Lens review

Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AS UMC

30 March 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

Let’s start with the traditional comparison of the tested lens’ parameters and those of its competitors, showed in the following chart. As you can notice the biggest and the heaviest lens in this group is the manual Zeiss. In its case we deal with a casing made completely of metal, though, so such a significant weight is quite understandable. The second place occupies the Samyang which features the build quality definitely worse than the Zeiss but owes its weight to a high number of optical elements – it is the most optically complex instrument here. A huge front element contributes to that too –a filter you will need here features the biggest diameter of all.

The photo below shows the comparison between the dimensions of the Samyang 1.4/35 and those of the Sigma 1.4/30. Although the parameters of both lenses are similar, the Sigma is significantly smaller and physically lighter as it is designed for a smaller sensor.

Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AS UMC  - Build quality

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The lens starts with a metal mount equipped with contacts which enable to transform aperture and focal length values to a body. Inside the mount there is a rear element, 31 mm in diameter. It is situated on the same level as the mount with the focus set at infinity. On passing to the minimum focus the lens hides slightly inside the barrel but it doesn’t expose the inside of the instrument by doing so.

Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AS UMC  - Build quality

Immediately behind the mount, already on the barrel of the lens, there is an aperture ring. It moves every 0.5 EV of a step but of course you can always set it by f/22 (marked in red) and then control the aperture from the level of the body menu every 1/3 EV of a step. Behind the ring you see the characteristic red stripe and then a fragment of the casing with two inscriptions: ‘Samyang 35 mm 1:1.4 35mm AS UMC’ and ‘Made in Korea’ on the opposite side. Right above the marking of the lens’s focal length there are depth of field markings by f/22, f/16, f/11, f/5.6 and f/2.8 aperture.

The majority of the casing is occupied by a manual focus ring 45 mm wide with the rubberized ribs taking 30 mm of it. The ring moves evenly and is well-damped. The only thing you can carp about is some slight slack. With the first delicate move you turn the ring but still the position of the optical system remains unchanged. Running through the whole scale takes a 145-degree turn.

The next part of the barrel surrounds a front element with the diameter as big as 55 mm. It changes its position because the Samyang’s 1.4/35 focusing is based on the movement of the whole optical system. At the end of the lens we also see a mount to attach a petal-type lens hood and a non-rotating filter thread 77 mm in diameter on the inside.

Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AS UMC  - Build quality

When it comes to the inner construction the tested Samyang is perhaps the most complicated 1.4/35 lens on the market. We don’t mean only the number of elements here, although the device does feature the most of them, but also the usage of special kind of glass. Overall we deal here with 12 elements positioned in 10 groups, one aspherical element and two high-refractive  elements among them. Inside the lens there is also an aperture with eight diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22.

The buyer gets both caps, a petal-type hood and a soft pouch included in box.

Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AS UMC  - Build quality