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Zeiss 35mm F1.4 FE

By Jay Hemphill

Well I just ordered my 4th copy! I'll keep this short winded, but when the Sony/Zeiss 35.. F1.4 first came out I ordered and sent back two of them and only kept the 3rd because of immediate work requirements. I was not happy about this but the lens performed from f1.4 to f2.0. The rest was crap! I kept thinking what the hell are people so hyped up on this lens for?

Well, the other day a friend rented the lens and let me slap it on my A7RII and it was like a different lens, it was wonderful all through the aperture range!!!! Since 35mm is my bread and butter lens I went ahead and ordered it again but this time from the other coast at Samy's. So we will see when it comes in on Thursday.

There must be something difficult for Sony and Zeiss to produce a consistent 35mm lens? I have not had this issue with other focal lengths from 21mm-135mm. 35mm lenses have been a constant pain in my arse. I have to carry around 3 different 35mm lenses to cover my bases. I use the Loxia 35mm for landscape/arcitecual style work because the lens is awesome from F8-F11 and I love the manual focus action on the lens. Then I use the Sony/Zeiss 35mm F2.8 for a small walk around lens. This lens is great at f2.8 to f11 with fast auto focus and is really small. If it was a f2.0 I would sell the other 35mm lenses and be done with it. Then I have the Sony/Zeiss(The one I'm mainly bitching about) 35mm f1.4 that is awesome from f1.4 to f2.0. and f2.8 being ok. And this lens just goes downhill from here. It's sharper across the frame at f2.0 than f8???? So I only use this lens from 1.4-2.0.

Replies

Reply from Ibrahim Huskic on 12-25-16 4:02 AM
I am very worried about the decentering issues with the 1.4 - which is why I would try it before I buy it, and I do not want to order it online. I love the 16-35 for its versatility (but not very Sharp wide open, the 35 2.8 for its size - I wish it was f2.

I guess you can get the Sigma ART - but it does not have the Zeiss pop and bokeh.
Reply from N.westcot@gmail.com Westcott on 12-18-16 6:11 AM
This has been a complaint about the 35mm f1.4 forever. I rented one and loved the rendering, but the weight eventually got to me. I shot it next to a loxia and found it was better than than the loxia in the corners and pretty much equal in the center.
Reply from Jay Hemphill on 12-17-16 12:14 PM
Well I've been shooting all morning with the new lens and it is better than the current copy I have but not much. Again, it is phenomenal from f1.4-f2. One positive about this new copy is it does sharpen up nicely across the frame by F8. My current one never sharpens up across the frame. I was comparing it to my Sony/Zeiss 35mm f.28 and it's no contest, the 35 f2.8 is sharper across the frame at f 2.8 and the rest of the way through the aperture range. It's really a testament to how good the 35 f2.8 is. It is incredibly sharp on the A7RII wide open at f2.8. I just wish it was at least f2. Oh well, first world problems!
So I'm going to send the 35mm f1.4 back to Samy's and forever be done with this lens. I'll keep my current copy of it and use it ONLY for environmental portrait and event work.
I may look into ordering the RX1RII again, I was one of the first to preorder the camera and I got a lemon that had light leaks and decentered lens. Thankfully Sony refunded me after using it for a month or so. There was some articles online about bad batches of these going out and Sony had to halt production of the camera to find out where things were going wrong. I've been reluctant to reorder it because of the bad taste it left in my mouth. I shot for years with the RX1R and it was awesome, I totally regret selling it!
I was hoping to simplify and find on 35mm lens to rule them all. Maybe a Batis 35mm can do the trick?
Reply from Jorge Torralba on 12-16-16 10:12 AM
Wow. sorry to hear about your woes. I have to go through my images with the 35 1.4 and see how it performed at smaller apertures. I mainly shoot between 1.4 and 4 just for the bokeh stuff. Everything else is the loxia 35. Stay tuned.
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