Samyang 85mm F1.4 AS IF UMC A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 33    1 2 >>
reviewer#11864 date: Jun-10-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Soligor 100mm F3.2
Tamron 60mm F2
price paid:150 EUR used
positive:Creamy bokeh (but with fringing)
Good build
Sharp from F2
negative:No AF, manual focus ring a bit stiff
Close focus distance 1m, OK for APS-C, it would be probably too much for FF
Soft at F1.4
Longitudinal CA (bokeh fringing) quite visible upto about F2.8
Flimsy hood attachment mechanism
comment:I own the Walimex brand variety.
This is clearly a portrait lens and for that application, the only bothersome thing is the chromatic aberration (green/magenta) of the high contrast areas that are slightly in front of or beyond the focal plane. It can be postprocessed, but requires some skill as the auto fix in Lightroom does not work on it. I don't own any similar lens like the Zeiss or Sigma 85 f1.4, but it appears to be present on those as well based on sample images. Flawless for BW.
Not suitable for moving subjects (kids snapshot portraits) because of lack of AF. Focus peaking helps a bit though.
Sharpness could be better at F1.4, but F2 is very good (I use the most), and F2.8 is razor sharp.
To sum up, it seems like a negative review, but in fact I like this lens. You get maybe a little bit more than what you pay for at the price of a new one (around 250 Euro here). For the 150 Euro I got it (used/mint), it was a steal.
reviewer#11810 date: May-4-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:All minolta: 50mm 1.7, 50mm macro 2.8, both 35-105mm 3.5-4.5, and all the beercans, 24mm 2.8 (1985)
price paid:300 US
positive:Tack sharp
huge focus ring & comfortable ring rotation to get to focus
I find focus to be fast
sharp DOF fall off, great creamy bokeh with distinct colors
better than average light gathering
negative:colors more neutral than my beloved Minoltas and have to use RAW to really bring out the richness and depth I get on JPEG with minolta lens, tends to red in skin color
have to use tripod as no image stabilization.
comment:I am writing this lens review in the hope that others considering it are not scared off because it is manual focus. I find it quite easy to get the focus just right on my A99. I use yellow peaking to get it real close, hit the magnification twice for the area I want just right which takes just a click or two one way or the other to dial in. Unlike the Minoltas, the focus ring is huge and turns very smoothly, amount of turn necessary is very comfortable and there is just enough resistance in the turn to make the final click or two very precise and sure. In the studio I often have the camera connected to a GeChic internal battery powered monitor. I set all my other settings manually anyway so adding focusing is no big deal. I only wish I were steady enough to use it hand held.
What I really love about this lens is that it reaquainted me with the precision of manual focus. with the magnification one can dial in the shadings of the iris for example or determine precisely what is in one's DOF. The tripod, peaking color and magnification make focusing easy.
It's a world-class 85mm 1.4 at a great price.
reviewer#11684 date: Feb-6-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 1.7
Minolta 50 2.8
price paid:200 CHF Used
positive:Sharp
Usable wide open
Great for manual video work
negative:Not suited for fast moving situations (children) due to manual focus requirements
CA evident wide open on high contrast objects such as shiny chrome
comment:Nothing much to add, other than to state this lens is great when shooting standing still portraits, for videoing stage shows and events. It really is a bargain and if you do not shoot too much at the 85 focal length but wish to fill your lens lineup with a good low cost option, this works well. It also is great with focus peaking, a little slower than AF but easy to operate.
reviewer#11639 date: Jan-26-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50mm f2.8 SSM
price paid:$320 CDN new
positive:- Beautiful
- Hefty
- Feels like a serious lens
- old school manual control is great for smooth focus pulling in video
- No additional video cropping when you start recording video
- IQ is GREAT but CA only clears up by f4 or by post editing software
- bokeh is very nice
- focus peaking on Sony cameras makes this a much more usable lens
negative:- Very slight lose fit to camera in axial orientation.
- a fair bit of CA at f1.4
- focus lubrication hardens in the cold
- No AF confirm chip to enable SSS = No stabilization in photo or video
- lens hood is very cheap but not as bad as I feared from reviews
comment:Note; The version I have is by Bower, bought at Henrys in Canada.
The whole lens rotates a fraction of a degree every time I change focusing direction. Doubtful that this has any impact on IQ, but it is very annoying to have 'click click' when I am fine tuning the focus.
