A tiny and insignificant lens

Started 1 month ago | User reviews thread
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Mekutotokuchiri Forum Member • Posts: 62
A tiny and insignificant lens

I bought this lens as an intermittent solution, I simply needed a 35mm for a while, and I didn't want to shell out a huge pile of cash. Add to that, I was pressed for time to get one. I have owned the lens for about four months and used it primarily for everyday shooting.

Overall handling is good, build quality is obviously not the best I've seen. At the same time, I have certainly seen worse when it comes to build quality. The lens is super lightweight (around 210 grams), which is next to nothing. I did try the generic Sony 1,8/35, but found that it had a horrible and gross vignetting issue at infinity focus that couldn't be corrected without cropping the image substantially. I simply returned it, being less than impressed and didn't even bother trying another copy (in retrospect, maybe I should have, but I didn't want to get stuck in a loop returning several lenses in order to find one without said issue). That being said, the Sony equivalent is double the price of this one, as of march 2021. So I settled on the Samyang, for the time being.

In terms of size the Sony and the Samyang are comparable, with the Samyang being a hair lighter and smaller, although with a slightly larger filter thread of 58mm, versus Sonys 55mm. There is a certain plastic feel to this lens, and that is particularly true of the lens hood and lens caps. The lens comes in a nice, moulded case, which is a plus.

Optically the lens is pleasing and fun to use at times, but it does present some purple pinkish flaring that stretches across the frame when sunlight sneaks into the shot (in backlit situations or when the sun peeks through the leaves). Most lenses do struggle in backlit situations, but this one seems to be prone to flaring I have never encountered before. There is currently no correction profile available for this lens in Lightroom, so you'll have to figure that one out for yourselves.

The autofocus is less than optimal. Eye AF is dodgy at best and I find the lens missed focus when it really shouldn't. It's not exactly back focused or front focused, it's just defocused altogether, leaving the shot all muddy and soft. As of writing this, I had the newest firmware installed and did have somewhat higher expectations in the AF departement. With Samyang having third-party access to the Sony AF algorithms, as a registered developer for the Sony platform, one would think they would be able to better implement the AF-C technology that Sony is known for.

I found the lens to be reliable in static situations (landscape, close-ups), but less than ideal and quite frankly unreliable when continuous autofocus is neccessary and critical. When taking pictures of children playing or moving objects, the Samyang simply cannot keep up, and it shows.

However, for the price, the performance overall is just shy of adequate, but not a hair beyond that. I mean, this is obviously not G or GM territory. It's not even generic Sony territory (I already own the Sony 1,8/85 which is one of my highest valued lenses in terms of price versus optical quality, performance and features). I'm not exactly sure who Samyang are targeting with this lens. My take is that this lens is best suited for first-time budget shooters getting into photography, who want something in addition to a variable aperture kit lens (which may outperform this lens in many respects, save for the fast aperture). I surely do not fit that category of users, although I'm certainly not a professional either. I did expect less than optimal performance going forward with this lens, and I must say my predictions pretty much mirror my experience.

With that, the lens certainly has it's use with a target audience who value affordable pricing over optical performance, build quality and features, and where reliability is not a non-issue.

 Mekutotokuchiri's gear list:Mekutotokuchiri's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE / Rokinon AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Prime lens • Sony FE
Announced: Sep 14, 2020
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