Samyang 45mm F1.8 AF FE E-mount lens review by addy landzaat

reviewer#44550 date: Jul-12-2020
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 3
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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony and Minolta 50/1.4
Canon 50/1.8 and 50/1.4
Sigma 35/1.4 ART
price paid:€399,- new
positive:Small, light and sharp
negative:Lousy build, uncertain AF-C and minimum focus distance
comment:This is a problematic lens IMHO. It is really sharp, but there the advantages end for me.

Build: the (visible) build is somewhere between the Canon 50/1.8 II (cheap plastic) and the Sony 28/2. It is simply not good enough for a €399,- (or €349,- after cashback) lens IMHO. I do not understand people giving it a 5 for build.

MFD: I find I am struggling with the Minimum Focus Distance. I keep going back when I take a close up picture. I do not have this with my Minolta/Sony/Canon 50mm lenses. They also have a 45cm MFD, but while that seems fine in a 50mm lens, it is a problem for me here, because this lens is wider. The Sigma 35/1.4 has a MFD of 30cm, that is fine. For me, this lens should have had a 40cm MFD (YMMV)

Focus: AF-S is fine, but I usually use AF-C and it does not work well. It regularly pumps, even in good light. I also find the behaviour not intuitive: maybe it just behaves different from my Sony lenses. But in all, the AF-C experience is not pleasant.(disclaimer: firmware 1; should be better with firmware 3)

Focus noise: Focus is clearly audible. It is fine, but it is not "quiet" or "silent".

Focus breathing: the lens suffers from focus breathing. As I (mostly) use it for stills, I would normally not mind for a 45mm lens - but as it can pulse when it tries to focus, it really is annoying.

Bokeh: This is quite personal, but it is not my favourite out of focus rendering.

Firmware dock: Like I said, AF-C with firmware 1 is problematic, but you need to buy a dock to get decent AF. Not good.

Colour: Modern colour, not quite my taste, but it is good.

chromatic aberration: Saw some colour fringing in high contrast scenes. I have seen better and I have seen worse.

Sharpness: Well, excellent in the centre, might be less in the corners - but for general use, it is fine.

It could've been a great lens, but to me, it is not. I tried it during the 2020 July challenge for one week and it has some strengths. I can see some people like it for specific reasons like if you want a sharp and light lens. But in general, IMHO it does not live up to some of the reviews I have seen.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 4
  • sharpness: 5.00
  • color: 4.75
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 4.50
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.55 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania