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Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?

  
 
35mmshooter
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Surprised that the Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1.4 ZA has such a wide range of feedback in terms of sharpness and rendering. This is not how I feel about the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f2 on my RX1R II. Is it really as poor of a lens choice as public posts make it seem?

Seems like the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 is a pretty good value for the money.

Sigma lens is too big, and all of the other 35mm options with AF are a bit slower...

Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM
Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm 1.4 ZA
Sony FE 35mm 1.8
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN
Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG DN
Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG HSM (former DSLR design)
Samyang 35mm 1.4 AF (MK II)
Samyang 35mm 1.8 AF
Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN
Sony ZA 35mm 2.8 FE
Samyang 35mm 2.8 AF
Tamron 35mm 2.8 Di III OSD M1:2



May 09, 2023 at 09:20 PM
devin.choi
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


been a while since I was searching for a 35ZA, but from what I can recall, there was a wide range of copy variance, with quite a few of them suffering from one issue or another.


May 09, 2023 at 11:45 PM
Oogappeltje
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


The zony 1.4/35 has my nod for portraits.
It has that drawn that makes the person that is in the pic look at themselves with a surprise smile.

As a photographer I see the weakness this lens has in IQ compaired to the GM or Bigma mentioned in reviews.



May 09, 2023 at 11:47 PM
InFocus2014
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Over the years, I have owned or tested most of the 35ís on your list. While it is big and heavy, absolutely nothing comes close the Sigma 35mm f1.2 for portrait work. When I need small or light, I take my GM 35mm f1.4 - another amazing lens.

The ZA 35mm f1.4 has a pleasing rendering, but it can lack critical sharpness, and CAís can be annoyingly high.



May 10, 2023 at 04:38 AM
MARKFER
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


I have the Sony Zeiss 35mm 1.4, picked up used and cheap and it's plenty sharp in my book starting at 1.4. I have not used the 35GM but I believe the word that it is superior. Truth is the ZA is very good and outside of it being bigger, I really don't have a desire to get the GM. The ZA provides really nice creamy bokeh up close and does render nice.

Edited on May 10, 2023 at 07:03 AM · View previous versions



May 10, 2023 at 06:31 AM
MARKFER
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


I also do believe in copy variation on the Sony ZA 35's. My experience with the 35 2.8 which I also bought used was unacceptably sharp. It bugged me more than any other lens I have owned. I have heard others say the exact opposite of this lens.


May 10, 2023 at 06:48 AM
SNJOps
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Also a consideration is the body you are shooting with, 24/33mp the Distagonís lower sharpness might not be an issue but on 42, 50 and 61mp it could be a different story. Plus the other weaknesses of the lens will be magnified on higher resolution bodies.

- If you are after a lens that will produce excellent results and budget is not an issue get the GM.

- If you are after a lens that will produce excellent results and budget is an issue get the Sigma Art 35mm f1.4 DG DN

- The Sigma 35mm f1.2 Art is for those who want even more of a shallower DOF look for portraits.

- The Distagon is still viable as it renders quite differently to the others, just make sure you get a good copy.



May 10, 2023 at 08:37 AM
Grenache
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


My ZA f/1.4 was fantastic. I replaced it with the GM, which in most areas is a much better lens. What I miss most about the ZA is its richly saturated colors, especially reds. However, the ZA was heavy, AF much slower, and was prone to CA with challenging backgrounds. The ZA is noticeably sharper in the center than it is on the edges, which some might consider an attribute for portraits. The GM is very sharp corner to corner, with the center only being slightly sharper than anywhere else in the frame. That makes the GM superior for landscape shooters but may or may not be advantageous for portraits.

Jim



May 10, 2023 at 01:59 PM
QuietOC
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


35mmshooter wrote:
Surprised that the Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1.4 ZA has such a wide range of feedback in terms of sharpness and rendering. This is not how I feel about the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f2 on my RX1R II. Is it really as poor of a lens choice as public posts make it seem?

Seems like the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 is a pretty good value for the money.

Sigma lens is too big, and all of the other 35mm options with AF are a bit slower...

Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM
Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm 1.4 ZA
Sony FE 35mm 1.8
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art
...Show more

Both of the Sony FE 35mm ZA's I tried were very misaligned. The A-mount Sony 35mm F1.4 G was even worse.

Sony FE 35mm F1.8 image quality doesn't compare well against the Samyang 35mm F1.8 outside of sharpness wide-open.

A used original Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 is good value for money, but it has some variation in my experience. It is better than their F1.8 except for size and weight and sealing.

The Tamron is great if you are fine with F2.8 and choppy focusing.



May 10, 2023 at 02:40 PM
tsdevine
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?



The difference between AF-S and AF-C with the Tamron 35/2.8 is really wild. On my a7R V, in AF-C mode, it seems snappy and confident. In AF-S it's slow and choppy.

I haven't shot it much since getting the CV 35/2 APO, but just wanted to point out the dual personality of this lens between AF-S and AF-C.

QuietOC wrote:
Both of the Sony FE 35mm ZA's I tried were very misaligned. The A-mount Sony 35mm F1.4 G was even worse.

Sony FE 35mm F1.8 image quality doesn't compare well against the Samyang 35mm F1.8 outside of sharpness wide-open.

A used original Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 is good value for money, but it has some variation in my experience. It is better than their F1.8 except for size and weight and sealing.

The Tamron is great if you are fine with F2.8 and choppy focusing.





May 10, 2023 at 02:52 PM
 


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Grenache
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Not my images, but Andreas-Joachim Lins is a great portrait shooter and used the ZA extensively at least a couple of years ago. His images with it are fairly representative of the tonality and rich colors it can produce.

Jim

https://flic.kr/p/23ScUUg

https://flic.kr/p/EzbydJ

https://flic.kr/p/XpzfiZ




May 10, 2023 at 09:34 PM
frezeiss82
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


MARKFER wrote:
I have the Sony Zeiss 35mm 1.4, picked up used and cheap and it's plenty sharp in my book starting at 1.4. I have not used the 35GM but I believe the word that it is superior. Truth is the ZA is very good and outside of it being bigger, I really don't have a desire to get the GM. The ZA provides really nice creamy bokeh up close and does render nice.


Love the ZA 35. Wide open a bit of a pain sometimes cause I know its acceptably sharp but it may miss sometimes. The GM has more consistent AF, better sharpness wide open for sure but lacking that rendering magic (imperfections?), more sterile perfect look. ZA has some onion ring bokeh but it didnt really bother me.

The Sigma 35 1.2 was too big, it requires extra dedication to carry in my bag. Sharp wide open but the overall rendering is still better with ZA. Bigger aperture does yield a different picture but oh the weight..

Too bad Sony-Zeiss partnership has gone through the window, would've loved a ZA 35 1.4 II with the same OOF characteristic, a bit better sharpness & AF at 1.4.

I



May 11, 2023 at 07:58 AM
Butterfingers
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


I have the 35mm GM and it's one of my favourite lenses I've ever used, I've used all systems barring Pentax, yet I think the 35mm Sigma 1.2 is a better lens for portrait work. I've never used it myself, but from the images I have seen comparing the two the Sigma 1.2 looks better for portrait work.

Due to the Sigma 1.2's size and weight, I think that the 35mm GM is a better lens in general, but only evaluating the 2 lenses on portrait work alone, I would go with the Sigma 1.2.



May 11, 2023 at 08:56 AM
Butterfingers
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


frezeiss82 wrote:
Too bad Sony-Zeiss partnership has gone through the window, would've loved a ZA 35 1.4 II with the same OOF characteristic, a bit better sharpness & AF at 1.4.



What makes you say that the Sony-Zeiss partnership has gone through the window? This is under my assumption that "gone through the window" means the relationship has soured between the two, not that there is a pause.

I really doubt that the Sony-Zeiss relationship has soured, as the newest Sony Experia 1v phone released today (May 11th 2023) has the Zeiss T* coating and if the relationship between the two was truly bad, Sony wouldn't have released a phone with their coating or the Zeiss branding on their phone. Either way I don't think there will be a ZA35 1.4 II being released as the 35mm GM has taken its role, and the 35mm focal length market for Sony FE is saturated as it is already.

