Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Cheap as chips, but is it as tasty?


The Samyang 85mm f/1.4 goes by many names. Rockinon, Falcon, Wallimex and more.

Names aside, the lens is the same, and boy.. What a lens!!

The lens is manual focus only. In the world of modern age digital, hypersonic, silent wave and ultrasonic motors, this seems a bit stone age. However bringing it back to basics can move your photography forward and make you realise how easy we actually have it.

The lens is built with a solid metal body and a large focus ring, that dominates, yet doesn’t overpower. The lens mount is a metal affair which oozes quality. Also is a manual aperture ring, harking back to the old school.

On this Nikon mount version however, the aperture can still be controlled via the body, by selecting the highest aperture on the lens.

Looking at the front on the lens, its like a wall of glass. Only wide aperture lenses such as this can awe you with the sheer amount of glass stuffed inside.

All that glass comes with a price.. A weight price, its not light, but feels reassuringly heavy.

What suprises most about this lens, is the other price, cost price.

Most competitive lenses cost upwards of £600. Some double that. This Samyang by comparison is mere pocket money.

I bought mine for £179, brand new with warranty. Since my purchase, this lens, and the company as a whole has become somewhat more prestigious and as such the price has raised to around £279.

This is still bargainous in any ones book for a f/1.4 lens.

Now, I expect you are all waiting for me to slate the lens’ performance, saying its as soft as butter at f/1.4 and doesn’t sharpen up until f/8.. At this price surely there must be a catch?

Well, sorry folks.. This lens is simply outstanding!

The sharpness, the bokeh, the ease of focusing, the build quality.. Its just all amazing!

The only thing I can find to comment on is the Chromatic abberations at f/1.4.They are quite pronounced, but, with a quick bit of jiggery in Lightroom, they vanish.

Of course, autofocus would be nice, but then the price wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is.

Also, the feeling when you nail focus at f/1.4 is something to behold. You did it.. Not a lens, not a camera.. You.

If you want a portrait lens, or a low light monster… Buy this. You will not regret it!