Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Review

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens

With the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens, the 35mm focal length and f/1.4 max aperture combination get the professional-grade Sony G Master treatment. This lens launched directly into the number one best-selling mirrorless lens position at B&H.

There were multiple reasons for the instant popularity. One is that the 35mm angle of view and ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture are tremendously useful. Another is that this relatively compact lens's "GM" nameplate assures optimal build and performance. Perhaps the biggest reason for the popularity was the phenomenal image quality this lens was expected to produce.

With the sibling FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens, Sony proved they could produce a similar in design, best-in-class-performing lens. That lens predicted the repeat performance: the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens indeed delivers phenomenal image quality, especially sharpness, and including the full frame corners (can't wait to show you those!).

Expect the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens to remain a top seller for a very long time.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Angle View

Focal Length

How popular is the 35mm focal length? Counting the number of 35mm prime lenses currently available at B&H gives us a strong indication. Hint: the number is much higher than you expected and is perhaps only exceeded by the ubiquitous 50mm models.

Why choose a 35mm lens? That this moderately wide angle of view invites a subject distance that creates a natural perspective and makes the viewer feel present in the image is one reason. This focal length is wide enough to capture the big scene but not so wide that people and other subjects are readily distorted by the close perspective invited by ultra-wide angles. It is often easy to sneaker zoom to the right distance to get the ideal 35mm subject framing.

The 35mm focal length has great general-purpose use, making it an ideal choice to leave on the camera for whatever needs arise. I often press whatever lens I'm reviewing into the around-the-house, walk-around, general-purpose lens role, and 35mm works superbly for this purpose. Leave this lens mounted and ready for use.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Portrait Sample Picture

For similar reasons, the 35mm focal length has long been a first choice for photojournalists. Wedding photographers, who work in some of the darkest venues to be found, also frequently use 35mm lenses. Portrait photographers like the 35mm focal length for full to mid-body portraits and for group portraits. This is a great lens to take for a walk with your friends.

The 35mm angle of view is inviting for street photography. Landscape photographers have plenty of uses for the 35mm focal length.

Sports photographers able to get close to their subjects (such as basketball shot from over or under the net) or wanting to capture a wider/environmental view of their events appreciate this focal length. The angle of view invited by 35mm can make action figures large in the frame.

Parents love 35mm lenses for capturing their indoor events, and most pets will let you get close enough to capture a nice perspective with such a lens. 35mm is popular with videographers, especially for documentary work. Many medium and large products are ideally captured at 35mm.

With the ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture available, the night sky is an inviting subject for this lens, and those photographing the night sky frequently target the milky way. The 35mm angle of view is narrower than optimal for that subject, but the heart of the milky way significantly filling the frame is beautiful. Relative to wider focal lengths, 24mm for example, 35mm requires a faster shutter speed to avoid star trails and provides a shallower depth of field, increasing the challenge of including in-focus foreground subjects in a starry sky image.

To visualize where 35mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from a zoom lens review.

Focal Length Range Example

24mm | 35mm | 50mm | 70mm | 85mm | 105mm

The full list of 35mm uses is massive and limited only by our imaginations.

On an ASP-C/1.5x sensor format body, the 35mm focal length provides an angle of view similar to a 52.5mm lens on a full-frame sensor format body. This angle of view is essentially the same as 50mm and useful for all applications this extremely popular "normal" focal length is used for. Those uses coincide with most uses of the 35mm focal length with slightly tighter framing or slightly longer perspective for the same framing being the difference.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Front View

Max Aperture

This lens's f/1.4 max aperture is nearly as wide as it gets at 35mm (the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens is available), though most major lens manufacturers offer a 35mm lens with an f/1.4 aperture. This wide aperture is a huge advantage.

Use f/1.4 to allow a significant amount of light to reach the imaging sensor. Use that light to enable action (subject and camera) stopping shutter speeds in very low light levels while low ISO settings keep noise levels down. It seems there is always enough light for handholding 35mm at f/1.4.

Another advantage of a wide aperture lens is the background blur it can create. While wide-angle lenses are not able to create the strongest blur, this lens set to f/1.4 with a close subject creates a very shallow DOF, drawing the viewer's eye to the in-focus subject against a smoothly blurred background. Add artistic capabilities to this lens's list of highly-desired features.

The following examples show the maximum blur this lens can create at the respective aperture setting.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Aperture Comparison Example

If you are shooting under a full sun at f/1.4, you will likely need a 1/8000 sec shutter speed at ISO 100 to keep the exposure dark enough. Positive is that there is little action that a 1/8000 sec shutter speed cannot stop, but if the subject has very bright or reflective colors, even a 1/8000 sec shutter speed might not be fast enough to avoid blown highlights. Some cameras have an extended ISO setting as low as 50 that can optionally be used in this situation (though dynamic range may be impacted). Better still is that some cameras have shutter speeds faster than 1/8000 available.

Using a neutral density filter is a good solution to retaining use of f/1.4 under direct sunlight when the shutter limitation is exceeded, and this is an especially good option for cameras with 1/4000 sec. maximum speeds. Stopping down (narrowing) the aperture is always an option for preventing an image from getting too bright, though stopping down negates the need for the wide f/1.4 aperture, and the subject-isolating shallow depth of field is lost.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Aperture Ring

Many Sony prime lenses, including this one, feature an aperture ring that enables a manually-selected aperture. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting. All other settings force the aperture to the chosen opening, and a 2-position switch on the bottom right side of the lens toggles the aperture ring between 1/3 stop clicks and smooth, quiet, non-clicked adjustments, ideal for video recording. The ring electronically controls the aperture.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Click Switch

Aside from a slightly more complicated design, the primary disadvantage of an aperture ring is that inadvertent aperture changes are made available. Making the A click stop firm reduces this concern.

There are notable drawbacks to lenses that feature very wide maximum apertures. Making wide apertures available requires larger, heavier lens elements, translating into larger, heavier, and more expensive lenses. Regardless, this lens is not large or heavy compared to its peers, and the price tag is reasonable.

For most photographers, the benefits of a wide max aperture prime lens far outweigh the drawbacks. Usually, no flash is required.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Side View with Hood

Image Stabilization

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens is not optically stabilized. Sony takes care of that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) in their mirrorless cameras. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. Sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.

With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS, a slight impediment to working quickly, going from tripod to handholding, for example.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Side View

Image Quality

As I shared earlier in the review, the general expectation was that the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens would produce incredible image quality. The Sony MTF chart for this lens shows the bars pushed extremely high, backing up that premise. I was anxious to see how this lens performed in real life, and I was not disappointed.

At f/1.4, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens is razor-sharp in the center of the frame, and stopping down has negligible benefit realized by a 50 MP imaging sensor. Few lenses rival this one at f/1.4 — or any aperture.

While this center of the frame performance is impressive, the corner performance shown by this lens is even more outstanding. I won't argue that the FE 35 GM's full-frame corner image quality is completely equivalent to the center of the frame results, but they are not far behind — and they are remarkable.

Below you will find sets of 100% resolution center of the frame crops captured in uncompressed RAW format using a Sony Alpha a1. The images were processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method with the sharpening amount set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

While the sky was clear as desired for comparative image quality testing, the winds were strong, moving everything movable. Thus, a brick wall proved to be the best lens test subject on this day.

Those are extremely sharp bricks.

Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme bottom left corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners in this case, can be counted on to show the worst performance a lens is capable of. Again, those are extremely sharp bricks. Improved contrast from clearing peripheral shading is the primary image quality benefit of stopping this lens down.

These results put the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens in an elite class.

Corner sharpness does not always matter, but it does matter for many disciplines, including landscape photography. This lens checks that requirement.

Focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA), is not an issue with this lens (many modern lenses automatically correct for it).

When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. Wide-angle, ultra-wide aperture lenses tend to show strong peripheral shading wide open, and this lens's just over 3-stops of shading in the corners is relatively strong, though not unexpectedly so. Stopping down one stop reduces the shading to just over 2-stops, and just under 2-stops of shading is present in the f/2.8 corners. At f/4, the shading drops to about 1.5-stops, and no further improvement shows throughout the balance of the aperture range.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the just over 1 stop of shading showing at f/1.4 will be visible in some images, especially those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.

One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern showing in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.

Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.

With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.

Color misalignment can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example. This is a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of a Sony a1 frame showing diagonal black and white lines.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

Only black and white colors should appear in these images, with the additional colors indicating a minor presence of lateral CA.

A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.

In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.

In the examples below, look at the fringing colors of the foreground vs. background out-of-focus specular highlights.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

Any fringing color differences from the neutrally-colored subjects have been introduced by the lens. While the color separation is relatively minor for an f/1.4 aperture, there is some separation happening. Increasing improvements are seen as the lens is stopped down.