I was surprised to find so mush chromatic aberration at f1.4. Sharpness, CA, and vignetting are all Perfect at f4, but that isn't the point of this lens. So count on some CA correction in post when shooting wide open. I am surprised I didn't read this in the many reviews before I bought it, but it is verified in the lens data at DXOmark.
Focus throw is actually quit far which is both good and bad. It allows for very accurate focusing which is essential for lens with this aperture but it also means that it is almost impossible to pull a full focus all the way without shifting your grip half way through. Focus throw on my 16-50 is way too short for accurate manual focusing near infinity.
I spend a couple hours a day out in the cold and usually carry my gear with me. I found that around -20 Celsius the focus lubrication virtually freezes. Focusing in the cold with this lens is like sucking a McD's shake through a straw.
A very inexpensive AF confirm chip on this lens set to 85mm would really help by allowing the in body steady shot stabilization. I am still thinking of adding this myself. However, the lack of AF confirm chip ALSO means that it does not do the additional stabilization crop when you start recording video! Ya! A lens that does not change focal lengths when you start recording video?!?! What genius!
Front and rear lens caps are like the hood; cheap. But they don't really impact IQ unless you forget to take them off.
Focus peaking REALLY helps add a lot of value to this lens. Peaking does work with focus magnify as well but not as much peaking shows up in the magnify views.
Verdict - I love this lens but it isn't perfect.
reviewer#11459 date: Nov-9-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8
Leica Summicron-M 90/2
Leica Elmar-C 90/4
...some more
price paid:180€ (used)
positive:-Good wide open
-Very good from F2 onwards (contrast improves), sweet spot F4-F5.6
-Smooth bokeh
-Price!
negative:-Size and weight
-Sometimes flaring etc.
-Slight vignetting until F4
-Focusing ring could be smoother and better coupled
comment:Excellent 85/1.4 lens for little money if you're able to handle MF. Sweet spot is F4-F5.6. But as it's F1.4 it's very heavy to carry around all day. Due it's size an weight it's a special purpose (potrait) lens for me only. I generally prefer slower (F2.8) 85-100mm lenses for that reason, they are not much bigger than a fast 50mm and DOF is still narrow enough for potraits.
reviewer#11419 date: Oct-31-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron sp 90 di macro
Minolta 85
various mid range zooms
pentacon 135
various primes including Sony/Minolta/Zeiss
price paid:200euro
positive:A surprisingly good cheap lens - excellent IQ even wide open at f1.4, crispy wonder at f4.
Great colour rendition, well made, easy to use. If you can manage with MF it will equal any 85mm lens out there and is one of the only lenses I know that offers IQ wide open.
Just get one.
negative:Manual focus only
The hood is a bit plasticy and the novelty soft bag might come in handy for keeping the cash you saved in.
comment:You have no doubt read the reviews, if you can filter out the lens snobbery from the gear wankers, the bottom line is a great lens for minimal cash.
No focus confirm and manual focus only makes a razor thin DOF a bit harder to manage, but it's great practice and any faults will be down to you and not the glass.
Highly recommended
reviewer#11279 date: Jul-30-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nikkor 80-200/2.8
price paid:329
positive:Super sharp, pixel peeper's dream in APS-C
DOF razor thin
Great reach esp. for video
Smooth focus ring and apperture (T1.5 cine version)
very pleasing bokeh
negative:Linear distortion is very noticeable
Forward focus issue once stopped down
comment:This is a very nice lens for close-in video work, esp. if you have the working distance from the subject. I have used it as a portrait lens successfully, but it takes practice to get the focus points right, even with focus peaking. However, when you get the shutter speeds above 1/160 it really shines at all apertures. Lens corrections have to be done in post, but the linear distortion corrections are not too hard to work out.
reviewer#10878 date: Jan-27-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:tamron 90mm macro
samyang 35mm 1.4
price paid:299 new
positive:1.4, sharp, bokeh and nice build
negative:focus distance, fringing
comment:I'm still learning how to use this lens. my copy's focus ring is kinda tight but in way helps with focus accuracy. superb shots most of the time with A65 peaking feature. great for portaits and isolation of subjects with the shallow dof. i love manual focus but not fond of the fact that it requires several turns when you shift your focus to a considerable distant subject.
reviewer#10738 date: Nov-29-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 50 1.4
Minolta 80-200 G
price paid:250 € used, chipped
positive:- sharp at 1.4
- beautiful colors
- cheap
- compact
negative:- hood
- f-stop ring
comment:What a cheap way to get an awesome portrait lens.

