Photography News Issue 47

Photography News | Issue 47 |


First tests

SamyangAF35mmf/2.8FE £280

Samyang’s reputation as a quality provider of independent lenses has been earned with its ever-growing range of high spec, great value manualfocusmodels.However,given that most lenses sold are autofocus it was inevitable that Samyang would launch into this market, and already available in Sony E fitting is the AF 14mm f/2.8 FE and the 50mm f/1.4 FE. This pair has now been joined by the AF 35mm f/2.8 FE. On full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, the 35mm focal length is a moderate wide-angle fine for a multitude of subjects so this lens has tremendous potential. OnAPS-C Sony E-mount models, the effective focal length is 52mmwhichmakes it a perfect standard lens, again suitable for a massive range of subjects. We’ll look at its optical skills shortly,butlet’sstartwithitsphysical attributes. It is perfectly fair to say that while its maximum aperture is modest, going for f/2.8 rather than f/2 or faster helps in delivering a lens that is compact. This lens measures just 33mm in length, and weighs a

the sample pictures shown here are reproduced. AF performance is obviously dependent on the camera’s abilities and the A7R is not the most capable mirrorless model around in this regard. Nevertheless, the combination delivered swift, responsive, smooth and silent focusing performance and scenes zipped into focus; this was the case even in low contrast situations so no complaints on AF. Not too much to complain about on the optical performance front either. It is all very well lens makers comingoutwith f/1.2and f/1.4 lenses, but they need to use expensive, heavy glass in their designs to ensure that such wide settings give decent quality. Samyang, in this respect, did itself a favour by producing a lens with a modest f/2.8 aperture. This has kept costs and weight down, and it has probably helped with image quality too. So this lens impresses even when used fully open. Central detail is crisp with fine detail nicely

mere 85g – yes, thats right, 85g. It’s a real featherweight lens. But that’s not to say its optical construction has been compromised to keep weight down because that is not the case. It boasts seven elements in six groups with two aspherical elements and one high refractive element to help deliver a fine optical performance. Samyang’s Ultra-Multi-Coating has been deployed too to keep flare and ghosting to a minimum while maximising contrast. A bayonet-fit lens hood is supplied and this has a 40.5mmfilter thread; taking the hood off reveals a 49mm thread. The hood itself is not much of a hood and it’s so shallow that it’s hardly effective, either as a physical protector or to help avoid flare. You would be better off buying a rubber screw-in hood. I tried this lens on a Sony A7R, a full-frame 36-megapixel camera, fixed to a Novo Explora carbon- fibre T20 tripod, shooting in Raw and processing in Lightroom. Files were exported to TIFFs, from which

Samyang’s latest AF lens does not pretend to set the world alight with a jaw-dropping list of magnificent features, but what it does do is provide a fine optical performance for a modest outlay and in a very compact body form – a quality lens weighing 85g is amazing. Sony E owners have a tremendous range of optics available especially at the top end, with Zeiss and Sony itself in the vanguard, so Samyang catering for the less well heeled is a shrewd move and shows that a quality performance is possible on a limited budget. Pros Lightweight, compact, fine optical performance, great price, really useful focal length Cons Modest f/2.8 maximum aperture, ineffective hood recorded, and the edges don’t lag too far behind; although turn your attention to the corners and image softening is noticeable. Also, at f/2.8 there is a little chromatic aberration with green andmagenta fringing but that can be resolved in software and this fringing goes from f/4 onwards. Most lenses hit their stride two stops down and it is no different with this Samyang. At f/5.6 you can see an improvement in the image centre comparedwith f/2.8 and f/4butmost importantly fine detail in the corners looks so much better. Everything is muchmore crisp and nicely resolved so, for example, blades of grass can be seen as individual blades of grass. The edges and corners continue to improve with stopping down with f/11 being the best setting for best across-the-frame sharpness. Quality does drop off slightly at f/16 and f/22 but not too much, and both settings are perfectly usable if maximum depth-of-field is your goal. WC Verdict





Format 35mm and APS-C Mount Sony E Construction

7 elements in 6 groups Special lens elements 2 aspherical, 1 high refractive Coatings Ultra-Multi-Coating Filter size 49mm, hood has 40.5mm thread

Aperture range F/2.8-22, no ring Diaphragm Seven blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 35cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 0.12x Distance scale No Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood Supplied Weather-sealed No Dimensions (lxd) 33x61.6mm Weight 85g Contact








Images Samyang’s 35mm f/2.8 delivers a respectable performance throughout its aperture range and while it’s not from the very top drawer optically speaking, neither is its price, which makes it a great value lens.

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