Sony FE 35mm F1.8 Lens Review

Sony FE 35mm F1.8 Lens

The Sony FE 35mm F1.8 is a compact, lightweight, affordable lens that produces good image quality and has a great general-purpose focal length.

  • General-purpose utility
  • Good image quality
  • Wide aperture
  • AF hold button
  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Strong peripheral shading even at narrow apertures
  • Moderate lateral CA
  • Strong color blur at wide apertures
In-Depth Review

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens is a great looking, compact, lightweight lens with a focal length that provides great utility. This nicely-designed lens performs well, delivers great image quality, and doesn't cost a fortune. Those factors make the FE 35 f/1.8 is an ideal lens option for everyday needs.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Side View with Hood

Focal Length

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The count of 35mm prime lenses currently available in the marketplace is almost too large to reasonably comprehend, reflecting the popularity of this focal length.

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. That this angle of view welcomes such a wide range of subjects is another. That people are one of this focal length's best subjects emphasizes the previous reason. This focal length has great general-purpose use, making it an ideal choice to simply leave on the camera for whatever needs arise. As a prime lens, it is often not difficult to sneaker zoom to the right distance to get the ideal 35mm subject framing.

I often press whatever lens I'm reviewing at the time into the around-the-house, walk-around, general-purpose lens role and 35mm usually works well for this. 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.

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.

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 creating documentaries. Many medium and large products are ideally captured at 35mm. The full list of 35mm uses is huge and limited only by our imaginations.

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

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/1.8 Lens Front View

Max Aperture

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Among prime lenses, an f/1.8 max aperture is not greatly exciting, but for lenses in general, an f/1.8 aperture is wide. At 35mm, f/1.8 falls between the common f/1.4 and f/2.8 offerings.

With the smaller diameter elements required to create an f/1.8 aperture vs. f/1.4, this lens is considerably more compact and lightweight. The 2/3-stop difference brightness between those apertures does not go unnoticed.

A wider aperture can provide a faster shutter speed, ideal for stopping motion, including moving subjects and a shaking camera, under even low light conditions. A lower ISO setting is the alternative to a faster shutter speed and lower ISO settings mean lower noise images. Also use the wide aperture to create shallow depth of field, making the background strongly blurred and making the subject clearly stand out against an attractive, non-distracting background. Wide apertures are appreciated by AF systems, providing adequate light to perform their function. F/1.8 is not f/1.4, but it is still wide and bright in these regards.

As the aperture widens, the depth of field becomes shallower and the background blur becomes stronger. Here is a comparison captured with this lens:

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Aperture Comparison Example

When viewed at full size, the differences appear stronger. Compare the widest 35mm aperture currently available in your kit with f/1.8.

Here is the strongest background blur this lens is able to create.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Maximum Blur Example

Image Stabilization

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This lens is not optically stabilized, but Sony generally takes care of that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization). On a traditional DSLR with an optical viewfinder, IBIS results in an unstabilized view, meaning that stabilization was not helpful for composition or for providing a still subject to the camera's AF system. With EVFs being prevalent in Sony's lineup, the viewfinder image is being read from the imaging sensor and that is stabilized. Therefore, the viewfinder image is nicely stabilized and sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Angle View

Image Quality

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A prime lens with a mid-wide max aperture, falling between the common f/1.4 and f/2.8 options, is a compromise that offers many benefits but no one wants to compromise image quality.

Look at this lens's f/1.8 results and you will think this is a great lens. Stop down to f/2.8 and expect to be impressed. In the center of the frame, this lens has good wide-open sharpness. When stopped down to f/2.8, the center of the frame details become razor sharp, showing exceptional resolution and contrast.

In general, lenses are not as sharp in the periphery where light rays must be bent more strongly than they are in the center. This lens is surprisingly sharp even in extreme full frame corners at f/1.8 and the performance at f/2.8 is really impressive.

Taking the testing outdoors ... here is a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured using a Sony a7R III. 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/1.8 Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

As a rule, we show the wide-open aperture and then full stop narrower increments. Keep in mind that f/2 is only 1/3 stop narrower than f/1.8 and little difference is expected at this small change.

In some lens designs, the plane of sharp focus can move forward or backward as a narrower aperture is selected. This is called focus shift (residual spherical aberration or RSA), it is seldom (never?) desired, and this lens does not exhibit such.

