Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC (Nikon FX) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Nikon / Nikkor (full format)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff and Markus Stamm, published June 2011
Special thanks to Ronald Finke for providing the lens!
Samyang is a fairly new Korean player in the DSLR lens market. In some markets their products are probably better known via co-branded offerings from companies such as Bower, Walimex, Vivitar, Opteka and probably a couple more. Samyang lenses are usually 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 manual focus lens with aperture coupling (in Nikon mount) . The aperture can be controlled from the camera so it basically behaves like a Nikkor Ai-P lens. A killer argument in favor of the Samyang is certainly its pricing of around 400EUR/500US$ which is less than 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.
The lens is 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 but that's also true for Nikkor AI lenses or the Zeiss ZF series.
|Optical construction||12 elements in 10 groups inc. 1x aspherical & 2 HR elements|
|Number of aperture blades||8|
|min. focus distance||0.3m (max. magnification 1:?)|
|Filter size||77mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped lens hood, bayonet mount, supplied|
|Other features||floating system|