Bokeh is beautiful, plain beautiful. Colors are beautiful, quite neutral, but nice. At 1.4 the lens is supersharp.

Vignetting at 1.4 is not an issue really. All 70-200 zooms will vignette much much more at 2.8, just as a comparison.

It would be nice to have smaller increment steps on the manual f-stop ring, as you can choose to use either 1.4 or 2 (and full stops further) and nothing between. But not that it makes a huge difference because 1.4 is comepletely useful on full frame.

I got the lens with a chip, so, I can't complain on manual focusing issues as I have focus confirm and SSS turned on and I can use the lens in Aperture priority mode. A total win.

For the price, I don't think I'll ever upgrade to an AF zoom, but rather save for the 135 1.8 instead.
reviewer#10515 date: Sep-16-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 85/1.4
price paid:200USD (used)
positive:- F 1.4
- Cheap
negative:- MFD
comment:Wide open is shaper than Minolta 85/1.4.
reviewer#10494 date: Sep-7-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50 1.4
Minolta 50 1.4
Minolta 50 1.7
price paid:250euro
positive:sharp at 1.4
bokeh
smooth focus ring
good flare
negative:MFD
sometimes CA on bokeh, which is very hard to fix
comment:If you can live with MF, than this is a real gem. I first used it on A700, it wasn't easy, but now with live view on A580 it's more easy. Very sharp even at f1.4, beautiful bokeh. If you looking for a cheap portrait low light lens, then it is higly recommended
reviewer#10349 date: Jul-2-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 28 F2.8
Sony AF DT 50 F1.8 SAM
price paid:- (bonus)
positive:Fast lens
Sharp
Good build
Cheap
negative:No aperture connection between the lens and body which mean the exif's F number will always 1.0. No big deal actually if you have no care for exif.
comment:Sharp and fast lens, cheap, and, oh, feels solid. Lowlight? Indoor? No problem.

Yes, it sharp. Yes, it is bokeh. But somehow, it's bokeh are not to my liking. I still prefer the Minolta's bokeh and colors.

Changing the F with the lens's aperture ring? I can take that, but no connection between the lens's F and body sure is something, well, for me... I need to write down which F every times I change that hole for later viewing.

But overall, it is a good lens. After all it is just about personal preferences and approach.
reviewer#10345 date: Jul-1-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 1.4 RS
Zeiss Planar 85 1.4 Contax
price paid:260.00(new)
positive:Excellent build quality
Weight
Size
1.4
Price
well..everything!!
negative:nothing
comment:For $300 including shipping you can not go wrong. I received my Rokinon yesterday and within minutes it was on my 850. Approximately 220 frames later I have to say that this might just be the best lens purchase I have ever made. This lens is very useable at 1.4 and razor sharp by f4. I posted some images to the forum sample page which I hope illustrates this quite well. You will also see the bokeh becomes creamier as you open her up wider. Being that my first camera was an x700 I find manual focus to be every bit the dream I remember it to be. Today is Canada Day so I will put it through it's paces today ending off with fireworks to celebrate "her" arrival.
I can't complain it's not chipped or that it's manual focus only because I bought it knowing this. If your looking for an inexpensive 85 1.4 this is the one, for $260 it night just be the best choice you make yourself, and even though the 85 2.8 is the same price, it's that SAM motor your not paying for, not the quality of the optics and at 2.8 it's just to slow. I have used some really great glass over the years and I have to say that this is in my top 10 and is probably going to be there a long time.
reviewer#10253 date: May-31-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:250
positive:Sharp
Good colors
negative:Strong light fall-off
comment:My copy had too much light fall off and was not even usable. You can't focus if everything is black.

