Performance on a budget – see how the Sony 85mm f/1.8 holds up against the $1,600 G Master

Apr 2, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Performance on a budget – see how the Sony 85mm f/1.8 holds up against the $1,600 G Master

Apr 2, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Sony’s new FE 85mm f/1.8 lens comes in at around half the price of the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8. It’s also a third the price of the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens. We’ve already seen how the Sony & Zeiss f/1.8 lenses compare, but how does it stack up against the vastly more expensive Sony 85mm f/1.4?

Well, according to photographer Manny Ortiz, extremely well. He sees is as a fantastic option for both hobbyists and professionals who are looking to save a little money.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO5WvQAf16g

Both the 1.8 and the 1.4GM are ridiculously sharp. Manny says that the only thing that really separate them is the bokeh. But, he admits that bokeh is an subjective and personal thing. Not everybody wants the same look in their out of focus areas. And it’s a LOT of extra expense.

Manny also sent us some images from the day, and we were very impressed, especially given the cost of the f/1.8. While the out of focus areas aren’t quite as smooth as you might get with the f/1.4 G Master, it does look very good.

Manny freely admits that he’s not a gear review expert. So, he doesn’t get as in-depth as others might. What he does do, though, is actually go outside and shoot them. He tests them in the real world to see how they perform in real situations in which many of us might shoot.

So, you won’t see lab test charts in Manny’s videos, but do you really want to? I largely tend to ignore certain websites that just post optical charts and graphs when I’m considering lenses. I just want to know how they are to work with and how the images look, which is exactly what Manny presents.

One particularly interesting thing mentioned in the video is how well the f/1.8 lens goes with the Sony A6x00 series cameras. Being such a relatively small lens, using something like the Sony A6500 keeps the whole rig very small. It also doesn’t feel front-heavy like the 85mm f/1.4 G Master can on such a small body.

Overall, it seems like a great option. Compared to the Zeiss, we already know there’s virtually nothing in it when it comes to quality & performance. As for the f/1.4 G Master, it’s really going to boil down to which bokeh you prefer, and whether or not you really need those extra 2/3rds of a stop of light.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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5 responses to “Performance on a budget – see how the Sony 85mm f/1.8 holds up against the $1,600 G Master”

  1. Justin Griffin Avatar
    Justin Griffin

    Ilia Draznin

  2. bernardo negrete Avatar
    bernardo negrete

    Saw a review where the sigma beat the Gmaster, I wonder if the 85 1.8 has the same focusing problems the Gmaster has and if would be better to buy the sigma art 1.4 ?

    1. David Hovie Avatar
      David Hovie

      Beat in what? Sharpness, Rendering, Build quality, IQ, Weight?

      1. Fredrik Yngström Avatar
        Fredrik Yngström

        I assume this is the review that was referenced, in which case it’s probably regarding autofocus:
        https://www.diyphotography.net/sony-85mm-f1-4-gm-goes-sigma-85mm-f1-4-art-side-side-comparison/

  3. Kryn Sporry Avatar
    Kryn Sporry

    Aren’t all 1.4 version 2-3x the price of the 1.8 versions?