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Summary

The Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is a short-telephoto prime lens for Sony's mirrorless cameras, and corrected for use on full-frame bodies. Costing one third of the flagship FE 85mm f1.4 G Master, it represents a fairly light and relatively affordable option for anyone wanting to shoot portraits, street or details with this classic focal length. Couple it with the FE 50mm f1.8 and FE 28mm f2 and you can have a flexible three-lens kit without breaking the bank or your back - at least compared to the higher-end Sony options. If you're after something halfway between it and the G Master, consider the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8, or if you're on a tighter budget and don't mind manual focusing, there's Samyang's 85mm f1.4. But if you're after the 'cheapest' 85mm with autofocus for a full-frame Sony mirrorless, the FE 85mm f1.8 is your lens.

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Sony FE 85mm f1.8 review-so-far

The Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is a short-telephoto prime lens for Sony’s mirrorless cameras, and corrected for use on full-frame bodies. Also known as the SEL85F18, the FE 85mm f1.8 was launched in February 2017 as an affordable and light-weight portrait prime lens, at least compared to the high-end FE 85mm f1.4 G Master.

The FE 85mm f1.8 employs nine elements in eight groups, has nine circular aperture blades, and a closest focusing distance of 80cm / 2.63ft for a maximum magnification of 0.13x. The lens barrel is fairly compact, measuring 78x82mm and weighing 371g, and like all of Sony’s FE lenses it’s weather-sealed. The filter thread measures 67mm and there’s a customisable focus-lock button on the barrel.

The 85mm focal length is a classic for portrait shooters, but also useful for street photography or picking-out details in urban or natural landscapes. The FE 85mm f1.8 represents Sony’s ‘affordable’ option, costing one third that of the flagship FE 85mm f1.4 G Master and feeling better-balanced on the smaller bodies, but there’s other options to consider. The Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 and Loxia 85mm f2.4 both cost roughly double the FE 85mm f1.8, pricing them directly between the two Sonys. If you’re happy with manual focusing, there’s also the Samyang 85mm f1.4 for roughly half the price of the FE 85mm f1.8. But if you’re after an autofocus 85mm for a full-frame Sony mirrorless, the FE 85mm f1.8 remains the cheapest and most compact option, and can be part of a fairly light and relatively affordable three-lens kit with the FE 50mm f1.8 and FE 28mm f2. Check out my sample images below.

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Above: Model:ILCE-6500, Model:ILCE-6500, Shutter speed:1/160, Aperture:1.8, ISO Sensitivity:400, Focal length:85.0 mm

 

Above: Model:ILCE-6500, Model:ILCE-6500, Shutter speed:1/160, Aperture:1.8, ISO Sensitivity:640, Focal length:85.0 mm

 

Above: Model:ILCE-6500, Model:ILCE-6500, Shutter speed:1/160, Aperture:1.8, ISO Sensitivity:1000, Focal length:85.0 mm

 

Above: Model:ILCE-6500, Model:ILCE-6500, Shutter speed:1/160, Aperture:1.8, ISO Sensitivity:2500, Focal length:85.0 mm

 

Above: Model:ILCE-6500, Model:ILCE-6500, Shutter speed:1/60, Aperture:1.8, ISO Sensitivity:6400, Focal length:85.0 mm

 

Above: Model:ILCE-6500, Model:ILCE-6500, Shutter speed:1/50, Aperture:2.8, ISO Sensitivity:400, Focal length:85.0 mm

 

 

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