Samyang 85mm F1.4 AS IF UMC A-mount lens review by LisaLasVegas

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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 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.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 38
  • sharpness: 4.83
  • color: 4.68
  • build: 4.53
  • distortion: 4.71
  • flare control: 4.34
  • overall: 4.62 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania