Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE Review

May 11, 2020 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE is a small and lightweight standard prime lens that's both pin-sharp in the centre and capable of delivering some lovely bokeh, whilst being more compact and capable of focusing more quickly and quietly than the heavier, more sluggish Sony FE 50mm F1.8. It doesn't feature any degree of weather-proofing, though, and it actually costs a little more than its main rival.

45mm sounds like a rather odd choice of focal length for a standard prime lens, but Samyang point out that it provides a more natural angle of view than more "stuffy-feeling" 50mm lenses. We liked the slightly wider-angle of view that it offers.

In terms of image quality, sharpness is very good in the centre when shooting wide-open at f/1.8 and outstanding from f/2.8 onwards, although the edges aren't quite as sharp, with f/2.8-f/11 producing the sharpest results. There is very little evidence of chromatic aberrations and some obvious but acceptable vignetting at wide-open apertures.

Auto-focusing was acceptably quick on the Sony Alpha A7 III that we tested the lens with, and the AF mechanism is pretty quiet too, making it well-suited for video use.

The build quality is fine rather than brilliant, a concession to the light-weight nature and budget price of this lens. The lens uses a mixture of plastics and metals in its construction and there's no weather-proofing of any kind.

At the time of writing, the Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE sits between the cheaper Sony FE 50mm F1.8 and the more expensive Sony Zeiss 55mm F1.8 in terms of pricing. A very recent price drop in the UK from £349 to £265 positions it more closely to the former Sony lens, whilst significantly undercutting the latter one. Note that Samyang do include both a high-quality case and a lens hood.

Overall, the Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE is a welcome addition to the somewhat crowded line-up of standard prime lenses for Sony Alpha cameras. It's a very portable lens that offers a slightly different view of the world, whilst producing images with lots of character at an attractive price.

4.5 stars

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