Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 Review

December 8, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 is a very fast, high quality, short telephoto lens for full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras. In terms of image quality, both center and edge sharpness are excellent between f/2 and f/11, but there's obvious softness evident wide open at f/1.2 to f/1.8 in both the centre and edges of the frame, which somewhat negates the lens' headline maximum aperture. There is little evidence of chromatic aberrations or vignetting at wide-open apertures, though and the iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades makes for a very pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights.

The build quality is outstanding, with the metal lens mount and housing adding to the high-quality feel, although the rubberised focusing ring does pickup dirt and fingerprints very easily. Samyang have also included a very good circular lens hood. As this is a manual-focus only lens, you'd expect this aspect of the operation to be intuitive, and so it proved, with the very wide focusing ring complete with hard stops and a large rotation angle of 180 degrees enabling smooth and precise focusing.

The price of the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 is very reasonable given the fast f/1.2 aperture, excellent image quality, and solid construction. The only real drawbacks with this lens are the softness when shooting wide-open, it's manual-focus-only nature, and the lack of any weather-sealing, some or all of which may or may not be a deal-breaker for you. Otherwise the Samyang Premium MF 85mm f/1.2 lens is certainly worthy of our Highly Recommended award.

4.5 stars

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