Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE Review

July 15, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


he new Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a very fast and very affordable "standard" lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras that's a viable alternative to the slower Sony FE 50mm F1/8 and Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lenses. It's also the very first auto-focus lens from Samyang, who have always specialized in producing manual-focus only lenses.

Sharpness is a little disappointing when shooting wide-open at f/1.4, though, only becoming acceptable at f/2 and very good from f/2.8 onwards, while the edges aren't quite as sharp as the centre, with f/5.6-f/11 producing the sharpest results. There's also lots of evidence of chromatic aberrations, plus vignetting at wide-open apertures, admittedly something that other fast lenses also suffer from.

The build quality is excellent considering the price-tag, though, with the metal lens mount and housing adding to the high-quality feel, and Samyang have also included a very good petal-shaped lens hood. Making its debut on a Samyang lens, auto-focusing was acceptably quick on the A7R II that we tested the lens with, although we missed having manual focus over-ride at any time and the AF mechanism is pretty noisy.

The price of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is undoubtedly very attractive given the fast f/1.4 aperture, but whether this can make up for the slightly disappointing image quality is open to debate. If you don't need f/1.4, then the Sony FE 50mm F/1.8 is a very affordable option, the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA offers better image quality for a little more cash, and the upcoming Sony FE 50mm F/1.4 offers the same fast maximum aperture for an eye-watering £1,500.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 5