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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?'


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?

(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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