Lens review

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2

11 April 2017
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between parameters of the Samyang 1.2/85, those of his older and slower brother plus those of many other similar lenses designed for full frame reflex cameras. It’s obvious that the Samyang is optically a lens more complex than two other 1.2/85 models, shown here, but still it features a smaller number of elements than the slower Sigma. Minimum focusing distance, amounting to just 0.8 of a meter, is an asset of Samyang. Its physical weight and dimensions are similar to those of the Canon and the Mitakon. It’s interesting that the Sigma remains the heaviest and the biggest in this group.

In the photo below the tested lens is positioned next to the Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM.

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Build quality

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The Samyang 85 mm f/1.2 Premium starts with a metal mount with an embedded contact plate. Finally also the Canon mount version has them, a very good piece of news. What’s important, the contacts haven’t been glued on the surface of a rear element, like in the case of the Canon 1.2/85 so the shape of cross section of the Samyang’s rear element, 36 mm in diameter, is perfectly round. The element is positioned on the same level as contacts with the focus set at infinity. When you pass to the minimum focusing distance, it hides by about 1 cm inside the casing, revealing a very nicely blackened and matted interior without any significant slits.

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Build quality

The proper body of the lens starts with a black, metal ring which gets wider as you progress further from the mount. The ring’s surface is covered by fine ribbing and you can find also an inscription “MADE IN KOREA” on it. There’s no aperture ring because you control the aperture from the camera’s menu level.

There’s no depth of field scale either, strange for a manual, fixed focal length lens. A fitting DOF scale is a useful tool and manual primes usually feature it.

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Build quality

A narrow, silvery and immobile ring is the next part of the casing. Behind it you find another ring which can be moved – it allows you to set the focus. The ring is 36 mm wide, with one part of its surface covered by a distance scale expressed in feet and meters and the other by a rubber armour which ensures you a firmer grip. The ring looks similar to the solution known from the Otus and Milvus series produced by Zeiss; it also shares the problem of catching dust and dirt easily. Still the ring’s work seems to be beyond reproach as it moves smoothly and efficiently. Running through the whole distance scale takes a turn through an angle of almost 200 degrees. It is less than 270 degrees offered by the Mitakon 1.2/85, the Milvus and the Otus 1.4/85 and the difference is really felt. By f/1.2 even very slight moves of the ring change the depth of field in a distinct way.

Further on you see a black, metal ring which doesn’t move, with a filter diameter, 86 mm, the logo of the company and the parameters of the lens, 1.2/85 written on it. The ring turns smoothly into a hood mount.

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Build quality

The front element is almost 7 cm in diameter, encircled by a non-rotating filter thread, 86 mm in diameter. The element moves – it is almost on the same level as the hood mount when you set the focus at 0.8 of a meter, it hides inside the tube about 2 cm deep when the focus is set at infinity.

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Build quality

When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with 10 elements positioned in 7 groups. One element is aspherical and two others are made of HR glass with a high refraction index. Inside you also find a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed down to a value of f/16.

Buyers get both caps and a hood with the lens in the box.

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Build quality