name: Sony SEL 85F18
purpose: Full Frame (Sony E-Mount)
type: portrait lens
focal elnght: 85 mm
max aperture: ƒ/1.8
min aperture: ƒ/22
diaphragm blades: 9
construction: 9 elements in 8 groups, 1 ED
dust and moisture protection – YES
the front lens does not rotate when focusing
closest focus distance – 0.8m
sizes: 78х82 mm
weight: 372 грама
Sony FE 85 / 1.8 is specially designed for the brand’s mirrorless full-frame cameras. FE 85/1.8 is one of the best portrait lenses in the segment in terms of price / quality. Its compact size, low weight, high sharpness, fast and accurate AF and lack of visible aberrations (except in extreme conditions and contrasts) make it a preferred portrait for all shooting situations. It fits especially well with the new Sony models – A7iii, A7Riii, A9, A9ii, A7RIV, as their focus system is much faster and more accurate. In reality, no weaknesses are noticed in the process of work.
Portrait photography is not limited to static portraits. Often emotional portraits on the go are much stronger and more impactful, and that’s where the FE 85 / 1.8 is uncompromising. The lens is dust and moisture resistant, which makes it suitable for adverse conditions. A big advantage is the convenient function button, which can be programmed in different ways – focus lock, eye focus, etc. In this review we will illustrate the operation of this lens with photographs taken entirely in the work environment – sessions, events, weddings, workshops and others, as this type of photography speaks best about the qualities of the lens.
FE 85 / 1.8 is a favorite choice for capturing various details and decorations. The separation of the main object from the background is characterized by a soft and plastic transition.
The lens is also suitable for full-length portraits.
When the distance to the subjects is enough, the 85 / 1.8 is a great reportage lens in complex weather and light conditions. Its speed and accuracy guarantee many prizes in competitions for the captured moment.
Sony 85 / 1.8 is suitable for night portrait sessions. Stabilization of mirrorless cameras helps a lot at low shutter speeds.
Sony 85 / 1.8 is in its power in backlight. The following photos proves it:
The following photo was taken directly in JPEG with a camera, and below it we publish a crop of 100% to get an idea of the sharpness of the lens
More photos of the maximum aperture with defocus in the foreground and background. They were shot during our seminars “The Different Portrait” – model Elina Krusheva
Dynamic and emotional shots in motion at maximum aperture:
One of the most important features and a big advantage when combining a bright high-resolution prime lens and a high-resolution camera is the ability to achieve high magnifications. Sony A7Riii and 85 / 1.8 allow up to three times reduction of the viewing angle (three times increase of magnification) through sections without fatal loss of quality. In reality, the small 85 / 1.8 turns into 85-255 and at least up to double magnification or 170mm matched focal length surpasses many real zoom lenses, as their sharpness is significantly lower and they fail to extract everything from the 42mp sensor of the camera. The following example is a demonstration of this:
In conclusion, we can say that the Sony FE 85 / 1.8 is one of the few lenses that deserves only superlatives and it is really difficult to find any flawless. Undoubtedly, its bigger brother 85 / 1.4G has better optical characteristics and brightness, but the price is significantly higher, and its heavy weight unbalances the mirrorless system with small cameras. In this respect, the 85 / 1.8 fits perfectly on the Sony 7 and 9 series and so with this combination it can be shot even with one hand. At the same time, the lightweight construction makes it much faster and more suitable for capturing casual moments, emotions and situations.
Thanks for your review of Sony’s 85 f1.8.
Regarding the 6th image, you mention using manual focus to get through branches in front of the couple. A nice effect. What about the rest of the photos in this collection? Where they all AF?
If so, that’s very good with back light, low light and with other visual distractions in between camera and subject.
I have rented Sony’s 85 f1.4 for a wedding. Great images but its big and not as quick to focus as my 24 f1.4 and 55 f1.8. I also don’t like the price or hauling it around all day.
Do you have any experience with other less expensive f1.4 lenses for Sony? Like the new Samyang 85 f1.4?
Hi Frank, all other photos are in autofocus. Autofocus is perfect and fast, as on 55 / 1.8. Significantly faster than 85/1.4. We haven’t tried other 1.4 lenses and we can’t say how it is compared to Samyang .