Lens review

Samyang AF 85 mm f/1.4 FE/RF

5 July 2019
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resoltuion meaning the MTF50 function value) of the Samyang 85 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 about 39-41 lpmm and the best fixed-focal lenses could exceed 70 lpmm. So far, 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) have been the record holders.

Let’s check how the tested Samyang 85 mm f/1.4 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 85 mm f/1.4 FE/RF - Image resolution

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Looking at its performance in the frame centre only compliments come to your mind. Already at the maximum relative aperture the resolution level is very good; also the peak of the performance, amounting to 76.5 lpmm, is an outstanding achievement – higher resolution is reached only by the Voigtader Apo-Lanthar 65 mm f/2. Still, instead of praising the lens to the skies I think it's better to glance at the graph below.

Samyang AF 85 mm f/1.4 FE/RF - Image resolution

I would like to remind here just one fact: the tested Samyang is being compared to the Sony FE 85 MM F/1.4 GM, a lens we assessed very highly in our test. The problem is that the Sony costs practically three times as much as the Samyang even though it is hardly more difficult to construct. It doesn't contain more optical elements either. It is clear you have to pay a hefty 'corporation tax' in that case.

When it comes to the performance on the edge of the frame, as long as you stick to the APS-C sensor the Samyang doesn't give any reasons to worry. Of course the results are notably lower than in the frame centre but even by f/1.4 you get fully useful images.

Slight problems can be observed only on the edge of full frame where the maximum relative aperture shows values below 40 lpmm so the image quality cannot be called sensible. Fortunately near f/2.0 the decency level is reached and on further stopping down the results of the lens improve, reaching their maximum near f/5.6.

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

A7R II, JPEG, f/1.4
Samyang AF 85 mm f/1.4 FE/RF - Image resolution
A7R II, JPEG, f/2.8
Samyang AF 85 mm f/1.4 FE/RF - Image resolution