In September 2021, Tamron announced their 35-150mm f/2-2.8 DI III VXD lens for Sony FE. It was an odd focal length range and even odder that it had a variable aperture. Well, now, Samyang’s announced the Samyang AF 35-150mm f/2-2.8 lens for Sony FE mount, and it seems to be quite a bit cheaper. Samyang claims their optical formula, which is different to the Tamron, provides superior sharpness right to the edge.
Photographer and YouTuber Tom Calton has had his hands on one for a little and has posted a review of the new Samyang, comparing it to the Tamron. It’s a good, in-depth comparison between the two and looks at a lot of different features. It’s clear that the design of the Samyang is heavily inspired by the Tamron, but it does have some unique features.
The lens is f/2 at its shortest focal length of 35mm and f/2.8 at its maximum of 150mm and hits a number of popular focal lengths throughout its range. Samyang doesn’t say exactly how the aperture changes throughout the range, though. So, how soon that maximum f/2 aperture jumps to f/2.8 is unknown. Even stopping down to f/2.8, though, it’s a good all-rounder lens that should work well for everything from landscapes to portraits and perhaps even close-up wildlife.
The Samyang is very close to the Tokina in specs. It’s of a similar size and weight, and has a similar array of buttons and switches – in similar locations – although the Samyang does have an extra button or two. Despite claiming a different optical makeup, they both offer the same minimum focus distance at the short and long ends.
|Lens Mount||Sony E|
|Optics||21 elements in 18 groups|
|Minimum focus distance||33cm (wide) / 85cm (Tele)|
|Angle of view||61.8° - 16.4°|
|Filter Size||82 mm (front)|
|Dimensions||92.8 x 157.4mm|
As an all-rounder lens, it seems to tick all the on-paper boxes. And despite being significantly less expensive than the Tamron, it’s still not a low-budget lens by any means. So, for what it costs, one would certainly hope that it made for a good all-rounder.
Samyang AF 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Competition
Naturally, the biggest competition here is the aforementioned Tamron. Both lenses appear very similar in specs, size and weight but differ quite a bit in price. The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD costs $1,899 while the new Samyang is currently listed on the Samyang website for $1,399. That’s a significant difference in price between the two and one that will attract many would-be Tamron customers away and towards Samyang.
One advantage the Samyang may appear to have over the Tamron, though, is edge sharpness. All manufacturers boast “edge-to-edge sharpness” these days, but from looking at the tests in Tom’s video above, the real story is a little different. Both lenses do appear to be sharp in the centre. However, the Tamron clearly goes a bit wonky as it goes out towards the edge while the Samyanga maintains its sharpness throughout.
Of course, Tom’s got a hand-picked pre-production lens straight from Samyang for his review. So, I’d be keen to see if this level of edge sharpness is consistent in the real world once the mass-manufactured lenses are in the hands of paying customers.
Samyang AF 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Price and Availability
The Samyang AF 35-150mm f/2-2.8 is available to pre-order now for $1,399 from the Samyang website. The company hasn’t said exactly when the lens will start to ship, but they do state on their website that they “will fulfill [sic] the item as soon as it becomes available”.
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