Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Lens Review

Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Lens

Need a tiny, ultralight general-purpose prime lens for your Sony camera? The Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Lens is one of the smallest, lightest, and most affordable options.

  • General-purpose utility
  • Wide aperture
  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • 0.12x maximum magnification
  • Strong color blur at wide apertures
  • Mediocre bokeh
  • Strong focus breathing
In-Depth Review

Need a tiny, ultralight general-purpose prime lens for your Sony camera? Out of 454 lenses in our database at review time, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens is second lightest and it is lightest full frame compatible lens. It is the 4th-shortest of those lenses and it is the 9th-narrowest with only Canon EF-M APS-C lenses measuring narrower — by a mere 0.2mm by our calipers. Despite the diminutive size and ultra-light weight, this lens has a good quality feel and the performance is quite good. While the price-per-pound of this lens may be high, the price is not high relative to other Sony offerings. If those factors sound good to you, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens might be the lens you are looking for.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Angle View

Focal Length

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The number of 35mm prime lenses currently available in the marketplace reflects the popularity of this focal length.

Why choose a 35mm lens? That this moderately wide angle of view invites a subject distance (perspective) 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 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 use 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 for the 35mm focal length with slightly tighter framing or slightly longer perspective for the same framing being the difference.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Front View

Max Aperture

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An f/2.8 max aperture is relatively wide and few zoom lenses covering this focal length range have wider apertures. While there are a huge number of 35mm prime lenses, as of review time, there are none with a narrower max aperture. So, this lens opens wide relative to zoom lenses and not wide relative to prime lenses, part of the formula required for the ultra-light weight and tiny size.

Many first-time APS-C DSLR camera buyers choose the optional kit lens when purchasing their camera. While the APS-C kit lenses are typically value-priced (at least when purchased in a kit) and they work OK, they are generally lacking in some areas to achieve the low price. One feature they always lack is a wide aperture with f/4.5 being the typical max aperture at the 35mm focal length we are talking about in this review. Gaining a wider aperture is a great reason for acquiring a plus-one lens.

With a 1 1/3 stop wider max aperture advantage, this 35mm f/2.8 lens can stop action in less than one half as much light and it permits handholding in similarly-lower light levels. In addition to allowing more light to reach the sensor, permitting faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISO settings, increasing the aperture opening permits a stronger, better subject-isolating background blur at this focal length.

The following aperture comparison example takes a closer look at the background blur aspect.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA 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/2.8.

This is the maximum background blur this lens can produce:

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Maximum Blur Example

Wide-angle lenses cannot blur the background like telephoto lenses and with many 35mm options having a 2-stop-wider aperture available, this lens cannot blur the background as well as some other 35mm prime lens options. At f/2.8, this lens can create some background blur, useful for accentuating the subject, but yes, the snowy woodland scene remains recognizable even with the lens focused to its minimum focus distance.

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/2.8 ZA Lens on Tripod

Image Quality

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This lens has a narrow aperture for its class and how anxious we are to use that aperture for our important images will rely on the image quality delivered by this lens at that aperture. If f/2.8 results are not sharp, this f/2.8 lens could become an even narrower f/4 lens in practical use.

Fortunately, this lens performs well wide-open at f/2.8, turning in good sharpness across the frame at f/2.8. Stop down to f/4 for a noticeable resolution and especially contrast increase for impressive image quality.

Going outdoors, we next look at 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/2.8 ZA Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

The f/2.8 results appear nice — until the f/4 results are viewed. The f/4 aperture setting brings in a new level of contrast and resolution, producing impressive results.

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/2.8 ZA Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

I like these results.

