Here are some shots I took a while ago, but just found...
All shot with an a7R II and the Sony Sonnar T* 135mm f/1.8 ZA - I really miss that lens!
Model: Audrey McDermot
Photo by Rick Birt of www.romeobravophoto.com
I am new to this forum, as I just sold everything and switched from Canon to Sony (A7III) and need advice. I have already read and watched hundreds of reviews, comparaisons and discussions on the best 35mm lens I can get for my needs and I still don’t find any satisfying answer.
I had no issue to find the adequat prime lens for every focal lenght I use but the 35mm. It has been giving me headaches for weeks...
Maybe some of you own some of the lenses I am hesitating on buying (I have specific questions for each of them) or maybe you’ll find some interesting advice and experiences as well in the following discussion.
Anyway, we all know there is no perfect lens. You have to make compromises. The best one is the lens that suits your needs.
I do street and travel photography for my personnal pleasure, and I mainly shoot concerts and music festivals professionally. I also do video for fun but want to start being more professionnal about it.
35 mm being my favourite all-around go-to focal lenght, I really care about this choice.
So here are my personnal needs, by order of importance, followed by the possible choices that I get, and their downsides.
1/ Fast and accurate Auto Focus ( even in low light)
I love vintage lenses. And I will probably end up using Zeiss and Voigtlander MF glass for my personnal stuff, as the quality is incredible. But as I shoot moving subjects in low light, MF does not give me as many keepers. I need AF for more reliability (unless those MF to AF adapters work efficiently?)
2/ Fast aperture (low light, DOF, cinematic shots)
Ideally f1.2 (but only 1 AF third party lens available) or f1.4.
Maybe f1.8 or 2.
F2.8 could already be too slow but I have not tried the low light performances of the A7III. Maybe it would be fine.
3/ Smooth manual focus ring for video.
I don’t need a professional cine lens. But a decently smooth focus ring for video is important.
4/ Good IQ (sharpness wide open, microcontrast, bokeh...)
I don’t need the sharpest lens in the history of mindkind. I prefer good rendering microcontrast and buttery smooth bokeh, but the sharper the better, obviously.
BONUS (less important)
5/ Weather Sealing is a plus.
I shot some pretty hectic and dirty gigs with mud and rain all over the place without Weather Sealing and it was fine, so it would be a big plus, but i can deal without.
I can handle big heavy bodies and lenses, but a small and light equipment is a plus in certain situations (traveling, being invisible, shooting secretly, trying to be intimate with the si ject without intimidating them, shooting all day etc).
7/ A bit of character ?
Again, it is about the photographer, not the gear and I can give my twist to the pics in post, but if there’s some character to the lens, that’s a plus.
8/ The cheaper, the better, obviously.
If I can manage to get it under 1000 us Dollars new or second hand, that would be nice.
9/ Build quality.
Full metal is better, but I don’t mind plastic.
10/ And the least important to me: design/handling/balance/look.
If it is well designed and balanced with the body, and if it is pleasing to the eyes and hands, That’s perfect. But it is not an important requirement at all.
So, here are the possible choices that we have (from what I know) and their apparent downsides:
Sony Zeiss FE Distagon T 35mm f1.4:
- Seems to fit every criteria
- But expensive
- And a lot of reviews say a ton of copies are abnormally soft in some parts of the frame...
Rokinon/Samyang 35 mm AF f1.4:
- Seems to hold up well against the Zeiss in terms of sharpness.
- I don’t have my computer at the moment but from my low res phone screen the bokeh seems pretty equal.
- Cheap in price and good looks/ergonomics.
- But some report a problem with low light autofocus.
- Some say the manual focus ring is not good and precise for good video work.
- Strong CA? (easily fixed in post?)
Sigma Art 35mm 1.4:
- Amazing reviews
- Seems to fit most criterias
- Very sharp
- Some people say the autofocus is bad, especially in low light, which is the most important criteria. I can handle some missed focus, but is it 5-10% or more like 20+% of missed shots?
- Has someone tried the emount version in low light already?
- Flat rendering? Not good in terms of microcontrast and bokeh?
Sony FE 35 mm 2.8:
- The size, weight, look, ergonomics seem perfect.
- The IQ is very pleasing to me (character, bokeh, sharpness, microcontrast).
- But 2.8 may be a bit slow? What is you experience at this aperture in low light environments with tge A7II or III?
Tamron 35mm f1.8 VC:
- This lens seems to be so perfect in theory for a price so cheap
- Every detailed reviews says it is amazing, a steal, a no brainer
- Build quality, macro, weather sealed
- But it is 1.8
- I am afraid of the ergonomics and handling with a metabones or other adapter (+price)
- Huge CA?
- And I don’t remember having seen any picture taken with this lens that I found beautiful (and I don’t know if it is just me, the rendering, or the photographers who used it, or I didn’t search enough, I don’t know)
I didn’t recall another one that seemed to be in the price range and fits those criterias .
For now I still hesitate between the Sony, the Sigma and the Zeiss but everyone of them has huge downsides that I don’t know if I could work with...
Maybe you have some suggestions and answers for me.
I am listening.
Thank you for your time and consideration, it is very much appreciated!
I usually shoot product in a studio with Bowens strobes and xrite color checker profiles, for my wife's shoe company, habbotstudios.com. I usually have excellent colour reproduction with this workflow.
I am looking to take my photography out of the studio into mixed light conditions and have a question about white balance variations.
I have attached three simple test shots, low res, identically framed and with the same camera settings. I was wondering why they were rendered by the camera with distinctly different colours. The middle of the three shots is clearly more green. I took the shots in continuous shooting : low, because, I will be shooting a model under constant light and will want to shoot at a fast frame rate to capture small changes in her stance.
White Balance 3800K M2 (set via a white balance custom test shot)
Shot on a sony a7rii with an FE 2.8/24-70 GM lens.
I realise that shooting RAW I can play with color in post, but I would like to start with consistency in my color use in camera.