Sony is right here to show your images world the wrong way up with its completely unimaginable know-how and gear. A reputation that’s now main a lot of the business, Sony’s G-Grasp sequence of lenses have change into massive contenders within the images recreation. As such, Sony has launched roughly 30 G-Grasp lenses for his or her full-frame cameras. The most recent addition to the gathering is the Sony FE 135mm F/1.Eight GM lens, which is now arguably the sharpest lens within the assortment! I had the pleasure of testing this lens out totally on the Marriage ceremony and Portrait Photographers Worldwide (WPPI) present in Las Vegas late final month earlier than the lens is even launched to the general public.

1 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Picture courtesy of Sony

To get the fundamentals out of the best way, the Sony FE 135mm F/1.Eight GM is meant for full-frame cameras and is simply mountable on the E-mount cameras. This lens has related specs to the opposite lenses within the G-Grasp line such because the Sony patented XD linear motor, Tremendous ED glass, and Sony Nano AR (all of which we are going to get into later).

My major expertise with this lens was taking it for a check run on the WPPI conference in Las Vegas on the finish of February and it was a pleasure to attempt it out earlier than most of the people.

Lens construct

Upon first look, I used to be instantly smitten with the aesthetic of this lens. Clear, sharp, and a phenomenal black – this lens seems to be phenomenal (as even famous by a number of of my images shoppers). This lens measures at about three 5/eighth inches lengthy and 5 inches tall, and is a really respectable and comfy dimension for its focal size – even when held by somebody like me (small arms, yikes). The lens isn’t very heavy both, clocking in at solely 33 ounces (2 kilos).

For a grasp telephoto lens, this one is sort of simple to tackle travels! Comprised of magnesium alloy, the lens is light-weight but sturdy. The construct feels extremely stable, and I might not hesitate to deliver it to tough or uncomfortable taking pictures conditions similar to dwell concert events or the seashore on a windy day. The lens is quite large, which can be a draw back to some, nonetheless, it’s essential to preserve physics in thoughts. The lens should be large to accommodate the F/1.Eight aperture.

2 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review2 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Picture courtesy of Sony

The Sony FE 135mm F/1.Eight GM options glorious climate sealing to assist stop wind, rain, mud, and filth from coming into vital mechanical elements. Alongside this, the lens is touted to be mud and moisture resistant. The lens glass has a reasonably spectacular construct in its personal proper too. The glass has a fluorine coating on it to withstand fingerprints, mud, water, oil, and different contaminants. If these do find yourself on the lens, cleansing is straightforward. That stated, I do nonetheless counsel buying a glass filter – being immune to fingerprints just isn’t useful to dropping or a big bump!

Aperture ring & extra lens options

3 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review3 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Picture courtesy of Sony

All the buttons on this lens made me a really pleased photographer. Designed with professionals in thoughts, this lens options guide buttons and options such because the aperture ring, an aperture ring silencer, the main target vary limiter swap, customized focus maintain buttons, and an AF to MF finger swap.

As an avid Canon DSLR and EF lens person who had not too long ago added a Sony mirrorless to the gathering, the aperture ring was one thing a bit new to me. Supposed to be useful throughout cinema work, as an alternative of adjusting the aperture on the digicam physique, you’ve the choice of adjusting its width on the lens. This ring could be adjusted to both be silent or make little clicks to point it’s turning – very helpful for silent taking pictures. For those who want to regulate the aperture on the digicam physique itself, you may set the dial ring to ‘A’ for automated.

The main target ring options Linear Response MF, which provides you instantaneous and delicate response (a giant bonus in case you’re courageous sufficient to make use of guide focus to seize one thing that strikes)!

A pleasant added function to the Sony GM 135mm F/1.Eight is the main target vary limiter swap which restricts the vary of distance your lens can focus. I exploit this function myself after I {photograph} canine agility reveals to make sure the lens doesn’t give attention to any obstacles close to me however stays locked on a operating canine that’s far-off.

