Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 Review

March 15, 2018 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Samyang XP 50mm F1.2 is a very fast, high quality standard prime lens for full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras, but it's also very large and very heavy for a 50mm optic (even heavier than the XP 85mm f/1.2 lens), it doesn't offer the best sharpness when shooting wide-open, and it's only currently available in the Canon EF mount.

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. On the plus side, there is little evidence of chromatic aberrations or vignetting at wide-open apertures and the iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades makes for a very pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights at f/1.2-f/1/8, just so long as you don't mind some softness at those apertures.

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, although it's a very tight fit. 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 XP 50mm F1.2 is reasonable enough given the headline grabbing f/1.2 aperture, excellent image quality, and solid construction. There are some significant drawbacks with this lens, though, most notably the softness when shooting wide-open, its manual-focus-only nature (very tricky at f/1.2), the lack of any weather-sealing, and the sheer weight of it.

4 stars

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