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The FE 85mm f/1.8 lens is a new member of Sony’s E-mount lineup for full-frame cameras. The short telephoto focal length lens is one of the most affordable native lenses from the company. It’s also about time that Sony offered this for the cost conscious segment of their user base as competing full-frame systems have been enjoying theirs for quite some time.
Design & Features
The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens is a squat lens that measures 3.2 x 3.1 inches and weighs about 13.1 ounces. The body is black and made of aluminum and features a knurled focus ring. It comes with a lens hood and the front element is capable of supporting 67mm filters.
With a 13.1-ounce weight and compact, lightweight design, the FE 85mm f/1.8 lens serves as an ideal lens for on-the-go shooting. On top of that, it sits perfectly well on the a7 series.
There isn’t much to complain about performance as the lens is silent and quick when it comes to focusing. The resulting images are also sharp, and bokeh is smooth. However, fringing tends to be an issue when shooting wide. Then again, this is quite normal when it comes to primes that are lightweight and fast. Images with visible fringing can be easily taken care of during post.
A dust- and moisture-resistant design also gives the FE 85mm f/1.8 a certain advantage: it can be taken along on shoots where conditions are expected to be challenging.
One feature the lens lacks is an optical stabilization system. This is quite a shame really for shooters using cameras without in-body stabilization.
Pros & Cons
- It is an affordable native lens offering short telephoto focal length. Although Sony full-frame shooters have a range of choices in the 85mm to 100mm range, including the Zeiss Batiss 85mm F1.8, this one wins in terms of cost.
- It is reliable in challenging environments. The FE 85mm f/1.8 is both resistant to dust and moisture. Meaning, it will function perfectly fine on shooting trips where light rain or windy conditions are to be expected.
- It takes sharp photos. Image quality is important and this 85mm lens from Sony doesn’t disappoint. It even produces smooth bokeh and is silent when focusing.
- It doesn’t have an optical stabilization system. While there are full-frame bodies equipped with in-body stabilization like the APS-C a6500, not everyone may have the same equipment. Since stabilization is important, particularly when shooting handheld video, users who have cameras without in-body stabilization are better off spending money on the Batis – it will be more expensive though.
- It causes fringing when shooting wide. This is a rather minor issue and one that is present with other fast primes. Plus, the issue can be corrected using software.
Although the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 may be a full-frame shooter’s dream of a budget short telephoto range prime lens, its lack of an optical stabilization system leaves other users looking for other options. But for those who have cameras with in-body stabilization, this lens offers value and performs well.