Alongside this, the lens additionally has customizable focus maintain buttons on the facet and high which allow you to management focus through buttons on the lens quite than simply the digicam. Extraordinarily helpful in low gentle conditions the place lenses are likely to naturally ‘hunt’ for focus.

Focus

4 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

4 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

The place the Sony line significantly shines within the mirrorless recreation (if not the digicam recreation as an entire) is in its Autofocus. For a lot of of their mirrorless cameras, superior algorithms present excessive AF precision, and infrared know-how permits autofocus to be achieved even in extraordinarily low or tough lighting conditions. As nicely, numerous autofocus options similar to “Eye Monitoring” makes these kits excellent items of equipment. Pair this with the autofocus of the lens, and you’ve got a masterpiece.

This lens has two distinctive actuators known as Excessive Dynamic (XD) Linear motors. These motors not solely silence the autofocus but in addition permit the lens to focus considerably quicker than many different motors.

5 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

5 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

The autofocus is speedy and fixed. I can attest to this as a sports activities photographer. When steady autofocus is enabled within the digicam, the lens holds onto the topic of your selecting like its life relies on it. The lens gained’t hunt very a lot (if in any respect) and might preserve following even a spontaneously and erratically shifting topic.

Once I took this lens out for a spin at WPPI, I can attest that the main target was extremely quick and sharp, and was in a position to comply with a human topic all through the whole vary of motion, whatever the obstacles in entrance or behind. Even when the topic walked right into a crowd of individuals, the lens was ready to determine who I used to be photographing.

Sharpness

The sharpest lens within the G-Grasp lineup. Arms down. A daring assertion, however I stand by it!

For many lenses, they’re solely very sharp within the heart. Sony GM 135mm F/1.Eight is sharp in every single place. From the corners to the middle, permitting you the flexibility of any composition below the solar.

6 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

6 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

The sharpness can also be very constant from shot to shot. I’ve had many cases during which I seize a sequence in a portrait and solely the primary or second shot may be very sharp and the remainder drop off a bit. In fact, to most photograph viewers, this discrepancy isn’t very noticeable. Nevertheless, the photographer’s eye can see it manifestly.

One other massive bonus is that this lens doesn’t have a vignette, which could be a frequent downside with large apertures.

There may be completely no motive to add sharpening in post-processing both.

The readability and colours this lens produces are spectacular. I discovered the photographs required considerably much less retouching too.

Depth of Subject

7 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review7 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Picture courtesy of Sony

“Extensive aperture” is my favourite phrase to listen to. Really. My photographic aesthetic dwells closely on shallow depth of discipline. With my work as a live performance photographer, the low gentle functionality introduced forth by large apertures is a must have. The F/1.Eight aperture of this lens is terrific (though my obsession with my Canon 50mm F/1.2 L lens makes me want this lens was an F/1.2). Even in case you’re not one to shoot shallow, my rule of thumb is to all the time put money into lenses with a decrease aperture quantity, so you’ve the choice to shoot in any respect ranges.

The bokeh produced by this mannequin is true on par with Sony’s distinctive look to out of focus areas. That is due to the distinctive lens construct. To begin, the XA aspect within the glass is developed utilizing an unique glass molding course of which makes it smoother than typical aspherical lenses. Standard lenses are rougher, which might trigger rings to seem in your shallow depth of discipline (a ache to Photoshop out, although Gaussian Blur can do the trick in case you masks it proper). Secondly, Sony’s digicam system aids in creating effortless-looking topic isolation. Third and closing, the 11 round aperture blades within the lens create a round bokeh that maintains its form it doesn’t matter what.

8 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review8 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Picture courtesy of Sony

I discover the depth of discipline (DOF) seems to be extra dreamy and a bit synthetic from different related lenses, however it has an authenticity and liveliness to it. The shallow DOF has a refined, calmer rotation that creates a really pure look to the photographs (or within the least, as pure as this shallow of a discipline could be).

