Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE: Good performance and cheap!

The Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 FE offers an unconventional focal length in the category of small telephoto lenses. With its wide f / 1.8 aperture and attractive price, this 75mm is sure to catch the eye of photographers with Sony hybrid cameras. Samyang seeks to seduce photographers of all kinds by offering a wide range of lenses with a certain quality, attractive prices and without skipping the autofocus. With the AF 75mm F1.8 FE, the Korean manufacturer brings us a small telephoto lens with a large aperture. If the 75 mm focal length is relatively unusual 85 mm being more standard today and it is nonetheless a fixed focal length which will be able to seduce thanks to its reduced size. Portrait painters and fans of versatility will be sure to take a closer look.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Few competitors in this segment

Unlike the AF 35mm F1.8 FE which has a lot of competition, the AF 75mm F1.8 FE plays a little more alone in its backyard. At Sony, only four lenses can claim to approach 75mm, if we exclude standard focal lengths. And again, we brew wide since we integrate the famous FE 135mm f / 1.8 GM. In addition to the FE 85mm f / 1.4 which does not quite play in the same category, we will rather retain the FE 85mm f / 1.8, more affordable. In addition, mention may be made of the PFU RBMH 85mm F1.8 STM from the Chinese manufacturer Viltrox. The AF 75mm F1.8 FE fixed focal length was introduced in April 2020 by Samyang for a suggested price of € 429.

Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE A coherent range

The AF 75mm F1.8 FE lens is part of the same lineup as the AF 35mm F1.8 FE that we recently tested. It shares many of its characteristics. Among the points to note, let us quote the black dress and the small red border specific to the range of Samyang. The finishes are good and do not convey the impression of a discount lens. However, the attractive price position does not make it possible to work miracles compared to more high-end objectives. We think in particular of the focusing ring certainly pleasant, but qualitatively below that of some more expensive competitors.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Compact and efficient

On the other hand, compactness is a real strength of the AF 75mm F1.8 FE, as is its weight (230g). Another advantage, the control switch allows you to adjust a camera parameter via the focus ring; the aperture of the diaphragm is set by default. Samyang promises new functions in the future thanks to an update. Be careful, however, you will need to equip yourself with a chargeable accessory to carry out these updates.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Sharpness

The tests in our laboratory are carried out in partnership with Imatest. Software, tools or charts, Imatest offers complete and tailor-made solutions to analyze and assess the quality of images. The Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 FE achieves an excellent gross performance. As we also noted on the AF 35mm F1.8 FE, we immediately notice the excellent quality at the best apertures. The dive at the largest opening is down, but still good. Note also the lack of homogeneity between the edges and the center of the image.

Finally, it is from f / 2.8 that the optics begin to deliver their full potential. To benefit from the best rendering on the whole image, it will be necessary to work at f / 5.6, while f / 8 is still excellent, even if on the decline. It is only at f / 16 that the overall rendering is damaged by diffraction.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Pay attention to performance

During our first tests, we noted an unusual under performance at the largest aperture, ie f / 1.8. We finally tested a second model of the AF 75mm F1.8 FE lens. This time, the results were consistent and of a very good standard. However, this could not be achieved without difficulty. Indeed, with the Samyang lens, our Alpha 7R IV (A7R IV) had great difficulty in focusing accurately with the autofocus, our procedures leaving no room for error.

Of course, once out of our laboratory and in conventional use, this aspect should be less of a problem. Finally, note that this concern is not necessarily exclusively linked to Samyang, but is found from time to time, particularly among third-party manufacturers.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Distortions

With a small telephoto lens like the AF 75mm F1.8 FE, you rarely try to get distortion. And that falls rather well, it is almost devoid of it. Chromatic aberrations are generally easy to correct in their simplest forms. The AF 75mm F1.8 FE does not suffer too much from this problem, however.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Vignetting

The vignetting of the AF 75mm F1.8 FE is relatively marked. To reduce it, do not forget to activate the device correction which will automatically apply to the jpeg files. Obviously, some will adapt to it completely to exploit a small artistic touch in their images. It is only from f / 4 that its presence becomes negligible.

Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Bokeh, yes, but be careful

Its maximum aperture of f / 1.8 places the AF 75mm F1.8 FE in the category of bright lenses. An opening that reduces the sensitivity of the device or increases its speed, which is very practical during shooting sessions in low light. It also makes it possible to generate a marked background blur, especially with a camera with a 24×36 sensor and therefore to detach the subject from its background.

The bokeh or the “quality of the blur is therefore essential. The AF 75mm F1.8 FE is doing very well, with a well-brought softness. The bokeh bubbles produced by night lights are for example very round in the center. and show only a few flaws. However, we will notice small “balls” on their surface.The problem is fortunately less visible outside our laboratories.

On the other hand, it will be necessary to pay attention to the position and the power of the light sources which can generate flare, unwanted light reflections, particularly in sunny weather, but not only. Indeed, on our demanding stage, it is possible to see purple reflections at the level of the LED.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE Pleasant operation

The 75mm focal length is a bit too long for architectural photography because of the distance needed to capture a building in its entirety. On the other hand, the AF 75mm F1.8 FE is ideally positioned for taking portraits. It is still short enough to indulge in a few other disciplines.

Note the satisfactory behavior of the autofocus, especially once the detection and tracking of the eyes activated. Its operation is not perfectly quiet, but it should not be more of a nuisance than that if the environment is not completely calm. Finally, note that the AF 75mm F1.8 FE is devoid of stabilization, but also resistance to dust or moisture. It is always a pleasure to observe a beautiful lens.


Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE STRONG POINTS:

  • Compactness and lightness.
  • Large maximum aperture f / 1.8.
  • Excellent level of sharpness at the best apertures (f / 2.8 – f / 5.6)
  • Responsive autofocus.
  • Original control switch.

Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE WEAK POINTS:

  • Lack of homogeneity.
  • No stabilization.
  • Tendency to flare.
  • Vignetting marked.
  • No shortcut for manual focus.
  • The update will require purchasing the dock at 59 €.

Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 Sony FE CONCLUSION

While the Samyang AF 75mm F1.8 FE does not achieve the finish quality of more high end lenses, its construction remains good. It is also very compact and light, for easy transport and use. However, it will be necessary to do with a full opening set back from the more closed diaphragm. It is all the more unfortunate on a fixed focal length which could tempt portrait painters. That being said, the overall performance is excellent.

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