Review

In this Review of the Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens (SEL35F18), I will go over corner sharpness and overall quality using real world photography and the Nex-5r and Nex-6 for camera bodies.


The SEL35F18 lens is one of the newer E-Mount primes from Sony and goes for approximately $448 US. It’s extremely light weight at 5.47oz (155g), considering it’s fast and relatively large f/1.8 aperture and lens elements. The equivalent focal length for the sel35f18 lens on the Nex camera system is 52.5mm, and a very usable range for my style of shooting as it turns out ;) It’s especially good for low light hand holding with the built-in Optical SteadyShot technology (OSS). I have some pretty slow shutter speed photos “hand-held” that would not normally be possible without OSS.

I shot raw quality using the Sony Nex-5r and Nex-6 for most of these photos unless otherwise noted. I also did not use any lens correction methods in Lightroom 4 to fix fringing or anything else on the test photos and 100% crops. Lightroom does not have a profile for this lens at the time of this review, so these are pretty much straight off the camera, and you can expect sharper results when shooting jpeg instead of Raw. Sony really pumps up the saturation, sharpness and noise reduction on the Jpeg photos making the lens harder to judge. Most people using the Nex cameras seem to shoot jpeg, according to Sony, so I think it’s important to note again that these sample photos were taken using RAW Quality.

Read on to get all the info you will ever need on the Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens!!

 

E-Mount SEL35F18 Lens – A Closer Look

In this quick HD video I will go over the key specs of the SEL35F18 lens and show you up close every angle on my turntable so you asses the build quality and design for yourself!!

Be sure to select the HD quality for the best viewing experience as well ;)

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens Review - SEL35F18

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – SEL35F18

 

E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – Sample Photos

I took a ton of real world sample photos using the E-Mount SEL35F18 lens and Nex-5r mostly, but I also used my Nex-6 for a few images. I’m going to start off the sample photos with some random shots to give you a nice feel for what this lens can do for you. After that I will get into the more technical stuff like sharpness testing etc..

The sel35f18 lens was a pleasure to use with its relatively small form factor and light weight. It also focused fast and accurately from all the testing I did.

To start off here is a a nice blue sky in the later afternoon  sky shot wide open at f/1.8. It was very windy so the tall weed was m0ving quite a bit. The max shutter of 1/4000sec was used and the Nex-5r/ sel35f18 combo managed to pretty much nail the focus. Note how thin the depth of field is at the f/1.8 aperture when viewing the 100% crop below.

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/4000sec, ISO 100, Handheld

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

100% Crop

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

100% Crop

 

This next scene was taken just down the road from where we live and you may recall it from the Nex-5r review ;) It’s a nice mural painted on an old wall with lots of detail for visual interest. I wanted to show off the depth of field offered by the large APS-C sensor of the Sony Nex and f/1.8 aperture of the E-Mount SEL35F18 lens.

Sony sel35f18 Lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Handheld, slight vignette added

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

100% Crop – Left side

Sony sel35f18 Lens review

100% Crop

 

f/1.8 vs f/5.6

A few more angles of the same scene are f/1.8 then f/5.6 for comparison. Note the detail of the background difference in the 100% crops!!

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 640, Handheld

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/100sec, ISO 100, Handheld – 100% Crop

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 640, Handheld

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 640, Handheld

 

Here’s a snapshot of the Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.4 Lens taken with the sel35f18 and Nex-5r handheld.

Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.4 Lens

Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.4 Lens

 

I took this next photo of Chubs in Jpeg mode; so note how much sharper it looks in the 100% crop. The focus is slightly off, but I still thought the shot was a good jpeg sample considering I only had a few of them.

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 400, Handheld, Jpeg

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 400, Handheld, Jpeg, 100% Crop

 

More Jpeg Samples at a higher ISO ;)

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 3200, Handheld

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 3200, Handheld – Jpeg

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 3200, Handheld - 100% Crop

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 3200, Handheld – Jpeg 100% Crop

 

ssssssssssssss

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Handheld

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Handheld

An Outdoor scene.

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Handheld

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Handheld

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

sel35f18 lens review

100% Crop – Top Left

sel35f18 lens review

100% Crop – Sharp Area

My Dad from his 65th B-Day telling a story with his hands assisting ;)

Dad - 65th B-Day - Nex-5r, sel35f18 @ f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/60sec

Dad – 65th B-Day – Nex-5r, sel35f18 @ f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/60sec

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

100% Crop

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

100% Crop

 

Cheddar Cheese anybody??

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/80sec, ISO 100, Handheld

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/80sec, ISO 100, Handheld – 100% Crop

 

I took this next photo in the bright sun at f/8 and the Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens is sharp!!

Be sure to Click on All These Images for the Large Crisp ~1000px Versions!!

