Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Review

December 8, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 is a very fast short telephoto lens for full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras. The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 is a manual focus lens constructed of 10 elements arranged in 7 groups, including one aspherical lens and two high refractive lenses, with multi-layered and anti-reflexive UMC coatings to help prevent ghosting and flare. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 80cm and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.13x. The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens is available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts and retails for £899 in the UK (inc. VAT) and $999 in the US.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at 1050 grams and measuring 10cm in length, the Samyang Premium MF 14mm f/2.4 is a very big and heavy lens given its moderate telephoto focal length. As seen in the photos below, it's still a good match for the full-frame Canon EOS 5DS R camera.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens alongside the Canon EOS 5DS R

Build quality is outstanding. The lens has a metal housing and a metal mount too. The focusing ring is pleasingly wide and most of it is rubberised for easier grip, although this finish does pickup dirt and fingerprints very easily.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Side of the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Front of the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Rear of the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens

As this is a manual focus lens only, there's a distance scale that runs from the closest distance of 0.8m to infinity (there's no depth of field scale though). The action of the focusing ring is very well damped, making it easier to quickly and precisely focus on your subject, and it rotates by about 180 degrees.

Focusing is performed internally so the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 doesn't change length and the filter thread doesn't rotate, good news for filter users.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Front of the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens

 

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Rear of the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens in-hand

The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 ships with a soft drawstring bag and a large plastic circular lens hood. It accepts massive 93mm filters.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are impressively well controlled with the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 - the examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2

Light Fall-off

With the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 wide open at f/1.2, you can see some noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/4 or smaller.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Vignetting at 85mm

Macro

The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 is certainly not a macro lens. The close-focus point is at 0.8m from the film/sensor plane and the maximum magnification is 0.13x. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Close-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. One of the reason to buy such a fast lens is to be able to isolate the subject from the background. Samyang was apparently very much aware of this requirement, as they employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades for a very pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they largely succeeded. Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2
   
Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2

Sharpness

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

Entry Tags

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