- Very solidly constructed lens
- Exceptional sharpness, even at f/1.4
- Beautiful bokeh throughout the aperture range
- Excellent color and contrast
- Low lateral chromatic aberration
- Good flare control
- Accurate autofocus
- Declickable aperture ring
- Autofocus makes noise and is only moderate in speed
- Notable vignetting
- Some minor distortion and longitudinal CA
- Weather sealing ring doesn’t contact the lens mount
The Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM is a lens that feels greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, it’s very sharp; it’s got great bokeh; it’s got good color and contrast. It also has some minor flaws. However, the combination of the imaging characteristics adds up to something truly special. The look that can be created with this lens is simply stunning: the sharp pop of the subject with a gorgeous fade in the background. Ultimately, it’s simply beautiful. The 85mm GM is expensive, and if you need the fast aperture, it’s worth every penny of the asking price.
However, I’m not sure it is the right lens for many Sony shooters. The lens is very big and rather heavy, has only middling autofocus speed and carries that hefty $1800 price tag. With the also truly outstanding Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 coming in at a significant $600 lower price point, plus many other adaptable options out there that are nearly as good, there may be better alternatives for your budget. The Batis is smaller, focuses faster and costs a lot less, while the GM shows smoother bokeh and has that extra 2/3 stop of light gathering capability. If you decide you need the speed, the 85mm GM is a fantastic choice, though. It’s a truly top-notch optic.
Click on an image to enlarge.