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Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Review

John Riley reviews the new Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS, a bright prime lens for APS-C mirrorless cameras.

|  Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features

Samyang 35mm F1,2 Front Oblique View

There are a number of bright f/1.2 standard lenses available. Samyang has now introduced a 35mm f/1.2 for APS-C and MFT formats, this being a “35mm equivalent” of around 50mm and 70mm respectively, being a traditional standard lens or a short telephoto depending on the format. This is also a manual focus lens. Let's see how well it handles and how well it performs in technical tests and in the field.


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Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Handling and Features

Samyang 35mm F1,2 On Fujifilm X T2

This compact and light (443g) lens sits firmly on the Fujifilm X-T2 body supplied for the review. It is perfectly balanced with the camera body. There is a generous bayonet fit lens hood that fits smoothly, although the click stop is very light and it is easily turned accidentally. As the hood is round we will not end up with unwanted vignetting should the hood turn from its locked position. The bayonet fit surrounds the 62mm filter thread. 

Behind this lies the large, smoothly operating manual focus ring. Distances are clearly marked in feet and metres, but there is no depth of field scale. Closest to the camera body is the aperture ring that turns in the Nikon/Pentax direction. The click stops are easily felt and have just the right amount of resistance.

The mount is well engineered and in the case of the Fujifilm X mount provided is without any electronic contacts. The lens is also available in Canon M (426g), Sony E (420g) and MFT (420g) mounts.

Lens construction comprises 9 elements in 7 groups. There are 2 aspherical and 1 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) elements in the formulation. The 9 bladed diaphragm is intended to provide a more circular aperture, for improved smoothness to the out of focus areas in an image. This is, of course, referred to as the bokeh of a lens. The aperture is always at the value set, so focusing is best achieved at f/1.2 where the image is brightest and the depth of field narrowest. This enables the point of focus to be judged very easily, although this will depend on the viewfinder system of the camera body and any focus assistance that may be available. In the case of the Fujifilm X-T2 focusing the lens was straightforward enough.

Samyang 35mm F1,2 Top View On Fujifilm X T2

There is a certain freedom in taking a camera out with one lens, at least once in a while, and the “standard lens” is an ideal general purpose optic to try this with. The 35mm focal length equates to using a standard 50mm lens on a 35mm-format camera, which is the classic lens. This is a very versatile focal length that offers a field of view and perspective very similar to the natural view of the human eye. It also tends to be a highly corrected design that can take all sorts of optical abuse as close up lenses, filters, extension tubes and other accessories are employed. The closest focus unaided is 0.38m or 1.24 feet. This is slightly closer than traditional standard lenses.

In the case of MFT format, the 35mm-equivalent is 70mm, a short telephoto that should be very useful for portraits and landscapes. Not quite a standard lens for MFT users, but with an added bonus of focusing significantly closer than a traditional 70mm lens would.

The lens is clearly well made and it can be used to deliver some fantastic quality images.

Samyang 35mm F1,2 Rear Oblique View

Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Performance

Central sharpness is good even at f/1.2, becoming very good by f/2. The figures are then excellent from f/2.8 through to f/11, eventually giving way to diffraction but still very good even at f/16.

The edges at f/1.2 are also good, virtually matching the centre. Sharpness becomes very good at f/2 and f/2.8 and then excellent from f/4 to f/8. Results at f/11 are still very good, and remain good at f/16.


Samyang 35mm F1 2 MTF

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Fujifilm X-T2 using Imatest.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is controlled very well indeed and should need no correction in software. It is an impressive set of figures, approaching very close to zero in the centre of the field and being not far behind at the edges.


Samyang 35mm F1 2 CA

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Fujifilm X-T2 using Imatest.

Flare was not found to be a problem. The UMC multi-coating and lens hood ensure a freedom from internal reflections and artefacts, so images are clean and of good contrast even when shooting into the light.

Distortion is also almost zero, measuring just -0.1% barrelling. This is as good as some macro lenses, so is also very impressive.

The bokeh of the lens is very pleasant, particularly as the wider apertures are used. Wide open at f/1.2, as we might expect, there are some sublime possibilities. At other apertures results are also smooth and attractive in the resulting images.

The overall performance of the lens is very strong.

Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Sample Photos


Value For Money

The Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS lens is priced at £359.

There are not that many alternatives in very bright lenses, but Fujifilm offer the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 R at £449. Sigma has the 30mm f/1.4 DC DN in Sony E and MFT mounts at £249. Olympus offer the 25mm f/1.2 M. Zuiko PRO lens for MFT at £1099.

This makes the Samyang lens look good value, albeit that it is manual focus and the others do offer AF.  

For more options have a look at the Top 10 Best Samyang Lenses.


Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Verdict

The Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS is yet another cracking good lens from Samyang, offering fantastic performance at a very reasonable price. The manual focusing is much easier than many ultra-bright lenses and is possibly more accurate at f/1.2 than some AF systems might be capable of. There really is little to fault with this design and will be a tempting proposition for many mirrorless users.


Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Pros

  • Excellent standard of sharpness
  • Almost zero CA
  • Minimal distortion
  • Well made

Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Cons

  • No weather resistance
  • No electronic connection with camera
  • MF only

Overall Verdict

Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Fujifilm X Mount
  • Canon EOS M
Focal Length35mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/1.2
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size62mm
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus38cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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