5 out of 10 points and not recommendedsharp in the center of the FF, fast AF , universal range with very effective VR.horrible distortion in all range, poor build quality with 2 step zooming system,horrible amount of CA , horrible flare resistance, mosterous mount of light falloff.
the build quality of this lens is poor and it is not as sharp as the Nikon 24-70f2.8GED my main lens for my D700 and D7000.reviewed November 15th, 2010 (purchased for $1,000)
but its AF is very fast and accurate.
There are a few issues with this lens:
1 excessive amount of CA.
2 the worst kind of distortion.
3 the worst lightfall off I have ever seen.
4 its Nano coating is not as good as that of these other Nano coated lenses.
5 it is not as sharp as the 24-70 or 70-200VR2.
So , it is hard to recommend this lens.
I think you better save up a bit longer and get the 24-70 and never look back.
5 out of 10 points and not recommendedgood AF , very sharp at f4 and up in the center, almost complete lack of CA.poor build quality for the price , soft until f2.8 , very soft at f1.4, never gets tack-sharp
it is a plain overpriced lens, it is just as good as the old 85f1.8D as Dave says here.reviewed November 15th, 2010 (purchased for $1,200)
only pros I found are : its fast and accurate AF and its good flare performance.
I returned this one and I decided to use my Zeiss 85f1.4ZF2 instead.
if it is not sharp below f2.8 , what is the point of having this super expensive prime or choosing it over the very very sharp almost flawless 70-200f2.8VR2?
for me it is an useless prime, prieod.
I compared this lens to my old canon 85f1.2Lmk2 and Minolta 85f1.4G and both of these 2 outperformed my Nikkor 85f1.4G.
I think this was the worst recently released Nikkor and maybe I would get the Sigma 85f1.4HSM as it becomes availabe in F mount soon.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp in all focus range , very well corrected optics, good AF, very small for what it is.none.
an almost perfect prime for me ,and if you dont need f1.4 or weather sealing of the similar Nikon and the Canon , the Sony is much better lens than these 2.reviewed November 15th, 2010 (purchased for $1,200)
it is much cheaper than both the Nikon and the Canon 24f1.4, it is sharper than both the Nikon and the Canon.
it is much smaller than the both 24f1.4 lenses.
so , I highly recommend this lens to all Alpha shooters.
by the way, I use it on my A900 and A850.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedjust ideal FL , the sharpest lens in any mount, good build , great contra light performanceno SSM.
an ideal walk around lens for me , I just love this lens , this is the main reasony why I will always use Sony FF as my main camera.reviewed November 15th, 2010 (purchased for $1,200)
there is nothing bad to write about this lens, just optically perfect.
only one problem with this lens is its lack of SSM but it is not a serious con any way.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsuper fast SSM, better IQ over all IQ than the Canon and the Nikon 24-70.a bit too bulky , a bit too heavy, scratch prone barrel design , poor flare resistance
only one con of it is its poor flare perfromance.reviewed November 15th, 2010
it is the sharpest and best 24-70f2.8 of any kind and it is stabilized.
it is much better corrected than both the Canon and the Nikon 24-70 at 24-35mm range.
it has faster SSM than the Nikon SWM in the 24-70 Nikkor.
it also comes witha good qaultiy metal hood.
I love this lens , it is a very good lens on the A900.
oh almost forgot to write about this , its center resolution is probably exceeding all primes in its range.
and its bokeh at 70mm is creamy , better than many primes actually.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp center , almost flowless AF(at least my copy), quite decent bokeh.lo-CA at wide open, a bit prone to flare.
very sharp lens, the center sharpness is nothing short of amazing even at f1.4 , replaced my Zeiss 25f2.8ZF2 and Zeiss 21f2.8 at the same time and I am very happy.reviewed December 6th, 2010 (purchased for $1,700)
it costs a lot but replaced two Zeiss MF lenses so for me it was a very wise choice and very cost-effective lens.
