Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE Review
The Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE (also known as the Rokinon AF 75mm f/1.8 in the USA) is a new short-telephoto 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 112.5mm.
The compact, lightweight Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE is comprised of 10 elements in 9 groups, including 5 special elements (3 Extra Low Dispersion and 2 High Refractive). It features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out of focus areas of the image.
It's the latest Samyang lens to feature auto-focusing, incorporating a new linear Stepping Motor (STM) for fast, quite and accurate AF. The Samyang FE 85mm lens also boasts a new Custom Mode switch for changing the function of the focus ring.
There's an Ultra Multi-layer Coating to help reduce flare and ghosting and it has a minimum focusing distance of 0.69m (2.26ft) and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.13x.
The Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE is available now priced at £379.99 / $399.99 in the UK and USA respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at just 230 grams / 8.11 ounces and measuring 6.9 cm in length, the Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE is a very small and light lens given its focal length, much smaller than the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE optic that we've previously reviewed, and similarly sized to a standard prime like the Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens. Compared to it's most direct rival, the Sony FE 85mm F1.8, the new Samyang lens is 141 grams lighter and 1.3cm shorter in length.
As seen in the photos below, it's a very good match for the full-frame Sony A7 III camera that we tested it with, even when the large lens hood is attached.
Build quality is very good. The lens has an aluminum alloy housing and a metal mount too. 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.
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 75mm 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 58mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 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, although it's not quite as snappy as the Sony FE 85mm F1.8.
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 very quiet focusing mechanism, too, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.
For the first time on a Samyang lens, there's a newly developed Custom switch on the side of the lens barrel. This allows you to set the function of the focus ring to your own preference, which is particularly useful if you always shoot using auto-focusing, as the ring then serves no purpose.
By default it sets the focus ring to manual focus in Mode 1 and to aperture control in Mode 2. Both modes can be further customized using Samyang's USB Lens Station (more functions will be added in a future firmware upgrade).
The Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE ships with a very nice protective case and a large plastic petal-shaped lens hood.
The 75mm focal length provides an angle of view of 32.9 degrees.
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.
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.
There's very little pin-cushion distortion evident at all.
The Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 FE isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 69cm and a maximum magnification of 0.13x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject.
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 75mm f/1.8 lens, Samyang have employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very appealing bokeh for a short telephoto lens.
We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several examples below for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.