Last month, Samyang announced their newest version of their popular 85mm f/1.4 autofocus lens. The new Samyang 85mm f/1.4 AF FE II for Sony is smaller and lighter than the original, with improved autofocus in terms of both speed and accuracy. It also features new “custom switch” and focus hold button to provide new functionality. But how does it fare against the competition?
It would’ve been nice to see this put to the test against its predecessor, but in this video, Mark Duffy does put it up against the two leading competitors, the Sony 85mm f/1.4GM and the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lenses. The Samyang lens is significantly cheaper than both the Sigma and especially the Sony lenses, so let’s find out if it’s any good.
The comparison covers a number of topics for all three lenses, with a particular emphasis on their autofocus performance. You do definitely see some differences between the three lenses insofar as how they quickly they pick up on the subject, how quickly they manage to focus after they do and how well they all do at tracking the subject while they’re moving across the frame or towards and away from the camera.
One thing that was particularly surprising – to me at least, having never used the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM – is just how loud it is compared to the other two. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art (which I have used) is extremely quiet, as demonstrated in the video, and the Samyang, too, is similarly absent of noise. The Sony does seem to be the quickest of the three lenses, though, too. It’s also the largest!
Listening to Mark’s thoughts in the video, I’m not sure there’s entirely a need to switch from any one of these three lenses to any of the others for most of us. So, if you’ve already got one of these, then stick with it. But if you don’t have an 85mm f/1.4 yet and you’re considering which to buy, it offers some great insights, letting you weigh up the performance, features and budgets of all three.
Which do you prefer?