I was nervous when I got it on line cheap because of the very often discussed AF issue in many forums ,though, this lens had just perfect AF even at f1.4 on my D3s, D700 and D7000.
I compare this to my Canon EF24f1.4LMK2 and found this lens a bit better in terms of optical quality , I mean the Canon is definitely a super lens too but it has a bit worse light fall off issue issue at all aperture.
Also the Canon has a bit more Lo-Ca at wide aperture but the Canon AF faster and less prone to flare and ghosting.
build quality of this lens is good but not as good as the old school Nikkors or Zeiss lenses , so I give it 8 for this score.
over all though, this lens is a super lens and there is almost nothing I cannot shoot with this lens on my D3s , if this combo cannot get it , nothing can get it.......
however , I may replace this with the new AFS35f1.4G , which also is a super prime and I loved it once I 've tried it at my studio (my buddy's one).
I am debating if I keep the 24 and go 241.4G , 50G +105f2DC or go with the 35 f1.4G + 85f1.4G+ Zeiss 85f1.4ZF2.
Note : the 85f1.4G is not as good as the 35G or the 24GED but it is a bit better lens than any other Nikon 85mm lenses or the Zeiss , so I think it worth it.
However , I may just use my Canon and Sony for 85-200 , when I need any faster lens than my 70-200f2.8GEDVRii.
I love the VR2 but it is not fast enough some times in night club or a dim street in SE Asia.
Any way, the 24f1.4G ED is an outstanding lens and I highly recommend one if 24mm is your thing.
So I think you wont regret going either the 24GED or 35f1.4GNono(both are superb lenses, indeed).
9 out of 10 points and recommendedsuper sharp wide open , very good flare resistance , almost no CA.Lo-CA.
this lens is superb but the 24G is a bit better.reviewed December 6th, 2010 (purchased for $1,700)
but still , this is the best super fast 35mm lens ever in any mount.
the AFS of this lens is faster than the 24 and 85, with very high AF hit rate.
and this lens seldom flares but unfortunately this is not my lens yet, I have been using my friend's one.
and waiting to get my own lens (I paid already for it).
I think this + the 85G makes a great kit but I am still debating either go with this one or the 24GED (I can still return either one).
The 24GED can go closer and it is sharper then this 35 at the center of the FF but in the corners , I think the 35 f1.4G is a bit better lens.
The 24 G has a bit warmer color cast ,and I think I prefer the cooler color tone of this 35f1.4G a bit better than the warmer color tone of the 24GED.
Only one optical issue of this lens that I can think of right now is minor Lo-CA issue (bokeh fringe) and I think Nikon should have used a couple of ED elements , to avoid it.
but still it is the best 35mm lens to date and I highly recommend this one.
I may use this lens on my Canon 5D2 too.
My 5D2 is now like a Manual Focus camera with Nikon lenses and Zeiss lenses , only my Canon lenses are longer than 85mm primes and the famous Canon 70-200f2.8LISMk2SUM.
Now , I am using my 16-35f4GEDVR , 24-70GED and 24G on my Canon 5D2 and Nikon D3S and I may get this 35 for my 5D2 and upcoming D800.
I think you cannot go wrong with this super prime.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp sharp sharp , better than the new Nikon G, no CA, no distortion.it is like 82mm lens.
it is a wonderful prime , very sharp wide open and there is almost no distiortion with thsi lens.reviewed December 24th, 2010
and this lens focus much faster than my 85f1.2LMKll or Nikon 85f1.4G.
after I got this lens I decided to sell my Canon 85LMk2 because I never liked the ergonomics of the huge 85L lens (although I loved its IQ).
I also selling the Nikon 85G.
I am very happy with this lens and I will use it for both Canon and Nikon and when I need something really a 85mm lens , I use my Zeiss 85f1.4ZF2.
Note : this Sigma 85f1.4HSM is not really a 85mm lens it is shorter than both Nikon 85f1.4G AFS and Zeiss 85f1.4ZF2.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedgood contrast level even at f1.4 , extremely sharp even at wide open , fast AF on the A900, no distortion at all.no SSM.
