Another Rokinon/Samyang Sony AF FE lens review. So far we have:
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).
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.
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.
No issues here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
FE OG. Great IQ and very compact.
- 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.
I did try one out. Great lens.
- 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.
A great native lens is always attractive.
- Too expensive for my taste.
Extremely tempting. I was very impressed by the sample shots. The small size was also impressive.
- 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.
I really like this lens. Solid performance and a great price and very compact. Great everyday lens.
- I prefer faster glass and a slightly longer focal length for everyday purposes.
After saying all of that do I recommend the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lens? Yes. Yes, I do. Some parting sample shots.