Is the Sony 85mm f/1.4 Worth $1,200 More Than the 85mm f/1.8?

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM costs $1,798, while the FE 85mm f/1.8 costs $573. Is the f/1.4 really worth $1,200 more than its f/1.8 cousin? Check out this video for a comparison of the two lenses.

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this helpful video compares the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM to the 85mm f/1.8. The former, being a G Master lens (much like Canon's L series), is expected to be as uncompromising as possible when it comes to optical quality and robust build, and that's obviously reflected in its price. On the other hand, the f/1.8 loses less than a stop from its bigger cousin and knocks over $1,000 off the price, which could make it a very viable alternative for those who are on a budget or simply don't have the need to justify dropping that much money on a portrait lens. For example, I know quite a few wedding photographers who choose to shoot with the f/1.8 version of their brand's 85mm lens both because the autofocus is typically faster and the lens is often much, much lighter, making it easier on someone who has to carry a lot of gear around all day. Check out the video above for the full comparison. 

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21 Comments

user-156929's picture

Interesting but, OMG that music! :-(

Henk Markland's picture

Being a non native english speaker i had problems understanding this gentleman especially because of the speed he was speaking. Halfway I stopped looking....

Lose that distracting music and please stop calling us "Yall/Y'all/Yawl." We don't use that slang when professionally conversing with clients, so don't use it on us.

Spy Black's picture

Just think, then your clients will never be his clients, and vice-versa, so y'all can open up a shop right next to him and never worry about losing your clients to him...

Yes, exactly right; his client list would flow to next door.

Spy Black's picture

Reading comprehension is not a strong point with y'all I see.

Brrrrrnnnng... Pick up the Clue Phone, it's for you.

Ryan Stone's picture

That looks so uncomfortable to hold. Like, you have to slide your fingers in between the lens and grip? Bruised knuckles is not what I would call professional ergonomics.

Daniel Medley's picture

The 1.8 is sharper then the 1.4, but the 1.4 is better image quality because bokeh.

I know it's all personal, but I'd take the sharper lens all day long and be more judicious in choosing my BG.

user-156929's picture

Sharpness is relative. You may have to pixel peep to see the difference in sharpness while the background is obvious at normal viewing distances.

Spy Black's picture

The music tacky hilarious. The bokeh difference isn't that great, and frankly nothing you can't massage in post if you're really hot for that. If I were him I'd sell the 1.4, get the 1.8, and buy some other gear with the change. Far more practical, economically and professionally.

I've seen a similar example with the Tamron 85 f/1.8 against the Nikon 85 f/1.4, the Tamron dusted the Nikkor. Overall 85mm f/1.8 lenses strike me as far better investments overall.

Tony Clark's picture

If you're making a living shooting images I chose the 1.4 every time. I use Canon and have owned all three versions of the 85L and they keep getting better with every new version. I do not care about autofocus speed because I never use it, give me nice glass on a reasonably high megapixel body and I'll chose where I want the focus to be.

user-156929's picture

You must have great vision!

Daniel Medley's picture

There are plenty of "pros" using 1.8s. Benjamin Kanarek to name one.

I'm not saying there are not legitimate uses for a 1.4, but if you require it to get "pro" shots there may be other issues besides an extra four tenths of a stop.

Tony Clark's picture

I chose the faster because of the brighter viewfinder, bokeh and build quality but thanks for your comment.

Daniel Medley's picture

So, "making a living" has nothing to do with it? That's good to hear. For a while you had me thinking that if you're making a living at shooting images one should use a 1.4, which would just be silly.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Same bloke that was tellin' us the blurred background bits were shite on mirrorless? So it's all a bit of a nuffin' guvna, might as well buy the cheapest one, they're all naff. Innit. Yo.

Alex Cooke's picture

No, same bloke that made the correct point that EFCS affects exposure and background blur.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Which has zero effect on the client paying me. Non-issue.

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

above a certain shutter speed, specifically 1/1000 to 1/2000 and faster.

it's why the Fujifilm X-T3 (which he mentions testing specifically but didn't care to mention this) has an EF/MS setting that switches from EFCS to mechanical at 1/2000 and faster.

Maybe Sony should add a locking Automatic button on the aperture ring. Canon did it with their FD mount lens.