Next we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme-top-left-corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. These images were manually focused as close to the corner of the frame as the a7R III allows.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

The corner results at f/1.8 are good despite being impacted by vignetting and by f/2.8, still a wide aperture, the extreme corner performance is exceptional.

Does corner sharpness matter? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Landscape photography is one photographic discipline that has frequent scenarios requiring sharp corners. However, those scenarios usually require apertures narrower than f/4. When shooting at the widest apertures, depth of field is often shallow and the plane of sharp focus less-frequently includes a corner, making corner sharpness less important. I always prefer my lenses to be razor sharp in the corners in case that feature is needed and this lens ranks highly in this regard.

When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. A moderately-wide-aperture wide-angle lens is expected to have a moderate amount of wide-open peripheral shading and this lens perhaps even exceeds that expectation with corner shading exceeding 4-stops. A strong about 3.5 stops of shading is still present at f/2.8 and about 3 stops is still present at f/5.6. A weakness of this lens is the peripheral shading and the over 2 stops of shading still present at f/16 is going to be visible in many images.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the about 1.5 stops of shading showing at f/1.8 might be visible in images with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.

One-stop of shading is the amount often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely-varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting can be corrected 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 if your subject (subject's face) will be darkened or if it will be emphasized by the darker periphery.

The effect of different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently is referred to as lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration). 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 greatest amount as this is where the greatest 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, though it is always better to not have the problem in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example, a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of a Sony a7R III frame showing diagonal black and white lines.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

There should be only black and white colors in these images and the additional colors are showing the presence of lateral CA. With only one focal length to be designed for, prime lenses often show low amounts of lateral CA but this one is showing a moderate amount of color separation in the corners.

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 look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while 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 in the out of focus specular highlights created by the neutrally-colored subjects. Any color difference is being introduced by the lens.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

This lens is creating significant foreground and background color separation at its widest apertures. By f/5.6, most of the color variances are gone.

Flare and ghosting are caused by bright light reflecting off of the surfaces of lens elements, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes-interesting artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare in an image is variable and depends on the position and nature of the light source (or sources) as well as on the selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Our standard flare testing uses the sun in the corner of the frame and causes noticeable flaring, at least at narrow apertures, in most lenses, but not this one. A relatively low lens element count (11 elements in 9 groups) helps control flare and our standard flare testing that uses the sun in the corner of the frame produces a low amount of flare effects from this lens, even at f/16.

There are two lens aberrations that 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 sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). Remember that lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.

The image below is a 100% crop taken from the extreme top-left corner of an a7R III frame.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Coma

Those stars look like a fleet of incoming space shuttles. This is not the astrophotography lens you were looking for. The aberrations shown here are rather strong.

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens has a modest amount of pincushion distortion with details being slightly pulled toward the corners. The amount is not strong, but straight lines placed near to and parallel with the edges of the frame may show some curvature without correction implemented. Note that geometric distortion correction requires stretching as some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions must be reduced.

The amount of blur a lens can produce is easy to show (and was shown earlier in the review). Assessing the quality is a much harder challenge due in part to the infinite number of variables present in any scene. I'll share some f/11 (for interaction with the 9-blade aperture blade) 100% crop examples.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Bokeh Example

The f/11 defocused highlights appear relatively round and quite evenly filled for good results. The outdoor results look nice.

With the exception of a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the corner of the frame 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 corner of the frame, the shape is not round and that is the shape seen here.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

The corner shapes seen here are relatively good and as the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming round.

With a 9-blade count aperture, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 18 points. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard and this lens is capable of producing beautiful stars. Here is an f/16 example:

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Sunstar Effect Example

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens design incorporates a single aspherical lens element in a relatively uncomplicated design.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Design

Reviewing the highlights: The strong vignetting seen even at narrow apertures is going to be distracting for some uses of this lens. Spectrum wavelength misalignment is present at wide apertures and modest lateral CA shows in the corners at all apertures. Blur quality looks good, flare is well controlled, distortion is close to well-controlled, and some corner aberrations are not under control. Get a different lens for night sky photography (or shoot at stopped-down apertures). Most will find that this lens produces excellent image sharpness wide-open and remarkable sharpness at f/2.8 and narrower (until the effects of diffraction are encountered, of course) with sharpness alone worth the price of this lens.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens on Tripod


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Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 lens's linear motor drives AF with good speed and low light performance is quite good. Focusing is internal and AF is quiet with some light clicks and buzzing heard.

