Samyang 85mm f/1.4 IF MC £310, $300
Here’s a prime lens that won’t make your left hand feel left out – you’ll need it to focus manually!
Unlike all the Nikon and Sigma lenses on test, both Samyang models lack autofocus, so focusing is a strictly manual affair. This is typical of Samyang lenses. Samyang’s Nikon-fit lenses tend to be more high-tech than the firm’s variants for other makes of camera. Key Nikon-fit lens enhancements include electronic connections that enable control of the aperture direct from the camera, rather than from an aperture ring on the lens, plus actuation of the focus confirmation lamp in the camera viewfinder.
The lack of autofocus aside, build quality is impressive for such a reasonably priced lens. The focus ring is wonderfully smooth and precise in operation, and a joy to use. Physically, the Samyang is a little smaller and lighter in weight than the competing Nikon and Sigma 85mm lenses on test, and it has a smaller 72mm filter thread.
The focal length is ideal for portraiture on an FX body, in which the quality of defocused areas is generally impressive. However, we found that highlights tend to take on green halos when using the very widest aperture. As with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens, outright sharpness could be better.