I've been under the impression that Zeiss just can't keep up with optics for EUV (CPU production equipment) and for the short to near future that is what they will be focusing on as processor makers cannot keep up with demand.

The last line of lenses for cameras, or rather the last line Zeiss recently released an updated lens for, was the Loxia line for Sony FE. Beyond that they have not released any new lenses for any system, even with the new mirrorless systems from Canon and Nikon, when they historically have had a lineup for both of their DSLR systems.

Keep in mind also that while the Zeiss lenses are branded and I believe designed by Zeiss, they are produced by Tamron for Batis, obviously Sony for the Autofocus ZA lenses, and by Cosina for the rest i.e: Loxia, ZM, ZE, Otus.



May 11, 2023 at 11:24 AM
Dave Sanders
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


I think that 35mm is definitely an area of strength in the Sony system...no shortage of native AF and MF options.

I think that any sort of consensus will be elusive...horses for courses, of course. I think the most attractive photos I've seen have been from the Sigma 35/1.2, followed by the Sony 35GM. The old(er) Sony Zeiss 35/1.4 reminds me of the 55/1.8...renders well, nice with the right background, but can have some pretty bad bokeh if the background gets complicated. The I've seen technically sound and technically poor photos from the ZA35, so I think it's a bit of a buyer beware type situation. The slower f/1.8s and f/2s from Sony, Samyang and Sigma are all excellent options too.

I would probably buy the 35GM if I had the money, the Sigma 35/1.4A otherwise. I think many of the 35's for Sony have hit the stage where any real IQ difference will be up to the photographer and their technique in capture and post.

I mean, since this is a gear forum, I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest the option of buying a few to serve different purposes



May 11, 2023 at 02:10 PM
fsi22
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


I had both Sigma 35/1.2 and Sony 35 GM.

I preferred the Sigma for it's smoother rendering of messy backgrounds and how it handled highlights.

I sold the Sigma and kept the GM, though, because it was too big and heavy for me, personally.

Their both excellent but the 35/1.2 was just that bit more special in rendering, for me.



May 11, 2023 at 02:52 PM
Grenache
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Sony announced a couple of years ago that it and Zeiss would no longer be co-developing cameras or lenses. This is not new. Many of us took this to mean that there would not be an RX1Riii.


Butterfingers wrote:
What makes you say that the Sony-Zeiss partnership has gone through the window? This is under my assumption that "gone through the window" means the relationship has soured between the two, not that there is a pause.

I really doubt that the Sony-Zeiss relationship has soured, as the newest Sony Experia 1v phone released today (May 11th 2023) has the Zeiss T* coating and if the relationship between the two was truly bad, Sony wouldn't have released a phone with their coating or the Zeiss branding on their phone. Either way I don't think there will be a ZA35 1.4 II
...Show more




May 11, 2023 at 05:47 PM
ghs007
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Any big difference between the samyang mki and ii?


Feb 12, 2024 at 05:11 AM
newdom
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


The Bigma is really special, also really big, but the results are unlike anything else. Sony 35GM is probably 90-95% as good for much smaller/lighter package. Sigma 35/1.4 DG DN also excellent - I actually prefer this one personally for portraits/full body work over the GM, but the GM is a better all-rounder.


Feb 12, 2024 at 06:53 AM
LBJ2
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Is the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM the best 35mm for portraits?


Grenache wrote:
Sony announced a couple of years ago that it and Zeiss would no longer be co-developing cameras or lenses. This is not new. Many of us took this to mean that there would not be an RX1Riii.




I don't think I've seen that announcement. Do you remember where you read it?
Seems Sony is still working with Zeiss. E.g., the Sony ZV-1 II announced on May 23 2023, with Zeiss optics.

https://electronics.sony.com/imaging/compact-cameras/all-vlog-compact-cameras/p/zv1m2-b



Feb 12, 2024 at 07:25 AM
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