Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC (EOS) - APS-C Format Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
Thursday, 23 June 2011 19:00
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2011


I've to admit that I'm always looking forward to testing Samyang lenses. They're both very affordable as well as nicely assembled and they tend to offer something special. Our next candidate is no different here - it's the new Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC, obviously an ultra-large aperture full format lens with a moderate wide-angle characteristic. The Samyang is a fully manual lens so you have to live with both manual focusing as well as an uncoupled manual aperture (in EOS mount). A killer argument in favor of the Samyang is certainly its pricing of around 400EUR/500US$ which is about a third (!) of comparable original manufacture offerings. A really surprising feature of the lens is the floating system which optimizes the element layout of the internal focusing system in close focus scenarios. Usually you will find such a mechanism in macro or high end lenses only. Samyang lenses are also marketed under various brand names including Bower, Walimex, Vivitar, Opteka and probably a couple more. It may be unusual to test this lens on an APS-C DSLR but for some the Canon EF 35mm f/2 may be just too slow whereas the EF 35mm f/1.4 USM L may be too expensive. In the APS-C scope it behaves like a "56mm f/2" in terms of field-of-view and depth-of-field so it's equivalent to a full format standard prime lens here. A fairly big one though.

The lens made of a high-quality plastic lens body based on a metal mount and a rubberized, nicely damped focus ring. According to Samyang there're 2 high refraction factor elements which help to reduce the weight and size but the lens is actually slightly more heavy and somewhat longer than e.g. both the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 USM L and Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.4G. The front element does not rotate during focus operations. The physical length of the lens remains constant although the inner lens tube moves a little during focusing. The aperture control ring is operated in 1/2 stops except for the f/1.4 to f/2 full stop. A deep, petal-shaped lens hood is supplied.

As mentioned, the Samyang is a manual focus lens so depending on your shooting style this may be a little bit of a limiting factor. Focusing moving objects will be an obstacle at large aperture settings. The focus confirmation indicator in the standard viewfinder is NOT supported. However, remember that accurate manual focusing (of static objects) is possible via LiveViewbut but focusing will slow you down in any case.

On the EOS 50D we experienced some problems with an unstable white-balancing across the aperture range. There were no issues here on the EOS 5D II. This is a bit of a mystery because the camera doesn't even know that a lens is attached anyway (due to the lacking electronic coupling).

Equiv. focal length56 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction12 elements in 10 groups inc. 1x aspherical & 2 HR elements
Number of aperture blades8
min. focus distance0.3 m (max. magnification 1:?)
Dimensions111 x 83 mm
Weight660 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped lens hood, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresfloating system