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First Impression of the New Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II

Nic Taylor

Photographer from England

First Impression of the New Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II

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I’d like to share my brief look of the new Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens comparing the original Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE.
The initial lens I tested when I became an ambassador for Samyang back in 2016 was Samyang's first-ever autofocus lens, the AF 50mm F1.4 FE.
Fast-forward five years, with numerous autofocus lenses across the three main consumer camera mounts, Samyang is now releasing an updated mark 2 version of the lens saying ‘Better Faster Lighter’. This lens follows on from the other two brand-new lenses released this autumn including a brand new AF 24-70mm Zoom lens and a 12mm AF lens
for Fuji X-Mount (both lenses are Samyang firsts).

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(Left) Original Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE (Right) New Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE

When I look back at my review of the original AF 50mm F1.4 lens I mention that it had fast AF. This was around the time I was switching from Sony A mount to E mount so a lot of my lenses at that time were adapted which made me used to slower autofocus performance. When I compare the MK2 model to the original version, the difference in speed is incredible. However, it’s worth noting that the original 50mm lens was Samyang's very first AF lens, so some teething issues could be expected.
Many videographers complained about the AF motor noise on the older version and slow AF performance. Neither of these issues bothered me as the sort of stuff I shoot doesn’t require speed or silent AF but I can see why the performance of the lens could annoy some photographers /videographers.

Some Key Points Taken From the Samyang Website:

1. Smallest & Lightest large-aperture standard lens

2. Ultra-precision aspherical lenses offer soft and beautiful bokeh

3. New modern design with matt finish and red ring

4. Fast & quiet AF and well-controlled breathing for shooting video

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Size in hand while mounted on Sony A7RIII

Better Faster Quieter AF Performance

The new, updated version of this lens has by far better AF performance. It's faster, quieter, and better in low light.

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LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 125
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 125
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 125
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

Lighter with Improved Performance

It also has a slightly more complex construction with its 11 elements in 8 groups as opposed to the 9 elements in 8 groups of the older model. Samyang has done a great job when designing the updated lens. Despite it being slightly wider and having a more complex build, the new model weighs quite considerably less than the original lens.
420g for the new lens versus 585g for the older model. I really like how Samyang has designed the update to this lens and made it a little smaller and lighter.
I'm always trying to reduce the weight of the kit I carry to shoots.

New and Convenient Design

The update also brings a focus hold button and a Custom switch which has appeared on the last few E-Mount lens releases from Samyang.
A very nice addition that allows the user to adjust camera settings via the focus ring when set to position 2. The lens features a more matte finish similar to the AF 24mm F1.8 FE released earlier this year which I really like. Samyang has done a great job when designing the updated lens. Instead of the 67mm filter thread on the original 50mm, the updated version features a slightly bigger diameter filter thread of 72mm making it a slightly wider lens overall. It also features weather sealing, which the original lens did not.
This is something Samyang has brought to the newer lenses released in the last 18 - 24 months.

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Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II and Sony A7RIII

Shorter Minimum Focusing Distance

It has an aperture range from f1.4 up to f16 which is pretty standard for a lens of this type. It features a minimum focusing distance of 40cm (from subject to the sensor)
which is slightly better than the original lens which had a minimum focus distance of 45cm.

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LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F6.3
SPEED 1/200 sec
ISO 50
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

Impressive Resolution and Color Suited for Food Commercials

The sharpness of the lens is good and the colours and contrast are punchy. Of course, these things can be edited to suit in a photo editing app like Lightroom or Capture One. I haven't noticed any chromatic aberration, but that's not to say this lens doesn't render the images without any. However, this can be fixed with a simple click in Lightroom.
I haven't had a chance to test out how the lens performs in regard to flaring, but I have been very impressed overall with how this lens has performed for me on numerous shoots for clients since I've had the lens. For a few years the 50mm was one of my most used lenses, especially for shooting food (mainly top-down shots) as I liked the look the lens gave. This new, updated version will replace the old version in my camera bag and will form part of my fundamental kit for restaurant and food photography.

zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 125
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/100 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/100 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/125 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Aperture
priority
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5.6
SPEED 1/5000 sec
ISO 80
EXPOSURE Aperture
priority
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5
SPEED 1/13 sec
ISO 125
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 50mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3
DIAPHRAGM F5
SPEED 1/200 sec
ISO 80
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 50mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

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Samyang’s Guide to Achieving the Optimal Angle of View

The perfect spacing and distance are always necessary when shooting all kinds of subjects, including people, to give them a proper relationship with the beautiful space around them. So, what’s the exact distance that helps you best appreciate a work of art, or a photo?

The correct answer is the diagonal length of the full frame of a subject.

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표준화각 자료 이미지

The best standpoint from which to appreciate the full view of a subject is the distance of the diagonal length of the subject frame. This wider angle is superior to standing closer at a 50 degree angle to get a more detailed view. This notion of an ideal distance or view point is also applicable in the world of photography.

For still images, keeping a distance equal to the diagonal length of the full image surface is recommended. The full frame sensor of a digital camera is 36 x 24mm and the diagonal length is 43.26mm so any distance close to this number is nearer to the ideal than the currently accepted industry standard of 50mm.

Back when film cameras were common, 45mm was the industry standard and this continued as reflex cameras needed extra space to fit a mirror. However, as mirrorless cameras become more popular again, there has been a need to return to this industry standard…which is the impetus for the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE. With less distortion than a 35mm lens and wider angles than a 55mm lens, the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE is a perfect lens for portraits, landscapes, architecture photography, and pictures of pets.

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