Hands on with Sony’s FE 135mm F1.8 GM lens, plus sample images
Our initial thoughts on Sony’s fast portrait and sports lens.
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A new G-master lens is on its way from Sony. The FE 135mm F1.8 GM lens for E-mount cameras (like the a7 series) is a full-frame, fast aperture, telephoto prime that offers impressive bokeh. It’s a versatile lens length for indoor-sports, weddings, and of course, portraits. Here is a top level look at the technical aspects of this lens.
- 13 elements in 10 groups
- XA (extreme aspherical) element and a Super ED glass to minimize aberrations common with telephoto lenses and onion-ring bokeh
- Four XD linear motors in the front and back make AF that is fast, precise and quiet
- Floating focus mechanism
- 11 blade circular aperture
- Maximum magnification of 0.25x
- Minimum focusing distance of 2.3ft.
- Magnesium alloy construction
- Fluorine coating minimizes smudges on the front element
- Dust and moisture resistant design
- 5 inches high, 3.5 inches wide
- Weighs 33.5 oz
- Two customizable Focus hold buttons on the lens barrel
- Focus range limiter
- Linear response MF
- Aperture ring with a click on/off switch
- Available late April for $1900
We had the chance to spend some time shooting with this lens prior to its release with a Sony a9 equipped with a stripped down version of the firmware that will be coming to the camera this summer.
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The AF capabilities of this lens, coupled with the circular bokeh were really impressive. These two aspects are going to make this a coveted lens for portrait shooters. The lens performed fairly well when shooting faster moving subjects like basketball players, although to get the most out of Sony’s subject tracking you will need to stop down the lens from F1.8. No one who knows anything about lens design expects a 135mm prime to be lightweight with a low profile, Sony did a good job keeping this one as small as possible. The lens balanced the a9 body and during our time shooting with it we didn’t notice any wrist or shoulder fatigue.
Ultimately though, it’s the image quality that matters and we are very happy with how those turned out. Portraits were consistently sharp with beautiful focus fall-off when shooting wide open. This lens does an amazing job of separating subjects from the background to emphasize expressions in a flattering way. Check out more of our sample images in the gallery below.