Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF review

August 3, 2018

Overall Rating:


Samyang AF 
85mm f/1.4 EF



Price as Reviewed:


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: Image Quality

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.

Samyang AF 
85mm f/1.4 EF

Canon EOS 5DS R, 1/500sec at f/2.8, ISO 200

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.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 1/8000sec at f/2.8, ISO 800

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.

Canon EOS 5DS R, 1/250sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

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.

Canon EOS 5DS R, 1/80sec at f/1.4, ISO 800

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.

  • Price: £599
  • Filter diameter: 77mm
  • Lens elements: 9
  • Lens groups: 7
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Aperture: f/1.4-f/16
  • Minimum focus: 0.90m
  • Length: 72mm
  • Diameter: 88mm
  • Weight: 485g (without hood or caps)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF

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