Jul 03, 2017 at 01:30 AM
chrisgibbs
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


pdmphoto wrote:
I was referring to the QA process, not where or who they are made. Sony/Zony lenses have proven to be a mixed bag. Not so much for the Batis and Loxia lenses.


I got your point. Cinema glass isn't simply built and shipped as is most still glass (Zeiss too). It is built, tested, calibrated, rebuilt and retested until it nails the highest spec. You're paying a huge premium for the "additional" testing and calibration on cinema glass, as you are on most Leica glass too. There are stories of Leica having a large Wicca basket in their lens lab. If a lens failed badly enough, it got tossed into the basket and recycled.



Jul 03, 2017 at 02:17 AM
chrisgibbs
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


chez wrote:
This should not be the case. Sony charges a premium and should deliver a premium...not 4 lemons for each premium. Does anyone know what happens to the returned lenses?


I asked that question of one very large retailer, the answer was some rather vague double speak. I recon, when in short demand "a few" probably end-up put back into the rotation, just a guess!! That'd explain these "apparent high numbers" we're seeing, well, maybe.....



Jul 03, 2017 at 02:22 AM
chez
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


chrisgibbs wrote:
I asked that question of one very large retailer, the answer was some rather vague double speak. I recon, when in short demand "a few" probably end-up put back into the rotation, just a guess!! That'd explain these "apparent high numbers" we're seeing, well, maybe.....


Yes, that exact question has been asked before and I agree, a very political answer that was very vague. My suspicions line up with yours.



Jul 03, 2017 at 02:25 AM
timballic
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


JimBuchanan wrote:

Just curious, these infinity test shots; were they auto focused or manual focused.
Thanks.


Hi Jim, I did series with both MF and AF, just in case, as the AF series on the wall charts (at 3.8m) had been clearly less accurate than the MF, i.e., a bit hit and miss! However at infinity, the AF series seemed just the same as the MF.
The ones I actually posted were MF. That's why I was able to say that because F/1.8 was so soft, it made manual focussing wide open, unpleasantly hard. I repeated several times to get it best.

I have now (almost) made the decision to go for a Batis 85 instead. Six bad Sony lenses have really turned me off them. As Guy said above, I too get tired of all the testing and returning and trying again. With so many bad/poor copies around, of Sony lenses, it also makes me wonder how well put together they are, i.e.. even if i found a good copy, how long would it stay that way? I think I'll feel a lot happier with the Batis, despite the extra cost. (At least they should be better investments!)

I wish this had happened a week ago, as the dealer I got the Batis 25 from also had the 85, (from the same source), in wonderful condition, at a wonderful price. Sadly that Batis 85 just sold.



Jul 04, 2017 at 07:51 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



timballic
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


Batis 85 found and on its way to me

I do hope I haven't derailed this thread? Perhaps others have had such bad experiences with Sony lenses, that they too have been completely put off them? (I've decided against the Sony 90 macro too, after finding that Phillip Reeve had a similar bad experience with his and returned it!)




Jul 08, 2017 at 08:12 AM
TheEmrys
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


It dumbfounds me that the lenses Sony had the most trouble with consistency are the Zeiss branded ones, which allegedly fall under Zeiss's more rigorous QC/QA standards. The 24-70/4 and 35/1.4 spring to mind. Of course there are examples made by Sony completely, too.

pdmphoto wrote:
I was referring to the QA process, not where or who they are made. Sony/Zony lenses have proven to be a mixed bag. Not so much for the Batis and Loxia lenses.




Jul 08, 2017 at 08:56 PM
RCicala
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


TheEmrys wrote:
It dumbfounds me that the lenses Sony had the most trouble with consistency are the Zeiss branded ones, which allegedly fall under Zeiss's more rigorous QC/QA standards. The 24-70/4 and 35/1.4 spring to mind. Of course there are examples made by Sony completely, too.


Why would you think that

1) Zeiss optical design and even optical glass manufacturing on a joint lens does not mean Zeiss optomechanical design. In fact, the norm is a Zeiss optical design in the manufacturer's optomechanicals. And optomechanical has more to do with variation than the glass does.

2) Everyone seems to have this concept that the lens comes off the assembly line and is optically tested before it's put in a box. That's so cute :-)

3) We've spent a massive amount of time during the last two years working on numbers to describe variance. They aren't quite done yet, but patterns are clearly emerging. One of those is that Zeiss (real Zeiss) prime lenses have little variance. Another is that Zeiss-Anyone lenses aren't any different than Anyone lenses.