Flare and ghosting are caused by bright light reflecting off of lens elements' surfaces, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting but often destructive artifacts. Sony's Nano AR Coating II works as even at f/16 with the sun in the corner of the frame, this lens shows only minor flare effects for another impressive performance by this lens.

Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Removal is sometimes very challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can be quite destructive to image quality.

Two lens aberrations are particularly evident when shooting images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either meridional (radiating from the center of the image) or sagittal (perpendicular to meridional). Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.

The image below is a 100% crop taken from the top-left corner of a Sony a1 frame.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Coma

That result, with no significant star stretching or color separation, looks quite good.

With one focal length to design for, prime lenses typically have little or no geometric distortion. This prime lens has slight pincushion distortion. The amount is minor enough to seldom show in an image, but a straight line running parallel to and near the frame border may show curvature.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Distortion Example

Most modern lenses have correction profiles available (including in-camera), and distortion can easily be removed using these. Still, distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level as some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions reduced.

As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the amount of blur a lens can create. Assessing the bokeh or blur quality is more challenging due in part to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes. Here are some stopped down (for aperture blade interaction) examples.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Bokeh Example

f/11 | f/8

The f/11 example shows defocused highlights at 100% resolution. These highlights are being rendered with good quality, rather round with evenly filled centers. The outdoor f/8 example is a full image reduced in size and looking nice.

Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round, and that is the shape seen here.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

While the shapes in the corner are not round at f/1.4, they are relatively round from an f/1.4 comparative perspective. As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming rounder.

With an 11-blade count aperture, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect have 22 points. In general, the more a lens is stopped down, the larger and better-shaped the sunstars tend to be. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard, and this lens is capable of producing beautifully shaped stars.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Sunstar Effect Example

While this shape is nice, the size of the starburst effects this lens produces are rather small. The example above was captured at f/16.

The design of this lens is illustrated below.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Design

Sony shares:
 
"XA elements suppress onion ring bokeh, an 11-blade aperture mechanism produces an almost circular aperture even when the lens is wide open, and painstaking spherical aberration control at the design and manufacturing stages contribute to gorgeous bokeh at F1.4."

"Two XA (extreme aspherical) elements in a G Master design take advantage of the short mirrorless flange-back distance to deliver stunning contrast and resolution in a compact lens. Further enhancing the lens's superior optical quality are an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element that suppresses chromatic aberration and Sony's Nano AR Coating II that maintains superb image clarity even in any lighting conditions."

This lens shows vignetting at narrow apertures (1.5 stops), background/foreground color separation, and slight geometric distortion, but the amounts of those defects are mild. The image sharpness delivered by this lens is outstanding, so impressive that few will notice those other characteristics. Remarkable image quality is a primary reason to buy this lens.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Top View with Hood

Focusing

Getting the full benefit of excellent image quality requires accurate focus, and most of us rely on AF for that task. Behind the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens's AF capabilities are a pair of XD Linear Motors.

"Two of Sony’s XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors provide the high thrust efficiency needed for precise AF (autofocus) and tracking - resulting in outstanding resolution at any distance. State-of-the-art control algorithms, developed specifically for the XD Linear Motors, improve control response and precision while minimizing vibration and noise for fast, smooth and silent AF performance." [Sony]

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens XD Linear Motors

The Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens internally focuses smoothly, quietly, consistently accurately, and with good speed. While this lens focuses quickly, the Alpha a1, a7R III, IV, and similar cameras defocus the lens before refocusing, and this behavior in AF-S mode remains a focus speed detriment (this behavior is not an issue in AF-C continuous focusing mode).

The 35 GM's low light AF performance is outstanding.

Sony provides an AF hold button on this lens. While in continuous focus mode, press this button to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. This button also acts as a custom button (C5) and can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu.

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Angle View with Hood

The nicely sized ribbed-rubber manual focus ring rotates smoothly and with a modest, slightly light pressure.

"Linear Response MF ensures the focus ring responds to subtle control when focusing manually and is ideal for creative focusing effects when shooting video. The focus ring rotation translates directly to a corresponding change in focus, so control feels immediate and precise." [Sony]

I prefer linear MF systems. This lens's 120° of Linear Response MF rotation is slightly fast for precise manual focusing, especially at close distances.

Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other, referred to as focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing negatively impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone very critically framing while adjusting focus. This lens shows a relatively big change in subject size as full extent focus adjustments are made.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Focus Magnification Example

The Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM lens's 9.8" (250mm) minimum focus distance spec, measured from the imaging sensor plane, lets the photographer get quite close to a subject. Despite the wide angle of view not magnifying the subject strongly, the maximum magnification spec of 0.26x reflects this. This number is easily the best in the 35mm f/1.4 lens class.

ModelMFDMM
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens11.0"(280mm)0.21x
Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens6.7"(170mm)0.50x
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens9.4"(240mm)0.24x
Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens11.8"(300mm)0.20x
Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens9.8"(250mm)0.19x
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens9.8"(250mm)0.16x
Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens11.8"(300mm)0.19x
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens11.8"(300mm)0.19x
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens11.8"(300mm)0.19x
Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens9.4"(240mm)0.17x
Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens9.8"(250mm)0.26x
Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens11.8"(300mm)0.18x
Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens8.7"(220mm)0.24x
Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens13.8"(350mm)0.12x
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens11.8"(300mm)0.20x
Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens7.9"(200mm)0.40x
Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens5.9"(149mm)0.50x
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens11.8"(300mm)0.22x
Zeiss 35mm f/2 Milvus Lens11.8"(300mm)0.19x

Note that the specified minimum focus distance for the FE 35mm f/1.4 GM lens requires manual focusing. With AF, the spec extends slightly to 10.6" (269mm).

A subject measuring approximately 5 x 3.3" (127 x 85mm) fills the imaging sensor of a full-frame camera at the minimum focus distance. The tulip flower below measures about 1" (250mm) in diameter.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Maximum Magnification Example

Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? An extension tube mounted behind this lens should provide a very significant decrease and increase, respectively. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, which allows shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and otherwise function as normal. Sony does not publish extension tube specs, nor do they manufacture these items, but third-party Sony extension tubes are available.

This lens is not compatible with Sony teleconverters.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens on Tripod

Build Quality & Features

The G Master lens series represents Sony's best-available lenses.

Sony GM Lenses

GM lenses feature the complete pro-ready package, and the FE 35 GM's family resemblance is obvious.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Product Images

MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    Rotated        Compare »

Sony FE lenses have a rather narrow mount and, despite being rather narrow for its class, an obvious diameter increase occurs not far in from the mount end. Once the wider diameter is reached, the lens maintains a mostly straight design with a slight diameter increase occurring at the rubber-covered focus ring, making it easy to tactilely find. The outer lens barrel construction is engineering plastic.

Overall, this lens's build quality is high. The AF/MF switch is again recessed, making it hard to inadvertently change and making a bit more effort required to intentionally change it, especially with gloves on or in the dark.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Weather Sealing

This is a great outdoor lens, and its dust and moisture-resistant design, including a gasketed mount, can save the day out there.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Mount

The front element is fluorine-coated to resist dust, moisture, and fingerprints and for easier cleaning.

While slightly longer than the FE 24 GM, this lens is small (narrow) and light, especially for its class. I've carried the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens on hikes and trail runs and find it a pleasure to carry and use for extended periods.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens26.8(760)3.2 x 4.2(80.4 x 105.5)722015
Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens10.8(305)2.9 x 2.5(74.4 x 62.8)522018
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens11.8(335)3.1 x 2.5(77.9 x 62.6)672012
Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens21.2(600)3.3 x 3.5(83.0 x 89.5)672010
Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens13.1(370)2.9 x 3.4(73.0 x 86.0)622018
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens10.8(305)2.8 x 2.8(72.0 x 71.5)582014
Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens38.5(1090)3.5 x 5.4(87.8 x 136.2)822019
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens22.6(640)3.0 x 4.3(75.5 x 109.5)672021
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens23.5(665)3.0 x 3.7(77.0 x 94.0)672012
Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens15.7(445)3.0 x 3.6(75.4 x 92.4)672018
Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens18.5(524)3.0 x 3.8(76.0 x 96.0)672021
Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens22.2(630)3.1 x 4.4(78.5 x 112.0)722015
Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens9.9(281)2.6 x 2.9(65.6 x 73.0)552019
Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens4.2(120)2.4 x 1.4(61.5 x 36.5)492014
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens28.8(815)3.2 x 4.1(80.9 x 104.8)722019
Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens16.9(479)3.2 x 3.2(80.4 x 81.3)672015
Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens7.4(210)2.9 x 2.5(73.0 x 63.5)672019
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens41.3(1170)3.3 x 4.9(84.8 x 124.8)722017
Zeiss 35mm f/2 Milvus Lens24.8(702)3.0 x 3.3(77.0 x 83.0)582015

For many more comparisons, review the complete Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.

