Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE Review

July 15, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a new standard prime lens for full-frame Sony Alpha cameras. Designed to be the ultimate “fast 50”, the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is comprised of 9 elements in 8 groups with 3 aspherical lenses and features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image. It’s the first ever Samyang lens to feature auto-focusing, incorporating a stepping motor for smooth and accurate autofocusing, and there’s a UMC Super multi-layer coating to reduce flare and ghosting. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm/1.47ft and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.15x The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens retails for £449.99 in the UK.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at 585 grams and measuring 9.77cm in length, the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a big lens given its focal length, and significantly larger and heavier than both the Sony FE 50mm F1/8 and the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA. As seen in the photos below, it rather dwarves the full-frame Sony A7R II camera, especially with the lens hood attached.

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens alongside a Sony A7R II

Build quality is excellent. The lens has a metal 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 50mm f/1.4 FE Side of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE Front of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FERear of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 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 50mm f/1.4 FESide of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FESide of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens

The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE ships with a soft drawstring bag and a large plastic petal-shaped lens hood. It accepts 67mm filters.

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FEThe Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens in-hand

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FEThe Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens with the supplied hood fitted

Focal Range

At the 50mm focal length the angle of view is 46.8 degrees.

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE50mm

Focusing

The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE lens has a wide focus ring. 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 67mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.25 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 quite a noisy focusing mechanism, though, which makes this lens less 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 50mm f/1.4 FE Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE
   
Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/5.6 virtually eliminates this.

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FELight fall-off at 50mm

Macro

The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 45cm/1.47ft and a magnification reproduction ratio of 0.15x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 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 50mm f/1.4 FE lens, Samyang employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very 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 50mm f/1.4 FE Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE
   
Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE

Sharpness

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

Entry Tags

test, sample images, mirrorless, jpegs, sony, jpgs, 50mm, sony fe, samyang, manual focus, sony aps-c, 50mm lens, fast fifty, auto focus, auto-focus, sony mirrorless, sony full frame, fast 50, Samyang AF 50mm f1.4 FE review, samyang AF 50mm f1.4 FE

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