With us moving closer and closer to the announcement madness that is Photokina, we are working on bringing our readers (and ourselves) up to speed. This time we will be taking a closer look at a new lens by (a rather well known by now) South Korean manufacturer, a classic 50mm with a widest aperture setting of f/1.4. Something to get excited about? Let’s see.
Overview and Key Specifications
Also known by several other names I will not mention, Samyang has been known to release a number of less-than-useful lenses in the past, most of which were either mirror-lenses or regular telephoto lenses with very narrow apertures. And they were all manual focus, naturally. From what I’ve seen, none of their products were, how should I put this… Competitive. Until they decided to step it up and released their first well-known and well-regarded lens, the 85mm f/1.4. This lens, thanks to its very affordable price and decent optical quality, quickly gained popularity among enthusiast photographers and videographers. Apparently, Samyang enjoyed the reception, because a little while later they released more great optics, including the 14mm f/2.8, 24mm f/1.4 and a lens we reviewed, the 35mm f/1.4. There’s even a wide-angle tilt-shift!
Releasing such lenses is certainly a good way to get noticed, wouldn’t you say? And now, Samyang has added a 50mm option into the mix. The new lens, like all Samyang lenses, is manual focus only and features an aperture ring near the mount. It will also be available for more or less all modern camera lens mounts, starting with Canon and Nikon versions. With 9 elements in 6 groups it is a relatively simple design, but if recent Samyang lenses are of any indication, the newcomer should perform admirably. We will be able to say for sure once it is available for a review.
At this time, there isn’t much more to say – information is still scarce. One thing that is certainly worth mentioning is that there will be a version for videographers with the essential geared stepless aperture and focus rings. The price of the video version has been announced in the UK and is as near as makes no difference, £480 (including VAT). That’s around $800, which is a lot. But before you jump to conclusions, there are two facts to consider. First of all, video lenses tend to cost more than regular ones for DSLR cameras for several reasons, one of which includes fewer numbers sold (thus higher manufacturing cost for the differing parts). Secondly, photographers in Europe are not exactly spoiled with low lens and camera prices. For example, the Fujinon XF 23m f/1.4 R costs $899 at B&H. It’s around $1180 in Lithuania. Thus USA prices for the Samyang are almost certain to be much more reasonable. That said, the manufacturer has been slowly increasing the pricing on their new lenses as they gain more popularity, so I would not expect it to be cheaper, just cheaper by some margin than autofocus alternatives from brand makers.
Official Press Release
Here is a refreshingly brief press release by Samyang UK:
New Samyang V-DSLR 50mm T1.5 AS UMC
Samyang have announced the release of a new cine lens V-DSLR 50mm T1.5 AS UMC. The product will be officially introduced at the forthcoming Photokina 2014 photographic fair in Cologne in September.
This new lens fills the gap between the current Samyang 35mm and 85mm models and this cine lens will soon be joined by a photographic version. The Samyang brand now includes a complete set of bright lenses with exceptionally wide and useful focus ranges to meet the demands of both filmmakers and photographers.
The Samyang 50 mm T1.5 AS UMC has been designed for cameras and camcorders with either full frame or smaller sized sensors. It gives 46.2 degrees field of view, and thanks to a high light transmission value of T1.5 (f/1.4) it ensures impressive image quality, even in low light. Optics of the lens consists of nine lens elements arranged in six groups (including one aspherical and one hybrid aspherical lens element). To ensure high contrast and faithful colour reproduction, all lens elements have been covered with multi-layered UMC anti-reflective coatings.
Samyang 50mm T1.5 VDSLR ensures exceptionally smooth and aesthetic mapping for out of focus areas beyond the focal plain, producing a bokeh effect. Thanks to the eight-bladed aperture, the subjects located outside the depth of field are shown with extremely smooth features. This feature will be appreciated by professional filmmakers and portrait photographers.