Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC (EOS) - Full Format Format Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Canon EOS (Full Format)
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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 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.
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 Live-View but but focusing will slow you down in any case. Due to the uncoupled aperture the viewfinder image will get darker the more you stop down similar to what you normally experience in depth-of-field preview mode.
|Optical construction||12 elements in 10 groups inc. 1x aspherical & 2 HR elements|
|Number of aperture blades||8|
|min. focus distance||0.3 m (max. magnification 1:?)|
|Dimensions||111 x 83 mm|
|Filter size||77 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped lens hood, bayonet mount, supplied|
|Other features||floating system|