Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE Review

June 20, 2017 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The new Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is a very affordable, high-quality wide-angle lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.

In terms of image quality, sharpness is good when shooting wide-open at f/2.8, becoming even better from f/4 onwards, but the edges aren't quite as sharp as the centre, with f/5.6-f/16 producing the sharpest results. There's also lots of evidence of chromatic aberrations, plus vignetting at wide-open apertures, admittedly something that other wide-angle lenses also suffer from. 

As with Samyang's previous AF lenses, the build quality is again excellent, with the alloy metal lens mount and housing adding to the high-quality feel. Samyang have also included a very good lens case and an almost hidden lens hood. Auto-focusing proved to be quick and quiet on the A7R II that we tested the lens with, although we missed having manual focus over-ride at any time.

The price of the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is undoubtedly very attractive given the fast f/2.8 aperture, great build quality and the quick and quiet auto-focusing.

The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE does have a natural competitor in the form of the almost identical Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA lens, which was released along with the very first Sony Alpha E-mount camera back in 2013. The Samyang AF 35mm is significantly cheaper and slightly lighter, while the Sonnar T* FE 35mm additionally offers dust- and moisture-resistantance and doesn't suffer so badly from chromatic aberrations. There really isn't much else to choose between them, though, so unless you're prepared to pay handsomely for the Zeiss name and a certain level of weather-proofing, we'd definitely recommend the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE instead.

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