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

May 1, 2015 | Jack Baker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA from around the web. »

Over a year and a half since the original Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens was released alongside Sony’s Alpha 7 cameras, another 35mm focal-length lens has arrived for the Sony FE system. The new Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA has a larger maximum aperture, enabling faster shutter speeds and lower sensitivity settings in low light, as well as a shallower depth of field. However, the new lens is significantly larger than the f/2.8 version, so just how well does it pair with the relatively small full-frame Sony Alpha 7 cameras?
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When the A7 and A7R were first announced, alongside them was the FE 35mm ƒ/2.8 Zeiss lens. We reviewed this lens and found it to be an excellent optic: sharp images even wide-open and a super compact design. But despite its compactness, the ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture was a bit underwhelming for those looking for premier low-light shooting and background blurring effects. And while the new FE 35mm ƒ/1.4 Zeiss is noticeably larger and heavier than its ƒ/2.8 counterpart, it answers photographers' calls for a more pro-oriented lens with a full two stops of additional light gathering capabilities.
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Photographers who use Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera system are blessed with a strong selection of 35mm prime lenses, each fulfilling a specific purpose. The Zeiss Loxia 2/35 offers a pure mechanical manual focus feel and is quite compact, while the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 supports autofocus and is just as small. The newest 35mm prime from Sony, the Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm F1.4 ZA ($1,599.99), is another optical gem, though it's huge when compared with the other two 35mm lenses available for the system.
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Yep. I said it. The spoiler. This is the best full frame 35mm lens I have ever used in my life. But remember, I only review items I love and adore, so if there is something out there I have not reviewed it is because I am not a fan of it, plain and simple. Before anyone says “you like everything you review” – well, YES this is true as I have said over 1,000 times here. If this lens was a dog it would not have been reviewed. So what you see me review on these pages is all gear that I love and adore because if it sucks, it is not worth my time, my 40-60 hours that it takes to do a review like this. With that said, this lens is indeed the best 35 OPTICALLY I have ever used.
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