Updated: Aug 20, 2021
We have Samyang’s 35mm lineup for Sony’s E mount with us today, and we go over how each lens performs as well as which one you might want to get.
Samyang’s 35mm lens lineup consists of the f1.4, the f1.8 and the very tiny and light f2.8 lens. First, we’re going to talk about the Samyang 35mm f1.4 FE. Now, this is mounted on the Sony A7R IV because we wanted to see how these lenses resolved using a 61MP sensor, pushing them to their limits. A little bit of a hint, they do relatively well but there are some things we have some concerns about.
Anyway, let’s talk about the f1.4. This is the biggest of the lineup, coming in at 645 grams. You get 11 elements, nine groups, two aspherical elements, two HR elements to it, 67mm for the filter diameter on this as well and yeah it’s a very simple lens. There are no aperture markings on it whatsoever, you get a red band as you have on all Samyang lenses. It is a very non-descript lens, but it feels pretty well made for a third-party lens. I’ve heard some people say they feel a bit plasticky, I don’t feel this with the 35mm f1.4 at all, it feels very robust.
Now, performance is where I both love this lens and I’m a little bit unhappy with this lens. The reason is that the image quality out of this lens at f1.4 is beautiful. I love the bokeh that comes out of this, there’s great separation from your subject to the background and there’s a nice character to the bokeh too, I like character to my bokeh on my images. However, the autofocusing with this lens and this camera body isn’t as good as I was hoping it was going to be.
I don’t know if there’s a firmware update for the lens, I don’t know if someone will even come out with that, or maybe it’s just the A7R IV, but I felt that I was missing some shots and I was taking my time, but I still felt I was missing more shots than I should be, even at f1.4 or stopping down to f2, f2.8, f4, I was still missing some shots so that’s my only gripe with this lens.
Besides that, for photography, this is a very sharp lens. I really like the images coming out of it and for the price point, it’s really hard to say no to this lens.
Next, we’re going to talk about my favorite lens of the three, because it’s the sweet spot of all of them, the 35mm f1.8. One of the things I love about this lens is that it focuses much faster than the f1.4 and again, like all the other samyang lenses, it’s very sharp with great image quality and it’s very, very light.
This is like 200-odd grams and it feels like nothing on the camera, so if you are looking at the A7C, for example, or a Sony A6000 series, you’re going to like this lens. It really is very non-descript and easy to carry around, but the image quality is fantastic. You get 10 elements, eight groups and you have from f1.8 up to f22 maximum on the aperture. Overall, I like this lens a lot.
Moving on to the third and final lens, the featherweight of the group, this is the Samyang 35mm f2.8, coming in at 85.6 grams. I have held lens hoods heavier than this, it is that light on the Sony A7R IV, I feel like I’m just holding up the camera body. This has a very plastic feel to the lens, of course. It is 85 grams, so don’t expect metal on this. When you look at the specs on paper, you think wow Samyang is packing a pretty big punch, but when you shoot with this, you notice the image quality isn’t the same as the 35mm f1.4 and the 35mm f1.8.
There’s some chromatic aberration, some green fringing here and there when you’re shooting any sort of shiny objects, so I look at this as more of a fun lens. Let’s say you have a Sony A7C or a Sony A6000 series and you want a very light lens to take with you, this might be an option for you. Now, of course, if I would compare this to the 35mm f2.8 from Tamron, I think that lens bests this one. But if you’re on a budget and you need something to take some decent photos with, you’re going to get some good images out of this.
Overall, these Samyang lenses really do perform relatively well, especially for the price point and what you’re getting with them, so don’t discount them because they’re third-party or because of the build quality. You need to take them for a test drive, I think you’re going to really be happy with what you see here coming out of them. I was pleasantly surprised, I wasn’t expecting much and I walked away out of this review saying, you know what, these are not bad at all. I would definitely recommend them for someone who’s on a budget and wants something different than what Sony’s offering or what other third-party manufacturers are offering at a different price point.
I will say the f1.4’s autofocusing for video and photography is a little bit slow. If you’re okay with that, I definitely recommend it. The f1.8 for me is the sweet spot between all three lenses, with a decent price point and I really like it.
Content by Bobby Tonelli