Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE Review
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is a good all-round standard zoom lens for Sony Alpha full-frame cameras, but it's not in the same league as our default pick, the similarly-priced Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art.
This new Samyang lens is substantially heavier than both of its main rivals, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art, and it can't match either of those lenses in terms of image quality or features.
In terms of its optical performance, it's sharp enough in the centre throughout most of the zoom range, but is disappointingly soft wide-open at 70mm. Performance at the edges of the frame never comes close to the centre, and there's some very obvious barrel distortion at 24mm and pincushioning at 70mm.
On a more positive note, it produces some nice bokeh effects thanks to the 9-blade iris diaphragm, vignetting isn't too bad, and chromatic aberrations are generally well-controlled.
Auto-focusing proved to be fairly quick on the Sony Alpha A9 that we tested the lens with, but certainly not as fast as either the Sony or Sigma lenses.
Build quality is surprisingly good given the modest asking price, and Samyang have also included a decent lens hood and nice soft bag in the overall package. The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens is also very usefully weather-sealed.
This lens doesn't have a built-in optical image stabilisation system, though, instead relying on Sony's in-camera system, which will be fine for everyone except those who own a first generation Alpha camera (which don't have built-in OIS).
The Custom switch is a nice feature, essentially turning the focus ring into a clickless aperture ring if you're happy to rely on auto rather than manual focusing.
The price of the Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is very attractive indeed, at less than half the price of the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM.
Unfortunately the outstanding Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art doesn't cost that much more, which is really the main problem for this new Samyang lens.
If the Sigma lens didn't exist, we'd be recommending the Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE more highly as a more affordable alternative to the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, but unfortunately it delivers better performance and provides more features in a lighter package in a similar price-bracket.
So overall, Samyang's first ever autofocus zoom lens is something of a mixed bag, and faced with some fierce competition from Sony and especially Sigma, isn't really worth considering unless you're on a very tight budget.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4.5|