Here is a visual comparison:

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens

The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses with Hoods

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens to other lenses.

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens's narrow width allows it to use common, mid-sized, affordable 67mm filters, modestly smaller than the 72mm size common to other lenses in this class.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Hood

The Sony ALC-SH164 semi-rigid, round-shaped plastic lens hood is included in the box. This shape permits standing the lens on the hood, and the rubber-coated end of the hood is helpful in that regard (and it looks cool). The hood has a flocked interior for superior reflection avoidance, and a push-button release makes the bayonet mount easy to use. The size of this hood is adequate to protect the front lens element from contrast-robbing, flare-inducing light and from impact, including from light rain.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Case

Sony includes a nice padded nylon, zippered case in the box.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Cap

Price, Value, Wrap Up

While the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM is not an inexpensive lens, it is not especially expensive. Being priced considerably less than the review-time current Canon and Nikon models is a very attractive feature of this lens. The price combined with the performance the FE 35 GM lens delivers creates an excellent value.

As an "FE" lens, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including full-frame and APS-C sensor format models. Sony provides a 1-year limited warranty.

I purchased the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM review lens online-retail.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Front View on Camera

Alternatives to the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens

At Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens release time, Sony has another FE 35mm f/1.4 lens in the lineup, the Zeiss-badged Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens.

From an image quality standpoint, I said I would have been shocked if the GM lens does not crush the ZA lens at f/1.4, and the image quality comparison shows that expectation realized. The GM lens has noticeably less peripheral shading at f/1.4, less foreground and background color separation, and stronger geometric distortion.

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens comparison shows the GM lens bit lighter and more compact. The GM lens has 11 diaphragm blades vs. 9 and uses 67mm filters vs. 72mm. Focusing closer helps the GM lens gain a 0.26x to 0.18x maximum magnification advantage. The primary reason to choose the ZA lens is its price, significantly adjusted downward at the GM lens's launch time, making the ZA lens moderately more affordable than the GM. I advise saving for a few more weeks and getting the GM lens.

Those not requiring the f/1.4 aperture opening have the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens to consider.

Most of us would have been disappointed if the f/1.4 lens did not handily defeat the f/1.8 lens in the image quality comparison, and that expectation has been met. Even at f/1.4, the GM lens has less peripheral shading than the f/1.8 lens.

The f/1.4 vs. f/1.8 difference in aperture opening directly impacts the size and weight difference, and the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens comparison makes that dramatic difference obvious. The GM lens has 11 diaphragm blades vs. 9 and has a manual aperture ring. The f/1.8 lens uses 55mm filters vs. 67mm. The f/1.4 lens features dual XD linear AF motors vs. a linear motor. Without the GM treatment, the smaller lens gets a considerably lower price tag — about half as much.

The two lenses have noticeably different focal lengths, but the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens preceded the 35 GM and foretold great things. How do these lenses compare?

In the image quality comparison, I don't see differences worth mentioning. These are both remarkable performers. Both lenses compare similarly in our other tests.

Regarding specs and measurements, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens comparison shows the 24mm lens smaller and lighter. However, those differences are too small to have a bearing. The 35mm lens has a 0.26x maximum magnification vs. 0.17x. With the same list price, the focal length remains the primary factor in this decision. Get both.

Next, let's go across brands to look at the stellar Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens.

In the image quality comparison, these two lenses appear very similarly great. The Canon lens shows less peripheral shading when stopped down, and that attribute likely directly translates into the Canon lens showing slightly more flare effects at narrow apertures in our testing. The Canon lens has less geometric distortion.

Regarding specs and measurements, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens comparison shows the Sont lens modestly smaller and considerably lighter. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9, 67mm filter threads vs. 72mm, and a 0.26x maximum magnification vs. 0.21x. The Canon lens costs considerably more than the Sony and requires a mount adapter for use on a Sony camera, adding weight and expense.

Use the site's comparison tools to create additional comparisons.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Top View

Summary

It was only a matter of time until Sony added a 35mm f/1.4 lens to the GM family. Offering that focal length and aperture combination in the flagship lineup seemed a no-brainer.

The other no-brainer to many is the decision to purchase this extremely high performing, relatively compact, lightweight, and affordable lens. Its review-time best seller ranking attests to that expectation.

Because this focal length and aperture are so useful, it makes sense to ensure the best quality lens providing such is in the kit. The Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens is that lens.

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