Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Review

June 20, 2017 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is a moderate wide-angle prime lens for full-frame and APS-C Sony mirrorless cameras. The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is comprised of 7 elements in 6 groups including 2 aspherical glass elements and 1 high refractive lens, and employs an iris diaphragm with seven rounded aperture blades. It's the third Samyang lens to feature auto-focusing and has a minimum focusing distance of 35cm/1.14ft and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.12x. The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens retails for £279 in the UK and $399 in the US, where it's known as the Rokinon AF 35mm f/2.8 FE.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at just 85 grams and measuring 3.3cm in length, the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is a very small lens given that it's designed for a 35mm full-frame system. As seen in the photos below, it's perfectly suited to the full-frame Sony A7R II camera that we tested it with.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FEThe Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FEThe Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FEThe Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens alongside a Sony A7R II

Build quality is very good. The lens has a aluminum alloy housing and a metal mount too. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass and aspherical lenses have been included to minimise aberration and unnecessary light dispersion. The focus ring is pleasingly wide and ridged for easier grip.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FESide of the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Front of the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FERear of the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set on the camera body. Full-time manual focus override is not available, and there's no distance and/or depth of field scale either.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FESide of the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FESide of the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens

The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE ships with a very nice protective case, and there's a very subtle lens hood that's easy to overlook. The lens accepts 49mm filters when the lens hood is not fitted, or 40.5mm filters when the lens hood is fitted.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FEThe Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens in-hand

Focal Range

At the 35mm focal length the angle of view is 63.1 degrees.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE35mm

Focusing

The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE has a wide focus ring given the overall size of the lens. There are no hard stops at the ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 49mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A7R II that we tested it with.

We didn't experience too much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It has a pretty quiet focusing mechanism, too, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, were quite prevalent in our test shots, as shown in the examples below.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE
   
Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2.8, there is significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/8 virtually eliminates this.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FELight fall-off at 35mm

Macro

The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 35cm/1.14ft and a magnification reproduction ratio of 0.12x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FEClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens, Samyang employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE
   
Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.