Samyang has served up a fast and affordable short telephoto prime with autofocus for Canon users. Michael Topham takes a closer look
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF review: Build & Handling
The barrel is average size in diameter for an 85mm f/1.4 lens, but very compact in length. It’s 72mm long without its plastic hood and rear cap attached, which is almost identical in length to Canon’s EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens that weighs just 60g less. The lens adds only 485g to the camera it’s paired with, making it one of the lightest 85mm f/1.4 lenses currently available. The balance of camera and lens doesn’t feel front heavy, nor does it feel out of place coupled to a smaller APS-C DSLR.
What you notice when you start comparing it to premium alternatives is that its build quality isn’t in the same league. It’s not that it’s poorly made or badly nished, it’s just that the barrel feels quite plasticky and the manual focus ring isn’t rubberised. The finely grooved manual focus ring doesn’t offer much resistance, and there’s no focus distance window to glance down at.
I also found the positioning of the AF/ MF switch a fraction too high – you have to reach round the barrel to find it with your thumb rather than come across it naturally when supporting the lens in your hand. Towards the rear of the lens the barrel tapers inward quite sharply and there’s a rubber seal that compresses against the mount of the camera to protect against dust and moisture.