Richard Sibley tries out Sony’s fastest FE lens for the Alpha 7-series full-frame compact system cameras

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Sony Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Sony Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZA review


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Sony Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

Sony Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

Having used the Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA lens for a few days, I am left with the impression that this is a lens with character. From the resolution and bokeh to the build quality and aperture ring, this lens has a certain something about it that makes it stand out from the generic 35mm lenses that roll off production lines.

Yes, it may be expensive, large and a weigh a bit, but it is the closest experience I have had to shooting with a manual DSLR that I have had with the Alpha 7R. It is amazing what something as simple as adding an aperture ring can do.

Optically it isn’t perfect, but the chromatic aberration is slight and I would actually rate the vignetting as a nice feature. In terms of resolution this lens is difficult to fault, and it is certainly one of the sharpness lenses we have tested for the Alpha 7 series, although the 90mm f/2.8 macro lens looks like it may well offer some competition on that front.

Overall, if you are look for a good general lens, particularly for landscape and travel images, I wholeheartedly recommend the Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA lens – if your bank manager and chiropractor will allow it.


Focal length:35mm
Aperture range:f/1.4 - f/16
Filter thread:72mm
Optical construction:12 elements / 8 groups
Dimensions:78mm x 112mm
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Build and handling
  3. 3. Image quality
  4. 4. Test results: MTF (Sharpness)
  5. 5. Test results: Distortion and vignetting
  6. 6. Conclusion
Page 6 of 6 - Show Full List
  • Chris Birchenhall

    The key word in Richard review is “character”. While I have not used this lens everything in the review suggests it a typical Zeiss design. It is typical for Zeiss lenses to vignette and concentrate on central sharpness. I think too much is made of sharpness but too little on overall character. I have long favoured Zeiss glass way back from the days I used a Hasselblad and a Rolleiflex for weddings. I can note the new Nikon 58mm has loads of character too.

  • Oleg Hutsalenko

    Taste is a bigger problem then MTF or Fstop =)

  • ZorakZoran01

    I never saw it in any shot except one, online, of a startrail pushed by 4 ev. And you need to look at 100% to see it. Over the hundredth of thousands pictures taken with the system since it’s out. So…

  • Nigrath

    Does the focus ring have a fixed beginnning and end point or is it continuous? Fixed is essential for remote focus pulling and a deal breaker for me.

  • moxford

    If you push/pull it in post the artifacts get nasty real quick. And seeing it in 10% of my shots is unacceptable. My personal opinion.

  • bakanecko

    why people always complaining the lossy-raw compression, in 90% of shooting style you can’t distinguish it, except if you have very special eye or have very extreme/odd shooting style.

  • moxford

    With excellent Sigma 35mm Art being about half the cost, it seems odd to offer this particular lens, with this optical quality, at this price-point, right now. I’d think they’d hold off until they could at least match the Sigma and shoot closer to the Zeiss Otus for quality. Can’t wait for the head-to-head reports but this release feels almost … premature. Curious. Sony continues to baffle me with what and how they’re tackling this whole MLC thing. While killer sensors are their ace in the hole, lack of a solid, cohesive and well thought out strategy may be a Sony killer. Even as much as I’m rooting for the due to the sensors, the body offerings, lenses and roadmaps just seem … scattered. I was –><– close to jumping systems when I found out about the lossy-RAW compression. I mean, really? What, they didn't think anyone would find out? That's like Nvidia thinking that no one would discover the issues with their 970 cards.