Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE Review
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is a fast standard zoom lens for Sony Alpha full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras.
It will also work with APS-C sensor cameras with an effective increase in focal length to 36-105mm due to the crop factor.
It features 17 elements in 14 groups including 2 aspherical elements, a hybrid aspherical element, 3 HR elements and 3 ED elements.
It has a near-circular 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image, a minimum focusing distance of 0.35m (1.15ft), a stepping AF motor for fast and quiet autofocusing, a configurable Custom switch with two different modes, and it's also dust and moisture resistant.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens is available now priced at £828 / $999 in the UK and the US, respectively. It is made in Korea.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at a whopping 1,027g / 36.2oz and measuring nearly 13cm in length, the aluminium alloy bodied Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is certainly a substantial lens, rather dwarfing the Alpha A9 camera that we tested it with (especially with the supplied lens hood fitted), as shown in the photos below.
The lens extends even further by almost 4cms when it's set to the 70mm focal length, with the shortest length at the 24mm focal length.
Build quality is excellent, which is something of a bonus given the budget price-tag.
This lens has a dust and moisture resistant design that is sealed in seven different places which makes it well-suited to life in both the field and the studio.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens has a metal lens mount. It accepts 82mm filters via metal threads.
There is a fairly wide and textured focus ring at the end of the lens. There are no hard stops at the ends of the range, making it harder to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 82mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
The lens utilizes a Linear STM (Stepping Motor) for smooth auto-focusing, and it's very quiet in operation making it well-suited to shooting video.
When it comes to auto-focusing, this lens is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.20 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony Alpha A9 that we tested it with.
We didn't experience too much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing most, but not all of the time. It's also a quiet performer, which makes this lens equally well-suited to both video recording and more candid stills shooting.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is equipped with a Custom Switch on the side of the lens barrel. Essentially you can use it to program the focus ring, with Mode 1 setting it to Manual Focus and Mode 2 turning it into an Aperture Control ring. Samyang are also promising that more functions will be added in a future firmware update.
This lens does not feature optical image stabilisation, so it relies on the camera body's own built-in stabilisation, which is fine unless you're an owner of an early Sony Alpha camera.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens is commendably supplied with both a soft drawstring bag and a good quality plastic petal-shaped lens hood which twists into place.
The 24mm focal length provides an angle of view of 85.6 degrees.
The 70mm focal length provides an angle of view of 34.4 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not too much of a problem with the Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens, except in areas of very high contrast.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2.8, there is some light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE exhibits a lot of both barrel and pincushion distortion, as you can see in the photos below, which will you need to correct in post-processing.
Sunstars and Flare
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is capable of producing fairly nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16 or f/22, as shown below, and the lens isn't very susceptible to flare even when shooting directly into the sun with the supplied lens hood fitted.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is not really a macro lens, but it does offer a usefully close focus point of 0.35m / 1.15ft across the entire zoom range from the sensor plane and a maximum magnification of 0.27x when set to 70mm.
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.
Samyang have paid close attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 9-segment diaphragm with rounded blades for more pleasing bokeh.
In our view, their efforts have been pretty successful for a standard zoom lens - see the examples below to judge for yourself.
In order to show you how sharp the Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.