Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE Review

May 11, 2020 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE (also known as the Rokinon AF 45mm f/1.8 in the USA) is a standard prime lens for full-frame Sony Alpha cameras.

It can also be used with Sony's APS-C models where it provides an equivalent focal length of 67.5mm.

The compact, lightweight Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE is comprised of 7 elements in 6 groups, including two aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element.

It features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out of focus areas of the image.

It's also the latest Samyang lens to feature auto-focusing, incorporating a linear Stepping Motor (STM) for fast, quite and accurate AF.

There's an Ultra Multi-layer Coating to help reduce flare and ghosting and it has a minimum focusing distance of 0.45m (1.48ft) and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.12x.

The Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE is available now priced at £349.99 / $399.99 in the UK and USA respectively.

Ease of Use

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Weighing in at just 162 grams / 5.71 ounces and measuring 5.6 cm in length, the Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE is a small and lightweight lens given its focal length.

Compared to its most direct rival, the Sony FE 50mm F1.8, the Samyang 45mm lens is 24 grams lighter and 0.4cm shorter in length.

As shown in the photos below, it's a good match for the full-frame Sony A7 III camera that we tested it with, even when the lens hood is attached.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Build quality is fine, despite the lens' light weight and the mixture of metals and plastics used. The lens has a plastic housing and a metal mount. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass and aspherical lenses have been included to minimise aberration and unnecessary light dispersion.

This lens does not feature any level of weather-sealing to provide anti-dust and water-protection capabilities.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when the MF mode is set on the Sony camera body. Full-time manual focus override is also available if you choose the DMF focusing mode. There's no distance and/or depth of field scale available on this lens.

The Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE has a wide enough focus ring given the overall size of the lens, which is ridged for easier grip. There are no hard stops at the ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 49mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.20 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A7 III camera that we tested it with.

We didn't experience too much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It has a quiet focusing mechanism, too, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

The Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE ships with a very nice protective case and a slim, plastic circular lens-hood.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Focal Range

The 45mm focal length provides an angle of view of 52.31 degrees.

Sigma 45mm F1.4 DG HSM

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not very apparent in our test shots, only appearing in high contrast areas. The examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Light Fall-off and Distortion

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.8, there is some obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to prevent it.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

There's very little barrel or pin-cushion distortion evident at all.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Macro

The Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 45cm and a maximum magnification of 0.12x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Bokeh

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.

In the FE 45mm f/1.8 lens, Samyang have employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very appealing bokeh for a standard prime lens.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several examples below for your perusal.

Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.