I think this is the best 85mm I have tested , this lens is better than the Canon 85f1.2Lmk2 , Nikkor 85f1.4G , the Sigma 85f1.4HSM and Zeiss 85f1.4ZF2.reviewed December 29th, 2010 (purchased for $1,400)
it is sharp even at f1.4 , with great level of contrast.
the Canon 85f1.2Lmk2 is also quite sharp at f1.4 but it is not as contrasty as this Sony at f1.4.
and the Canon has more barrel distortion and much more pronnounced CA than this Sony Zeiss lens.
comparing it to the Nikon G , I found this Sony Zeiss much sharper in the center but not as sharp as the Nikon in the corners of the FF.
the Nikon has more distortion , more pronounced CA , worse bokeh but the Nikkor is much more resistant to flare ghosting.
I think this is the best 85 mm and this lens alone can be good enough reason for some people to go Sony, I think this lens and Zeiss 24f2ZA are that good.
All Sony Zeiss line lenses are fantastic , the 135ZA , the 85f1.4ZA and the 24f2ZA are all almost perfect and they can't get any better than they are.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedextreme center sharpness at all apeture settings, accurate AF ,very good contrast and color even wide opena bit annoying distortion compared to the Zeiss 85f1.4ZE, huge size.
just its size is a bit of issue for me and as many said it has very annoying electronic MF ring by wire.reviewed February 5th, 2011 (purchased for $1,600)
but it is still the best 85mm out there , it is sharper than the Nikon G , the Zeiss ZE , the Sony Zeiss ZA and the Sigma.
and it has the most accurate AF in its class.
but as some said , it is a bit too heavy and big for street night work or kids portrait , it may be too intimidating to some kids or even adults and it is not sealed like the new 24L Mk2 or Nikon 85f1.4G.
so now , I have this Canon and Sony 85f1.4ZA and Sigma 85f1.4HSM , and use this lens when the ultimate central sharpness and contrast are needed or when really accurate Af is needed, other wise , I use my Sony Zeiss or my new Sigma 85f1.4HSM ,which has the fastest AF in this lens class.
I used to use all MF Zeiss T* 85f1.4ZF2 and ZE but I sold both and I also sold the famous Zeiss T* f2 100 ZE since I found they are not as sharp as this 85LMK2 and the Sigma 85f1.4HSM is just as sharp as the Zeiss 100f2 with super fast AF.
So, I dont use Ziess MF lenses in this range any more , I just use only one Zeiss lens now that is the Zeiss T*f2 28 ZE.
When a few AF lenses match the Zeiss mf prime quality in this range , why do I have to choose MF Zeiss over those equally sharp fast AF primes from Canon , Nikon , Sigma ,Sony,etc?
if you shoot very low light or need extreme center sharpness for portrait or studio work, this is the best lens for you.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedprice(I paid about 300US for it since I bought it as a part of K5 kit),AF and good flare resistance.cornersharpness at long end and distortion at wide end a bit too much.
first , it was so cheap in Japan when I was there so I could not resist and ordered it as a part of my K5 kit.reviewed February 27th, 2011
for the price I paid for it it is an amazingly well blanced lens , quite sharp and it almost never flares in any light.
CA at wide end light fall off are a bit serious but to be honest more expensive Nikon AFs16-85Vr has more pronnounced CA and more serious amount of light fall off.
And the Nikon distorts more much more actually at 18mm than this Pentax.
The Nikon also flares more easily.
Compared to also more expensive Canon EFS15-85IS, which I use for my 7D, the Canon is sharper all range and aperture combination but the Canon is a much bigger and more expensive lens , so it is not in a same class I guess and neither Canon nor Nikon are sealed like this one.
also , this Pentax DA18-135 is so so so compact and optically not bad , not great for sure but who expects it to be great in this price range?
this lens is a really much less distorted lens than any other similar super zooms from many other makers.
I think this lens is really good for its modest price.
it is so small , so light so practical , it AF fast , on my K5 , it focuses very very fast in day light and fast in low light and almost never hunt like old Pentax zoom on K7 or K20D.
I originally bought this lens for upcoming Thai new year's water festival and I am sure it will work there fine.
After this lens + K5 experience my view on Pentax system changed quite much , I am now thinking about selling my D700 system and get more Pentax lenses to go with my Canon 5D2 system.
For me the weight of Nikon kit is not any issue since I work out but the size of it is very very seriously annoying , it takes some nice smiles of local people here and it always difficult to travel with it.
So, for my needs,the 5d2 and this K5 are better suited and much more manageable travelling SE Asia and East Asia , sometimes in Africa.
Oh as for the AF it is not even half as bad as many Nikon fanboys make it out to be , so no worry about its AF , the K5 is not like other Pentax cameras befoere it , it AF reliably well in both day light and low light even in AFC mode.
Just not expect the speed of the 7D or the D700 but it is fast , not any slower than the lower quality D7000.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp as an expensive prime, mine has good distortion control , small and sealed.flare resistance could be a bit better.
the AF of this lens is on a bit slow side but its very accurate and unlike the DA*16-50f2.8 , it does not share the annoyingSDM failure issue.reviewed February 27th, 2011 (purchased for $800)
and compared to other manufactures 70-200 zooms, it is ridiculously small but not very light.
it is built very well, probably better than any of Canon Nikon zooms of this price range.
And if you use this lens on a K5 or K7 , you will get 1D or D3 level of sealing in very compact system.
I think this is the main reason why I chose Pentax as my sub always carry kit (my work cameras are Canon and some times Nikon or Sony but thinking about selling Nikon to get more Pentax primes).
Well, this lens is very sharp with very good contrast but not as sharp as the Canon 70-200f2.8LISMK2 or f4LIS , though it is cheaper and much smaller.
compared to the Nikon VR2 , I think this Pentax is just as sharp or almost as sharp at wide end and the Nikon beats it clearly at long end wide open but stopping down both to f4 , they are quite similar, the Canon is still sharper than both Nikon and Pentax here.
I love its color rendition , especially with my K5 , the color tone is a bit cooler than that of the Nikon or Canon imo but it is good , I dont like warm color cast of many new Nikkors.
I think its minor weak points are:
1 CA at long end.
2 a bit weak flare resistance , flares more often compared to the Nikon 70-200f2.8VR2 and the Canon IS2.
But at least this lens is compact and sealed very well, so for my needs shooting street people without shocking or intimidating them , it is a great lens.
Since I had the DA18-135WR , I was debating this one vs DA*60-250f4SDM for a long time (6days) but I am glad I got this lens back (I had it when I was a K7 shooter).
But I think I might get the DA60-250f4 too soon since all reviews I read on it are great ,especially the one I read here at this very site.
Or I may be getting the DA*55f1.4SDM instead, which was also highly rated here.
Any way, this lens is so small , so well made and balances well on a small body like the K5.
There are many Nikon D7000vs K5 threads in many forums out there but I think they are not in the same class of cameras and regardless of the Nikon d7000 body size , the Nikon kit always becomes much bigger once a Nikon pro grade lens is mounted on it (because all Nikon serious lenses are designed for FX bodies), and obviusly it is much much bigger than this K5 based kit.
so for me the K5 is a much better camera than the D7000,which I had befoere and returned it for this K5.
by the way , the K5 + F1.4 prime beat the D700 +f2.8 zoom in low light and I found the DA*55f1.4 sharper than the Nikon 85f1.4G.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedIMO, this lens is sharper than all similar portrait lenses +it is sealed.just played around with it a few days a go and did not get it yet.
this lens can be the sharpest portrait lens , if not it at least as sharp as any of other manufactures 85mm f1,2 or 1.4 lenses.reviewed February 27th, 2011 (purchased for $500)
and it has good flare resistance and it is very well sealed.
