Lens review

Samyang AF 135 mm f/1.8 FE

12 September 2022
Maciej Lata³³o

4. Image resolution

Our resolution test (resolution meaning the MTF50 function values) of Sony FE lenses is based on RAW files from the 42.4 Mpix sensor of the Sony A7R II or the Sony A7R III camera. In the case of this kind of detector the decency level we set about 39-41 lpmm and the best fixed focal length lenses have been able to reach 75-80 lpmm. So far, three lenses have fared the best: we mean here the Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E (81.0 lpmm), the Sigma C 65 mm f/2 GD DN (82.7 lpmm), and the Sony FE 20 mm f/1.8G (83.7 lpmm).

Let's check how the Samyang AF 135 mm f/1.8 FE compares- its results in the frame centre, on edges of APS-C sensor and full frame presents a graph below.

Samyang AF 135 mm f/1.8 FE - Image resolution

The performance in the frame centre is excellent. Already at the maximum relative aperture the lens's result exceeds 50 lpmm and on stopping down the resolution improves very quickly, reaching a sensational level of 80.6 lpmm by f/4.0. It is really a performance worth the best system primes.

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It's worth mentioning here that the Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM got practically the same maximum result but it had a bit better MTFs near the maximum relative aperture. Only up from the f/2.8 aperture the Samyang can match the Sony's performance.

The situation on the edge of the frame is interesting, though, because the Samyang fares better than the Sony. First of all, you get fully useful values up from the maximum relative aperture on both types of detectors. On the APS-C sensor the Samyang reaches over 74 lpmm at the maximum and on the edge of full frame it is able to get to almost 70 lpmm, both excellent results. For comparison sake you can add that the Sony on the edge of the APS-C barely got to 60 lpmm and on the edge of the full frame – to 53 lpmm. As you see, here the Samyang visibly prevails.

It's obvious, the approach of these two manufacturers was different – Sony focused on the frame centre, giving up on the resolution of edges, the Samyang offers you a lens with a more ballanced performance.

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

A7R III, JPEG, 135 mm, f/1.8
Samyang AF 135 mm f/1.8 FE - Image resolution
A7R III, JPEG, 135 mm, f/4.0
Samyang AF 135 mm f/1.8 FE - Image resolution