Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE Review

November 28, 2023 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The elephant in the room is obviously the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD, which let's generously say the Samyang draws inspiration from, being identical in nearly every way.

Crucially, though, it's a lot cheaper than its Tamron rival whilst offering very similar levels of image quality and even throwing a couple of extra video features into the mix, all of which make it the better choice out of the two, depending on the availability of each brand in your particular location.

You do have to invest in a Lens Station accessory if you want to update and customise the lens, whereas the Tamron has a built-in USB port that can connect the lens directly to a laptop, but it's hardly an expensive purchase.

You can't really go wrong with either lens, though, as they're both fantastic all-rounders that could effectively replace two fast zooms in your bag.

A lot of event photographers typically rely on a 28-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 s for their bread and butter shooting. The beauty of a 35-150mm is that it could replace both of those lenses in your camera bag, if you don't mind the reduction in zoom range at either end.

This has the twin benefits of saving weight - although the Samyang 35-1500mm is a heavy lens at 1.2kg, it would still be dwarfed by most 28-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens combinations - and saving time - instead of having to swap lenses on a single body or between dual camera/lens setups, you can simply use one lens that's always on the camera and snap away.

Being able to quickly zoom from moderate wide-angle to telephoto using one lens is extremely liberating and really allows you to concentrate on capturing the moment. What's more, there are virtually no compromises in terms of image quality, other than a tendency for exhibiting some flare when shooting directly into the sun and some noticeable vignetting wide-open.

This is one sharp lens throughout the generous zoom range and at both the centre and edges of the frame, and in our opinion it's more than good enough to effectively replace not only those two 28-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms, but also a bagful of primes if you don't mind slightly slower maximum apertures.

The Samyang 35-150mm eye-opening maximum aperture of f/2 is unheard of in a lens of this type, and although it quickly reaches f/2.2 at around 40mm and f/2.8 at around 80mm, having the ability to shoot between f/2-f/2.8 from 35-80mm is something that very few zoom lenses offer.

Priced at £1319 / $1199, it significantly undercuts the Tamron version at £1599 / $1899, so much so that unless you can't get hold of the Samyang for some reason, that's the one that we'd recommend simply because the cost saving is so great.

Whilst it may not be the most original release ever, Samyang have at least added to the winning formula established by Tamron and also widened its appeal by making it cheaper, all without affecting the build or image quality. If you were intrigued by the 35-150mm focal range but put off by the price, then this new Samyang is well worth trying.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 5