Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE Lens Review

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Another Rokinon/Samyang Sony AF FE lens review. So far we have:

And here we are with the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4.

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE
The first three have been replaced with newer lenses from the brand, the 35mm f/2.8 (by the lens reviewed here), 24mm f/2.8 (by the 18mm f/2.8), and 50mm f/1.4 (by the 45mm f/1.8).

Due to its size, I initially had no plans on picking up this lens. While posting a review of the 85mm f/1.4 to Instagram another photographer highly recommended the 35mm f/1.4 (image links to his page).

35mmBlogPost

I reviewed his sample photos and was impressed. Then I saw that it was on sale and reduced to the same price new as used. Talented photographer Manu  joked that I am an unofficial Rokinon/Samyang ambassador. Sure, why not? For my purposes, they are killing the Sony AF FE prime lens game with a great combination of IQ, fast and silent AF, sharpness, size, low light performance, and value that no one else has achieved so far in my opinion.

IQ

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

I have not a single complaint about the IQ. Period. One of the best rendering lenses I have ever owned or used.

Fast and silent AF

Flawless. These shots were taken back to back to see how fast the lens could change between focus points and it did so quite easily.

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Sharpness

No issues here.

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Size

The same size compared with other more expensive 35mm f/1.4 lenses. Weirdly the same size as the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. The 18mm and 45mm are surprisingly small, but I guess you can’t fight physics at this focal length and aperture. If it cost less this might be where the new, smaller native Sony 35mm f/1.8 could have gained some ground for me. But in the end, the similar regular price and the extra bit of light swayed me. Add in the sale price and it was an easy choice.

35mmBlogPostSizeComparison

Low Light

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Had a hard time choosing a sample pic. Lens captured so many impressive low light shots to choose from. Lens focuses without issue and retains plenty of detail and color information.

Value

Great value even at the regular price. Hundreds less than the Sigma and a fraction of native Sony f/1.4 option and faster f/1.2 Sigma.

So what of the other many FE 35mm lenses? Here is my why not list.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

If I were to buy another 35mm lens this would most likely be it. The camera shop happened to have a copy of the similarly sized and spec’d Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art. Also on sale currently for a couple of hundred more than the Rokinon/Samyang I was curious how the f/1.4’s would compare. A brief wildly unscientific comparison was in order.

First up was a close focus comparison. The Sigma focuses closer, but not by much.

Sigma

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

Rokinon/Samyang

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Next up was bokeh. Similar once again. Any difference could easily be written up to photographer and post-edit deviations. Could get an equally pleasing image out of both.

Sigma

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

Rokinon/Samyang

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Why not?

  • To my eye the Rokinon/Samyang has similar image quality, is as sharp, and actually focused noticeably faster in my brief test. The Rokinon/Samyang would snap into focus while the Sigma hunted a bit, especially at close distances and thin focus subjects, like the edge of a monitor. Add that to the lower price and Rokinon/Samyang’s dedication to firmware updates (I updated it to v4 upon arrival.), possibly improving focus further, and the Rokinon/Samyang was the preferred choice for me.

Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA

FE OG. Great IQ and very compact.

Why not?

  • Over $700 for a 35mm f/2.8 is a nope for me. I would buy Sony’s own 35mm f/1.8 before this.

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

I did try one out. Great lens.

SE Camera

Why not?

  • Too large and too expensive for my taste. Not worth the f/1.2 advantage. The Rokinon/Samyang is already pushing the bounds of acceptable size.

Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

A great native lens is always attractive.

Why not?

  • Too expensive for my taste.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8

Extremely tempting. I was very impressed by the sample shots. The small size was also impressive.

Why not?

  • Over $700 is a bit rich when there is a very good, faster lenses on the market for the same price, and less on sale.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE

I really like this lens. Solid performance and a great price and very compact. Great everyday lens.

Jiffy Lube

Why not?

  • I prefer faster glass and a slightly longer focal length for everyday purposes so it was replaced by the Rokinon/Samyang 45mm f/1.8.

After saying all of that do I recommend the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lens? Yes. Yes, I do. Some parting sample shots.

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE

Here is an ongoing album.

-ELW

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