With the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM and Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM in my possession, I couldn’t resist comparing their aperture ranges to see where the Samyang lens stands in terms of sharpness. An inspection of shots at high magnification revealed Canon’s 85mm f/1.4 delivers far superior sharpness, not just wide open at f/1.4, but also right through the aperture range.
Canon’s 85mm f/1.8 lens is also sharper than the Samyang wide open and suffers from less spherical aberration. Stopping the Samyang down from f/1.4 to f/2.8 sees an improvement in sharpness, but for a lens we hoped would deliver a strong sharpness performance wide open, it is disappointing.
Analysing our results from the lab backed up my real-world ndings and con rmed that the best edge-to-edge sharpness is found when it’s stopped down to f/5.6. The quality of blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image is appealing, and attractive circular highlights are rendered at wide aperture settings.
Sadly, the way the lens handles chromatic aberration isn’t better than its sharpness performance. Green and purple fringes of colour are clearly obvious along high-contrast edges at wide apertures. To remove the chromatic abberation, I opened my raw files in Adobe Camera Raw and used the purple amount, green amount and green hue defringe sliders under the lens corrections tab.
Vignetting is also clearly apparent at f/1.4, with the corners measuring about 1.6EV darker than the centre. Stopping the lens down to f/2 sees a big improvement and by the time f/2.8 is reached vignetting is barely noticeable.