Lens review

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM

14 September 2016
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between the Sony 1.4/85 GM, the system Batis 1.8/85, and other full frame lenses with the same parameters. It is clear that the Sony belongs to the newest generation of lenses as it features a complex optical construction, different than that of the Planar T* 85 mm f/1.4 class 7-8-element devices. The number of elements in the new Sony is exactly the same as the number of elements of the Milvus and the Otus, so praised by us in our reviews. The Batis is a bit slower but in its case the stabilization unit influences the complexity of optics. It’s also worth adding that the Sony is a lens noticeably lighter and a bit smaller than the Milvus and the Otus and, as such, it is handier and it fits a small mirrorless camera body better. The Sony’s aperture features more blades than the apertures of its rivals too.

In the photo below the tested Sony is positioned between the Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM and the Zeiss Sonnar 55 mm f/1.8 FE.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

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The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding a black frame made of plastic with embedded contacts and an inscription “Made in Thailand”. A rear element is 33 mm in diameter but its dimensions are limited by the size of the frame which is 32x26 mm.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

The proper body of the lens starts with a black, plastic ring which diameter increases gradually as you move away from the mount. The ring features a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, the mount marking (E-mount) and the symbol of the lens.

Then you see an aperture ring 19 mm wide; it is covered by ribs and click-stopped, moving every 1/3 EV. The ring is a joy to use; what’s more you can choose between the classic click-stop 1/3 EV mode or switch it off – that option will undoubtedly please movie shooters.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

Another immobile ring features a silvery inscription „FE 1.4/85 GM”; on its right sight there is the Sony logo and a CLICK ON/OFF switch controlling the aperture ring. On the left side there is a red G series logo, an aperture blockade button, a focusing mechanism mode switch (AF/MF) and a serial number of the lens.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

A manual focus ring, as wide as 26 mm and covered by ribbing pleasing to the touch, is the next part of the lens. It is electronic in operation and running through the whole distance scale needs a turn through about 170 degrees. Behind the ring you can find an immobile metal part of the casing on which there are markings indicating the filter thread diameter (77 mm) and a minimum focusing distance (0.85m/2.79ft) along with a red dot to make the attachment of the hood easier.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

The front element is 63 mm in diameter, a bit convex, surrounded by a 77 mm filter thread which doesn’t move and a bayonet fitting for hood.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with 11 elements positioned in 8 groups. The producer wasn’t stingy with special glass – inside you can find three low dispersion ED and one aspherical (XA) elements. There is also a round aperture with as many as 11 blades which can be closed down to f/16 at the maximum. You should also mention Sony Nano AR coatings which are supposed to reduce flare and ghosting and ensure good performance against bright light.

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a very solid lens case in the box.

Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality