/ Samyang 85mm, f/1.4 - any thoughts?

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Fraser on 10 Jul 2017
Having seen a used one of these for sale, I'm sorely tempted to take a punt, but don't know that much about them, other than what some YT reviews say. What I'm most concerned about the purely manual focus factor and how quickly you'd expect to get used to it. I don't do any portraiture photography but do fancy the shallow DOF and nice bokeh.

Does anyone here have one and if so, what are it's pros and cons?
Marek - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

I don't have the 85mm but I do have the 135mm f2. I would say that as long as you are using a tripod and have a stationary subject then it'll be great. Otherwise you'll struggle to get sharp focus.
jethro kiernan - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

I have a Nikon 85mm 1.8 D (can be picked up pretty cheap) as said you do have to be quite careful about using it as it is very revealing of poor technique but when you get it right its a lovely lens. very good for isolating a subject.
https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=63273
Fraser on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to jethro kiernan & Marek:

Ah, I remember that shot, it's a real cracker. I think I'd be more likely to use it without a tripod, in most situations as I rarely carry one, esp when I'm out climbing. (It does have VR doesn't it?!)

Also, depending on which review I read/watch, it says I can or sometimes can't adjust the lens aperture via the camera dial rather than on the lens itself. Are either of you able to confirm? Oh, I should add it'd be going on a D7000.
HeMa on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

I assume you've read this:
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/483-samyang_85_14_5d


As for the focus thing, Samyang does both fully manual focus dealios, but also autofocus ones. And the XP series.

For the cheapest, fully manual... nothing can be adjusted from the camera (nor will there be any EXIF info either).

Autofocus ones will most likely also focus and adjust aperture.

Hence the contradicting statements...
Fraser on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to HeMa:

I'd not seen that review, so thanks for that. As it turns out, the lens has now been sold, so it's all been academic! The advert did however state it was a Nikon fit, and no mention of needing an adapter, so I wonder if that review you linked to was old when they perhaps only produced a Canon-fit version. One YouTube review I saw said you could set the aperture via the body, but that didn't seem to make sense. It did explain that you'd get the correct Exif data though.

Ah well, back to the same old lenses... ;)
HeMa on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

Samyang makes identical lenses for Most brands and just change the bayonet.
Fraser on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to HeMa:

Thanks. I think I'll keep my eyes open for another used one as it quite intrigues me. Should have just taken the plunge when I saw that one for just over £200.
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Marek:

> I don't have the 85mm but I do have the 135mm f2. I would say that as long as you are using a tripod and have a stationary subject then it'll be great. Otherwise you'll struggle to get sharp focus.

Those sound like wise words. For me that would make the lens useless. I can't of many times I've shot a static object from a tripod and wanted shallow depth of field. A mate let me kave a go on a Leica M9. Sounds cool, actually its a nightmare

Samyang seem to make 2 auto focus lenses

https://www.samyanglensglobal.com/product/index.do#JTdCJTIyQ0FUJTIyJTNBJTIyMSUyMiU3RA==
Marek - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

> Those sound like wise words. For me that would make the lens useless. I can't of many times I've shot a static object from a tripod and wanted shallow depth of field...

Astrophotography is my application for this lens on a Canon 550d and for that it's brilliant: http://www.zenadsl6044.zen.co.uk/UHC/O_UHC-rgb-crop.jpg (~50% crop).




icnoble on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

I had one when I had a Nikon and the image quality from it was very good as was the build quality. Unfortunately I couldn't get on with the manual focus. Now that I use a Fuji X-T2 I will reconsider getting one am manual focusing with this camera is very easy

Blue Straggler - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

What is it that you want to achieve?

1) the satisfaction of using something that's a bit awkward and difficult, to get interesting results

2) the specific DoF and bokeh you will get from 85mm f/1.4

3) some sort of money saving

4) other

3 or 3.5 years ago I fannied around with manual focus on a digital camera (a slightly different set-up - Vivitar 28-105 f/2.8-3.8 on a Sony NEX F3) for hand held spontaneous shooting. 95% of it was out-of-focus crap. Of the remainder, I might as well have used a standard modern AF. If the D7000 has a good viewfinder you might get away with it. Years ago I had a D70 and thought it would be nice to use it mostly with an old "pancake" Nikon 50mm f/1.8 wide open for concerts etc. Again - nightmare (terrible dark small viewfinder TBH).

I've been off photography a few years and just getting back into it with a Canon 600D. I've started veering toward wanting a fast telephoto prime and I did consider a Fotodiox adaptor and an old manual Minolta (135mm f/2.8 PF Rokkor) or a Samyang thing.

In the end I've gone for a second hand Canon 100mm f/2.0 proper modern AF lens. I want to pretty much "point and click" in low light at concerts etc, and be confident that I'll probably get an acceptable image. Nikon or third parties presumably do something similar. Mine was £229 from London Camera Exchange. I await its arrival. I have a feeling that I'll regret it less than I would regret a Samyang manual thing....

Just tonight I've been rediscovering a load of pics from a festival (Green Man 2014) shot with the NEX F3 and the manual lens. Total waste of time, twice over (wasted time shooting, wasted time reviewing).

I would think that what others have said or implied about it being perhaps a studio/art lens, makes sense.

Unless your answer is "1" or "4" I'd say go AF. You do however mention "same old lenses" so maybe you already have that covered (but then your answer would presumably be "1" or "4"....)


