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Lens review

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS

5 October 2018
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary

Pros:

  • barrel of good quality and proper performance of all elements,
  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • low longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • moderate lateral chromatic aberration,
  • low distortion,
  • negligible astigmatism,
  • not especially bothersome coma,
  • pleasant out-of-focus areas,
  • excellent price/quality ratio,
  • 5-year warranty period.

Cons:

  • some problems connected to spherical aberration,
  • distinct vignetting,
  • very weak performance against bright light.
The Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS has many positive aspects and the list of superlatives, appropriate for the summary of this test, would be long. First of all the new lens fits really well the whole idea of Samyang primes designed for APS-C sensors: the device is sensible when it comes to dimensions and weight, with a moderate price tag, good aperture fastness, and very good optical properties. As a result you feel you get excellent value for your money.

When it comes to the Fujifilm X mount, the biggest rival of the tested lens seems to be the Fujinon XF 90 mm f/2. R LM WR. It is sharper than the Samyang in the frame centre and constructed according to a quite different philosophy. Even if it is slower, aperture-wise, it remains heaver and bigger. It is also over 2.5 times more expensive and that fact alone might mean the Samyang is going to catch the eye of many potential buyers.

You can also wonder why the faster Samyang doesn’t have higher resolution than the Fujinon and never exceeds 80 lpmm, a feat several Fuji X lenses have managed to achieve. It’s obvious the limitations connected to dimensions and weight make themselves felt but it seems that it was also a deliberate choice of the constructors. They left the spherical aberration not corrected in a perfect way and sacrificed the resolution records for nicer blurry areas. Such a decision was a risky one - you sacrifice a parameter easy to assess for something very subjective, a feature one might find nice and the other might find ugly. Fortunately the Samyang optics specialists decided to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds: they didn’t allow much of aberration to be present. As a result the bokeh looks already nice but the lowering of sharpness is not especially pronounced.

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To be honest, after buying the 8 mm and the 12 mm Samyang lenses I was seriously thinking about purchasing the next device in the series…

It would be a good moment to end our summary now but for one fact - the tested lens went with me to Lofoten islands on one of our Photomissions and I took a lot of photos with it. Several of them, already after processing, are presented below. Of course ‘untouchable’ JPEGs straight from the camera can be found in the next chapter.

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Summary