This is an in-depth review of the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC, a manual focus prime lens designed for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung and Micro Four Thirds mounts. While I will be referring to this lens as “Samyang” in this review, please keep in mind that you can find exactly the same lens under different names such as Bower 35mm f/1.4 and Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 in the US. In fact, the South-Korean lens manufacturer Samyang Optics sells its lenses to different companies like Vivitar, Falcon, Rokinon, Walimex, Bower and Pro-Optic, which simply re-package the lens and imprint their logos / add tags and sell them. Interestingly, while the lens is exactly the same, these brands are sometimes sold at different price points too (probably due to differences in packaging). The lens I tested for this review is the “Samyang” version, supposedly branded and packaged by the original manufacturer.
The Samyang 35mm f/1.4 is targeted at photographers that do not need autofocus and want to get a fast aperture lens for a variety of needs such as landscape, architecture, street and travel photography. At just under $500, the lens is a huge bargain when compared to brand lenses from Nikon, Canon and Sony that all sell their pro-grade 35mm f/1.4 lenses at around the $1,500 price range. The Samyang 35mm f/1.4 is designed to work on both APS-C / DX and full-frame / FX sensors, so it will work on cameras like Nikon D7100 (with a similar field of view as a 52.5mm lens) and D800.
The Samyang brand is relatively new in the DSLR lens market. The brand became known after its 24mm and 85mm lenses that were released in 2011-2012 time frame received a lot of praise for their excellent sharpness and performance when compared to the Nikon and Canon versions. Since then, Samyang has been promoting its name in the photography world by releasing new bargain lenses for various camera mounts, including mirrorless. For example, the recently announced 16mm f/2.0 lens is specifically designed for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mounts, targeting the fast-growing mirrorless market.
Is the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 really a bargain when compared to other 35mm lenses? How does it perform wide open and when stopped down? How does it handle? In this review, I will do my best to answer these and other questions and will show you samples from the lens, with comparisons against the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 lenses.
1) Lens Specifications
- Mount Type: Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung and Micro Four Thirds
- Focal Length: 35mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Lens Construction: 12 Elements in 10 Groups
- Angle of View: 63.1º
- Number of Diaphragm Blades: 8
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 30cm/11.8in
- Filter Size: 77mm
- Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 63x112mm
- Weight: 660g