Looking at what the lens world has to offer recently, I came on the great Samyang 85 mm f 1.4
Likely, most of you have never heard about the brand “Samyang,” responsible for the 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical lens. This is a Korean company that will manufacture a wide variety of lenses, which are very affordable for the low-end market.
These lenses are generally marketed by some other brands such as Vivitar, Walimex, Opteka, and probably a couple more.
This is a good speed portrait lens for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony, both APS-C DSLRs and Samsung NX compact cameras.
Samyang 85mm f 1.4 Review
It is a manual focus lens built of 9 lenses arranged in 7 groups, with anti-reflexive UMC coatings multi-layered to prevent ghosting and flare.
The Samyang 85mm F1.4 is proof that you don’t have to in debt to the bench to get a large aperture 85mm lens, as long as you agree to having to sacrifice autofocus.
Samyang’s idea of vision in its design shows us a bit of softness in f/1.4, but it’s sharp when stopped and offers a tactile and mechanical feel when adjusting focus.
With a length measuring 8 cm and a weight of about 500 g, it is not so balanced when using on a smaller APS-C body – it’s a better match for a professional full-frame camera.
The quality with the lens is built simply excellent. The lens has a metal housing, as well as its holder. The product’s optical elements are made from high-quality glass, which has been included spherical lenses to minimize chromatic aberration and unnecessary light scattering. The focus ring is pleasantly wide and ribbed to achieve a more comfortable grip.
The lens also features, with sealed against the weather, to protect dust and water protection, which is an appreciated detail, taking into account the price.
Despite Samyang being a newcomer to the lens market, the build quality is outstanding. It feels solid in your hand, even if the outer barrel and the filter thread are made of plastic – but it is an excellent quality one.
Looks good, too
The aesthetics of the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 are charming. It features an elegant black finish with very few interruptions other than the manual focus ring and some accent rings. One of those rings is Samyang’s “red ring” that mimics canon L-series lenses in a slightly more fashionable way.
On the other side of the manual focus ring is another chrome silver ring, which helps to define the manual focus ring pleasantly. The entire lens has a clean and elegant look. The focus ring has a very well ribbed texture, is nice and wide, and is ideally positioned to grip and focus at the same time.
The ring for focusing is generously wide and has a rubberized, ridged grip band. As being a manual focus lens only, there’s a distance scale that goes from the minimal distance of 1 m to infinity, with no depth of field scale. With a definite clicking action, at the base of the lens, you will find an aperture ring that is adjustable in 1 stop (1 EV).
Despite the lens’s comforts, it is somewhat uncomfortable to use the focus ring, as it becomes slightly vague. All the lenses that have autofocus for mirrorless cameras use a system of “wired focus.” This means that the input into the focus ring is distributed through the focus engine, rather than a true manual movement of the lens elements.
Samyang 85 mm f 1.4 provides the right level of resistance to chromatic aberration, being truly constant across the range of apertures.
This lens uses a manual approach, which feels more like an “emulation” of a mechanical approach, but still, some lenses do much better than others.
The manual focus ring rocks
Although the focus ring in previous models may feel uneven, Samyang improved this on the 85mm f 1.4 model, as the manual focus ring has been dramatically improved.
The cushioning and weight are much better, as is the focus ring’s consistency, resulting in a much better manual experience.
The f/1.4 aperture allows a large amount of light in, and its focal length is excellent for capturing not distorted facial features. The internal focusing system provides soft, smooth manual focusing, and the iris diaphragm design helps to generate attractive bokeh, which is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus sections of a picture.
The Samyang 85mm 1.4 is a tiny and light lens, with a weight that does not reach 600 grams. The glass is black with a slightly stretched finish and has a gold accent ring near the front. The lens holder is made of metal, and the 72 mm filter threads are made of plastic.
Usually, Samyang, in its previous models, when mounting the lens next to the camera body, will not produce supplemental information to the camera, which means that the camera is better to have it in manual use.
