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

Product:

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

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,450.00
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Image quality

It is hard to fault the image quality of the 35mm f/1.4 lens. In the centre it is extremely sharp, with only a slight drop-off at the very edges when shooting at f/8. The corners aren’t as sharp when shooting wide open. However, at this maximum f/1.4 aperture the shallow depth of field is lovely, with smooth out-of-focus areas that blend into one another.

 

Sony Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4

Shot with the Sony Alpha 7R with the Sony Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm lens at f/1.4

A 100% pull-up of the centre of an image shot at f/1.4 with the Sony Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 lens

A 100% pull-up of the centre of an image shot at f/1.4 with the Sony Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 lens

Shot with the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 lens, at f/1.4

Shot with the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 lens, at f/1.4

Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 shot at f/11

Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 shot at f/11

100% crop from Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 shot at f/11

100% crop from Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 shot at f/11

Vignetting is noticeable at most aperture settings, but at f/1.4 it is very prominent, with very dark corners to images. However, vignetting doesn’t concern me, and I am actually drawn to the vignetting on the f/1.4 aperture because, when combined with shallow depth of field and the level of contrast that the lens offers, images take on a very cinematic quality. If vignetting isn’t your thing, the camera does a good job of correcting JPEG images, or it is easily removed when converting raw files.

Shot at f/1.4 with the Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm lens, the vignetting at the corners is quite severe

Shot at f/1.4 with the Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm lens, the vignetting at the corners is quite severe

There is some red/cyan chromatic aberration visible when shooting at f/1.4, but by the time the lens is at f/4 it is significantly reduced, and it has gone by f/8. Again, I found that it is easily cleared up when editing raw images.

Red/Cyan Chromatic aberration is in out of focus highlight areas when shooting at f/1.4

Red/Cyan Chromatic aberration is in out of focus highlight areas when shooting at f/1.4

detail-f1.4CR

  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
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