Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 Review

March 15, 2018 | Mark Goldstein |
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Introduction

The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 (also known as the Rokinon SP 50mm f/1.2 in the US) is a very fast standard prime lens for full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras. The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 is a manual focus lens constructed of 11 elements arranged in 8 groups, including one aspherical lens and one high refractive index lens, with multi-layered and anti-reflexive UMC coatings to help prevent ghosting and flare. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.17x. The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 / Rokinon SP 50mm f/1.2 lens is available in Canon EF mount only and retails for £799 in the UK (inc. VAT), €949 in Europe and $999 in the US.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at a whopping 1200grams and measuring 11.7cm in length, the Samyang Premium MF 14mm f/2.4 is a very large and very heavy lens given its moderate focal length. As seen in the photos below, it's still a fairly good match for the full-frame Canon EOS 5DS R camera, just be warned that it it might prove too heavy for all-day-use.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens alongside the Canon EOS 5DS R

Build quality is outstanding. The lens has a metal housing and a metal mount too. The focusing ring is pleasingly wide and most of it is rubberised for easier grip, although as with the other XP lenses that we've reviewed, this finish does pickup dirt and fingerprints very easily.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Side of the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Side of the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Front of the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Rear of the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens

As this is a manual focus lens only, there's a distance scale that runs from the closest distance of 0.45m to infinity (there's no depth of field scale though). The action of the focusing ring is very well damped, making it easier to quickly and precisely focus on your subject, and it rotates by about 180 degrees.

Focusing is performed internally so the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 doesn't change length and the filter thread doesn't rotate, good news for filter users.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Front of the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens

 

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Rear of the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens in-hand

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 ships with a soft drawstring bag and a large plastic circular lens hood. It accepts massive 93mm filters.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are impressively well controlled with the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 - the examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 Samyang XP 50mm F1.2

Light Fall-off

With the Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 wide open at F1.2, you can see some very noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/4 or smaller.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Vignetting at 50mm

Macro

The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 is certainly not a macro lens. The close-focus point is at 0.45m from the film/sensor plane and the maximum magnification is 0.17x. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2Close-up performance

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. One of the reason to buy such a fast lens is to be able to isolate the subject from the background. Samyang was apparently very much aware of this requirement, as they employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades for a very pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they largely succeeded. Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/1.2
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/1.4
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/1.6
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/1.8
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/2
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/2.8
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/4
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/5.6
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/8
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/11
 
Samyang XP 50mm F1.2
f/16

Sharpness

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