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/8, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Handheld

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/8, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Handheld – 100% Crop of the nose

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

100% Crop – Teeth Area

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 lens review

100% Crop – Top Right

 

Chloe in Monochrome using one of my Lightroom 4 presets.

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Handheld

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Handheld

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Handheld

Sony Nex-5r w/ sel35f18 Lens @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Handheld

 

Layla’s magnets on the fridge and her little bowl full on the floor which turned into a nice ball of color!!

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – @ f/1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 320, Handheld!

 

Optical Steadyshot Testing

I took a few slow shutter speed photos that turned out very sharp!! Check these out and the exif data is just below the photos. this first photo of Mickey was taken at 1/20sec ;)

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – @ f/1.8, 1/20sec, ISO 100, Handheld!

 

1/4sec

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – @ f/1.8, 1/4sec, ISO 100, Handheld!!

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – @ f/1.8, 1/4sec, ISO 100, Handheld!! – 100% Crop

.4 Seconds

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – @ f/1.8, .4seconds, ISO 100, Handheld!!

Sony sel35f18 Lens Review

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – @ f/1.8, .4seconds, ISO 100, Handheld!! – 100% Crop

 

SEL35F18 Sharpness Testing

I was about ~12 feet from the wall when taking these test shots using the Sony Nex-5r (Click for Review), 2sec self timer, Multi-segment focus mode, Raw quality, and my sturdy Manfrotto tri-pod.

Full Scene – Be sure to click these photos for the true 100% crop!!

Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/5.6

Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/5.6

 

Be sure to click these thumbnails for the larger 100% Crop!!

Center Area
Top Left

Door Knob Area

f/1.8 Sony SEL35F18 Review Sharpness Test @ f/1.8 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/1.8 Sony SEL35F18 Review Sharpness Test @ f/1.8
f/2.8 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/2.8 Sony SEL35F18 Review Sharpness Test @ f/2.8 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/2.8
f/4 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/4 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/4 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/4
 f/5.6 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/5.6 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/5.6 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/5.6
f/8 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/8 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/8 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/8
 f/11 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/11 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/11 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/11
 f/16 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/16 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/16 Sony SEL35F18 Sharpness Test @ f/16
 

Shooting Into The Sun – Wide Open

Contrast is often effected when shooting into the sun, especially when wide-open!! Here is how the sel35f18 fairs in these really harsh conditions using raw quality. Note the lens flare towards the bottom of the image.

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens - Into the Sun @ f/1.8 - Raw

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – Into the Sun @ f/1.8 – Raw

Clearly it needs some Contrast adjustments, but did a decent job considering how hard it is to handle the sun. Shooting raw also helps to recover the highlights and fix contrast more easily than on a jpeg image.

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens - Into the Sun @ f/1.8 - Raw

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens – Into the Sun @ f/1.8 – Raw – Contrast Adjusted

 


Sony E-Mount 35mmf/1.8 OSS Lens Review – Conclusion

The Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS lens is a pretty solid value for the dollar at ~$448 US in my opinion. I would have hoped the lens would be more like $350-400 though to be honest.

The Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS lens is very sharp wide open at f/1.8 in the real world as you can see form all the sample photos. Corners keep more detail than lot of the other E-Mount lenses, and the optical steadyshot performs great in low light situations, and for hand holding while recording video.

When looking at the sharpness testing photos you can clearly see how f/1.8 is a little softer in the corners, and all around when compared to f/2.8 and f/4. This is totally normal for a lens in this price range and pretty much what I was hoping for. Nice work Sony on the optical performance!!

The AF and OSS are almost silent, which is killer for filming when you need the audio from the camera.

One other note that makes the Sony E-Mount lenses better than the competition for video in particular, is the focus transitioning technology. The focus transitions are very graceful when recording video with an ease in ease out effect. In photography mode it’s much faster and snappier compared to recording video. You can override the smooth transitions by pressing the shutter button while recording and that will jump-start the AF to wherever your trying to focus. Be sure to check out my Nex-5r review for some sample video of Layla and you will see what I’m talking about!

The 2-for-1 Sigma 19 & 30mm f/2.8 lens deal, which is about the same quality sharpness, but a bit slower at f/2.8 and has no OSS, is a better value for the dollar if your going for straight-up optical performance alone. If you factor in the OSS, smooth transition technology for video, faster f/1.8 aperture, and better build quality, the higher price of the SLE35F18 Lens makes sense. The SEL50F18 lens which I reviewed (Click Here), is also a killer value for the dollar at only $278 US at the time of this review publishing!

I hope you all got something out of this review, and please feel free to ask questions and or comment below!!

Jay

Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens (SEL35F18) @ BHPhotoVideo >> $448 US


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Thanks,
Jay

 

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Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!