Eric L. Woods

NYC Portraits and more thoughts on the Rokinon/Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE.

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Despite the hubris of my earlier post on this lens

Rokinon/Samyang F1.8 Auto Focus Compact Full Frame Lens

…I had concerns about this lens. Mainly:

  • 75mm is a great focal length, but could it really take the place of 85mm lenses from Sony, Canon, and Rokinon/Samyang?
  • F/1.8 is fast, but it is not f/1.4.
  • I had become obsessed with the idea of subject isolation and was also seriously considering picking up a 135mm lens.

But based on my positive experiences with rangefinder and DSLR lenses of a similar focal length I forged onward with the purchase. Initial experiences and tests with this lens backed up this line of thinking, but would it hold up to real world use in the wild?

Well good fortune intervened when an opportunity to participate in a NYC photo walk…

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

….that included a stranger portrait photo challenge. Some were taken with existing light, but even better the host, Erskine Isaac, provided an AD200 (BYOT: Bring Your Own Trigger for Sony. He provided Canon and Nikon triggers.) with modifier and with some clouds in the sky this proved plenty powerful enough.

Next I will show the available light photos, then the photos with AD200, some random shots thrown in, and then my conclusion.

Available Light Photos

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

AD200 Photos Shot Through Umbrella w/ HSS

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Ameerah
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
George
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Shaquanna
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Shaquanna
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Mona Bode shot w/ my own Godox V1/Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2

Random Shots

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
NYC

Conclusion

Let me back up to that initial list of concerns above.

  • 75mm is a great focal length, but could it really take the place of 85mm lenses from Sony, Canon, and Rokinon/Samyang?
    • Yes. Yes, it can. Other than looking at the EXIF data there is nothing about the 75mm photos that would make me miss having an 85mm lenses.
  • F/1.8 is fast, but it is not f/1.4.
    • A non-issue in actual use.
  • I had become obsessed with the idea of subject isolation and was also seriously considering picking up a 135mm lens.
    • I am very happy with the subject isolation that this lens offers. Functionally you always want more, but this provides plenty enough in real world use.

But above that the 75mm f/1.8 actually has its own advantages.

Value

  • This lens has a great regular price of $399. If you catch it on sale as I did it can be had for $299 which is even better.

Size/Weight

Rokinon/Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE Rokinon/Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE
Dimensions (ø x L)2.56 x 2.72″ / 65 x 69 mm3.46 x 3.92″ / 88 x 99.5 mm
Weight8.11 oz / 230 g1.25 lb / 568 g
  • If only for indoor use or with an A7III and I was not concerned with size and weight the 85mm f/1.4 would do just fine as it had done for me in the past. But with a small-ish body like the A7III and especially with the even smaller A7c a small and light lens has definite advantages. The A7c is a much better match with the 75mm.
Rokinon/Samyang 75mm F1.8 Auto Focus Compact Full Frame Lens

Inconspicuous-ess-ness

  • The larger size of the 85mm f/1.4 and other like sized lenses make them conspicuous in public. With the 75mm you have a kit that could easily be mistaken for a 50mm prime.
Rokinon/Samyang 85mm f/1.4 FE
Rokinon/Samyang F1.8 Auto Focus Compact Full Frame Lens

So what about that 135mm obsession I mentioned?

I am good. After this experience I find that I have all the subject isolation I could want. Any advantage provided by the longer focal length would not be worth the added size, weight, and cost required to obtain it.

Final thoughts.

Quite simply the Rokinon/Samyang performed above my expectations. And I had pretty high expectations. Well done Rokinon/Samyang.

-ELW

Rokinon/Samyang 75mm F1.8 Auto Focus Compact Full Frame Lens

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