A SONY SAL85F28 is the same price.
reviewer#10197 date: May-14-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 85mm f2.8
price paid:£180
positive:Solid build
Quite compact
Sharp
Bokeh
negative:MF
No focus confirm
comment:Odd love affair with this lens. I am an amateur and struggled to get to grips with MF. However practice makes perfect. the focus peaking on the A77 is amazing but if not using and SLT, it is worth installing a James Lau chip for steady shot and focus confirm.
Now My manual focussing has improved and I love the sharpness, colour and bokeh.
reviewer#10131 date: Apr-21-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:My first prime so I compared it with 18-55sam and tamron 70-300mm.
price paid:300 euros (new)
positive:Incredibly sharp!!! Even at f/1.4!!! The sharpest lens I own, even compared with all my other lenses which I consider sharp at f/8... :)
Build quality is impressive. Colors are great, especially when good light is available. Low light cappabilities are out of this world! Flare is handled well, if you use the hood, d'oh! My ONLY regret is that I waited such a long time to buy this gem of a lens!

Manual focus is a delight. I trust my eyes, and have the patience. The focus ring is something very special! I'll upload some samples today!
negative:None.
comment:Built like a tank! Sharp as a needle! The best lens I will ever own! :)
reviewer#9879 date: Feb-4-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50/1.8
Tamron 28-75/2.8
Minolta 70-210/4
price paid:242 USD (new)
positive:cheap
sharp
bokeh
built
negative:CA
tight focusing ring
aperture has no 1.7 position
comment:Mine one is Rokinon.
I love pictures it produces: sharp even at 1.4 (sharper then my sony 50 at 1.8), smooth bokeh and a little bit cold colors.
It was very (I mean it!) difficult to take right focus before I installed focus confirm chip. With chip focusing turns to be almost easy as on AF lens.
CA noticeable but not terrible.
reviewer#9742 date: Jan-2-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:259 EUR (new)
positive:Well built lens with fiddly hood + lenscaps
negative:Nothing or everything depending on what you want it to be. Not razor sharp and lots of CA wide open
comment:I have fitted a focus confirmation chip (not for the faint hearted, some grinding down of mount and chip was required) for SSS benefits. I used it with limited success on the A700. The A99 has changed that completely. With focus peaking it handles easily and metering is spot on provided you adjust Fstop to 1.4 in the camera. It does not behave nicely straight into bright light (overall green tint, colour fringes green and purple) but when used correctly produces beautifully layered images with great detail/colour.

The aperturer goes from F1.4 to F2 without intermediate stop, but diapgragm ring can be adjusted in between if so desired.

Apart from lens caps and hood, the build is solid. It is heavy.
reviewer#9371 date: Aug-30-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50 f1.8
Minolta 70-210 f4
18-70 kit lens
price paid:300 EUR (new)
positive:- Image quality
- Sharp when focused
- Bokeh
- Low light performance
- Build quality
negative:- Manual focus
- Not chipped
comment:Excellent lens. One of the best I've ever tried. Image quality is outstanding and bokeh at f1.4 is legendary. Colours are a bit cooler compared to Sony/Minolta but that can be adjusted during post processing (not an issue). At first it's a difficult lens to use because of manual focus and lack of focus confirmation - It's not chipped. But because of that I'm thinking about every shot I make with it, and have to admit that my manual focusing skills have improved greatly past couple of months. :)

edit: December 2011

With a A77 body and focus magnification this one works like a charm! .
reviewer#9347 date: Aug-21-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nil
price paid:200 GBP
positive:Sharpness is mindblowing
Beautiful Bokeh
Solid build
Brilliant for portrait studio shots
negative:Non-stopped down metering at smaller apertures causes flare but easily adjusted with exposure tweaks

Without af & sss confirmation chip capturing can be cumbersome at times
comment:Bought this lens on ebay at 200 GBP. Had this lens chipped from 'James Lao chip', much more convenient and images are a tad sharper most of the time due to sss enabled and AF confirmation.

Some examples:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/luchanjuan/6062979239/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/luchanjuan/6008236945/

second image is obviously done with the help of a macro extension tube but this goes to show the sharpness this lens is capable of.

Enjoy!
reviewer#9204 date: Jul-4-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50mm f/1.7
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro
price paid:190 EUR (new)
positive:Sharp
Beautiful bokeh
Nicely dampened and calibrated focus ring
negative:Manual focus
Minimum focus distance is relatively long at ~1m
Lens cap and hood are fiddly and tend to fall off
comment:I adore this lens!

