Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE Review

September 30, 2020 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The new Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE is a very affordable, high-quality moderate wide-angle lens for Sony Alpha full-frame mirrorless cameras.

For APS-C shooters, it also makes for a very nice "nifty-fifty" 50mm lens.

In terms of image quality, sharpness is good when shooting wide-open at f/1.8, becoming even better from f/2 onwards, but the edges aren't quite as sharp as the centre, with f/2.8-f/11 producing the sharpest results.

There's also evidence of chromatic aberrations, particularly when shooting wide-open at f/1.8, plus some obvious vignetting, which is admittedly something that other wide-angle lenses also suffer from. Both of these can be easily corrected in post-production.

It also exhibits flare when shooting directly into the sun, even with the supplied lens hood fitted, which is not so easy to remove. On the plus side, it does produce very nice sunstars at f/16 and f/22.

As with Samyang's previous AF lenses that we've reviewed, the build quality is again very good, with the alloy metal lens mount and high-quality plastic housing adding to the premium feel. The addition of anti-dust and water-protection weather-proofing is a great touch.

Despite the low asking price, Samyang have also included a very good lens case and a decent lens hood.

Auto-focusing proved to be very quick and virtually silent on the A7 III that we tested the lens with, although we missed having manual focus over-ride at any time.

The low price of the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE is undoubtedly very attractive given the fast f/1.8 aperture, sharp results, nice bokeh, great build quality, weather-proofing and the quick and quiet auto-focusing.

In terms of its main rivals, this lens is twice as large and heavy as Samyang's other 35mm FE lens, the AF 35mm f/2.8 FE, but obviously has a much faster maximum aperture, as well as the useful Custom switch and weather-proofing.

The main alternative from Sony is the recently released FE 35mm f/1.8, which at at £630 / $750 is twice the price of the new Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE.

The Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens can focus a little more closely, but it's also slightly larger and heavier than the new Samyang lens. Otherwise there's very little to choose between them.

Unless you're prepared to pay double just for the Sony name, we'd highly recommend the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE as a small, light and sharp 35mm auto-focus lens for Sony Alpha photographers.

4.5 stars

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