Fraser on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

My objective was mostly 2) with a bit of 1) thrown in. I would much prefer AF if I could find the right lens at an affordable price, (so objective 3) on your list also applies!) it's just that I saw the Samyang advertised I thought it looked potentially interesting. The lenses I have at the moment are:

- standard 18-105mm kit Nikon
- 35mm prime Nikon
- 55-300mm cheapo Nikon
- 11-16mm Tokina

Mostly I shoot with the Tokina, but I do like the telephoto option, albeit with its limitations and c/a issues. What I was hoping for was the ability to get shots like these two - with a shallower DOF - which I took a while back with the 55-300 but without having to be so far from the subject:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/70132285@N07/20602230408/in/photolist-xFMbzB-xoxPk7-xoxzHu

https://www.flickr.com/photos/70132285@N07/20602184610/in/photolist-xFMbzB-xoxPk7-xoxzHu/


I'm not sure what James used on this shot, but it's exactly the sort of image I'd aspire to:
https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=296112
FactorXXX - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

I'm not sure what James used on this shot, but it's exactly the sort of image I'd aspire to:

For a start, He's 'cheating' by using a Full Frame camera...
ads.ukclimbing.com
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

What is your budget

Assuming you have a focus motor, which I think you do, then the 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8 offer shallow depth of field and AF used for a bit over £200
Fraser on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

Budget is sort of vague really, but I can't really justify spending more than £250, ideally sub-£200. I'd not go for the 50mm f1.4, which I feel would be too close to the 35mm f/1.8 I have, but maybe the used 85mm f/1.8 is a 'close enough' option to the Samyang, plus gives me the AF. (You're right, the D7000 has the a/f motor.)
Blue Straggler - on 16 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

Presumably Tokina 100mm f/2.8 isn't "fast" enough for your bokeh needs?

I just looked to see if there is a Nikon equivalent of the Canon 100mm f/2.0 I just bought. There is but it is 3x the price :-o


I didn't check the price of the manual focus Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 macro but I did buy 3 of the 50mm ones 10 years ago for a work project and they were £800 then.

Don't even think about the Nikon 100mm f/1.4
Adam Long - on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

There are three ways to get that shallow depth of field look you're after - a faster lens or a longer lens, or a bigger sensor. Backing off and using a longer lens is usually the cheapest solution, if you've got the room. My favourite combo for climbing photography is a Mamiya 645 with 80/1.9, which gives a very nice fall off in focus without the constraint of a long lens framing the background tightly. Something like this: http://adamlong.photoshelter.com/portfolio/G0000gw1lqa67sEg/I0000J.06cfw6i4o If only I could afford a 645 digital back for it!

A Nikon 50/1.4 will give you the closest equivalent to this look. My experience is that 85mm is great on full frame but generally too long for climbing photography with a crop sensor. Unfortunately there's a lack of other options but one lens I looked at very closely when shooting Nikon DX was the Tamron 60/2. It is also a macro which will really add to your current kit.
Blue Straggler - on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Adam Long:

Does the focus gearing on a dedicated macro tend to favour the macro region at the cost of speed and precision at non-macro focus distances, or is that an old wives' tale (or relevant only to manual focusing)?
Fraser on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Adam Long:

> Backing off and using a longer lens is usually the cheapest solution, if you've got the room.

Thanks Adam, it was only by accident I found out what you've explained there when using my 55-300mm zoomed in at the long end, but that's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. Nice shot that one! ;)

I hadn't really considered the 50mm as I assumed it would be too close to the 35mm, but I hadn't really considered the difference in focal lengths would actually also increase on a DX body, so maybe I should look into that option. I'll also check out the Tamron, cheers for the suggestion.

Adam Long - on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Hmm, not heard that before. I can see the logic but can't really think of two macro and non-macros that are similar enough that you wouldn't be comparing apples and oranges anyway. Yes it might be slower if it starts hunting, though most have a switch to limit the range. I took my Sigma 150/2.8 to a bird colony a few years back and it did okay tracking birds in flight, as well as lizard headshots.

I find on modern lenses autofocus lenses, and AF zooms especially, generally have poor manual focus rings with reduced precision - less throw is easier on the motor. Whereas modern macros are almost invariably primes, and even if AF the designers have to assume will be used manually.

The nice thing with macro lenses is old manual lenses are still very usable. On my Sony A7 I use my Zuiko 135/4.5, 80/4 and 38/3.5 macros which means manual aperture stop-down as well as MF. On the Olympus auto tube you get two stage focus - extension to set the mag, then helical for fine focus. That's much more precise than any normal lens helical, macro or not.
Post edited at 21:56
nic mullin - on 18 Jul 2017
In reply to Marek:

like your Orion nebula shot - was it guided, stacked or both?

(Apologies to everyone else for the hijack...)
Marek - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to nic mullin:

Not guided, tracker is plenty good enough at 135mm focal length. Stacked with DSS and PS - more details (mainly about how to fit a UHC filter to a photo lens) here:
http://www.zenadsl6044.zen.co.uk/UHC/
mark s - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

i have one
when you get the focus nailed its amazing
i paid 140 used so not expensive at all.

if i focus via view finder in can front focus. noticable when wide open
so i focus via live view and zoom in on the image.
Fraser on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to mark s:

Good to know this, thanks. Where did you pick up one from at that price, it's a bargain?
mark s - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

might have been camera jungle
Jamie Wakeham - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Fraser:

If you are interested in using very shallow DoF with an old manual focus lens, you could consider swapping your focussing screen for one with focussing aids (like older SLRs used to have). I use a Pentax K5 with a replacement screen from focusingscreen.com and I can happily nail focus close up with a manual Takumar 85 f/1.8 close up and wide open. OK, not as quickly as a modern AF system can pick up focus, but unless you're shooting ball sports, quickly enough.
Blue Straggler - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Adam Long:
Thanks Adam, good points as usual!
ads.ukclimbing.com
nic mullin - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Marek:

Thanks Marek! I like the look of your tracker too!
Fraser on 06:45 Thu
In reply to Acrid Dragon:

Such a good idea I think I'll report it, thanks!

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.