Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens

It's small, it's light, it's phenomenally sharp, its the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens. 

Since this post I've decided to treat my two Sony FE cameras, the A7 and A7r, as sensors in a box. There is no FE system as such and when there is it will probably not be what I would like, so I've decided to 'mix and match' and use what lenses seem to work best. I've got a nice MF combination with my Voigtlander 20mm and Nikon series E 100mm and with the LA-EA4 adapter, some a-mount lenses, the 28-70mm zoom, the 55mm f/1.8 and this 35mm I've got a somewhat mismatched and somewhat ugly set of camera lens combinations that do however give me a reasonably flexible system.

In effect I've got two different types of camera / lens combinations. The small film SLR look of the 35mm at the top of the page and the big DSLR look as with the Sigma 20mm f1.8 I have pictured just above. The A7 or A7r are certainly not my favourite cameras to use and handle and despite my intention to work with gear I really like, I find myself unable to be separated from the remarkable results these 35mm film sized sensors produce. And the A7r / 35mm f/2.8 combination makes that separation even more unlikely. 

I'm glad I read Martin Irwin's article here, because I was on the verge of selling (well seriously thinking about it) both my FE cameras because of frustration with the type and lack of native lenses. I was inclined to try the 35mm after reading that article and I'm glad I did. I do like the size and weight and it will allow me to put together a very portable pair with the 85mm f/2.8 a-mount I have, which is a somewhat underrated lens because of it's low price and cheap plastic construction. And despite my fears about vignetting and some other technical shortcomings I've seen written about, the 35mm lens is actually a pretty wonderful lens. Whether the updates to ACR and the camera firmware have delivered some better lens correction profiling I cannot say, but after using it yesterday and shooting some blue sky test shots I'm unaware of any vignetting (or any other) issues. For what I shoot I forsee few problems with it and I look forward to creating some great images.

Is it as sharp as the 55mm f/1.8? Well, it may be measurable but I can't tell the difference. These are two incredibly sharp lenses that produce absolutely gorgeous looking files. And that of course is the hook that will probably keep me using the FE cameras. They may be unsatisfactory and somewhat 'works in progess' in all sorts of ways but image quality isn't one of their failings.

Finally, just as an interesting anecdote, while I was out yesterday I started chatting to a walker who said 'How do you get on with that? Can you still get film for it?' I was somewhat surprised but he was convinced that I was using an old film camera. Maybe the leather case helped the illusion, but it did strike me that as constant photographic internet perusers we become so accustomed to the changes in internet design fashions that we forget how our cameras appear to others. 

And it is true that it does look 'old-school' if I try for a moment to imagine that I have never spent time looking at cameras on my computer screen. (Impossible as that might seem!) Of course being the shallow retro-head obsessed with camera image that I am, you'll be unsurprised to learn that made me warm to the A7r somewhat. Yes I know it's fickle and gives every indication that I'm just as air-headed as the next fanboy, but if it makes me feel better about the camera and I get to create more images with that sensor, then I'm quite happy to embrace that style over content attitude.

Inconsistent? whatever gave you that idea?

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