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SEL35F14Z review/first impressions

silvermoon1407 Pioneer 11459 points
silvermoon1407
17/05/2015 | 08:26:26

I was given yet another opportunity to review an awesome piece of glass, the SEL35F14Z Sony Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 for the Sony E mount.

When I first picked up the lens, I was kind of surprised how large and heavy the lens felt. It has an all-metal construction, including the focus ring (as opposed to the rubber focusing ring of SEL70200G), and is built like a tank! Hefty as it is, it still feels comfortable and balanced on my A7.

size comparison
Size comparison between SEL70200G, SEL35F14Z and SEL2470Z

It features a aperture ring that can be declicked for smoother aperture changes during video. I personally do not find it very useful as I am not so much into video, and I’m used to changing aperture with the default dials on the camera body itself. The manual focusing ring is large and smooth and very well damped, and I find manual focusing a joy even thou it is fly-by-wire like most, if not all, mirrorless lenses nowadays.

Image quality, which is what I think most of you are interested in, is very good. Not the best (think Otus), but very good. Very sharp wide open, extremely sharp when stopped down to f/2.8. Wide open there’s some vignetting and there’s only some CA under very harsh contrast lighting. Other than that, the images from this lens is close to perfect.

CA before and after
Under extreme harsh lighting conditions at f/1.4, some CA are present but not really obvious when viewed on 1080p screen.

 

CA comparison 1:1at 1:1, the CA can be observed, but is also easily corrected in lightroom with just 2 defringing steps in lightroom

 

Personally, I’m not used to 35mm, and I find the minimum focusing of 30cm too far for my preference. This is no macro lens. This lens is made to shoot wide open, or at most f/2.8 for optimal sharpness and vignette/CA control. The 35mm f/2.8 prime or the 16-35mm f/4 zoom would be preferred if you prefer to shoot stopped down or want a lighter setup.

Sample shots I took in the limited time with this lens, on my A7.







If you are looking for a high quality 35mm lens that will bring out the best of your 36mp A7R or even future higher megapixel cameras, and there's no budget consideration, this is the lens for you. It is also good for cinematic video productions with its clickless aperture settings.

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