Independent lens maker Samyang is on a roll. Having just announced its first autofocus lens for Nikon DSLRs (opens in new tab), it's now back in familiar territory with another manual focus prime lens designed, as we've come to expect from Samyang, to combine optical quality with value for money.
Interestingly, the Samyang MF 85mm F1.8 ED UMC CS is for APS-C format mirrorless cameras only, and will come in versions for Sony E mount, Fujifilm X, Canon M and Micro Four Thirds cameras.
The 85mm focal length is normally associated with portrait photography, but because of the ‘crop factor’ of APS-C sensors, it’s actually equivalent to around 135mm (170mm equivalent on a Micro Four Thirds camera), which effectively makes it a medium telephoto lens.
The optical construction consists of nine elements in seven groups, including a high refractive index and extra low dispersion element and Ultra Multi Coating (UMC) to suppress chromatic aberration and produce clear and vibrant images.
Samyang says the new lens is designed to be sharp from the center to the edges of the frame, with smooth and appealing bokeh in out-of-focus areas.
The fast maximum aperture should make it especially useful for low-light photography, though the lack of an inbuilt image stabilizer means you’ll need to be more wary of camera shake at slower shutter speeds, and with very shallow depth of field at wide apertures you’ll need to be very precise with your focusing.
Samyang already makes an 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC Lens which fits both full-frame and APS-C cameras in a variety of mounts and at a similar price to this one. The new 85mm f/1.8 is, however, very light at just 300g.
The Samyang MF 85mm F1.8 ED UMC CS will be available from September, and is priced at £320 in the UK, with prices for other territories to follow.