Lens review

Samyang AF 35 mm f/1.4 FE

30 March 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function values) of the Samyang AF 35 mm f/1.4 FE was based on RAW files from the Sony A7R II camera. In the case of that mirrorless device the decency level we set at 39-41 lpmm and the best fixed-focal lenses can reach as high as 75 lpmm. So far the records belong to the Tokina Fírin 20 mm f/2 FE MF (72.6 lpmm), the Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 65 mm f/2 Aspherical 1:2 Macro, and the Sigma C 16 mm f/1.4 DC DN (both 78.5 lpmm).

Let’s check how the Samyang 1.4/35 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.

Samyang AF 35 mm f/1.4 FE - Image resolution

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The performance in the frame centre is brilliant. Already at the maximum relative aperture the image remains fully useful; its quality improves sharply on stopping down the aperture. The peak of the performance can be noticed by f/4.0-5.6, with MTFs reaching over 71 lpmm, so a level very close to that of the Tokina 2/20, so praised by us in our test. Let’s remind here that the Tokina was, for some time, a resolution record holder for the Sony A7R II sensor.

It would be difficult to have any reservations concerning the performance on the edge of the APS-C sensor. At the maximum relative aperture you are, in fact, on the borderline of the decency level ( after taking into account the margin of error) and on more significant stopping down the MTFs are able to exceed a very high level of 60 lpmm.

First and only reasons to complain appear on the very edge of full frame and close to the maximum relative aperture, where the image quality leaves a bit to be desired. In order to enjoy completely useful images at that point you have to stop down the aperture to near f/2.5 – 2.8. Then MTFs increase their values very fast and near f/5.6 they brush against a very high level of 60 lpmm. Some contemporary 1.4/35 lenses feature a different approach. They fare better than the Samyang in the f/1.4-2.0 range but they don’t go much higher on distinct stopping down. The Samyang, for a change, even with a stopped down aperture, is able to generate very sharp, bright images across the frame.

Its slip-up on the edge of full frame can’t change a very high assessment in this category. These parameters are difficult to correct and many full frame 1.4/35 lenses have experienced serious problem in that particular place of the frame.

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/1.4
Samyang AF 35 mm f/1.4 FE - Image resolution
A7R II, JPEG, f/4.0
Samyang AF 35 mm f/1.4 FE - Image resolution