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 performs well 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. The over 3 stops of shading showing in this lens corners is going to be noticeable in most images. Vignetting steadily/gradually decreases until about 1.2 stops of shading remains in the corners at f/16 and beyond.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the nearly 1.5 stops of shading showing at f/2.8 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/2.8 ZA 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 and while not absolutely perfect, this one is showing a low 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/2.8 ZA Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

This lens is creating some noticeable color 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 most lenses show noticeable flaring at narrow apertures in this test. An extremely low lens element count (7 elements in 5 groups) along with Zeiss T* anti-reflective coatings helps control flare and our standard flare testing that uses the sun in the corner of the frame produces almost no 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/2.8 ZA Lens Coma

These stars are showing a moderate amount of stretching.

With one focal length to be designed for, prime lenses often have low amounts of geometric distortion and this is one of those. The Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens shows minor linear distortion. This lens will keep your straight lines appearing straight.

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 all available scenes. I'll share some f/11 (for interaction with the 7-blade aperture blade) examples.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Bokeh Example

f/11 | f/11 | f/11

These f/11 defocused highlights are not showing great quality and the other two examples seem a bit harsh.

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/2.8 ZA Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming round.

With a 7-blade count aperture, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 14 points. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard and this lens is capable of producing good quality stars. Here is an f/22 example:

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Sunstar Effect Example

Note that f/16 produced slightly double flaring rays. These effects do not look bad but were not as attractive as the sharply pointed results shown above.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Design

The Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens features three double-sided aspherical lens elements in a seemingly simple Sonnar design.

Reviewing the image quality highlights: Flare and lateral CA are well controlled. The defocused highlight quality is not great, corner of the frame stars are not perfectly round, and some color misalignment is seen at wide apertures. This lens produces good wide-open image sharpness that becomes impressive at f/4.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Side View


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Like the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA uses a linear motor to drive AF. Focus speed is good. Low light AF performance is OK, but noticeably not as good as the wider aperture FE 35mm lenses being simultaneously reviewed. Focusing is internal and AF is quiet with only faint clicks heard.

Experienced focus accuracy, of ultimate importance, was good.

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. There is a moderate (normal) change in subject size as full extent focus adjustments are made with this lens.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Focus Magnification Example

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode. This lens does not have an AF/MF switch, meaning that a camera setting change is required to switch modes.

The finely-ribbed focus ring is not large, but it is reasonably sized relative to the size of this little lens. This ring is smooth, has a nice amount of resistance, and when turned slowly, the 292° of MF rotation adjusts focusing at a comfortable rate, allowing precise manual focusing even at close distances. This is a variable response MF ring — turn it quickly and just over 45° of rotation will complete the full extent focus adjustment.

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.

Even for a prime lens, this lens's minimum focus distance is not short, only 13.8" (350mm), and that focus distance gives this lens a low 0.12x 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 10.5 x 7" (267 x 178mm) will fill a full frame viewfinder at the minimum focus distance.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA 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/2.8 ZA Lens Angle View with Hood

Build Quality & Features

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This is a diminutive lens but what there is of it is attractive, featuring a smooth shape with black semi-gloss barrel finish. The focal length and other markings are etched. Those markings include the Zeiss name, showing a partnership behind this model.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Product Images

MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    Rotated        Compare »

We already discussed the focus ring and a prime lens with no switches or other exterior features leaves this discussion short. Interesting is how tiny the front lens element is.

This lens does not have a gasket seal on the mount, but "dust- and moisture-resistant construction" is claimed.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Mount

There are few lenses smaller than this one. It takes up little space in the bag or pocket and carrying it is effortless. Very nice is that 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/2.8 ZA 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 with Hoods

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/2.8 ZA Lens to other lenses.

This lens has 49mm filter threads and filters of this size are small and low in cost. Unfortunately, 49mm filters are somewhat uncommon in popularity.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Front View with Hood

The hood on this lens is rather unusual. Instead of extending forward, the bayonet-mount Sony ALC-SH129 hood wraps around the end of the lens and provides a just-the-right-size physical frame for the utilized portion of the image circle. This lens and the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III Lens being simultaneously reviewed are the first lenses I've used with this hood design and I'm finding reasons to like it. This is a short design that invites leaving the hood in place vs. storing reversed on the lens — this hood does not mount reversed. This design also provides more working distance. With 40.5mm filter threads on the front, this hood enables easy filter installation, adjustment, and removal of these tiny (uncommon) filters without removing the hood, leaving little reason to ever remove the hood.

