Monday, 18 December 2017

Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 FE (Part 2 - Autofocus & Performance)

Samyang AF 35mm f1.4 FE mounted on my Sony A7R

I recently had the opportunity to test out the autofocus and overall performance of the final production version of Samyang’s new AF 35mm f1.4 FE lens while shooting the current Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion, Lee 'The Butcher' Chadwick during a brief training session at a local boxing gym. The lens while mounted on my Sony A7R provided me with some highly detailed action shots despite being shot wide open at f1.4.

Sports photography is something that I'd like to shoot more of but just haven’t had the opportunity to dedicate much time to so this was my first time shooting boxing. It quickly became apparent how fast a shutter speed is required to freeze the action. As such I had to use a higher ISO than what I would have liked so some of these images have more grain than what I'm used to seeing.

Size comparison - (from left to right) Samyang AF 50mm f1.4, Samyang AF 35mm f1.4, Samyang AF 35mm f2.8

Now, I know that the Sony A7R (mk1) is pretty much renowned for its slow AF speeds due to its lack of phase detection autofocus technology so I guess shooting sport with this camera and whatever lens I had was going to be a challenge. What has always frustrated me when using my A7R is the slight delay between when you press the shutter release button and the shutter actually closing. Timing my shots was pretty difficult but I quickly got used to it and managed to capture some great action shots with this lens. Attached to a Sony A9 or the brand new Sony A7RIII I'd imagine that the autofocus performance of this lens would be very fast, reliable and accurate.

The focus system is ‘focus by wire’ which means that the manual focus ring is not physically coupled with the focusing mechanism. Instead, rotating the focus ring sends an electronic signal to the focusing mechanism.

Autofocus on this lens is near silent - something which will please a lot of video makers after they were left a little frustrated with the slight noise emitted from the AF motor of Samyang’s inaugural AF lens - the AF 50mm f1.4 FE (review here).

The focus ring has been made larger in the final production copy I received from Samyang making it a little easier and more pleasant to focus and compose a shot manually. I love using this lens as it is capable of capturing stunning images with a shallow depth of field, beautiful bokeh and sharp details and punchy colours. Since Samyang sent me this lens I've used it on quite a few food shoots with superb results as can be seen at the bottom of this short review. It's frequently becoming my go to lens for a lot of different types of photography.

Check out my test images below.

1/2000th sec, f1.4, ISO 1250

1/500th sec, f1.6, ISO 1000

1/1600th sec, f1.4, ISO 1000

1/1250th sec, f1.4, ISO 1250

1/800th sec, f1.4, ISO 1250

1/2000th sec, f1.4, ISO 1250

1/1000th sec, f1.4, ISO 1250

1/4000th sec, f1.4, ISO 100
1/1250th sec, f2.2, ISO 100

1/1250th sec, f1.4, ISO 100

1/800th sec, f2.5, ISO 250

1/320th sec, f1.6, ISO 250

1/1000th sec, f1.4, ISO 100

1/60th sec, f2.2, ISO 320

Thanks for reading. Don't forget to check out my other Samyang lens reviews throughout this blog.

I'd like to once again thank Karin and all involved at Samyang Korea for sending the lens out to me for testing. Thanks also to Gary at Forge Fitness Rainhill and Lee Chadwick for allowing me to shoot him while training. Food image taken at Dim T in London.

For more information on Samyang products please take a look at their website - and subscribe to their newsletter to keep up to date with product news.

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Check out further reviews of this lens by Australian photographers Hanna Saba and Daniel Gangur

Hanna Saba – Samyang 35mm f1.4 AF for Sony E Mount – First Impressions

                       Samyang 35mm f1.4 AF vs Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 AF         

Daniel Gangur – Samyang AF 35mm f1.5 FE – Lens Review

Samyang AF 24mm f1.8 FE