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

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

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