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Shooting from 2,000 feet above the ground is one of the fastest ways to initiate new gear. And a sunset hot air balloon ride in San Diego provided a perfect kickoff for Sony Artisan and SoCal wedding and portrait photographer Mike Colón to try out the new Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master lens. “I was actually putting the other balloon in the furthest corner of the viewfinder, focusing it there, and zooming in on it— and it was razor sharp,” Colón says.
But that was just the beginning. Would the 85mm G Master lens work over the next two weeks, as Colón tested it in variety of shooting scenarios? Spoiler alert: with an amazing quality of sharpness and bokeh, he was not disappointed.
“I got to shoot model headshots with the new lens, and I typically do a lot of manual focusing for portraits because if I’m wide open at f/1.4, I want the eyes to be razor sharp,” he says. “With previous Sony lenses, the manual focus was a little more difficult to control, but with the 85mm G Master, they really tightened it up so I can move it just a hair and see the focus adjust accordingly. I even compared to the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4, and it is just as super fine-tuned.”
The AF lock kill switch also came in handy for Colón, giving him the flexibility to switch back and forth between Auto Focus and Manual in an instant. “I photograph for UFC, so I do a lot of shooting through the cage next to the fence,” he says. “With the fighters moving around so sporadically, I don’t want the camera to constantly be hunting for focus. There are times when I’d rather be locked most of the time, and deal with focus when I need it at my fingertips. So I can hold that button, recompose and shoot.”
The 85mm G Master also has an incredibly useful feature for filmmakers: the choice to go silent. For a photographer like Colón whose clients are increasingly asking him to do video, this option is paramount. “If I’m in the middle of shooting a video and want to change my aperture, I can do it without hearing it or creating vibration,” he says. On the other hand, ”when shooting stills, it’s nice to be able to hear the click between f-stops and calculate your setting without looking.”
After comparing the 85mm G Master’s sharpness and quickness of focus with other lenses in its class, Colón was solidly impressed with its overall quality. “It felt well-balanced, like a lighter weight lens, but the images came out so great,” he says. “It’s nice that Sony is making fast lenses now because that’s huge for wedding photographers. The 85mm’s fast f/1.4 aperture makes it so much easier to work in the super low-lighting situations that we’re so often dealing with at weddings. And of course, the razor-sharp glass, shallow depth of field, and insanely beautiful bokeh is the perfect recipe for making our subjects pop against the busy backgrounds of a wedding scene.”
For more information on Sony’s G Master Lenses and Mike Colón, visit AlphaUniverse.com/lenses.