Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review
The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is a chunky lens, but fairly light at 371g. A round bayonet lens hood fits precisely, surrounding a 67mm filter thread. The electronic focusing ring lies immediately behind and is silky smooth in operation. Focusing is down to 0.8m, or 2.63 feet. This gives a maximum magnification of 0.13x, which is sufficiently close for a good close portrait. This is important as 85mm is the classic portrait focal length. As the lens features DMF (Direct Manual Focus) the AF can be tweaked at any time using the manual focusing ring.
Focusing is accurate, swift and silent, thanks to the double linear motor system, a silent direct drive that eliminates the need for gearing.
Closer to the camera body there is the AF/MF switch and a button that holds focus when using AF. And that's it, there are no further adornments or controls. This means there is no focusing scale, nor is there a depth of field scale.
Lens construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including one ED (Extra Low Dispersion). This somewhat simpler than many current designs. There are 9 circular aperture blades, aiming to create an aperture circular as possible. This should improve the bokeh of the lens, another important point for portraiture in particular. Construction is also dust and moisture resistant, always welcome in any lens.
Although we can achieve an 85mm focal length with many zoom lenses, there is something special about the view of the world through a wide aperture 85mm optic. Subject distance means a perspective ideal for portraits and other close work where a defocused background can be employed to isolate the main subject. As far as faces go, it is a very flattering working distance, yet still close enough to maintain proper communication with the subject.
This 85mm lens handles beautifully in every respect.
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