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Archive 2017 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Steve Spencer wrote:
Right now, I don't find the numbers that surprising. 23 copies tested, 14 considered good. About 60% people are happy with but 40% they are not. I would expect most lenses to be better than than and if people are unhappy with a third or more of them then you can expect quite a bit of chatter. It is something to keep in mind. When there is a lot of chatter there is no reason to think most lenses are a copy that people wouldn't be happy with, but there is just a lot more chance that you would
...Show more

I see these numbers differently. At this moment, 18 lenses were actually tested....13 of them were great a first try (things may change though).
That's less variation than excpected based on all the reports on the 35/1.4 ZA' QC.
5 members never tried it based on the bad rep this lens has received.

I'm not saying this lens has low variation (which I think it's pretty high) but I am surprised by the results so far especially because FMers are pretty picky about their lenses.



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:00 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
I see these numbers differently. At this moment, 18 lenses were actually tested....13 of them were great a first try (things may change though).
That's less variation than excpected based on all the reports on the 35/1.4 ZA' QC.
5 members never tried it based on the bad rep this lens has received.

I'm not saying this lens has low variation (which I think it's pretty high) but I am surprised by the results so far especially because FMers are pretty picky about their lenses.


The numbers keep changing, but right now on people who have only tried one lens, fourteen were happy two were unhappy. Then there was one person who tried three and was happy with one. That makes 15 lens with which people were happy and 4 with which they were unhappy. Then there was one person who tried three and was unhappy with all three. That brings us to 15 lenses with which people were happy and 7 lenses in which people were unhappy. Then there was one person who tried four or more lenses and found just one they were happy with. That brings us to 16 lenses with which people were happy and 11 with which they were unhappy (assuming they just tried four and it wasn't more than four). That is again about 60% of the lenses people were happy with and about 40% of the lenses people were not happy with. You could do it by people and get slightly different numbers. Fourteen people were happy with the first lens they tried and 6 people were not. That gives us 70% were happy with the lens they got out of the box, but it isn't that much different. That is a lot of lenses that people are unhappy with and a lot of people that are unhappy with their first lens. Sure, you might think it is worse, but I am not surprised that the majority of lenses are judged as good and even about a 1/3 of lenses being judged as not performing well leads to a bad rep. When we focus on instances of pretty much anything we tend to focus on negative instances more than positive instances and negative instances get overestimated. It is a pretty natural tendency that probably in ancient society protected us from bad stuff but leads us to somewhat distorted perceptions in modern society.

If you want a very nice but a bit jargony and technical review of this tendency, here is a good article:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652533/



Sep 03, 2017 at 05:33 PM
alexands
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Perhaps only a few people are actually testing for decentering...


Sep 03, 2017 at 10:22 PM
philip_pj
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


And perhaps only a few need be concerned with possible decentering, given the intended purpose of the lens. As with the famed CY 35/1.4 most aperture rings were rusted on f1.4. Lol. Also, the term has acquired a pejorative meaning of 'faulty' whereas no lens is perfect in any case given high enough demands for tolerance. So it's a gradient we are looking at here, yet no one refers to 10% decentered, or 43.6% decentered. Probably the best images ever shot came off 'decentered' lenses. It's not satellite imagery..and many decenter tests might themselves be decentered.


Sep 03, 2017 at 11:47 PM
genji
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Kudos to Jonathan for the way he constructed the poll. I purchased a single copy, tested it thoroughly, and was happy. I'm also surprised at the relatively high number of owners in the same situation, given the reputation of the lens. Hopefully more members will vote over the next few days and we can see whether the percentages shift.


Sep 04, 2017 at 12:05 AM
DavidBM
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Interesting poll. Looks like adding up the defectives, about half are copies that someone picky would reject. Of course it's hard to control for some happy people being not very picky (if you use this lens for wide aperture close portraits focusing on your subjects eyes, most of the problems will never be visible) and some rejectors being overly picky.

I adore it. I don't know of another 35 that renders like this. The only things I would like to see improved are LoCA, onion rings and wide open focus plane contrast; but not at the expense of the rendering or overall performance...



Sep 04, 2017 at 01:55 AM
sebbe
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


If I read the poll correctly there are 25 good copys and 15 bad copys.
And we may assume that some of the good ones did not care about some variation and some of the bad copy users may did the test wrong.

Therefore it's about a 50:50 with this lens which comes close to what you hear about this lens.

If anybody looks after quality correctly it would be:
Every 2nd has a good copy, every 4th need two tries, every 8th three, every 16th four and Guy needed five.



