Samyang 800mm f8 reflex. It's not what you think.

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lehill
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Samyang 800mm f8 reflex. It's not what you think.
5 months ago

I shoot wildlife so I've been anxiously lusting after the availability of the new Tamron 150-600mm for A-mount like many others. But it seems the A-mount version won't be available for several more months. So what's a long lens type of guy without a lot of spare change to do?

You buy the $184 Samyang 800mm f8 reflex lens. Everyone knows these lenses are junk and can't take a sharp photos and the internet is full of confirming examples (the Sony/Minolta 500mm AF reflex is a notable exception and in a class all by itself). Yet out of so many really awful fuzzy photos from long reflex lenses there are a few that are not so bad and 1 or 2 that are reasonably sharp. For $184 I figured I could play with this lens and find out if the fuzzy photos are due to problems behind or in front of the camera.

Samyang 800mm f8 reflex on Sony A77. Lens weight: 877 gms. Length, max: 5.7". Dia: 4.4". 105mm (front) & 30.5mm (rear) filter sizes, MFD: 11 ft. T-mount, so you'll need to buy an adapter.

The photos below are initial test shots with 100% crop inserts of the focus point. Lighting was really bad. According to DOFMaster the DOF was about 0.5". Tripod, 10 sec timer, no sharpening. A77 magnified view used for focusing.

Newspaper shot. Looking a bit fuzzy, but not awful. Certainly good enough for the internet.

Chocolate tin. Note the lens is sharp enough to show the detail of the "pixels" that make up the trolley car illustration.

Best focused shot of the night. The pixels are clearly well defined. Hey, this lens ain't so bad!

Initial impressions:

This lens is not as bad as everyone says it is. The combination of manual focus and shallow DOF just makes it very tough to get accurate focus. The Sony A77 with focus magnification and focus peaking makes an ideal companion for this lens. A focus puller would help.

The Samyang (877 gms) weighs about the same as my Sony 70-300G (800 gms). Compared to my Sigma 150-500mm (1910 gms), it's a lightweight.

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Lance H

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Sony SLT-A77
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