I wanted an 85mm lens for candid photos at family parties, particularly of elderly relatives. My choices were the Sony 85mm f/2.8 which I didn't think would be fast enough for indoors, or the Sony Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 which was far too much money for the use I get out of the lens. I theory my Sigma macro could have done the job too but the AF is slow, noisy and frankly I don't trust Sigma's gears. The Samyang was a good trade-off: cheap, fast but manual focus.

Ok, it's just manual focus but for static subjects (people sitting/standing) it is quite manageable, particularly with the focus check liveview of the a580. I'm also looking forward to trying it on a NEX with the new peaking function. Even if your focus is a little off the critical point, there's such a separation between subject and background that it *appears* sharp. I even took photos of the kids playing outside with some success when you start to predict when they'll pause

I love my Minolta 50mm f/1.7 -- I call it my "eye" lens because it's perfect for any subject with eyes. But 50mm on a crop sensor has always felt a little too long for environmental shots, but too long for frame filling portraits without getting in their face. The Samyang is almost as sharp wide-open although the colours don't *quite* sparkle like the Minolta. I find the colours a little muted compared to the Minolta 50mm but that's something which is easily fixed or altered in post. It's great for taking portraits across a table or of wider groups by standing back from the party.

The bokeh is just wonderful and I have no complaints about how it renders that. Partly, it's all down to the narrow depth-of-field but certainly I found it very pleasing. You need to be wary of two things: the lens is prone to ghosting/flare if there's strong sunlight coming into the lens (and the hood is a bit fiddly and prone to falling off); the minimum focus distance is around 1m, which is longer than you might expect. It's not really a problem as it gives a good head-and-shoulders framing but worth bearing in mind that it is not one for close-ups.

This was one of the first photographs I took with the Samyang (inc. 100% crop): http://hotoffthememorycard.com/2011/06/30/still-time/

For the money, I highly recommend it!
reviewer#8753 date: Mar-6-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony Zeiss 85mm
price paid:280 Euros
positive:Really sharp from F2.0 on (haze gone)
Amazingly sharp at 5.6
Cheap
A solid built
Colors are nice (but on the blueish side)
Feel of the photos comparable to the Sigma 1.4/50mm
negative:No AF (but i don't care)
CAs and veiling haze wide open
Heavy
comment:Best bang for the buck 85mm lens, the Zeiss is better but it's also nearly four times as expensive and the Samyang is really really good already!
reviewer#8691 date: Feb-23-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta - AF 70-210 F4 (beercan)
Minolta - AF 28-85 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 50 F1.7
Minolta - AF Reflex 500 F8
Sony - AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
Sony - AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6
price paid:239.00
positive:Nice bokeh
Sharp
Cheap!!! compared to similar
Great colors
negative:Manual
Darker than similar when working at 1.4 Aperture Value.
comment:Difficult to focus at 1.4 because of the tiny DOF but once focused the results are great, definitely worth it; a little dark wide open, this darkness is definitely compensated with the sharpness delivered in the final result. This is an excellent option at a great price!!