Sep 04, 2017 at 04:27 AM
CalBoy87
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


I don't think this poll is as much about the lens itself, as it is about our expectation of it. I am sure that my (and probably others too) copy, would be rejected by many in this forum. My requirement is this lens should be sharp at F/1.4, sharper at F/2.0 and even more sharp at F/2.8. My lens is 100% compatible with those expectation. Is it sharp in top left corner or lower right corner at F/8.0? I have no idea, as I have no intention of taking shots which required to be sharp in the top corners at F/8.0. So I don't think we all can assume that "purchase one copy and was happy" mean that the lens is perfect, it simply mean that it met buyers expectation, which are vary widely among us.


Sep 04, 2017 at 06:06 AM
LBJ2
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


philip_pj wrote:
And perhaps only a few need be concerned with possible decentering, given the intended purpose of the lens. As with the famed CY 35/1.4 most aperture rings were rusted on f1.4. Lol. Also, the term has acquired a pejorative meaning of 'faulty' whereas no lens is perfect in any case given high enough demands for tolerance. So it's a gradient we are looking at here, yet no one refers to 10% decentered, or 43.6% decentered. Probably the best images ever shot came off 'decentered' lenses. It's not satellite imagery..and many decenter tests might themselves be decentered.


Bravo! One of the most practical/logical statements I've seen posted on this topic



Sep 04, 2017 at 06:27 AM
Chris_88
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


I have had two copies. The first one had a weak right corner. It wasn't too bad, but back then it bothered me. In retrospect, I should have kept it, as I ended up cycling through several 35mm options, not being happy with any of them, before buying another 35mm 1.4. My current copy looks fine.


Sep 04, 2017 at 07:10 AM
LBJ2
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


"If your lens is perfectly centered, you just don't have a sensitive enough test "

RCicala

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/59768269



Sep 04, 2017 at 07:27 AM
Jonathan Brady
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


CalBoy87 wrote:
I don't think this poll is as much about the lens itself, as it is about our expectation of it. I am sure that my (and probably others too) copy, would be rejected by many in this forum. My requirement is this lens should be sharp at F/1.4, sharper at F/2.0 and even more sharp at F/2.8. My lens is 100% compatible with those expectation. Is it sharp in top left corner or lower right corner at F/8.0? I have no idea, as I have no intention of taking shots which required to be sharp in the top corners at
...Show more

For me, it's not about sharp corners, it's about what is generally referred to as a "soft right side" is. I couldn't possibly care less about corners.



Sep 04, 2017 at 07:27 AM
LBJ2
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


DavidBM wrote:
Interesting poll. Looks like adding up the defectives, about half are copies that someone picky would reject. Of course it's hard to control for some happy people being not very picky (if you use this lens for wide aperture close portraits focusing on your subjects eyes, most of the problems will never be visible) and some rejectors being overly picky.

I adore it. I don't know of another 35 that renders like this. The only things I would like to see improved are LoCA, onion rings and wide open focus plane contrast; but not at the expense of the rendering or
...Show more

Well said/written. By your description, clearly you know this lens well too. The imperfections you describe can be confirmed by many of us that own and use the lens. I too find this lens very rewarding.




Sep 04, 2017 at 07:39 AM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


I feel like such the loser here going through 5 lenses but more my issue with 3 of them the right side would not catch up to the left side until at least 5.6. That's a problem with let's say a group shot with 3 or more people. One of the 4 I could have kept it was soft on the right side slightly but it really started to get under my skin that it was not perfect so doing this 5 times really cost me money in shipping and such. My final one I got here on the board in a trade and got lucky it's just a hair soft I mean a hair too so I settled in and very happy now. Question is why I went through all the pain and expense is the rendering of this lens. It's one of my favorites where that is concerned. Also stopped down for landscape work it's really beautiful and the big one for me at least is my system is based around 35mm and many folks it's based around there 50 so this is a very important focal length. My biggest bith with it is onion rings. So I'm just careful how I use it.

Looking st this poll I seem to be the only one that went through 5 and I certainly make this lens look like a bad buy. Sorry about that but think of it another way. I went through 5 because it's worth having instead. I do think like the 70-200 experience I have had also and I can't proof this but my gut tells me early on in production these two lenses has some issues and I think Sony reworked them on assembly to correct some issues. If I bought either one again I would buy new or tested by a member. Or I'd rent it and if you got a good one buy the rental. But in no way am I pissed off or feel Sony let me down. I owned every system out there and trust me I ran into this stuff with them too.

Jonathan Brady wrote:
For me, it's not about sharp corners, it's about what is generally referred to as a "soft right side" is. I couldn't possibly care less about corners.




