Sony GM85mm: #1,#2copy, af speed compared & bokeh

Sony GM85mm: #1,#2copy, af speed compared & bokeh

shot with the A6300 and the Sony 18-200mm
Day one:
The Sony GM85mm arrived, unfortunately my copy is noisy, unimpressive af speed and appears to have lots of scratches on the inner barrel.

This topic was being discussed at, and Dpreview. Too bad, I was hoping to be one of the few lucky ones who would receive a legit copy.
Returned for full refund to BH.
Thanks for Roger Ciala for dismantling and clarifying a few things.
Read the full article here.

A day later #2 arrived, this one came from Adorama and was noticeably quieter.
It still shows plenty of grease marks on the inside (orig identified as scratch marks, now we know it’s grease, thanks to Roger), focus speed appears to be the same.
Still undecided if I am going to keep or return it. I intend to use it mainly on location, there is no way to avoid getting the lens warm, be it during the shoot or stored away in the location van, its bound to happen. It looks like they used white lithium grease, one of its properties being good heat resistance, however, chances that it might melt and find its way onto lens elements and leave streaks are real. The question is, take the chance or wait a couple of month until Sony has this sorted out…..

I want to share a few impressions I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else last time I checked:
1) AF speed is noticeably faster, I repeat, noticeably faster, on the A6300 then on my A7rII (latest firmware installed).
I have a busy work week and can’t do a video to demonstrate, however, I don’t see such a drastic difference in AF speed with any of my other lenses. In fact, I don’t notice a difference at all.
2) MF focusing is a joy, except for lacking hard stops at the close and infinity mark, it truly mi-micks the feel of a quality mechanical lens and I wouldn’t hesitate shooting video in mf with this lens.
3) AF in video mode works exceptionally well, smooth and slow and near silent.
4) AF acquisition in challenging low light is much better then on the Batis 85mm. I had two Batis copies, although they focused a little faster in good light, both copies couldn’t nail focus on the images below (focus point, green square). No problems with the GM85 and FE55.
5)focus accuracy spot on and I don’t plan to shoot this lens at smaller the f1.6 :) I will mostly use it wide open, despite having to correct purple/green frindging in post.
6)Aperture click/declick option. I wish there was a hard lock for the aperture, the clicks are rather soft and one could easily change the aperture on accident.
7)The rubber gasket around the mount is a joke, mine doesn’t even touch the body, too thin, the Batis has a substantial gasket you feel the resistance when attaching the lens.
8)soft, flexible lens hood, I find this to be a smart move in case you drop your lens and are lucky enough it lands on the lens hood, you’ve got a cushy suspension and this will most likely save your lens.
9)Compare the bokeh on the focus test shot, the 55mm on the A6300 yields a 82.5mm, bokeh characteristics similar to the Batis, although the Batis produces clearly softer bokeh, the GM85 takes it a huge step further.
10)AF speed compared to the competition: I had to pick up a few supplies at BH and they happened to have the Nikkor 85mm 1.4G, mounted on a Nikon D4s, they also had the Canon 5DS with the 85mm 1.2 L on display:
The GM85mm focuses noticeably faster then the Canon 85mm 1.2
No clear winner between the Nikkor 85mm 1.4 G and the GM85.It appears to be a tie, I might give the Nikon the edge by a small margin. The Nikon lens is also noticeably lighter and almost silent compared to the GM85.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

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6 thoughts on “Sony GM85mm: #1,#2copy, af speed compared & bokeh

  1. Ezequiel L. Friscia

    Hey Mike. Im between the GM and Batis 1.8.
    My concern besides the price would be about AF speed in low light / dim situations, im OK about accuracy.
    Wichever Id pick, id use it at weddings or receptions too.

    What do you think about this?


  2. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi John, I think it has improved since the Nex 7, the latest generation color rendering is good on both the A7rII and A6300, Fuji, that’s another story, if you really like the fuji punch, you might not be happy with what you get from the Sony or any other cam for that matter

  3. JSturr

    Mike — great info here – please keep it up.

    I’m challenged between getting the yet to be announced Fuji XT-2 or this Sony A6300. How does the Sony color rendering strike you – are you finding you have to color correct to suit your taste ? I found that happened to me all the time when I was with the Nex-7 – and that’s what keeps me coming back to Nikon. So I’m leary of going back to Sony.


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