Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE Review
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE Introduction
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE (also known as the Rokinon AF 85mm f/1.4 in the USA) is a new fast portrait prime lens for full-frame Sony Alpha cameras.
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE is comprised of 11 optical elements in 8 groups, including 4 HR (high-resolution) glass elements and 1 ED (extra-low dispersion) glass 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 an Ultrasonic Dual Linear stepping motor for smooth and accurate autofocusing.
The Samyang FE 85mm lens boasts a weather-sealed design and there's a UMC Super multi-layer coating to help reduce flare and ghosting. It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.90m (2.95ft) and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.11x.
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE is available now priced at £599 / $699 in the UK and USA respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 568 grams and measuring 9.99cm in length, the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE is a fairly big lens given its focal length, although it's actually about the same size as the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE optic that we've previously reviewed.
As seen in the photos below, it rather dwarves the full-frame Sony A7 III camera that we tested it with, especially when the large lens hood is attached.
Build quality is excellent. The lens has a metal 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. The focusing ring is pleasingly wide and ridged for easier grip.
The lens also features weather-sealing to provide anti-dust and water-protection capabilities, a nice touch given the low price.
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 instead. There's no distance and/or depth of field scale available on this lens.
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE has a very wide focus ring given the overall size of the lens. 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 77mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A7 III that we tested it with.
We didn't experience too much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing most of the time. It has a quiet focusing mechanism, too, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE ships with a soft drawstring bag and a large plastic circular-shaped lens hood. It accepts 77mm filters.
At the 85mm focal length the angle of view is 28.9 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, were not too much of a problem in our test shots, as shown in the examples below.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/5.6 virtually eliminates this.
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 0.90m (2.95ft) and a magnification reproduction ratio of 0.11x. 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 Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE lens, Samyang employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in really nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.