Every photographer should have a good 35mm lens in their collection and the Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 is one of the best lens for your Sony camera. The focal length of a 35mm is simply a sweet spot for basically any types of photography you do.
As you know I shoot mainly landscapes and rely on my 18mm lens for all of my shots. I also recently added this phenomenal 85mm to my gear for intimate portraits. But what I’ve learned is that nothing will beat a good 35mm lens due to its versatility.
Have you tried to take pictures in a room full of people with an 85mm? It’s quite challenging if you don’t have enough distance from your subject.
A good 35mm lens will allow you to get close enough to your subject and still provide isolation.
The Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 In My Collection
This lens is actually what made me fall in love with the sharpness of Zeiss lens. I was blown away by how crisp the images turned out. It was the first lens I purchased for my Sony A7SII but have used it more frequently with my Sony A7RII.
Although I love how sharp my images are there’s one big downside to it.
The point of using a mirrorless system is to have a smaller and lighter setup. The Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 is heavier than the actual body of the Sony A7RII. It can get tiresome carrying around such a heavy lens but I do love the images it produces. I believe the heavy design was due to Sony rushing out as many prime lenses as fast as possible due to criticisms of lack of lenses.
All of their new lenses are lighter and more compact yet still deliver amazing results.
In the past month I’ve been quite busy with family functions so I’ve had the opportunity to shoot with the Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 in more crowded environments.
Here is a shot of my two nieces during my nephew’s graduation in Washington.
It was an overcast day which provided some great diffused lighting. Since the graduation was during the day I was a bit worried there would be harsh lighting to contend with. I lucked out.
In this scenario there would have been no way for me to shoot with my 85mm. It was difficult enough to wade through the crowd let alone trying to take pictures.
This image below is of my nephew visiting from California. As you can see these are candid shots taken during the worst possible time, late afternoon on a very hot and sunny day.
When you have to shoot during the day in harsh lighting conditions try to get your subject in the shade. This provides better ambient and even lighting and won’t create harsh shadows on your subject’s face.
Another tip is to shoot with a faster shutter speed when shooting kids. I’ve found that kids are completely unpredictable and will not sit still long enough for you to take a photo.
The best feature of the Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 is the wide aperture. I shoot wide open as much as I can and adjust my other settings to accommodate this. I love the depth of field on this lens as evident in the image below.
My other nephew really liked my camera so I was able to get this great photo of him. As you can see the depth of field is so shallow here at f1.4 but it provides such a great isolation effect. Depending on your style and your goals for the shot you’ll have to adjust the aperture to your desire.
I personally shoot wide open most of the time if there’s only one subject in the frame.
The Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 lens is a great lens to have in your collection for moments like these. Although I’m not a big fan of the length and weight of this lens, I cannot deny that it produces amazing photos.
I would like to see Sony come out with a smaller 35mm lens at a more affordable price like they did with their recent 85mm. But this is still a solid lens to have in your collection if you don’t mind the weight.
Personally I don’ shoot much portraits or street photography but when I do this is my go to lens. Do you have a favorite 35mm lens or do you prefer a different focal length? Let me know!
Thanks for reading!