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Lens review

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS

5 October 2018
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

There are not many 80-90 mm lenses dedicated for APS-C/DX sensors available on the market. Producers seem to think that the owners of cameras with smaller detectors can simply use full frame models with similar parameters. On the one hand it is understandable; on the other hand a lens designed to cooperate with a certain size of detector allows you to optimize its physical dimensions and weight. Such a statement is well illustrated by the following chart. The Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS belongs here to the group of the smallest and the lightest lenses. It is also clear that the constructors of the Fujinon 2/90 went for another tactics: for them optical properties were more important than the guarantee of small dimensions and moderate weight.

In the photo below you see that the Samyang 1.8/85 is a bit higher than the full frame Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM but definitely thinner. On the other side of the Samyang we positioned also the Fujinon 1.2/56.

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a silver, metal mount without any contacts. As a result the camera doesn’t get any information concerning focal lengths and apertures. On the silver ring, surrounding the mount, you find the serial number of the lens, and a red dot, making an alignment with a camera easier. A rear element is 20 mm in diameter and it doesn’t move; around it you find black, well matted rings. Still the fact that the inner part of the mount is shiny, not blackened, worries us a bit.

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Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Build quality

The silver, shiny ring which constitutes the first part of the housing, turns into a narrow, black part which doesn’t move and then into an aperture ring, 9 mm wide and mostly covered by comfortable ribs. It is properly damped and allows you to change the aperture every 1/2 EV step.

Then you see an immobile red, metal strip and another strip, black, that doesn’t move as well. After that there is a manual focus ring, as wide as 30 mm. It comes with a distance scale, expressed in meters and feet, and an inscription “MADE IN KOREA”. The ring is smooth and firm in action; running through the whole distance range needs a turn through an angle of about 130 degrees. It is a value a bit too small for a good quality manual lens. Unfortunately the producer didn’t put any depth of field scale on the barrel of the lens. In the case of a manual instrument it is a very strange and definitely wrong decision…

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Build quality

Then you see an immobile part of the lens, 23 mm wide, which turns smoothly into a hood mount.

The front element is 46 mm in diameter, surrounded by inscriptions with the name and parameters of the lens and a non-rotating filter thread, 62 mm in diameter. That lens doesn’t move and is hidden the deepest inside the barrel with the device set at infinity.

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Build quality

The optical formula is 9 elements in 7 groups, including 1 HR (High Refractive Index) and 1 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) element. Inside you can also find a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22.

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a soft, drawstring pouch. The lens comes with a five-year warranty period of the producer.

Samyang 85 mm f/1.8 ED UMC CS - Build quality