I do not get this lens yet for my K5 but when I had the K7 , I had it before and loved it.
now, I am waiting for my new copy of DA*55f1.4 sdm to reach my house.
as soon as I get this lens back , I will compare it to my Canon 85f1.2LMK2 and Zeiss 85f1.4ZF2.
but I am sure it is sharper than the Zeiss in the center and just as sharp as the Canon and stopped down to f2.8 and more , it is sharper than both.
and it is clearly better optically than the Nikon 85f1.4G and D.
only one super fast 85mm lens to rival this DA*55f1.4SDM is the Sony 85f1.4ZA.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedprobably sharpest lens ever made , no distortion, superb micro contrast.Lo-CA , extending barrel.
I found out some one used my computer a few days a go and wrote a silly review on this lens.reviewed March 18th, 2011 (purchased for $1,400)
so I erased it and now trying to correct it here.
I think in absolute terms , this must be the best lens ever made , it is super sharp with great micro contrast to boot even at f2 wide open.
It has very very good anti flare coating.
It has almost no distortion at all.
and it is quite easy to MF.
I like this lens but it can be a boring lens , lacks some interesting character, maybe it is just too close to technical perfection and so can be very very boring?
Anyways, I love it for landscpaes or anything requires real critical corner to corner sharpness.
6 out of 10 points and recommendedalmost no CA , no distortion , very precise MF ring , compact and light, tack sharp from f2.8technically not the sharpest lens , the metal hood can damage other lenses.
Technically as I wrote before here it is not one of these best 85mm primes but it has some very very special quality that is very hard to discribe clearly.reviewed March 18th, 2011 (purchased for $900)
Some say it is Zeiss look or 3D but I dont think it is quite right , I mean no other lens even a Zeiss prime of this price range share it , maybe the 50f1.4ZE being a super exception.
I dont know how to discribe it well but there is really something very special there with this Planar 85f1.4.
This lens is not very sharp wide open , actually till f2.5 like this very site says here it is not that sharp at least does not shock me or blow me a way.
But once you get f2.8 , you better be prepared to be shocked how sharp it can be , it must be as sharp as any kind of lab test can record , it is tack sharp across the FF (I tested this one on 5D2 and D3X).
Technically the Sigma is sharper wide oepn and Canon 85Lmk2 is a bit sharper at f1.4 and till f4 but they do not have the Planar look and the Canon has more distortion and more pronounced vignetting and much more obvious CA.
I also prefer the colder color of this Zeiss, just incredibly nice , if I have to keep only one lens , I 'd keep this one or the Zeiss 50MP.
Also important to note : this lens has pretty good flare resistance as for a bright super fast prime of this class.
The Zeiss 85 , 50MP , 100 MP are really outstanding lenses and once you get any of them you will never go back to any of these Canon, Nikon plastic AF lenses.
MF is better and much mroe precise to nail the pinpoint focus on some very very particular part of your shooting subject and most importantly (at least to me) shooting MF is much more exciting than shooting AF.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedsuper fast AF for a macro , decent sharpness , no distortion, very effective IS , sealed.as a macro lens it is not as good as the Zeiss 100f2, like the previos guy said it hunts in close focus distance.
the Zeiss 100f2 zE is a better lens for landscapes or macro works but this one is more practical for almost anything elese and oh well, this one at least have some sort of sealings and very effective IS, so I just use it for low light street work.reviewed March 25th, 2011 (purchased for $800)
I never use this lens for macro after my first 3 test shots with a tiny flower on a side walk.
If you are buying it as a macro lens , I'd say get a Tamron 90 macro and save some.
if you are getting ultimate 100 mm prime for landscapes or some very very critical works , get the Zeiss like I did.
if you want a good all around low light mid tel lens with super fast AF with IS, get this one.
so , imo , the Tamron 90 , the Zeiss 100 and this one are all excellent lenses but designed to do different things well.