Rokinon branded.
reviewer#8567 date: Jan-26-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-300 G
Sony 16-80 Z
price paid:250€ new
positive:Very sharp wide open
Nice bokeh
Excellent build
Price
negative:nothing
comment:Excellent portrait and available light lens. Manual focus works smooth but steep enough to prevent accidental adjustment. I was skeptical about the combination of MF and the ultra shallow DOF at 1.4 but it's working great in life view with focus magnification on the SLT.
A combination with acromats or tele converters works only stepped down to 8 otherwise you will get strong vailing haze, but that is anyway not the purpose of this lens.
Strongly recommended!
reviewer#8500 date: Jan-8-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sony 50/1.4
minolta 100/2.8 macro rs
minolta 135/2.8
price paid:180 USD used
positive:- Very good wide open performance: great bokeh, good contrast, no veil hazing, little CA (although present)
- good build
negative:- everything but the lens is cheaply made: hood, caps, lens case (expected at this price point)
- good technique needed for manual focussing
comment:This is my first 85/1.4 lens, so i cannot relate to the other 85/1.4 lenses. However, compared to the lenses listed above, this lens performs the best wide open, it is truly usable straight from f1.4: portraits taken at that aperture are stunning, if you manage to nail the focus. The lens itself is well build, focus ring is nicely damped (perhaps too much), aperture ring could have been more firmly set, the lens has a good weight/heft which dampens mirror slap. It feels solid. However, all lens accessories: caps, hood and bag are cheap - but it is easy enough to replace these.
Focussing is tricky at 1.4, you need to take bursts with small focus shift increments to maximize you chances, a big bright viewfinder helps here ( I have the sony magnifying eyecup on my a700 and it is big enough).
For occasional portraits, this lens is ideal and the best bang for your bucks.
reviewer#8388 date: Dec-10-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:MinO 50/1.7, Cosina "Plastic Fantastic"
price paid:140GBP incl shipping
positive:Sharp, well built, colours(!!), DOF, Bokeh(!)
negative:nothing really
comment:Just received it today but I'm already hooked. I'm quite surprised that I don't see a lot of comments on the colors in the other reviews. After a few shots I couldn't believe what I saw on the LCD. Colors that popped straight out of the camera! I can't recommend this lens enough. Since it's all manual it might be slightly difficult to work with but stick with it. It'll make you a better photographer in the end, because you are forced to do everything and not rely on AUTO in the camera. DOF at 1.4 is thin..like very very thin and the bokeh is just amazing. The lens is built like a tank and feels very sturdy.
reviewer#8314 date: Nov-29-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:KM 100 f2
KM 85/1.4
price paid:240 USD (New)
positive:Sharp wide open
Nice bokeh
negative:Focus ring bit too tight
Minimum focus distance bit long compared to other 85mm
comment:Overall very nice lens.
Wide open, sharper than KM 85/1.4.
Easy to put a chip which enables SSS and more accurate metering.
Focus ring bit tight and difficult to focus quickly, but no problem for static subject.
Sold my KM 85/1.4 and kept this lens.
reviewer#8181 date: Nov-4-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.7, SAM 50/1.8
price paid:270 USD (used, mint)
positive:Excellent sharpness wide open,
saturated colors, creamy bokeh, no distortions, acceptable flare control
negative:Difficult focusing,
light metering problems (no electronics), SSS not active
comment:Very useful focal length on a900/850. Focusing is difficult, but MF ring is accurate. Good (vivid) colors and contrast. Aperture blades are not circular. The bokeh is very pleasant and far better than on 50/1.7.

There is no possibility to set f/1.7 on the aperture ring (1.4 - 2.0 - 2.4).

Conclusion: cheap portrait and low-light lens. Manual focusing is not big disadvantage.
reviewer#7754 date: Jul-29-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sony DT 50/1.8
sony DT 18-70
Minolta 28-85
price paid:200 £ new
positive:Sharp!!
Colour
Bokeh!!!
f1.4!!!
negative:well its MF only
comment:A really super lens. Changed my way of taking pictures (my first prime). I chipped mine pretty easaly

I like the build, it feels sturdy

The SSS and f1.4 Is a KILLER combination I tell you
reviewer#7411 date: May-6-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Min 24mm 28, Min 35-105, Min 50 1.7, Tamron 90 2.8, Min 70-210 F4
M42 - Carl Zeiss 135mm 3.5, Pentacon 100mm 2.8, SMC Takumar 50mm 1.4, Flektogon 35mm 2.4.. others
price paid:US $225 used
positive:Sharpness
Size
build
negative:Purple fringing in high contrast situations using Low F-stops(expected really)
comment:Its does have fringing though the only lens that has almost nil CA in my experience is my cheapest.. the M42 helios 44-2).
Hood and lens bag are average and don't pack well. But I'll forgive almost anything considering some versions(like my Opteka) which can be bought for under $250 US.

If you have trouble manually focusing your fast'ish 50mm then perhaps this isn't for you. I actually enjoy the challenge of nailing shots at 1.4 and only use this and my M42 lenses unless at an event. There could be a touch less resistance when focusing but its a smooth constant transition.

The build is great.. I'd have given it a 5 but really there must be better modern lenses and my old Takumars are amazing.
Colours, bokeh and sharpness are excellent and (I think)naysayers more often than not can't stand the thought of much cheaper glass being on par with their OEM's.

Its definitley sharp enough wide-open for my liking and gets quite a bit sharper stopped down.. contrary to what I often hear.

reviews found: 33    1 2 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 33
  • sharpness: 4.83
  • color: 4.64
  • build: 4.52
  • distortion: 4.73
  • flare control: 4.36
  • overall: 4.62

to add your review
you need to login