Samyang Optics have been on a roll lately releasing Auto focus lenses for Sony and Canon cameras, recently they announced a new Auto focus lens for Canon EF mount the AF 85mm f1.4 EF lens, great news for Canon users. This is the second auto focus lens Samyang have produced for Canon users, with the previous lens being the AF 14mm f2.8 EF check out my review here.
I’ve been using this lens for about a month now and have been able to test it out in a number of different scenarios an have to say it has performed well, before I give my thoughts, here is some information and specs direct from Samyang.
The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF is designed with a bright aperture of F1.4. The new 85mm is formed of 9 elements in 7 groups, with 1 Hybrid aspherical lens. It also has Ultra Multi Coating, a feature used to reduce ghosting and lens flare. This lens provides smooth out-focusing and beautiful bokeh effect with excellent center resolution. The AF 85mm F1.4 EF lens is equipped with a variety of Samyang’s most advanced lens technologies, making it ideal for a variety of shooting situations – portraits, outdoor, pets and more. It is also lightweight and compact, weighs only 485g without lens caps and hood, maximizing portability and usability.
|Model name||AF 85mm F1.4 EF|
|Aperture range||F1.4 ~ 16|
|Lens optical||Construction||9 ELEMENTS IN 7 GROUPS|
|Special lens||Hybrid ASP 1|
|Minium focusing distance||0.90m (2.95ft)|
|Maximum maginification ratio||x 0.11|
|Number of blades||9|
|Angle of view||35mm||28.4˚|
|Weight without lens cap, hood||485g|
When this lens arrived and I opened the package from Samyang I immediately noticed the size of the box, the retail packaging box was quite small, hinting that the lens inside was also small. Opening the retail packaging I found the lens, lens hood and cloth lens bag that come with most Samyang lenses.
Taking the lens out of the box and looking over it I noticed how light this lens is at 570g, it’s even lighter without lens hood and caps at 485g, I also noticed how compact the lens was at approx 80mm long (actually 72mm), a far cry from the previous Samyang lens I tested, the huge XP 50mm f1.2 EF.
Something else I noticed straight away was that although this lens looks similar to the other auto focus lenses Samyang have recently released in terms of build quality, materials, colour etc the actual design is a little different, it doesn’t have the sharp angled edges the other lenses have, instead it has slightly rounded edges which in my opinion is more inline with the style of Canon bodies, it looks great.
Next I noticed like the Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 EF lens this new lens also has a weather sealing gasket around the lens mount, a nice touch, I’d like to see this on their Sony mount lenses also. I also noticed the 77mm filter thread which is also a nice feature as a lot of Canon lenses use the same filter size.
After looking over this lens, given it’s size, weight, features such as focus by wire I think Samyang may be anticipating the release of the rumoured Canon full frame mirrorless camera in the future, this is just my thoughts, either way it really is a nice direction Samyang seem to be going producing light, compact fast auto focus lenses.
Here’s some pictures of the lens,
Mounted on a Canon aps-c camera it’s a very light and compact combination.
Here you can see the weather sealing gasket, slightly curved rather than sharp angles and the all important AF/MF switch.
The Samyang af 85mm f1.4 pairs well with the Canon 1dx
The lens is focus by wire, electronic focus like all recent Samyang auto focus lenses.
I’m a fan of Canon cameras so Samyang producing an 85mm auto focus lens for EF mount is pretty exciting to me, I really wanted to test this new lenses auto focus ability so took it along to a mountain bike enduro practice session mounted to a 1dx, how did it perform?
Great! I was pretty impressed by how quickly the lens could focus and hold focus while tracking moving subjects, here’s some example shots.
The above five shot sequence shows how the lens handled tracking subjects coming directly towards me, no problem at all. I did this all day at all apertures, the only misses were through fault of my own, a little rusty with sport.
Above, focus on the eyes! at f1.4 you can blur that background out and draw attention to your subject. Simon was flying and ended up on the podium the next day, the lens did well to keep up with his speed, love how the f1.4 aperture separates the subject and background. Simon isn’t a bad photographer check out his work here at Simon Noble photography
Above as you can see the lens didn’t have to much trouble keeping up with on coming subjects a situation that tests your gear well.
The above image was taken late in the day in a darker gully, settings for this shot, iso 800, f2, 1/800 again no trouble with keeping focus.
Over the day the above images were taken I tried various focus points, apertures etc to get a feel for how well this lens performed, I walked away confident the Samyang AF 85mm f1.4 EF is excellent when it comes to auto focus speed, tracking and general reliability, fantastic.
The 85mm focal length and fast f1.4 aperture lends itself well to portraiture and this will be the genre of photography a lot will be purchasing this lens for, I’m not a portrait photographer but here are a few pics along with my thoughts.
In close at f2 you can easily melt away your background and things look pretty nice. This was taken in an old run down building, in the background there is an old fire place, foliage etc but the f2 aperture blurs a lot of theses distractions.
Above at f1.4 focussing on Catherine’s eye using auto focus and a single point on the 1dx focus was spot on.
As mentioned portraits aren’t something I shoot a lot of but this lens is sharp wide open, the out of focus areas look nice enough and focus performs well.
Image quality/image examples
First up are a couple of images to show what to expect with vignetting,
At f1.4 there is vignetting at the edges.
Above at f2 there is very slight vignetting
Next are some real world examples to show image quality
Above two images, the first is the full scene at f8 showing a lot of fine detail. The second is a crop so we can have a bit closer look at the details. As you can see this lens is capable of showing a lot of detail.
Fungus, f8, iso 400
Leaf at f2.8
White Peacock, auto focus on the Samyang af 85mm f1.4 EF was very welcome when photographing this subject.
Another white peacock image, I’m lucky to have these in the park close to my home, again the auto focus made this image possible as these peacocks do not stay still.
The new Samyang AF 85mm f1.4 has some nice features, build quality is metal/alloy construction like a lot of the recent Samyang auto focus releases, there is weather sealing to keep moisture and dust out. The lens is sharp at f1.4, out of focus areas look pleasing to the eye and the lens is capable of capturing a lot of detail.
Just like the previous Canon auto focus lens from Samyang the auto focus is fast and reliable. It is another nice option for Canon users from Samyang, I’m looking forward to using it more and also seeing what they have for us next.
Price here in Australia will be approximately AUD $1099
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