Sep 04, 2017 at 08:50 AM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


I should add here on a positive note is that Eye Af with this lens is flat out outstanding


Sep 04, 2017 at 09:00 AM
Jonathan Brady
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


So it appears that voting has slowed down considerably. The results at this point are:


  1. 54 votes cast
  2. 6 voted that they've never considered it due to budgetary constraints leaving 48 possible customers
  3. 12 said they've avoided the lens due to its reputation, that's 25%. This leaves 36 who own or owned at least one copy of the lens.
  4. 27 out of 36 owners were happy with their first copy (75% first-time satisfaction rate)
  5. 2 out of 36 owners tried one copy and returned it, never trying another copy (5.5% rate of lost sales for Sony due to optics)
  6. 2 people tried 2 copies and got one they're happy with
  7. 1 person tried 2 copies and returned both, never trying another copy (2.8% rate of lost sales for Sony due to optics)
  8. 1 person tried 3 copies and got one they're happy with
  9. 1 person tried 3 copies and returned all three, never trying another copy (2.8% rate of lost sales for Sony due to optics)
  10. 2 people tried 4 (or more) copies and got one they're happy with
  11. Total lost sales from people who tried at least one copy (4 people) but never kept one is 11.1% (4 out of 36)
  12. Out of the potential group of buyers (48, including those who just won't try it due to reputation), 16 out of 48 could own the lens today, if it weren't for the issues with optics (either via personal experience or via reputation) which is 33%.
  13. That same data could be changed such that if Sony were measuring owners of the lens (32 people), they could potentially have 50% MORE owners of the lens (48 people) if it weren't for the performance/reputation of the optics.


So I guess the question is... (assuming this sample is representative), is a 50% increase in sales of this lens worth the expense to fix the issue in manufacturing/QC?



Sep 05, 2017 at 11:43 AM
ayjayy
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


i bought 1 copy and loved it, but also tried the 28 f2 and it was so good that I couldn't justify keeping the 35.


Sep 08, 2017 at 02:53 PM
JohnDizzo15
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


My feeling is that the tolerances for the production of the lens are about as wide as the range/variances of perception for what an acceptable copy should be are.

What I have found often is that people just have different use cases. For me, the copy of the lens I had was beautiful at close range and with the subjects close to center. But as soon as I got some distance and/or moved the subject out of the center, I began to have problems with IQ. I didn't even realize it was an issue until I was prompted to do some research based on what I was seeing in my copy.

Personally, I bought one and then returned it. I did however, try a second copy that I borrowed from my buddy for a bit. This was a copy that the owner was supposedly very happy with. However, when placed in my hands, my findings were the same (and this was not via test shooting but just chasing my kids around or shooting other real world subjects). Again, beautiful rendering near the center and at relatively close range. Pretty baffling IQ when composition placed subjects away from center and weren't within several feet.

I never noticed anything of the sort with regard to IQ when shooting the Sigma Art or the Canon 35/2 IS. Ultimately, the FE was problematic enough for me that I was willing to drop the coin on the Canon 35mk2 instead. Even without the native AF modes, I 100% prefer it to the native version.



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:48 PM
GabrielPhoto
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


"I tried 3 copies and was not happy with any of them"
Now to clarify is not that all 3 were badly de-centered, only one was. The other were pretty good on the right side. The problem was that the lens is not giving me the sharpness I need at 1.4 away from the center for my environmental portraits. The Canon EF 35mm 1.4 L ii gives me that in spades which is why I no longer look for the Zeiss.
Still I am sure for members with different needs, the Zeiss will work just fine.



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:51 PM
philip_pj
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


It's the flawed genius of the Sony family, lol. [put another way, if I was the designer I'd be very disturbed at how the production of the lens was handled; he probably left the company in disgust.]

This has been true of a lot of lenses throughout history, of course, with respect to the good copies. All great lenses need experience and care in selection, but it's the work you do that needs to closely match to their best qualities. Most people want something that is free of 'problems' and does everything quite well. We call this preference mediocrity and it is why almost all modern cars look and work the same, and are as exciting as cold porridge. Jack of all trades, masters of none.

This helps explain why lens 'tests' are really only good for quality issues. They want to find and describe in minute detail, the faults - not artistic qualities, as though freedom from faults equals optical nirvana. They are looking for reasons not to buy, rather than reasons to buy.

The subject should never even get raised outside a photographic forum such as this one, the image threads are the heart of FM, after all is said and done. Lens review sites are notorious for the bland, banal images the reviewers provide as evidence of their findings. A positive mindset would tell users what the lens does great, and what it does not do so well. It has to be real life too, not a table top setup or a test chart. Choosing a lens is not buying cereal at the supermarket. They all have faults, even Otus and Leica. The trick is to know the issues, in full knowledge of what is needed and is best for you personally, to see if they are relevant to your work and output needs.




Sep 08, 2017 at 07:10 PM
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