Samyang kicks off its new Premium line of lenses with an 85mm f/1.2 and 14mm f/2.4
Samyang have today announced two new lenses to start their Premium range. An 85mm f/1.2 and 14mm f/2.4. These new lenses, Samyang say, offer “unprecedented resolving power”, built for 50MP stills and up to 8K video productions. Also known as Rokinon, Samyang has become quite a formidable competitor lately.
Both of the new lenses are full frame manual focus lenses. This may disappoint some folks who were hoping for autofocus. Though, personally, I don’t see it as a problem. Lenses as wide as 14mm are typically manually focused anyway. When everything a few inches past your lens is in focus anyway, it’s not an issue. For the 85mm.. Well, given the notoriously slow AF on Canon’s 85mm f/1.2, you might as well manual focus anyway.
For non-Canon users, manual focus is pretty much our only option at this focal length and aperture anyway. Of course, there’s the Mitakon 85mm f/1.2 and the impending Zenit, but it’s nice to see another option. Edit : Never mind, the 85mm appears to be Canon EF mount only for the moment.
The F1.2 of 85mm is, by far, the brightest lens in existing full frame DSLR lenses, securing the fast shutter speed. It has ten elements in seven groups, applying one aspherical lens and two high refractive lenses. The aspherical lens minimises the aberration and unnecessary light dispersion. Two high refractive lenses effectively adjust the path of light and deliver maximum amount to the sensor for clear and vibrant image.
I’ve used Samyang’s 85mm f/1.4 manual focus lense before, and I was extremely impressed. Even wide open it was pretty sharp. So, if this is supposed to be as high quality and high resolution as they claim, it might actually make it onto my list (if Zenit’s doesn’t come out first).
14mm F2.4 also takes no compromise for the image quality. It is equipped with the most advanced optical technology among Samyang Lenses. It has 18 glasses in 14 groups including four different special optics: two aspherical lenses, one hybrid aspherical lens, two extra-low dispersion lenses and one high refractive lens. This optimal performance creates impressive image quality from centre to corner of image.
The 14mm looks interesting. I’d be curious to see how this stacks up against the recently released Irix 15mm f/2.4. They’re not quite the same focal length, but they’re still pretty close. According to the spec sheets for both lenses, it’s 114° vs 110° field of view between the two on full frame bodies. So, not a massive amount.
What might hamper the Samyang, though, is that there’s no way to attach a filter. The Irix allows you to slot filters in the rear of the lens as well as screw one onto the front of the lens. This might be a deal breaker for me. Ok, so, the only filter one might put on a lens this wide is an ND, but that’s the only one I’d want to use anyway.
Not being able to add ND does tend to make me less inclined to want to pick the Samyang. Whether shooting video or long exposure landscapes, they’re often quite mandatory.
In short, the 85mm looks pretty cool, the 14mm, not so much. Both Samyang and Irix are at Photokina starting next week, though, so we’ll try to get a good play with both and let you know what we think.
The lenses are expected to be available by the end of 2016. The 14mm will be available in Nikon F, Canon EF and Sony E mounts. The 85mm only appears to be available in Canon EF at the moment. Hopefully, this will change in the future. Pricing has not yet been announced.
What do you think? Are you tempted by the 85mm? Will the lack of filter attachment on the 14mm be a dealbreaker for you? Let us know in the comments.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.