Sony provides an AF hold button on this lens. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed 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 (note that not all models are supported).

Of great importance for image quality is AF accuracy and this lens performs well in this regard.

Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as 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 critically framing while adjusting focus. A strength of this lens is its lack of focus breathing. While there is a change in subject size as full extent focus adjustments are made, the amount of that change is comparatively small.

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode. This lens has an AF/MF switch, making changing between modes fast and easy without a camera setting change required.

The fine-sharp-ribbed focus ring is nicely sized and being raised slightly from the lens barrel behind it, is easy to find. This ring is smooth, has a nice amount of resistance, and the 63° of linear response MF rotation adjusts focusing at an ideal rate, allowing precise manual focusing even at close distances.

Sony does not provide focus distance information on the lens, such as in a window, but makes it available in the viewfinder and rear LCD.

Especially for a prime lens, this lens's minimum focus distance is short, only 8.7" (220mm) and that focus distance gives this lens a strong 0.24x maximum magnification.

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

A subject measuring approximately 5.6 x 3.7" (142 x 95mm) will fill a full frame viewfinder at the minimum focus distance.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Maximum Magnification Example

Need a shorter minimum focus distance and greater magnification? An extension tube mounted behind this lens should provide a significant improvement. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, which permits 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/1.8 Lens Front View on Camera

Build Quality & Features

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The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens has sharp looks to go with its sharp image quality.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Product Images

MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    Rotated        Compare »

We already discussed the focus ring and that feature consumes a significant percentage of the lens barrel as expected on a prime lens. The AF/MF switch is easy to find and firmly snaps into position. This is a feature that has gone missing on so many modern lenses but I really appreciate having it. The AF hold button has a short travel depth with a light click feel when fully pressed and a raised surround prevents inadvertent pressing of this button.

While this lens feels nicely built, it has a rattle like a solid group of elements moving inside. The movement resolves when the camera is powered on.

This lens does not have a gasket seal on the mount, but "Dust- and moisture-sealed design" is claimed.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Mount

This is a small and light lens. It takes up little space in the bag or pocket and it is a pleasure to carry and use. This lens's diameter is small enough to not impede on the small grips on Sony's current alpha series cameras.

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/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens23.5(665)3.0 x 3.7(77.0 x 94.0)672012
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/1.8 Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.

Here is a visual comparison of this lens beside Sony's other two review-time-current FE 35mm prime lenses and a Tamron option:

Sony FE 35mm Lens Comparison

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens
Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens
Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens

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

Sony FE 35mm Lens Comparison with Hoods

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens to other lenses.

Filters fitting this lens's 55mm threads are rather small with relatively low cost and small storage dimensions that complement the lens size. That few other lenses share the 55mm filter size is less helpful. We don't have a 55mm standard thickness circular polarizer filter in the lab to test with but it is likely that such would increase peripheral shading slightly, an attribute this lens does not need. A slim model such as the Breakthrough Photography X4 is recommended.

Sony includes the attractive ALC-SH119 lens hood in the box. This is a semi-rigid, plastic, petal-shaped, bayonet mount hood with a matte interior designed to avoid reflections. Though this hood does not have a release button, it smoothly rotates until clicking into position. With only a slight outward flaring, this hood is quite compact in reverse position. I find petal-shaped hoods easier to align for installation than round variants (simply learn the petal orientation — small lobe up to install) but the camera is unstable when standing on this hood (round hoods are better in this regard). This hood offers good protection, from both impact and from bright light. Always use it.

Sony does not include a case with this lens. Consider a small Lowepro Lens Case for single-lens storage, transport, and carry.

Lens caps are a very-frequently-used accessory and Sony's provided 55mm cap works fine.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Cap

This lens is made in China.

Price, Value, Compatibility

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While not a cheap lens, the FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens is modestly priced among Sony FE options. This lens provides good utility for the cost — it is a good value.

As an "FE" lens, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including both full frame and APS-C sensor format models. Sony provides a 1-year limited warranty.

