Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC (Nikon FX) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)

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 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

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