Jul 09, 2017 at 12:27 PM
GMPhotography
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


Anyone thinks Nikon and Canon are any better is smoking illegal substance.


Jul 09, 2017 at 02:14 PM
Phillip Reeve
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8




GMPhotography wrote:
Anyone thinks Nikon and Canon are any better is smoking illegal substance.

Have you seen Roger's results on more recent Canons? I wouldn't classify those as illegal substances



Jul 09, 2017 at 02:45 PM
pdmphoto
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


RCicala wrote:
Why would you think that

1) Zeiss optical design and even optical glass manufacturing on a joint lens does not mean Zeiss optomechanical design. In fact, the norm is a Zeiss optical design in the manufacturer's optomechanicals. And optomechanical has more to do with variation than the glass does.

2) Everyone seems to have this concept that the lens comes off the assembly line and is optically tested before it's put in a box. That's so cute :-)

3) We've spent a massive amount of time during the last two years working on numbers to describe variance. They aren't quite done
...Show more

Exactly, and just as important is robustness of the design. It may come out of the factory in near perfect alignment/mechanical qualities, but if it cant take a little, less than perfect handling and use - by design - then it isnt a good value for me.



Jul 09, 2017 at 04:57 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


Roger knows this stuff better than anyone because he tests a very high number of lenses with his super-duper optical bench. It's the only way to know for sure.

Personally, I believe lens variation is more "lens" than "brand" dependent. That may explain a certain higher variability for a lens design and low for another regardless of the manufacturer.

Quality control is also indispensable. From what I've seen Leica is definitely at the top (In price too!). We praise Zeiss but I've encountered many decentered Loxia and Batis lenses although never truly lemons. It's lens dependent within the same brand though. For example, the Loxia 50/2 has extremely low variability based on my personal experience and the Loxia 35/2 the worst. They are both pure-blooded "Zeiss".

Copy variation is a nightmare for the entire industry and I'm afraid it's going to get more evident as more pixels are added to our sensors. It's great that newer designs are breaking records in resolution, contrast and aberration control but its a shame variation control is not improving at the same rate.

I'm hoping Roger will be able to convince manufactures that it's a do are die proposition. I, for one, despise the 'good' copy hunting involved whenever getting a new lens. I'm sure I'm not alone.



Jul 09, 2017 at 05:29 PM
Stoffer
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


Do we have any evidence that the GM lenses has less copy variation? Roger has tested a few already, right? The 24-70 GM and the 85 GM as far as I remember?


Jul 09, 2017 at 07:02 PM
chez
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


I guess the logical question to ask is are we all ready to pay even more money for perfect copies right out of the gate? I know designing and manufacturing to a very high tolerance has it's costs...and those will all be passed onto us.


Jul 09, 2017 at 07:06 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · LR test: Sharpness Tests of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8


Stoffer wrote:
Do we have any evidence that the GM lenses has less copy variation? Roger has tested a few already, right? The 24-70 GM and the 85 GM as far as I remember?


Here are Roger's test of the GM 24-70:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/04/sony-goes-world-class-the-24-70mm-f2-8-gm-mtf-and-variance-tests/

Here are Roger's tests of the GM 85 f/1.4:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/04/sony-fe-85mm-f1-4-g-master-lens-mtf-and-variance/

Here are those two lenses and a bunch of other lenses:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/06/the-sony-fe-lenses-mtf-and-variance-summary/

Roger did test the GM 70-200 f/2.8 which doesn't look that great on the optical bench, but I could not find the copy variation tests anywhere. Perhaps someone will have those links. I also have not seen the optical bench tests of the GM 100 f/2.8 STF, and I am sure we will see the GM 100-400 and GM 16-35 f/2.8 test soon after they come out. So, in my view still too few tests to really know if the GM lenses are better, but we may know more pretty shortly. Sony seems to be working on the copy variation issue, but there is a way to go on that front. Keep in mind also that Roger seems to find more copy variation in zooms than primes and that makes sense given that by their nature zooms are more complicated. See this link for the difference in variation between zooms and primes:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/02/things-you-didnt-want-to-know-about-zoom-lenses/



Jul 09, 2017 at 07:17 PM
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