Sony does not include a case with this lens.

The provided Sony 40.5mm lens cap mounts to the front of the lens hood. The cap is tiny but quite usable.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Cap

This lens is made in Japan.

Price, Value, Compatibility

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Not small is the price of this lens. The Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens falls in the middle of Sony's FE lenses, costing a moderate amount from a relative perspective. This is a useful lens and it is certainly going to be worth that price to many but ... the FE 35mm f/1.8 having the same street price and lower list price is sure to give buyers pause.

As an "FE" lens, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA 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/2.8 ZA Lens was online-retail sourced.


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I'm reviewing three Sony FE 35mm lenses simultaneously and thus, I'll compare these first.

The other Sony FE 35mm "ZA" prime lens is the significantly larger Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens. In this image quality comparison (at f/2.8), the f/1.4 lens is sharper in the center but the f/2.8 lens is looking stronger in the corners. Differences resolve as the apertures narrow. Here is the wide-open MTF comparison.

The f/1.4 lens has less peripheral shading until about f/8. Benefiting from being stopped down 2 stops, the f/1.4 lens shows less spherical and axial CA at f/2.8 and the f/2.8 lens shows less lateral CA. I like the f/2.8's sunstar quality slightly better.

Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens comparison shows the f/2.8 lens dramatically smaller and lighter than the f/1.4 lens. Also dramatically smaller are the f/2.8's filter threads, 49mm vs. 72mm. The f/1.4 lens has a more complicated optical design featuring 12 elements in 8 groups vs. 7/5. The f/2.8 lens stops down to f/22 while the f/1.4 lens stops at f/16. The f/2.8 lens focuses slightly faster in AF-S mode (the two are similar in AF-C mode) and the f/1.4 lens has a shorter minimum focus distance that yields a higher maximum magnification (0.18x vs. 0.12x). The f/1.4 lens has a Direct Drive SSM AF system vs. a linear motor. With max apertures differing by 2 stops, a dramatic size and weight difference, and a 2x price differential, these lenses may be more complementary than competitive.

Sony's other FE 35mm prime lens, just mentioned in the price discussion, is the FE 35mm f/1.8 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/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 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.

The Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens is a direct match for focal length and max aperture. In the image quality comparison shows these two lenses competing closely. If I was forced to pick a winner, I'd take the Tamron lens by a slim margin at f/2.8 and the Tamron lens's corners are slightly better at f/4 and f/5.6. The Tamron lens has slightly less peripheral shading. The Tamron lens has slight barrel distortion that is slightly stronger than the Sony lens's slight pincushion distortion. I prefer the Sony lens's sunstars slightly better and the Tamron lens's bokeh slightly better.

While the Tamron lens is quite small and light, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens vs. Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Lens comparison shows the Sony lens being the considerably smaller and lighter of the two. The Tamron lens has 67mm filter threads (matching other lenses in its series) while the Sony lens has 49mm (and 40.5mm) threads. The Sony lens has a low 0.12x maximum magnification while the Tamron lens has a high 0.50x spec. While both lenses are reported to have weather sealing, only the Tamron lens has a gasket around the mount. The Tamron lens's price being less than half that of the Sony lens will be a major differentiating factor for many.

Use the site's comparison tools to create your own comparisons.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens Front View on Camera


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The Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA is a quality lens, performing well physically and optically. While f/2.8 is not an especially wide aperture for a 35mm prime lens, the diminutive size and ultra-light weight offset that feature limitation.

Need a tiny, ultralight general-purpose prime lens for your Sony camera? The Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens might have a place in your kit ... or pocket.

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