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Lens review

Samyang AF 50 mm f/1.4 FE

7 November 2016
Szymon Starczewski

4. Image resolution

The resolution test ( resolution meaning MTF50 function values) of the Samyang AF 50 mm f/1.4 FE was based on RAW files from the Sony A7R II. In the case of that mirrorless camera the decency level is situated near 38-40 lpmm and the best fixed focal length lenses can reach results as high as 64-67 lpmm. The record value belongs to the Sony FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM and it amounts to 69.1 lpmm.

Let’s check how the tested lens compares; its results in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C sensor and on the edge of the full frame presents a graph below.

Samyang AF 50 mm f/1.4 FE - Image resolution

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When it comes to the performance in the frame centre we are hardly impressed. At the maximum relative aperture the MTFs barely exceed 30 lpmm so the image quality is not especially good. In order to reach the usefulness you have to close down the aperture to about f/1.8. On further stopping down the resolution improves but not as quickly as it should; as a result the best value you get by f/5.6 and it reaches not especially impressive level of 58.4 lpmm.

The situation reminds rather the performance of old 1.4/50 lenses because new constructions, with 10-13 elements, are able to provide useful images already at the maximum relative aperture and the highest MTFs, those brushing against record values, are reached near f/4.0. The performance of the Samyang AF 1.4/50 lags distinctly behind.

The results on the edge of the APS-C sensor and on the edge of full frame are surprisingly similar, even the same within the margin of error, at many apertures. Overall the situation is not bad. It is true that near f/1.4 and f/2.0 it would be difficult to speak about full usefulness of images but the decency level is reached near f/2.2 relative aperture. It is a better performance than that of the manual Samyang 50 mm f/1.4 AS UMC designed for reflex cameras but still noticeably worse than the performance of such lenses as both Zeisses, the Otus and the Milvus, or the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 DG HSM.

At the end of that chapter traditionally we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart which were saved as JPEG files along with RAW files used for the analysis above.

A7R II, JPEG, f/1.4
Samyang AF 50 mm f/1.4 FE - Image resolution
A7R II, JPEG, f/5.6
Samyang AF 50 mm f/1.4 FE - Image resolution