The reviewed Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens was online-retail sourced.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Angle View with Hood


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Having just reviewed the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens, I'll start with a cut and paste of that comparison. The closest image quality comparison we have is f/1.6 vs. f/1.8. The f/1.8 lens is appearing sharper, the difference narrows at f/2, and at f/2.8 the f/1.8 lens has a modest advantage. Here is the wide-open aperture MTF comparison.

Vignetting is a weakness of the f/1.8 lens and the f/1.4 lens has a strong advantage at all comparable apertures. The f/1.4 lens has modestly less geometric distortion. The two lenses show a similar amount of spherical, axial, and lateral CA. I like the f/1.8 lens's sunstar quality better.

Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens comparison shows the f/1.8 lens to be much smaller and lighter. The f/1.8 lens stops down to f/22 while the f/1.4 lens stops at f/16. The f/1.8 lens uses smaller filters but the 55mm size is not as common as the f/1.4's 72mm size. The f/1.4 lens has a manual aperture ring. The f/1.4 lens has a Direct Drive SSM AF system vs. a linear motor. The f/1.8 lens focuses considerably faster in AF-S mode (the two are more similar in AF-C mode) and the f/1.8 lens has a shorter minimum focus distance that yields a higher maximum magnification (0.24x vs. 0.18x).

Most will consider the biggest difference between these two lenses to be the f/1.4 aperture that is 2/3 stop wider than f/1.8. Whether that difference is worth 2x the price will be a question that each photographer must answer but the f/1.8 makes a strong alternative from my perspective.

Perhaps next most logical is to compare the FE 35 f/1.8 to the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens. In the image quality comparison at f/2.8, the f/1.8 lens is modestly sharper, especially in the center, but the two are not greatly different. It is difficult to pick a winner at f/4. The wide-open aperture infinity focus distance MTF comparison picks the f/1.8 lens in the center and leaves the periphery winner determination vague. While the two lenses have a similar amount of peripheral shading at f/2.8, the f/2.8 lens has less in the deep corners at narrow apertures. The f/2.8 lens has slightly less geometric distortion and produced better star shapes in the corner of the frame. I prefer the bokeh of the f/1.8 lens and this lens shows less color blur at f/2.8.

Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens comparison shows the f/2.8 amazingly weighing half as much as the already lightweight f/1.8 lens and measuring 1/2 as long. The f/2.8 lens's hood is also considerably smaller. The f/1.8 lens has 9 aperture blades vs. 7. The f/1.8 lens's maximum magnification is 2x higher than the f/2.8 lens's spec, 0.24x vs. 0.12x. The f/1.8 lens has an AF/MF switch and AF hold button. We would be remiss to overlook the f/1.8 lens's 1 1/3-stop-wider aperture. The f/2.8 lens has a list price slightly higher than the f/1.8 lens but they share the same street price at review time.

Looking at other brands, the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens is a direct competitor. In the image quality comparison at f/2.8, the Sony lens has the advantage, especially in the center of the frame. By f/4, the Tamron lens is performing at least as well as the Sony lens and even slightly better in the periphery. At f/4 and narrower apertures, the Tamron lens has less peripheral shading in the corners. The Tamron lens has slightly less geometric distortion, having barrel vs. the Sony's pincushion type.

Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens vs. Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Lens comparison shows the two lenses similar in overall size with the Sony lens being longer and narrower. The Tamron lens weighs slightly less and has a considerably smaller hood. The Sony lens has 9 aperture blades vs. 7. The Sony lens has an AF/MF switch and AF hold button. The Tamron lens has 67mm filter threads, larger but more common than the Sony lens's 55mm threads. The Sony lens's f/1.8 aperture is 1 1/3-stop-wider than the Tamron lens'. The Sony lens has a strong maximum magnification spec of 0.24x but the Tamron substantially surpasses that mark with a 0.50x spec. At review time, the Tamron lens is priced about 0.50x as much as the Sony lens.

There are many other comparisons that can be made. Use the tools available on the site to create your own.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens Side View


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The 35mm focal length is useful and having that focal length in a prime lens often brings the benefit of a wide aperture. While not an f/1.4 lens, this lens's f/1.8 aperture is still wide and the moderately wide aperture size enables a compact, lightweight design that has its own obvious advantages. This is a great looking lens that, aside from having strong peripheral shading and some color blur especially at wide apertures, produces great image quality even at f/1.8. From a relative perspective, the price of this lens is low. All of those factors combined make the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens a great general-purpose lens to include in the kit.

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