In depth

Sony’s FE 85mm f1.Four GM (also referred to as the SEL85F14GM) is a high-end prime lens for its mirrorless cameras launched in 2016. The quick telephoto focal size and shiny f1.Four focal ratio make it supreme for portraits but additionally helpful for road pictures or picking-out particulars in city or pure landscapes. Its de-clickable aperture ring additionally makes it nice for video work.

The FE 85mm f1.Four was certainly one of Sony’s first G-Grasp, or GM, lenses, boasting the corporate’s greatest optical high quality thus far. To learn how the Sony FE 85mm f1.Four GM performs I examined it on the 42MP A7R II physique in opposition to the Zeiss 85mm f1.Four Otus, the Sigma 85mm f1.Four Artwork, and Sony’s finances FE 85mm f1.8. So if you happen to’re during which short-telephoto prime to decide on, you’ve come to the fitting place!

 

 

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Information from the catalog

As ordinary I’ll take a look on the technical information of the Sony FE 85mm f1.Four GM first. I’ve rated the options with a [+] (or [++]), when it’s higher than common and even cutting-edge, a [0] if it’s normal or simply common, and [-] if there’s a drawback. For comparability I take advantage of the Sigma 85mm f1.Four Artwork (“Sigma Artwork” for brief).

Measurement (diameter x size): 90 x 108mm (3.5 x 4.3in.) plus 42mm for the lens hood which is 100mm in diameter. The Sigma Artwork is for much longer at 95 x 152mm + 53mm for the lens hood (93mm diameter). [+]

Weight: 820g (28.9 oz.) plus 55g for the lens hood. The Sigma Artwork is way heavier at 1245g (43.9 oz.) plus 51g for the lens hood. [+]

Optics: 11 parts (together with Three particular dispersion parts and one aspherical ingredient) in Eight teams. The Sigma Artwork has 50% extra glass/air surfaces: 14 parts in 12 teams. [+]

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Closest focus distance is 0.80m (31in.) in guide focus with a magnification of 1:7.9 which isn’t a lot. A magnification of 1:10 is achieved at 0.98m distance. The Sigma Artwork achieves an analogous magnification. [0]

Filter-thread: 77mm, the skilled normal. The Sigma Artwork wants dearer 86mm filters. [+]

Picture stabilization: No optical stabilization of the lens. The Sony A7 our bodies present built-in sensor-shift stabilization. Identical with the Sigma Artwork. [0]

Auto focus: Constructed-in AF drive. Guide-focus override is by merely turning the main focus ring. The main focus ring has a variable gearing that enables for very exact guide focus when turned slowly. Sadly this characteristic can’t be switched to linear gearing which makes easy focus pulling for videographers virtually unattainable. There’s a customizable focus-lock button on the barrel however no distance markings. Give attention to the Sigma Artwork works otherwise: It has a direct linear coupling between the main focus ring and the main focus motion and provides a show for focus distance and depth of discipline however no focus-lock button. [+]

Covers full body/FX or smaller. Identical with the competitors. [+]

Value: The lens at present sells for 1680 EUR (incl. 19% VAT) / 1800 USD. The Sigma Artwork goes for a lot much less: 1120 EUR / 1200 USD. [-]

Comes with a pouch and the lens hood is included. It’s reversible for transport and has a locking mechanism to forestall it from unintentionally falling off. The front-end of the lens hood is rubberized which prevents dinks from setting the lens down on the hood and likewise gives extra grip on easy surfaces. Identical with the Sigma Artwork besides the lens hood has no lock and no rubber font-end. [0]

Aperture ring: sure with 1/Three cease clicks. The lens has a change to show the clicks of in order that the aperture will be operated constantly, easily, and noise-free. The Sigma Artwork has no aperture ring. [+]

Sealing: sure, a rubber grommet on the lens-mount plus additional particular weather-sealing all through the development, identical to the Sigma Artwork. [+]

The rating within the “features-department” is 1[-]/3[0]/8[+], essentially the most distinguishing options of the lens being the de-clickable aperture ring, the lockable lens hood and the main focus lock button. Plus it’s comparatively compact for an f1.Four lens and nicely protected in opposition to the weather. Its solely downside is the excessive worth.

 

Two Sony and two Zeiss 85mm prime lenses

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Above from left to proper: Sony FE 85mm f1.Four GM, Sony FE 85mm f1.Four GM, Zeiss 85mm f1.Four Otus, Zeiss 85mm f1.Four Otus (wants E-mount adapter)

 

Alternate options

If you would like a 85mm lens with E-mount, autofocus, and an f1.Four focal ratio there is only one different:

  • Sigma provides the AF 85mm 1.Four DG HSM Artwork (1120 EUR / 1200 USD). It’s an optical design from 2016 which is accessible in E-mount since 2018. See my Sigma 85mm f1.Four Artwork assessment the place it earned a Extremely Advisable.

In the event you think about tailored or guide focus lenses, there are another options, e. g.:

  • Sony has the sooner Planar T* 85mm f1.Four ZA for the A-mount which will be tailored to E-mount. It sells for round $1699 USD, so contemplating the native G Grasp mannequin is just round $100 extra, it’s best to go for the brand new one out of the 2.
  • Zeiss provides the 85mm f1.Four Otus from 2014 which is guide focus solely and can be utilized on an EF to E-Mount adapter. It sells for 3700 EUR / 4500 USD. See my Zeiss 85mm f1.Four Otus assessment the place it earned a Extremely Advisable.
  • Samyang/Rokinon/Walimex has an entire slew of 85mm lenses however just one provides autofocus: the  AF 85mm f1.Four EF, which is just obtainable in Canon EF-mount and prices round 540 EUR / 680 USD. Add to that the prices of an EF to E mount converter just like the Sigma MC-11 (250 EUR / 150 USD). Otherwise you get the guide focus 85mm f1.Four AS IF UMC which is accessible in E-mount (320 EUR / 250 USD).

 

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Focus

Focus accuracy and repeatability is important to constantly produce sharp pictures particularly with giant aperture lenses. Repeatability (the accuracy of give attention to the identical topic after repeated focus-acquisition) of this lens is comparatively good (measured 96.2% in Reikan FoCal) with no outliers over a collection of 40 pictures. There is no such thing as a focus variation whether or not the lens focuses from a more in-depth distance or from infinity.

The lens focuses in round 1 sec on an A7R II from infinity to 1m (1:10 magnification), which could be very sluggish. The Sigma Artwork is just a little sooner at 0.7 sec however that was measured on a Nikon D810. The main focus/management ring is 20mm huge. It strikes very easy and might simply be operated with one finger.

AF-operation of the lens is barely audible from the skin and if you happen to document video with the built-in microphone the AF-drive produces solely a really slight sound. As you pull focus, you’ll discover some focus respiration: the picture turns into extra magnified at nearer focusing distances. When I adjusted the main focus from infinity to 1m, I measured a 13% improve in magnification. That is very seen and fairly distracting when capturing movies. The Sigma Artwork is similar.

 

Subsequent try my high quality outcomes!

Verify costs on the Sony FE 85mm f1.Four GM at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get your self a duplicate of my In Digital camera e-book or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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