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

reviewer#40964 date: Nov-10-2017
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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta, Miranda and Zeiss 50mm MF primes
Tamron 90mm f2.5 (MF) and f2.8 (AF)
Miranda 105mm & 135mm f2.8 MF primes
A lot of Minolta AF lenses
price paid:didn't buy it
positive:Sharp, bright
negative:Lots of CA. You can correct the lateral CA in PP but not the axial CA (bokeh fringing).
no rom data
comment:What a wonderful lens! Old-fashioned in the best spirit of the later 1970's/early 1980's traditional all-mechanical lenses. It is solidly made of metal and glass, but very compact in the way that so many fast AF lenses aren't. Lovely to handle and a pleasure to use.
It is amazingly sharp wide open, but like many fast lenses you pay the price for sharpness - at f1.4 expect lots of axial CA (red fringes in front, green behind) on high-contrast edges such as writing, plus some lateral CA too. I only took a few shots with this but it looked to have some strong curvature of field, and at f1.4 the DOF is so thin that this will show up with most subjects.
It cleans up as you stop down, naturally, but you'd want to use this wide open or near it, and when you do the CA is too strong to ignore. If I did more portraits I'd probably buy one and suffer the nuisance of correcting the CA in PP, but it's too much of a specialist lens for me, and most of the time a well-corrected sharp 90mm f2.8 macro AF lens will be more useful. Which is a pity, because I still like it!
MF doesn't bother me but I wish it had a ROM chip.

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