I think I will keep all 3 of these.
I love this focal range , I sold my 135f2L after I got this one and Zeiss 100f2 zE.
I mean the 135L is a better lens optically but this one has sealed barrel and very very good IS, so it is the most practical mid tele lens available for Canon EF mount.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp , almost never flare ,superfast AF,wide really wide, very well controlled distortion.a bit too much CA at long end, a bit more distortion than the old 12-24.
in japan , Canon version just out about 2 weeks a go and I bought it after testing it for a few days at a local big camera shop.reviewed August 13th, 2011 (purchased for $750)
I had Canon EF16-35f2.8L2 lens and Sigma 12-24original one and Zeiss 21f2.8ZE to compare to this lens, of course , the Zeiss 21 is the sharpest one of these but the new Sigma is not much worse than the Zeiss and a bit sharper than the Canon 16-35L2.
It AF very well , it is (I be lieve )selaed very well against moisture and light and compact , so it balances well on my 5D2.
I highly recommend this lens , I think all recent Sigma expensive lenses are quite good ,especially for their modest prices and the this one and the 85f1.4HSM are really outstanding for their relatively modest prices.
For 750US, you wont get any better.
One minor issue of this lens is its barrel distortion at 12mm is worse than the previous version that it replaces, though it is a still very well corrected lens.
PS. I heard that this lens may not come in Nikon mount because of the Nikon's crazy lawsuit against Sigma.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedthe best lens ever made , sensational central sharpness , very well made, very precise focus ring.size (a bit too big), weak flare resistance.
what can I say?reviewed August 31st, 2011 (purchased for $1,600)
this is an outstanding lens and best 35mm prime ever made by any one.
its central resolution is just insanely high even at f1.8, even at f1.4 , it is usable and sharp (at least in the center of FF).
my copy is a ZE version and I would probably buy a ZF 2 version as soon as it becomes available here.
the contrast level is very high but not annoyingly high , micro contrast level is also very good and there is some special color rendering effect there (it is not usually called "the 3D or Zeiss look" but some kind of painterly effect there?)
it peaks at f4-5.6 and stays in excellent to outstanding through f11.
the distortion level with this lens is very low and the as lenstip says ,probably the best controlled in this class of primes.
CA is also well controlled but bokeh fringe is quite noticeable from f1.4 to f2.8.
So, it is an amzing lens.
I love this lens although it flares quite often.
only one issue in real life use might be the size and weight.
I dont mind the weight but it is huge , wish it were a bit smaller (shorter).
10 out of 10 points and recommendedextreme central sharpness , quite well controlled CA, good contrast , super fast AF.Lo CA is a bit high, Fullframe edge is not very sharp wide open, not sealed.
it is an old lens and probably replaced very soon with sealed version of this lens.reviewed August 31st, 2011 (purchased for $1,100)
so, it is kind of hard to justify it now , especially at current very high price.
but it is still a great lens and probably one of these best L lenses, epsically its cost and perfomance raito taken into consideration.
its central resolution is nothing short of outstanding from f2 and even at f1.4 it is quite sharp , a bit sharper than the very expensive new Zeisst*1.4/35ZE and Nikon AFS35f1.4G, though the Zeiss edges out in the edge and border perfomance.
its flare resistance is not as good as an SWC lens such as the newer EF24f1.4LMK2 or TSE24f3.5Lmk2 but it is still good at least as good as the Nikon 35f1.4G.
its AF is very fast , much faster than the Nikon AFS35f1.4G or Canon 50f1.2L.
it is very small , very well made but lacking sealings , this was actually the main reason why I sold it for the 24Lmk2 and waiting for a new 35L prime with SWC coating while shooting with the 24Lmk2 and T*1.4/35ZE.
over all though, it is not flawless but a great lens even in 2011 and it is amazing (it was out in 1998).
note: on a subframe body, it is almost flawless.