Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 and 100mm f/2.8

£600/$600 The best things re­ally do come in small pack­ages

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS - Matthew Richards

Por­trait lenses of­fer­ing sharp­ness and bokeh

For many, 85mm is the focal length of choice for por­trai­ture on a

full-frame camera. It en­ables you to shoot from a com­fort­able dis­tance, nei­ther in­vad­ing your sub­ject’s per­sonal space nor bark­ing pos­ing in­struc­tions from a dis­tance. A fast aper­ture is also prefer­able, to main­tain a tight depth of field.

Some mod­els meet­ing these cri­te­ria pile on the pounds – in­clud­ing Sony’s own f/1.4 G Mas­ter lens, at nearly 1kg. This new op­tic is much more com­pact, and about a third of the price. The mod­est f/1.8 aper­ture rat­ing en­ables a rel­a­tively small and light build, ide­ally suited to Sony’s A7 and A9 se­ries cam­eras.

Un­like some sim­i­lar lenses, there’s no op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion, but that re­quire­ment in a ‘fast’ lens is de­bat­able, and sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion A7 cam­eras have sen­sor-shift sta­bil­i­sa­tion built in.

Build & han­dling

Weather seals are in­cor­po­rated into the metal mount­ing plate and sturdy, solid bar­rel. The elec­tron­i­cally cou­pled man­ual fo­cus ring is com­fort­ably large and silky smooth in op­er­a­tion, and a bonus fo­cus hold but­ton is fea­tured; this can be cus­tomised for al­ter­na­tive tasks.

A dual lin­ear mo­tor en­ables speedy and near-silent aut­o­fo­cus per­for­mance, with ex­cel­lent ac­cu­racy. Op­tics ben­e­fit from an ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ment to boost sharp­ness and con­trast while re­duc­ing colour fring­ing. The aper­ture re­mains well-rounded when stop­ping down a lit­tle, thanks to a nineblade di­aphragm.


De­spite be­ing two-thirds of an f/ stop slower than Sony’s 85mm f/1.4 lens, depth of field re­mains use­fully tight at the widest aper­ture, and the soft­ness of bokeh is ap­peal­ing. Even so, it’s no match for the Sony 100mm STF lens, re­viewed op­po­site.

Cen­tre-sharp­ness is spec­tac­u­lar and re­mains very good into the edges and cor­ners.

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