My Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review
95
Full Frame E-Mount Prime Lens
Buy Now @ BHPhoto

In this Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens review I will cover everything you need to know from a real world perspective using the high resolution Sony A7r II for a camera body. I have lots of sample photos and video to show you, so strap in!

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens is basically the best portrait lens option in my opinion for the budget oriented user when considering the price point of $598 US. Clearly the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens is higher quality lens option, but at $1,798 US, it’s nearly 3X the cost!!

My Youtube Review of the FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens Here, if you want to check out what that amount of money gets you as far as features, build and image quality. However, with the price difference being so drastic, and the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens being so good in the real world as you will see in this review, I would totally just go for this lens personally. Obviously if you want the very best money can buy, the GM lens is the way to go, don’t get me wrong, but for the rest of us the FE 85mm f/1.8 is absolutely good enough for professional work and anything else you want to throw at it in my opinion.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Key Features:

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22
  • APS-C Effective Focal Length = 127.5mm
  • One Extra-Low Dispersion Element
  • Double Linear AF Motor
  • Focus Hold Button; AF/MF Switch
  • Nine-Blade Circular Diaphragm
  • Weather-Resistant Design
  • Minimum Focus Distance = 2.62β€² / 80 cm
  • Filter Thread = 67mm
  • Weight = 13.1 oz / 371 g
  • Price = $598 US @ BHPhoto

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens – A Closer Look

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review
Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review

Sony FE 85mm Lens Build Quality and Design

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens is very compact and lightweight which make it a pleasure to hand hold for long periods of time. The build quality is also very good and the dual linear focus motors are fast, quiet, and ultra smooth making it great for video, sports, and portrait photography in particular. In addition it has a 9-bladed circular aperture diaphragm making the background out of focus bokeh extra dreamy as you will see in the sample photos. It also has a customizable focus hold button and manual AF/ MF switch which is very handy when needed. The FE 85mm f/1.8 lens is also designed and built to be dust and moisture resistant which is alway a good thing if you ask me.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens Review | Youtube version

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review
My Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review
A Fantastic Portrait Lens Option
So at the end of the day the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens is a killer value for the dollar in my opinion and the best native portrait lens option for the money currently available for the full frame sony e-mount cameras. I can't recommend this lens enough if in the market for a portrait lens. The build quality and design is also great, it's fairly compact considering the f/1.8 max aperture, and the autofocus is very fast, smooth, and near silent for sports and video.
Bang For The Buck
98
Feature Set
92
Build Quality and Design
92
Ergonomics
94
Auto Focus System
94
Real World Usability
100
Video Quality
94
Real World Image quality
98
Lab Testing Optical Quality
95
Lens Distortion Control
92
Low Light Performance
94
Fun Factor
100
Reader Rating1 Vote
100
Pros
a great value for the dollar
excellent optical quality
fairly lightweight and compact
very good build quality and design
Cons
a little bit of purple fringing in the lab testing on the quarter wide open at f/1.8
no optical stabilization built in
95
Full Frame E-Mount Prime Lens
Buy Now @ BHPhoto

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens – Real World Sample photos

Here are the real world sample photos I took with this lens and be sure to click on the images you would like to see closer for a larger gallery style view that you can then easily navigate with the large arrows on the left and right side.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens – Lab Testing

I created a video version of the lab testing for those that would just rather watch then go thru the photos manually. However, the Lab test photos will also be below the video if you want to check them out on a computer or tablet instead of watching the video.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens – Lab Testing Photos

I shot these photos in raw quality and applied the lens correction profile in Lightroom to them, except for this first image so you can see the comparison with and without. Basically, there is very little distortion, but at f/1.8 the vignette is fairly noticeable which is normal with a fast aperture lens like this. You can also notice some slight purple fringing on the quarter wide open at f/1.8 in the 100% Crop, but it’s not much at all and easily correctable by applying the lens profile corrections in Lightroom when shooting raw quality.

Minimum Focus Distance Aperture Run

FIrst without lens profile correction:

MFD @ f/1.8 – no lens profile correction
MFD @ f/1.8 – no lens profile correction – 100% crop

Here is the same exact photo with the lens profile correction enabled via Lightroom.

MFD @ f/1.8
MFD @ f/1.8 – 100% Crop

Here is the rest of the Minimum focus distance test aperture run. Full scene and 100% crop to the right.

Sharpness and Depth of Field Testing

FIrst the full scene focused on the dollar bill witht he quarter you see above being about a foot in fron of the scene which illustrates just haw narrow the depth of field can be with this lens! Below is the 100% crops at the various apertures for your detailed inspection. Corners a slightly soft at f/1.8, but really not bad at all and much better than I was anticipating honestly.

Full Scene:

f/1.8

100% Crops:

Here is one more lab test photo take with the lens at maximum out of focus looking at the lab scene. From this test you can see the curvature this lens has in the out of focus areas towards the edges of the frame. I think it looks cool and makes for a very interesting bokeh effect. If you don’t like this effect and want perfectly even bokeh ball renderings from corner to corner, you must look at the Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF Lens which I tested here on my youtube channel >>

Completely out of focus

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Accessories

Conclusions

So at the end of the day the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens is a killer value for the dollar in my opinion and the best native portrait lens option for the money currently available for the full frame sony e-mount cameras. I can’t recommend this lens enough if in the market for a portrait lens. The build quality and design is also great, it’s fairly compact considering the f/1.8 max aperture, and the autofocus is very fast, smooth, and near silent for sports and video.

That is about it for this review, but please let me know what you think in the comments area below and if you have any questions, be sure to ask!

Also, be sure to check out My E-Mount Lens Guides Here >>, for all the links to reviews and to keep up to date with all the currently available lenses. There are lots of manufactures making quality lenses for the Sony E-Mount camera systems these days so I have a number of guides to help navigate those waters πŸ˜‰

Thanks, Jay

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review
My Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review
A Fantastic Portrait Lens Option
So at the end of the day the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens is a killer value for the dollar in my opinion and the best native portrait lens option for the money currently available for the full frame sony e-mount cameras. I can't recommend this lens enough if in the market for a portrait lens. The build quality and design is also great, it's fairly compact considering the f/1.8 max aperture, and the autofocus is very fast, smooth, and near silent for sports and video.
Bang For The Buck
98
Feature Set
92
Build Quality and Design
92
Ergonomics
94
Auto Focus System
94
Real World Usability
100
Video Quality
94
Real World Image quality
98
Lab Testing Optical Quality
95
Lens Distortion Control
92
Low Light Performance
94
Fun Factor
100
Reader Rating1 Vote
100
Pros
a great value for the dollar
excellent optical quality
fairly lightweight and compact
very good build quality and design
Cons
a little bit of purple fringing in the lab testing on the quarter wide open at f/1.8
no optical stabilization built in
95
Full Frame E-Mount Prime Lens
Buy Now @ BHPhoto

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