Pair that with the truth that this lens has a focal size of 135mm and you’ve got some nice topic separation. There’s a usually unmentioned profit to telephotos used for portraits. Due to the size of this lens, there’s a good separation of topic from the background and foreground. This occurs due to the compression contained in the lens.

Flare resistance

As somebody who pictures dwell concert events usually, I discover that flare resistance is a vital think about deciding whether or not to buy a lens or not. Though some want the stylistic look, a lot of my music shoppers don’t need a picture that’s closely washed out by coloured gentle and lacks distinction. Flare resistance tends to stem from the glass coating of lenses, and a few are higher resistant than others.

9 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

9 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Fortunate for all of us, Sony’s patented Nano AR Coating is utilized to scale back flare. More often than not you may simply shoot straight into the solar and you’ll neither have issues with an enormous lack of distinction nor ghosting. That is good for pure gentle photographers, particularly throughout the beloved golden hour.

As beforehand talked about, my major expertise with this lens was on the WPPI conference. Regardless of the lighting circumstances being very tough within the conference heart, this lens outperformed most of the different lenses that I had examined on the identical week- notably the flare resistance and total high quality. There was no actual subject with the obvious again lights on any topic I had photographed.

Chromatic aberration

Chromatic aberration, also called ‘colour fringing’ or ‘purple fringing,’ is a typical optical downside that happens when a lens is both unable to deliver all wavelengths of colour to the identical focal aircraft, or when wavelengths of colour are centered at completely different positions within the focal aircraft. This subject plagues quick lenses essentially the most, because the shallow depth of discipline tends to deliver the optical downside forth. With this lens being an F/1.8, many are involved about fringing points in backlit portraits (when the sunshine supply is behind the topic).

10 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

10 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Sony’s Tremendous ED aspect reduces chromatic aberration. Some aberration does exist – it isn’t foolproof – however fortunately this subject tends solely to have an effect on the off-center parts of the body. They’re very minor compared to related lenses and is straightforward to take away in post-processing packages similar to Lightroom or Photoshop.

Compared to my different Sony lenses, this one has the least chromatic aberration (as I discovered my 85mm was plagued with it, sadly). Nevertheless, the Canon L lenses I’ve appear to have considerably much less chromatic aberration throughout.

Execs and Cons of the Sony FE 135mm F/1.Eight GM Lens

11 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

11 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

Execs:

  • Extensive aperture at F/1.8.
  • Skilled lens construct.
  • Lighter than most alternate options.
  • Very correct autofocus, particularly paired with the mirrorless autofocus system.
  • Sharp all through the whole body, not simply the middle.
  • Silent autofocus because of the XD linear motor.
  • Handy options bodily constructed into the lens, such because the aperture ring, an aperture ring silencer, the main target vary limiter swap, customized focus maintain buttons, and an AF to MF finger swap.
  • Climate sealing and mud resistance.
  • Flaring and ghosting resistance Sony Nano AR coating on the glass.
  • Lowered chromatic aberration resulting from Tremendous ED aspect.

Cons:

  • Dear funding.
  • The lens is sort of large in bodily construct. Comprehensible for the large aperture.  

Conclusion

This lens is a little bit of a hefty monetary funding, clocking in at about $1,900. Nevertheless, contemplating the construct high quality, options, and unimaginable closing output, I’d think about the worth of this lens to be value its asking worth. I’m additionally predicting that the lens won’t depreciate a lot time beyond regulation.

12 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

12 - Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM Lens Review

In conclusion, this lens is a stunner in its personal proper. For those who discover a use for the 135mm (like myself), I’d go so far as to say this can be vital on the mirrorless checklist.

We had a enjoyable jest on the WPPI present stating that you would be able to simply buy the 24mm G-Grasp, 85mm G-Grasp, and this 135mm G-Grasp lens and that’s all you want to your equipment! Arguably absolutely the sharpest lens within the lineup, the 135mm is value each penny for the immense quantity of options included on this nice lens.

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