Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF Review

June 8, 2020 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF (also known as the Rokinon AF 85mm F1.4 RF in the USA) is a very fast short telephoto (portrait) prime lens for full-frame Canon R-series mirrorless cameras.

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF is comprised of 11 elements in 8 groups, including 4 high refractive index elements and 1 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 an Ultrasonic Dual Linear motor for quick, quiet autofocus performance.

This lens boasts a weather-sealed design and there's an Ultra Multi-layer Coating to help reduce flare and ghosting and it has a minimum focusing distance of 0.90m (2.95ft) and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.11x.

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF is available now priced at £599.99 / $699.99 in the UK and USA respectively.

Ease of Use

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Weighing in at just 582 grams / 20.53 ounces and measuring almost 10cm in length, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF is quite a large and heavy lens given its modest focal length. Compared to it's most direct rival, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM, the new Samyang lens is less than half the weight, so what you lose in light-gathering power, you more than make up for in terms of portability.

As seen in the photos below, it's not a great match for the diminutive Canon EOS RP camera that we tested it with, especially when the large lens hood is attached. It would be more at home on the larger EOS R body, or the upcoming EOS R5 / R6 cameras.

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Build quality is very good. The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF 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 is fully weather-sealed to help protect it against dust, light rain and snow, a commendable design decision given the low price tag that it commands.

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when the MF mode is selected via the AF/MF switch on the side of the barrel. There's no distance and/or depth of field scale available on this lens.

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF has a generously sized 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 large 77mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 RF is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS RP camera that we tested it with, although it's not as snappy as the Canon RF F1.2L USM lens.

We didn't experience very much "hunting" at all, 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 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF ships with a soft drawstring bag and a large plastic circular-shaped lens hood. It accepts 77mm filters.

Focal Range

The 85mm focal length provides an angle of view of 28.9 degrees on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not too apparent in our test shots, only appearing in high contrast areas.

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Light Fall-off and Distortion

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is some very obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to prevent it.

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

f/1.4

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

f/4

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

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Macro

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 0.90m (2.95ft) and a maximum magnification of 0.11x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject.

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

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 AF 85mm F1.4 RF lens, Samyang have employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very appealing bokeh for this telephoto lens.

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

Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 RF

Sharpness

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