Review: Samyang 75mm AF f/ 1.8 for Sony E-mount

Last week I was able to test the new Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8. This lens is part of Samyang's Tiny series. These lenses are, as the name says, really small, light, and have a lot to offer. Because this lens is so light and small, it is much more attractive for me to put in on my Sony A7III as a compact kit. Which makes it a lot easier to take my camera on a normal day.


An affordable, lightweight lens that offers great quality and is easy to carry around.

Specs

This lens costs around 419,- euro at the time of reviewing. Which makes this lens even more attractive to me. The dimensions are (ø x L): 65 x 69mm and the filter size is 58mm. I don't have a lot of experience with prime lenses in this focal length but would compare this lens to the sony 85mm f/1.8 or the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 which are both a lot bigger and heavier. The extra 10mm range you would get on the competitors isn't a big deal to me, I would just crop in a bit in post and lose a bit of resolution. I never plan on using all 24mp for a big print anyway. As for the aperture, it's nice to have a bit of extra light but again, to me, it is fine to shoot with 1.8. Of course, if you want the most professional and money is not an issue, I would choose the Sony 85mm f/1.4 I haven't tested the Sony so I can't say anything about the image quality.


First Impression

When I first got my hands on this lens I honestly didn't think it could deliver such great quality photos. But after putting this lens on a Sony A7III and shooting some portraits really surprised how good this lens is.


Prime lens

With this lens, you have to be a fan of prime lenses. I only use a wide-angle prime lens for landscapes. I do notice that I am often inclined to see what the image would look like with different focal lengths, just because I love experimenting. A complete set of this series would be perfect. For example a 24mm, 35mm, and a 75mm. Because all these lenses are so light and small, I see no problem putting a few lenses in my bag.


Autofocus

The autofocus is fast and accurate. It is not the fastest I've seen but it's fast enough for the shoots I tested it on, it is comparable to the autofocus on the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.


Sharpness & Bokeh

This lens is really sharp, way sharper than I expected it to be. At f/1.8 it is sharp in the center but a bit less sharp in the corners. There is a little bit of color deviation in the corners. At f/2.8 the photo is razor-sharp and the color deviation is mostly gone. Most of the time these corners are background anyway so I don't mind using f/1.8.

Exposure: f/2.0 | ISO 100 | 1/160s

Scroll down to see some more examples


It is very nice to be able to play with depth of field. Either for isolating details, creating some nice out of focus backgrounds, and put some emphasis on the model. With an aperture of f/1.8 and a focal length of 75mm this just works really well. The bokeh is soft and pleasant to look at.



Custom mode switch

The Samyang has a switch with two modes on it. Mode one will make the ring a focus ring in manual focus. Mode two will let you control the aperture with the ring. More functions could be added in a future firmware update. For me, this addition is not necessary and I tend to accidentally twist the ring and changing my aperture.


In the field

I have used this lens on location on several occasions

  • Fashion and portrait

  • Details

  • Landscape

  • City



Fashion and Portrait

This is what this lens is made for, and you notice that immediately. Portraits just look amazing instantly with this lens. I was shooting with this Sony / Samyang combo for a while and after that used my friend's Nikon APSC with an 18-55mm f/4 lens. I just wanted to switch back to the 75mm right immediately. It just makes photographing a lot more fun.

ISO 1250 | F/2.2 | 1/125s


Exposure: f/2.0 | ISO 100 | 1/125s


As you can see here, the fore- and backgrou