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Andrew

Which first prime for portraits and street for new Sony A7 III user

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I have just recently switched systems from Fujifilm X-T3 to Sony A7 III. I currently have Tamron 28-75 f2.8 and Sony 16-35 f4 lens. Shoot mostly landscapes, travel and portraits. Looking to add a prime lens to be used for portraits and street. I have always been a fan of the 50mm focal length as the Fuji 35mm APS-C Lens was one of my favourite lenses but have on occasion wished it was a little longer.  Trying to decide between Sony Zeiss 55 1.8 or Sony 85 1.8. Would I be better going for the 85 given I already have the Tamron that covers the 55mm focal length? How do they compare in AF speed and accuracy in both good and low light? How do they compare in IQ?

Edited by Andrew

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My own opinion is both lenses are very different and should not be lump together. 

If Budget is a concern and only allows for one lens, then go for the length you’re most comfortable with, as that would mean you would also use it more. 

Both lens are very mobile and light. The 55mm is thinner. I personally feel the AF on the 85 is exceptional. It’s one lens in which I field that it’s comparable with the GM version. 

Im not a big fan of the 55mm as I feel the bokeh is not creamy enough. But that’s subjective. I used it for a good 6 mths but switched to the 50 Zeiss as the rendering is simply out of the world, albeit a much heavier lens. 

If I’m in your shoes, I’d go for the 85 as the tamron would cover the 50 length  

Hope it helps. 

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That’s what I was thinking too. Budget is an issue as switching systems has been costly. And just want to make the most of my lens choices. When I went into store the other day I tried the 50 1.8 and 55 1.8. Wasn’t able to try the 85 1.8 because they were out of stock. The 50 was a bit disappointing as AF was slow and face and eye detect barely worked. 55 1.8 really impressed with extremely fast AF and sharp as a razor. Just wanting to know how the 85 1.8 compared.  So it’s not like the 50 1.8? It’s AF performance is more like the 55 1.8.

Really looking for the best Bokeh I can get too.

85 1.8 is considerably cheaper too here in Australia.

Edited by Andrew

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47 minutes ago, Andrew said:

55 1.8 really impressed with extremely fast AF and sharp as a razor. Just wanting to know how the 85 1.8 compared.

Have a look at this comparison in the lens database of dxomark. They seem to be on par in the "sharpness" subcategory.

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1 hour ago, Andrew said:

That’s what I was thinking too. Budget is an issue as switching systems has been costly. And just want to make the most of my lens choices. When I went into store the other day I tried the 50 1.8 and 55 1.8. Wasn’t able to try the 85 1.8 because they were out of stock. The 50 was a bit disappointing as AF was slow and face and eye detect barely worked. 55 1.8 really impressed with extremely fast AF and sharp as a razor. Just wanting to know how the 85 1.8 compared.  So it’s not like the 50 1.8? It’s AF performance is more like the 55 1.8.

Really looking for the best Bokeh I can get too.

85 1.8 is considerably cheaper too here in Australia.

I owned both lenses at the same time once. The AF on 85 to me, is slightly faster. The 55 is already quite fast.  

Only if your shoot both lens side by side with similar lighting can you feel the diff.  

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I currently own the 55 1.8 and the 85 1.8, and given you Tamron, would suggest the 85 1.8. It is an excellent lens, so much so that the Zeiss Batis 85 is not worth the price premium. The 85 is great for portraits, but may be a little long for landscape and travel/walk around...but you have the Tamron (and the 16-35) for those. I also have the 16-35 f4 which is a great walk-around lens, but in the midrange, while I have seen good reviews on the Tamron, I am going a different course. On my last trip to Europe, I intentionally left my 24-70 f4 at home and relied on the 16-35, 55 and 85. I am now selling the 24-70 but intend to get the 24 1.4 if ever in stock and going full prime within that range.

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On 1/25/2019 at 7:26 PM, tizeye said:

I currently own the 55 1.8 and the 85 1.8, and given you Tamron, would suggest the 85 1.8. It is an excellent lens, so much so that the Zeiss Batis 85 is not worth the price premium. The 85 is great for portraits, but may be a little long for landscape and travel/walk around...but you have the Tamron (and the 16-35) for those. I also have the 16-35 f4 which is a great walk-around lens, but in the midrange, while I have seen good reviews on the Tamron, I am going a different course. On my last trip to Europe, I intentionally left my 24-70 f4 at home and relied on the 16-35, 55 and 85. I am now selling the 24-70 but intend to get the 24 1.4 if ever in stock and going full prime within that range.

Agree, and would endorse getting the 24 1.4 when you can manage the expense.  It has become my most used prime.  Great for street, low light, landscapes, interiors...

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6 hours ago, tinplater said:

Agree, and would endorse getting the 24 1.4 when you can manage the expense.  It has become my most used prime.  Great for street, low light, landscapes, interiors...

Amen to that.  My go to lens now. 

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For years I have said a great starter lens is the Sony 55 f1.8.  That was my first lens and I still have it.  Great for travel.  But I bought the Sony 24-105 f4 in November and just love it.  This may be the only lens I take when I travel.  I know a lot of folks will say, "f4 is not fast enough".  They would be wrong.  This is a great lens.  I set the ISO at auto 100 minimum and 4000 maximum.  With my Sony A7R m3, this is no problem.  And what a great camera/lens combination for street photography.  I was at a political event march Saturday and got great shots walking backwards focusing on a moving subject and got tact sharp shots!  Here is a shot from Christmas without a flash at 54mm, f4, 1/80 second, and ISO 3200:

 

7R304992.jpg

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1 hour ago, steve of stonehenge said:

For years I have said a great starter lens is the Sony 55 f1.8.  That was my first lens and I still have it.  Great for travel.  But I bought the Sony 24-105 f4 in November and just love it.  This may be the only lens I take when I travel.  I know a lot of folks will say, "f4 is not fast enough".  They would be wrong.  This is a great lens.  I set the ISO at auto 100 minimum and 4000 maximum.  With my Sony A7R m3, this is no problem.  And what a great camera/lens combination for street photography.  I was at a political event march Saturday and got great shots walking backwards focusing on a moving subject and got tact sharp shots!  Here is a shot from Christmas without a flash at 54mm, f4, 1/80 second, and ISO 3200:

 

7R304992.jpg

Unfortunately your image really is not very good.  The child's face is totally out of focus, point of maximum sharpness is the R shoulder.

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I think it totally depends on which focal length you want. In theory because of what you already have, the 85mm would slot in well. However I have the 24-105 f4 and the 16-35 f2.8 and I still recently bought the 24mm f1.4 to use for travel for photography and I prefer it by far over all the others. I personally don't want to be using 35, 50, 85 because I want to get a different perspective and while the 24-105 is flexible, I love what I can do with f1.4 on the 24mm as well as the the challenge of shooting at that aperture. You can still do portraits with 24mm but you just have to be in closer or go for more environmental portraits. Here's some examples using the 24 from a recent trip to Japan: https://photos.creativityatscale.com/sony-24mm-f14-travel-photography. I could have used it for landscapes too but instead chose to use the Loxia 21 instead. In fact on that trip I took those two lenses and my others were 70-200 and 100-400 with teleconverters so I had nothing between 24 and 70mm.

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