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Samyang AF 35mm F/1.4 FE II Lens Review

John Riley has been putting the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE II lens to the test on the 42MP Sony A7R III.

|  Samyang AF 35mm F/1.4 FE II in Interchangeable Lenses
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Samyang AF 35mm F1,4FEII Front Oblique View | 1/5 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100

50 years on from the beginning, Samyang's celebrations include a revamp of the AF lens range and development far beyond those days of manual focus optics. 35mm lenses have long been the favoured “wide standard” lens of street photographers in particular, and the first edition of the 35mm f/1.4 has been highly successful, receiving a Highly Recommended award from ePHOTOzine. Now we have a new 35mm f/1.4 lens, the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE II, intended for use on Sony FE full-frame cameras, although it can also be used on the APS-C crop format bodies, where the "35mm equivalent" field of view would be 52.5mm. Let's see how the new lens handles and performs, using the full-frame 42MP Sony A7R III.


Samyang AF 35mm F/1.4 FE II Handling and Features

The overall impression of the lens is of a smoothly styled and quite long lens, weighing in at a solid 659g. Starting our tour at the front, there is a supplied petal lens hood that clips cleanly into position. The fit is easy but precise and the hood has no tendency to be dislodged in use. Within the bayonet fit for the hood is a standard 67mm filter thread. The construction feels to be of high quality, helped considerably by the electronic, smoothly operating aluminium control ring. The lens is weather sealed, and Samyang define this as being resistant to light rain, snow and dust. So full marks for being a bit more specific and defining just what weather sealing might mean.

If set to Mode 1, via a switch on the lens barrel, the ring is for manual focus, but only when the camera is set to MF or DMF, the latter enabling tweaks to the focus position when using AF. Focusing is down to 0.29m, or 0.95 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.18x. AF is driven by an STM motor, which is fast, accurate and very quiet. This is a definite advantage for videographers.


Samyang AF 35mm F1,4FEII Rear Oblique View | 0.4 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100


Mode 2 enables the ring to be used to change the aperture value, and it is worth noting that using the optional Samyang Lens Station both modes can be programmed with a variety of alternative functions, more of which may be added in the future. The control ring is electronic and has a very light action, so care should be taken not to operate it accidentally whilst shooting.

There is a focus hold button provided, and this too can be programmed via the Samyang Lens Station.

Optical construction is 11 elements in 9 groups, including 2 Aspheric and 2 HR (High Refractive Index). The diaphragm comprises 9 blades and produces a circular aperture, to improve the bokeh.

In many ways, simplicity is a wonderful thing, leaving little to get in the way of the actual photography, and this lens is a good example of having just the right features on offer with nothing complex to interfere with the creative process. It does the job quietly and efficiently and is a pleasure to use. So how does it perform? Let's find out.


Samyang AF 35mm F1,4FEII Rear Element View | 0.6 sec | f/16.0 | 53.0 mm | ISO 100


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1 Jun 2022 10:58AM
Why not a comparison test of the Samyang, Sigma, and all of the Sonys to see which is the sharpest and the picture quality of these lenses, at wide open, 2 stops down, and f8, for example?
1 Jun 2022 5:12PM
It's a great idea. Logistics is what gets in the way as it is very difficult to ensure availability of all these lenses at the same time, plus of course the camera bodies to use them with. To make a proper comparison they would all need to be used on the same camera as well. Sometimes limted comparisons become possible, otherwise I'm afraid we just have the individual reviews to see what the performance of each lens is like.

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