I’ve recently been shooting with the Sony 35mm ƒ/1.4 ZA prime lens (on the Sony a7r iii body). I’m in the process of writing up a more detailed review to post separately, but in the meantime, here are some sample images I’ve taken with it to give a sense of how it performs in real-world shooting. I’ve chosen a range of subjects and conditions and apertures in these examples.
But first, here’s a quick summary of some of the Sony 35mm ƒ/1.4 ZA’s key features. Not that any Sony E-mount lenses are cheap, exactly, but the Sony 35mm f/1.4 ZA lens is on the premium end of their range. Its formal name is the Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens. It’s an E-mount lens designed for Sony full-frame sensors; if you put it on a camera with an APS-C sized sensor, you’ll get the equivalent of a 52.5mm focal length.
And it’s fast, with a maximum aperture of ƒ/1.4 that makes it especially good for low-light shooting or when you’re after a very shallow depth of field. The 35mm prime focal length gives a slightly wider-than-normal perspective that’s very versatile for travel photography and photojournalism. The lens is constructed in such a way to make it resistant to moisture and dust. And it uses high-quality Zeiss optics.
I’ve also posted some examples with the 50mm lens in the same high-end Sony range, the Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens. If you’d like to compare, you can find those sample images here.
Sample Images Taken with a Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens
These were all taken on a Sony a7r iii mirrorless body. Most of them have only been minimally processed in Lightroom without any extra sharpening or lens profile corrections such as distortion correction or chromatic aberration. A few of them have been processed in NIK Color Efex Pro as well.
I’ve tried to include a range of apertures, focus distances, and scenes. If you’d like a closer look, you can click on each image to open a full-size version.
Optical Correction Tools
I deliberately haven’t applied extensive corrections to these images. And the general rule of thumb in photography is that it’s better to get the shot right at the time of capture rather than trying to fix it after. That’s a great aspiration, but it’s not always possible to do if you’re bumping up against limitations or flaws in gear, conditions, or technique.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are some excellent tools available to help address common issues with lenses, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, and lens vignetting when editing the images. All-round image processing apps like Lightroom Classic and Capture One have solid tools built in already that often cater to specific lens profiles (or you can make your own).
Some more specialized tools can take it even further. DxO, in particular, sets the gold standard.Their software is built on the foundation of their incredibly deep archive of data from their extensive lab testing of the optical performance of lenses and cameras. But there are some other excellent specialized tools available. These are well worth a look (and have free trials):
DxO Pure RAW (for a suite of automatic RAW file corrections enhancement)
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I'm a professional photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.
My name is David Coleman, and this is my site.
I take photos for a living. Seven continents. Dozens of countries. Up mountains. Under water. And a bunch of places in between. I'm based in Washington DC.
All posts and reviews on this site are written by me. And I only review gear with which I have personal hands-on experience. More about me.