Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4

Samyang brings its lat­est ul­tra-wide aper­ture aut­o­fo­cus prime lens to Canon’s full-frame EF mount.

Practical Photography (UK) - - October -

Can it beat the stiff com­pe­ti­tion?

FOL­LOW­ING ITS re­cent suc­cess with a line of aut­o­fo­cus lenses for the Sony sys­tem, Samyang has con­tin­ued branch­ing out into Canon’s EF mount, with the AF 85mm f/1.4 EF. This lat­est re­lease is a more bud­get-friendly an­swer to both Canon’s own and Sigma’s Art ver­sions, promis­ing an ul­tra­w­ide aper­ture, ex­cel­lent build qual­ity and the all-im­por­tant aut­o­fo­cus com­pat­i­bil­ity.

Af­ter pre­vi­ously test­ing the 14mm f/2.8, which re­ally im­pressed us, we were ea­ger to try out this tele­photo of­fer­ing to see if it could man­age to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing.

Build qual­ity

The con­struc­tion here feels very ro­bust. It uses a tough plas­tic de­sign that al­lows for a lighter fi­nal prod­uct, un­like some of the ear­lier lenses which utilised metal. It fea­tures UMC (Ul­tra Multi Coat­ing) to re­duce flare and ghost­ing, and is built up of nine el­e­ments in seven groups, in­clud­ing one as­pher­i­cal el­e­ment. Fi­nally, Samyang has in­cluded weather seal­ing, which is a wel­come touch in any lens, and re­ally helps to make this feel as though it’s built to last.

The 77mm fil­ter thread di­am­e­ter, which houses the beau­ti­ful large front el­e­ment, gives this lens a re­as­sur­ingly bulky look. Plus, at 72mm long, it’s in­cred­i­bly well bal­anced in-hand, feel­ing more er­gonom­i­cally-minded than Sigma’s mas­sive – but ex­cel­lent – 85mm f/1.4 Art lens. The body looks sleek, though omits any un­nec­es­sary bells and whis­tles. You’ll find a red ring, to de­note the Samyang lin­eage, a fo­cus ring and man­ual to aut­o­fo­cus switch, but lit­tle else.


The big­gest ques­tion you’re ask­ing right now should be ‘how’s the aut­o­fo­cus?’. Since Samyang is rel­a­tively new to the game, it’s a fair ques­tion, and one that can be met with a re­sound­ingly pos­i­tive an­swer. We paired it with a Canon 6D MKII, and found fo­cus­ing on sub­jects was im­pres­sively quick and ac­cu­rate. We used this lens at a re­cent Scot­tish wed­ding, and were amazed at how well it was keep­ing up with the rev­ellers as they

Above You can tog­gle be­tween man­ual and aut­o­fo­cus thanks to a sim­ple switch on the side of the bar­rel.

Right 85mm is a pop­u­lar fo­cal length for por­traits, al­low­ing you to eas­ily throw the back­ground out of fo­cus.

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