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Lens review

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2

11 April 2017
Maciej Latałło

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function values) of the Samyang 85 mm f/1.2 Premium was based on RAW files from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. In the case of that reflex camera the decency level is situated near 30-23 lpmm and the best fixed focal length lenses are able to reach as high as 45-48 lpmm. It’s also worth noting that the resolution record on that sensor not so long ago belonged to the Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 (49.2 lpmm) but then it was beaten by the Sigma A 85 mm f/1.4 DG HSM and now amounts to 49.7 lpmm – just slightly more but still.

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

Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Image resolution


The first piece of news is very good. In the frame centre, at the maximum relative aperture, the MTFs slightly exceed 30 lpmm so the images you get there can be called completely useful. There are many slower 85 mm primes which couldn’t achieve that much. When you stop down the aperture the image quality improves, reaching the maximum by f/4.0 -5.6 where the resolution is 44 lpmm. It is a high level but not a record-breaking one, lacking a bit when compared to the performance of the Sigma A 1.4/85. The Mitakon 1.2/85 fared also a bit better. On the other hand a comparison between the tested lens and the Canon 1.2/85 ends with a draw – for particular apertures sometimes the Canon sometimes the Samyang prevails and, overall, the differences between them are within the margin of error.

When it comes to the edge of the frame the image quality is higher than in the case of its f/1.2 rivals so, it seems, Samyang specialists took a noticeably better care of it. The advantage is especially visible at the maximum relative aperture but also after stopping down the MTFs produced by the Samyang are higher than those from the Canon and the Mitakon.

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Our summary has to be rather unequivocal – the Samyang 85 mm f/1.2 Premium fares very well in the frame centre already from the maximum relative aperture; on the edge of the frame its results are better than the results of its f/1.2 rivals. It’s true that near f/4.0 just several small lpmm divide it from the sharpest, top-of-the-range 85 mm instruments available on the market but, taking it all into account, it would be simply churlish to complain about it. After analyzing the resolution performance our impressions are very positive indeed.

At the end of this chapter traditionally we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing scene saved as JPEG files.

Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 85 mm, f/1.2
Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Image resolution
Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 85 mm, f/4.0
Samyang XP 85 mm f/1.2 - Image resolution