As you might know, if you follow me on the web, I am currentrly shooting with a Sony a7r, which I personally find perfect for my slow, unhurried needs.
One of the problems with the a7 system is the lack of native lenses, most people (myself included) have adapted (no pun intended) to the situation and started using lenses from other manufactures via adapters.
When I initially got my a7r I was using a batch of old Nikon pre-AI lenses that were given to me. These lenses, while not the greatest, aided me in taking some of my most awesome pictures.
As soon as I could get my hands on them (which took a LONG time and many frustrating calls to my local dealer) I purchased the two Sony Zeiss primes: the FE 55mm 1.8 and the FE 35mm 2.8; I am here to talk to you about the latter.
Ok! so the Zeiss lenses are far from cheap, why on earth would I dish out such an amount for an un-exciting lens such as a 35mm with a slow-ish 2.8 aperture???
The main reason I got this lens is because it's TINY; it's the only lens, that coupled with the small body of the a7r make for an almost pocketable setup. There are actually many lenses that are the size of the FE 35mm, except that to use them on the a7 you need to adapt them, and often times the adapter is as big (and as heavy) as the lens itself...
The image quality from the lens is, in my honest opinion, just stellar. It is sharp across the frame even at f/2.8, it has almost no distortion and near zero CA. Yes, it has some vignetting, but it's nothing terrible (if anything it adds to the pictures) and it's very easy to correct. I seriously have no complaints.
The lens cap is brilliant, I wish all lenses had such a well designed cap! I leave it on all the time (unless I am using a polarizer) and it does not intrude in any way.
The autofocus is... ok on the a7r... I actually don't think it's a fault of the lens. I think it's just the camera that has a sub average AF. It works well for static scenes but it's terrible (aka unusable) at tracking moving subjects. I bet this lens is plenty fast on a quick body like the a6000.
Regarding the AF, I really never use it anyway, most of my pictures are shot in manual focus (I find manual focus more realiable and more fun). I initially had some concernes about manual focus with these modern electrically coupled lenses, I feared that manual focus would feel disconnected and "sterile". I was wrong! the focus ring is beautiful to operate, with a smooth resistance, the focus change is quick and responsive with almost no lag, it feels like a good quality mechanical. The auto magnified view and/or focus peaking also really help to make the experience fast and reliable.
Build quality is very good, the whole lens it tightly put together and is a nice satin black metal. My only complaint is the plastic filter thread, for this price point I find it kind of unacceptable.
All in all the lens gets my thumbs up, even considering the high price. It's a great, lightweight, travel friendly, do it all lens.
Until next time.