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Lens review

Samyang AF 35 mm f/2.8 FE

6 December 2017
Maciej Lata³³o

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning the MTF50 function values) of the Samyang AF 35 mm f/2.8 FE was based on RAW files from the Sony A7R II camera. In the case of that mirrorless device the decency level we set about 39-41 lpmm and the best fixed focal length lenses might get to 70 lpmm. So far the records have been reached by the Tokina Fírin 20 mm f/2 FE MF (72.6 lpmm) and the Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 65 mm f/2 Aspherical 1:2 Macro (78.5 lpmm).

It’s also worth reminding here the resolution of the direct rival of the Samyang, the Sonnar 2.8/35. In the frame centre at the maximum relative aperture it reached almost 51 lpmm and its maximum MTFs amounted to 62 lpmm.

Now let’s check how the Samyang AF 35 mm f/2.8 FE compares - its performance in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C sensor and on the edge of full frame presents a graph below.

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Samyang AF 35 mm f/2.8 FE - Image resolution


In the frame centre the lens has a good result of over 52 lpmm already at the maximum relative aperture – a bit better than in the case of the more expensive Sonnar. Also the Samyang’s maximum performance exceeds that of the Sonnar – by f/5.6 you get a value of a tad over 63 lpmm. Of course this lens won’t break any resolution records but it would be foolish to expect a small f/2.8 lens to do so. What’s important, the lens is able to produce sharp images and it performs slightly better than its more expensive and more renowned rival.

The edge of the APS-C sensor looks sensibly well. At the maximum relative aperture the decency level is just barely exceeded but on stopping down the aperture the image quality improves very fast so in the f/5.6-f/8.0 range you get results over 50 lpmm. These values are noticeably higher than the values of the Sonnar which had problems with exceeding a level of 40 lpmm.

In the case of full frame you can complain only about the nearest area of f/2.8 where the resolution is a bit lower 40 lpmm. The decency level is reached by f/3.2 – 3.5 and the maximum results brush against 48 lpmm. It is as much as 15 lpmm more than in the case of the Sonnar. You can say that in this place the Samyang simply outclasses its rival.

The conclusions are very positive for the tested lens. There are no resolution records but nobody should expect them. Otherwise the noticeably cheaper, smaller and lighter Samyang is sharper than the Zeiss Sonnar 35 mm f/2.8 ZE in practically every place across the frame and at every aperture value. You need nothing better as a recommendation of that Korean optics product.

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

A7R II, JPEG, f/2.8
Samyang AF 35 mm f/2.8 FE - Image resolution
A7R II, JPEG, f/5.6
Samyang AF 35 mm f/2.8 FE - Image resolution