Since I’m coming from a Leica system, I previously reviewed and absolutely love the Leica 75mm f/2 APO lens. Unfortunately, the 75mm APO won’t perform the same on a Sony as it does on a Leica so, the Loxia is the closest option. The Loxia 85mm is the closest thing to it in terms of focal length and build quality to the Leica 75mm APO, but the focal length is longer and it is a slower aperture. Fortunately, the Sony system has better high ISO performance, so the f/stop isn’t a big deal, and I don’t always shoot wide open anyways. While I prefer the 75mm focal length, I am finding the extra 10mm of reach quite useful.
Like all Loxia lenses, they focus much closer to the subject than Leica lenses – this is a feature that I really dig. Regarding the size of the lens, it maintains the same diameter as the other Loxia lenses, but this is the longest and the lens hood is really long – looks odd really.
I prefer Zeiss contrast and sharpness to Leica (generally), but I have no complaints about the Leica 75mm. The Loxia is different – hard to call it better, but if you are on Sony, the Loia is the better choice.
- Solid build quality and not bulky for an 85mm.
- Allows for closer focusing than a Leica 75mm APO.
- Electronic coupling passes EXIF data to the camera and automatically zooms in on the EVF when you turn the focusing ring.
- Tactile aperture control (like all Loxias).
- Weather sealed – supposedly. I don’t intend to test it. The Sony a7R III hasn’t faired well in that regard in online tests.
- Image quality – sharp, contrasty, and nice bokeh.
- Like all Loxia lenses, I dislike the lens hood. They feel cheap to me.
- Not f/2.
All in all, it’s a great choice for a manual focus 85mm. I’ve previously owned the 85mm G Master lens, and while that was a very nice lens with a faster aperture and autofocus, I am more than happy with the Loxia and don’t see the need or have the desire to get the G Master again. That G Master lens is a very large and heavy lens to carry and for my casual needs, I prefer the Loxia – for now. That G Master 85mm f/1.4 is a pretty sweet lens too.
On to the images (best way in my opinion to evaluate a lens) – these were taken in the early evening hours around Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.