Samyang has served up a fast and affordable short telephoto prime with autofocus for Canon users. Michael Topham takes a closer look

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Samyang AF 
85mm f/1.4 EF

Product:

Samyang AF 
85mm f/1.4 EF review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£599.00

Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF review: Verdict

The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF faces stiff competition, yet stands out from other 85mm f/1.4 lenses with its lightweight and compact design.

It’s an appealing lens as it doesn’t add too much bulk and keeps the camera nicely balanced in the hand without feeling front heavy, but is ultimately let down by the sharpness it resolves at its maximum aperture. It’s a lens that forces you to stop down to achieve satisfying results, which rather defeats the point of choosing it over an 85mm f/1.8.

There’s a misconception that f/1.4 primes are always superior to lenses with an f/1.8 maximum aperture, but after comparing and contrasting this prime to Canon’s lighter, smaller and more affordable EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, I’d happily choose the latter and be content with slightly less background blur while saving £185.

If you’re a Canon user after a sensationally sharp 85mm f/1.4 lens and are prepared to pay more, I’d highly recommend the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art or Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM ahead of the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF. Both are considerably heavier, but their optical performances are far superior.