There are focal-lengths that are very popular and widely used by many photographers.
Take 85mm for example. One of my first lenses was such a lens, And it is very popular by portrait-photographers.
Even nowadays a 85mm lens is always in my bag – or on my camera 😊 No surprise, that I was thrilled to hear that Samyang launched their second autofocus lens for Canon: And yes – it´s an awesome 85mm lens with a fast aperture of f/1.4!
Another good news was, that i was chosen by Samyang to test the lens in a beta version for its performance. But enough with the foreword – here we go:
Haptics and features of the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF
Compared to other 85mm lenses on the market, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF is an awesome small and lightweight lens for this fast aperture. And it comes in a cool and clear design.
The new 85mm lens fits perfectly on my Canon cameras. Samyang made this lens weather-resistant. So as the AF 14mm 2.8 EF, this lens also has a water-repellent rubber coating at the mount. The front and back lens elements are fixed and won´t move as you focus. So dust between lenses won´t be a problem as it is on my Canon 85mm 1.8 EF USM.
The lens comes with a nice lens-pouch, front and back covers and an easily attachable lens hood. You can screw in filters with 77mm diameter.
Setting the aperture is made electronically via the camera. The available apertures range from f/1.4 to f/16 and can be adjusted in 1/3 stops. Also the lens provides all EXIF informations and identifies correctly as a 85mm 1.4 lens in Adobe Lightroom.
One oft he biggest features is the lenses small weight: It´s only 485 grams! The other competitors 85mm 1.4 lenses about 120% more weight! So it is ideal for having it with you while traveling or on hiking-trips or shooting 12 + hours weddings.
Optical performance of the Samyang AF 85mm 1.4 EF
[singlestroke_side_background image=”5987″][/singlestroke_side_background]Let´s have a closer look at the most important part of a lens – the optical performance:
As always: I’m no „Pixelpeeper“ and I can not and do not want to test lenses like they do in the lab. I won´t take photos of adjustment charts or anything like that. To me it is important that a lens can be used well in real situations, deliver sharp images and is reliable.
As a wedding photographer I often use lenses wide open, so it´s important for me that the lens is sharp even at f/1.4.
The AF 85mm F1.4 EF does a good job in terms of sharpness and i used it quite a bit at f/1.4. Sharpness increases a lot when stopped down to f/2.0. Sharpness in corners is also on a good level and you really can´t complain much about blurry corners.
I shot the same texture at all apertures on my Canon 5D Mark IV, so that you can see the lenses sharpnes for yourself. But remember – my copy still was a beta-version so the final product may have even better detail resolution:
All in all I was surprised, that the AF 85mm F1.4 EF delivers decent images for that low weight the lens has. Especially on a demanding camera like the 5D Mark VI with it´s 30 megapixels.
Colors and Bokeh
[singlestroke_side_background image=”5988″][/singlestroke_side_background]When i took the first images with the AF 85mm F1.4 EF I loved the colors it produced (and I still do)! And that´s not all – the Bokeh is awesome. It´s calm and smooth. Just as I like it. This helps to achieve a dreamy look in your photos or to set the focus on the things that are most important in your image.
The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF has some light vignetting at f/1.4 like all other fast lenses. But it is on a very low level and vignetting is nearly completely gone at f/2.8.
I had the opportunity to do a quick couple shoot with this lens during sunset. I must say I like the flare a lot, since it isn´t as greenish as on my other lenses!
See for yourself:
[singlestroke_side_background image=”5973″][/singlestroke_side_background]There´s quite a bit to say about the inbuilt AF in the new Samyang 85mm F1.4. It is very fast and seems to be as fast as the autofocus in my Canon 135mm 2.0 L lens. So Samyang really did a great job. It is also very quiet so that you will have no problems focussing on a wedding in a quiet church.
The lenses autofocussing works great via phase AF (through the viewfinder) or with liveview in most situations.
But I must say that sometimes the AF didn´t hit my target while focussing in high-precision focus mode through the viewfinder (which I reported to Samyang). Samyang told me that the AF has been updated in the new firmware and that there shall be no more problems now.
But hey – even my Canon 85mm 1.8 EF sometimes misses focus quite often.
I was able to get some great shots during the couple shoot with Cindy and Hannes when they ran towards me:
As on the AF 14mm 2.8 EF the manual focus ring triggers focus by wire. So focussing manually is achived with the help oft he autofocus motor. The focus ring is smooth and can be turned easily.
Conclusions on the new Samyang 85mm F1.4 EF
[singlestroke_side_background image=”5986″][/singlestroke_side_background]The 85mm 1.4 is a lightweight and small lens with good sharpness which give plenty of useful scenarios to work with. Weather sealing makes the lens useful on traveling tours as well. The size and haptics are very good and I really love the colors and bokeh this lens gives to my images.
All in all i can say:
- Good optical performance, razor-sharp from f/4
- Awesome bokeh!
- Lightweight lens – perfect for hiking tours!
- Splashproof and dustproof
- Fast and quiet autofocus
- Great for shooting portraits, couples, weddings and details.
Samyang gave me a lens in BETA-State for this test. I didn´t recieve any money for this review!