Advanced functions, such as image stabilization in the body, do not allow a great possibility to function.
That is why, in this lens model, Samyang integrated into the lens a CPU chip, which would be able to establish communication with the camera and thus be able to use the standard P/A/S/M modes.
This lens shows no distortion. Illumination is excellent even from corner to corner at f2 and smaller apertures. But at f/1.4, we found some dimming at the edges (-1 EV) and the corners (-1.5 EV). This is not a big issue as it can be solved with image processing software.
No locking function, regrettably
Being a low-end lens, this only provides a small set of fundamental features. The lens features an aperture ring with half-stop click marks, but it has no locking function to keep the glass still in its smallest aperture for modern cameras.
Besides, there are no half-stops between the 1.4 and 2 points of life and none between 16 and 22. The lens has a distance scale marked in feet and meters, but there is no depth-of-field scale or infrared index marker.
The center of the image’s quality is a little soft and exhibits some fringing with the aperture wide open. However, it improves a good deal at f4 and at f8 it looks very crisp. Meantime within the corners, the standard appearance is nice even with the aperture wide open, though surprisingly, chromatic aberrations become a lot more visible when the aperture closes.
The wide inch focus ring is made of rubber and features a series of ribs that run parallel to the lens body. The focus ring provides about 140 degrees of rotation, and the range ends in hard stops at infinity and near focus ends of the lens.
Chromatic aberration, which is seen as a small layer between blue and purple in the corners of high-contrast surfaces, is easily manageable by some camera configurations, minimizing them significantly.
Good sharpness and bokeh effect
Samyang has achieved with this lens, get an excellent balance between sharpness and bokeh effect. The challenge with portrait lenses is that if they end up being very sharp and contrasting, the skin ends up seeing something “plastic.”
But if there is not enough sharpness and contrast, the photographer ends up feeling like he has to stop the lens and lower the camera to get rid of the haze or chromatic aberrations. However, the Samyang 85mm lens manages to obtain a midpoint.
Samyang 85mm specifications:
- Model – AE 85 mm f/1.4 Aspherical IF
- Lens style – Telephoto
- Focal length – 85 mm
- Maximum aperture – f/1.4
- Angle of view – 28.3
- Minimum focusing distance – 1 m
- Minimum aperture – 22
- Number of diaphragm blades – 8
- Autofocus type – MF
- Lens Construction – 9 elements / 7 groups / 1 aspherical lens
- Filter diameter – 72 mm
- Dimensions – 78 x 72.2 mm
- Weight ~ 516 g
What’s in the box
- Samyang AE Aspherical Lens Ultra Multi-Coating 85 mm F 1.4
- Front Lens Cap
- Rear Lens Cap
- Lens Hood
- Soft Lens Case
Not the best out there, but this is one of the best choices for the price – if you are looking for an 85 mm lens. For an exceptionally built and excellent image quality, this can be your next trusted companion in your photography journey for less than £250.
We can get a vertical object lens of the most exceptional quality, made especially for those people looking for the highest possible image parameters. The lens of the object’s construction is built with nine lenses, which are in seven optical groups, to achieve the function of internal focus where a lens is spherical.
All lenses were covered with multilayer anti-glare covers, thanks to which the light transmission is maintained at a very high level.
This is something I recommend, always keeping in mind the price-quality ratio.
The 85mm lens market is real, so Samyang made a prudent move, creating an economical manual focus lens. Easy to use, with excellent finishes, and economical.
The truth is that not many photographers can afford to buy quality lenses, as their high price makes them retain, while others want a compact lens, which does not stand out much compared to the camera.
That is why the Samyang 85mm lens <- Affiliate Link 🙂 is in the right balance between the two, with a quality but reasonable weight construction, excellent autofocus performance. However, it is still not completely perfect and an image quality that is almost perfect for portrait work.
I hope you found this general description satisfactory, and please ask in the comments section below if you want more details. Also, please ask if you want a specific product review, and it will be done in a few days.
Thank you for reading to the end!
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