Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA


Characteristics


  • Lens Mount: FE (Full frame or APSC)
  • Type: Prime lens
  • Focusing: Automatic or Manual (In camera setting)
  • Construction:
    • Lens Groups: 5
    • Lens Element: 7
    • Aperture Blades: 7
      • Rounded
  • Min. Aperture: 2.8
  • Max Aperture: 22
  • Min. Focal distance: 0.35 m
  • Filter Size: 49 mm
  • Length: 42 mm
  • Weight: 120 gr
  • Hood: Yes, included in the retail package.
    • Length: 14.7 mm
    • Weight: 12.3 gr
  • Price (new): USD 798 / Oct - 2020
  • Price (used): USD 375 - USD 650 / Oct - 2020

Introduction


The Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA was launched with the original α7 cameras in 2013 as one of the main option for a “fast” wide angle lens and remains a very good choice for fulfilling the promised compactness of mirrorless cameras. Being a Zeiss lens, the image quality it’s top notch but with some caveats. The Sonnar (T*) branding is refers to the coating in this lens and with that, flare is well managed and the lens behave spectacular in direct sources of light. Being that the lens is from 2014, does it hold well 6 years later?.

  • All the photos in this review are from a Sony α7 II camera.
    • 24mp full frame sensor.
    • On body stabilization.

Construction


This lens is very well constructed and overall gives a sturdy feeling when you manipulate it. There’s a chromed metal mount and plastic around the lens, the focusing ring is made of aluminum as well as the front barrel. According to different sites, the internals are made of plastic and the lightweight of the lens seems to indicate this.

  • The included hood it’s made of an strong plastic, but it’s lightweight enough.
  • The markings on the lens are engraved.
  • The focus is by wire, internally activated.
  • There’s a claimed dust and moisture resistant design.
    • But there’s no weather sealing gasket in the lens mount.
  • The ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating minimizes the flare.
    • And it really seem to do the trick

Handling


To handle the lens it is necessary to interact with it through the camera. All the main functions are configurable thru it.

Auto Focus

The auto focus is reliable and fast, I recon that with newer cameras will be more reliable that with my Sony α7 II camera. Although when the light is low, it hunts a little bit more and has some trouble nailing it.

Manual Focus

The focus by wire mechanism works quite well, turning the focus ring turns the focus assist mechanism on to assist. It is important how fast the ring is turned, it is possible to go from the minimum focus (35 cm) to infinity in a fast turn, but at the same time by doing it slowly it is possible to be more precise in focus.

Bokeh


At f/2.8 there’s bokeh and blur in the background, but you have to be relatively close to your subject. However, at 35 cm of minimum it’s possible to do so and you get some nice rendering and not so distracting bokeh. Therefore emphasizing a “dreamy” atmosphere.

Distortion


This lens has a strong falloff in the borders. In other words, the image it’s more darker at maximun aperture. This improves as the lens is stopped down. There’s a noticeable improvement when the bundled profile “Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA” it’s applied in Lightroom.

Before: No profile. / After: Profile applied.

ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/2.8 - 1/1000sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/3.2 - 1/800sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/3.5 - 1/640sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/4 - 1/500sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/4.5 - 1/400sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/5 - 1/320sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/5.6 - 1/250sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/6.3 - 1/200sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/7.1 - 1/160sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/8 - 1/125sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/9 - 1/100sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/10 - 1/80sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/11 - 1/60sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/13 - 1/50sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/14 - 1/40sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/16 - 1/30sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/18 - 1/25sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/20 - 1/20sec - ISO-100 - 35mm
ILCE-7M2 - Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA - f/22 - 1/15sec - ISO-100 - 35mm

RAW photos are developed in Lightroom with the default profile for Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA

Sharpness


This lens has a strong falloff in the borders. In other words, the image it’s more darker at maximun aperture. This improves as the lens is stopped down. There’s a noticeable improvement when the bundled profile “Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA” it’s applied in Lightroom.

Gallery


All the photos are processed in Lightroom, primarily are color corrected and adjusted for personal preference. There’s no extra sharpening, added texture or clarity on them.

Conclusions


TODO