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Some real world samples of Samyang AF 85mm f1.4 lens on Sony Mirrorless

Who is this Sam Yang you ask?'

https://www.flickr.com/photos/halberst/albums/72157712544206043

Nearing the end of the year, it was time to buy some new business related gear.For part of my work, shooting people with blurry backgrounds is an important ability. I already own a good 85mm lens for my Sony E-mount system: the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8. And I own the Sigma Art 135mm f1.8, one of my favorite lenses. Despite amazing optical performance, the Sigma is not only a bit long for some work but really big and heavy.

For a while I’d been eyeing a used Canon 85mm f1.2. There was a real deal on LensAuthority.com for a while that had minor scratches and a small filter ring dent. But I waited to long. Then I was contemplating the Sigma 85mm in Canon mount- so I could use for digital but also on my Canon film cameras. 

In the end I bought a slightly used Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f1.4 lens for Sony. With Samyang/Rokinon it’s important to note that this is the autofocus version. This Korean company has been making good, budget manual focus lenses for a while now. Some time ago, I bought (and later sold) the Rokinon 85mm manual focus lens. I was happy with the performance, but with that shallow of depth-of-field (DOF) manual focus was tough. I got a low number of keepers.

One of the biggest benefits of Mirrorless photography is the face and eye focus functions. It’s now possible to get a high hit rate with a very shallow DOF. My first tests confirm that my new lens can do a good job of eye focus, and is very sharp and contrasty wide open (at least near the center of the frame.) So it seems this lens will do what I need of it.

“Bokeh” the defocused area of an image is subjective, but with a lens of this nature it can be an important consideration. Personally I do like the Samyang/Rokinon’s out of focus rendering. Like my Batis, it does get “cat eye” highlights the further from the center. 

Another consideration that you might not find on another review…. I have an infrared converted Sony a5000. When I bought that camera, I had no idea that lens performance on IR cameras is a whole ‘nother bag. I was quite surprised to find that some of my best lenses on normal cameras were crap on the IR camera. For example, I have the Sigma Art 18-35mm. On a conventional APS-C camera it is flawless. That lens is sharp wide open (f1.8) from one end of the zoom to the other. On infrared, it’s soft on the edges, and displays a prominent hot spot in the center.

This Samyang appears to be a good choice for IR. It’s sharp edge to edge and displays no hotspot. Additionally this lens sports a 77mm filter ring size which allows use of all of my IR filters.

So why would one choose this Samyang over any of the other offerings?

  • It’s the cheapest 85mm f1.4 lens native to Sony FE system
  • It’s the lightest  lens native to Sony FE system
  • It costs about the same as the cheapest f1.8  lens native to Sony FE system
  • It has weather sealing (though not at the mount!)
  • This lens performs well for Infrared

Why wouldn’t one choose the SamRok 85mm f1.4?



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(I stole borrowed this info from another blog) Weight of various E mount 85mm lenses
  • Sony FE 85mm F/1.8: 371 grams
  • Zeiss Batis 85mm F/1.8: 452 grams 
  • Sigma ART 85mm F/1.4: 1130 grams
  • Sony FE 85mm F/1.4 GM: 820 grams 
  • Samyang / Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 652: grams

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