Sony FE 35mm F1.4 versus F2.8 - Out-of-Focus Comparison

Marc Heijligers, 21-02-2016

On this page you’ll find some crops of the out-of-focus scene for detailed comparison between the OoF rendering of both lenses.

Summarized Results

Overall, the Sony F1.4 has a better bokeh rendering due to its bigger aperture and 9 aperture blades (instead of 7 for the F2.8) when the lens is full open. The bokeh balls are larger, and the background renders smoother. At the same aperture, it is obvious that the F1.4 lens has more disturbances (e.g. onion rings) in the bokeh balls than the F2.8. Hence, if you plan to use the lens continuously open, the F1.4 would be a better choice than the F2.8 lens. Nevertheless, if you compare the Sony 35mm F1.4 to the Sigma ART 35mm, or to the Sony 55mm F1,8, those lenses offer better OoF performance at a lower price and weight. Concluding, the F1.4 lens with an open aperture shows nice performance, but if it was my choice, I would spend 100 euro more on a Sony FE 35mm F2.8 plus an FE 55mm F1.8 combination (or an Sony FE 28mm F2.0 plus an FE 55mm F1.8 combination

Test Conditions

Both lenses are tested using an A7RII on a tripod. Photos have been made with Steadyshot turned OFF, Silent Shooting turned ON, and a timer (but the differences are hardly visible with complementary settings in this specific setup). Pictures are taken in RAW, and processed in Lightroom with the Camera Neutral setting, and with Lens corrections enabled.

The scene is shown below. The focus point is on the orange lens box. The scene contains some out-of-focus elements, the main ones are:
  • Lampshades with small holes, creating small light sources.
  • Test image on the computer
  • Painting with colors on the back

Besides the full picture showing the overall rendering, a crop is taken at the lights sources in the lampshades, to study the shape and content of the bokeh balls.
Stacks Image 10478

Detailed Comparison

Use the filter button below to select which cases you want to see and compare in detail (the buttons will limit the selection), and use the slider to compare the F1.4 (on the left) and the F2.8 (on the right).
  • Bokeh - The Sony F1.4 at open f1.4 aperture of course renders much smoother than the F2.8 at open f2.8 aperture. This is the big advantage of the F1.4 above the F2.8, although in a comparison with the Sigma ART 35mm and Sony FE 55mm the 35mm is surpassed by those lenses. Both lenses show onion rings in the bokeh balls due to the use of aspherical lens elements.
  • Bokeh f2.8 - The bokeh of the F.14 is busy compared to the F2.8, it shows quite some onion rings due to its aspherical lens elements. The F2.8 lens renders clearly nicer, despite its green bokeh rings.
  • Bokeh f5.6 - Also at f5.6, the rendering of the F2.8 lens is less busy.
  • Full Scene - Here the reason for buying a larger aperture lens (and/or full-frame camera) becomes obvious, the main (boring… :-)) object is better isolated from its (boring… :-)) background.
  • Full Scene f2.8 - The differences are mainly visible on stronger outlining of OoF objects on the F2.8 lens. The F1.4 lens is a bit smoother than the F2.8.
  • Full Scene f5.6 - Some tiny differences are visible, but overall the rendering is quite similar for OoF objects.