Samyang Optics has now announced their own version of Sony’s Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens…
Aim High, Create Artwork
This new AF 35mm F1.4 FE works in harmony with full frame mirrorless cameras in Sony E mount such as Sony α7 or α9 series. It is designed to appeal to enthusiasts and professionals who are ready to take the next step up in photography. It is the excellent companion to create artworks from everyday moments.
High Performance beyond Expectation
Absolute resolution across the entire image field is the key feature of Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 FE. The lens includes 11 elements in 9 groups and features 2 aspherical lenses and 2 high-refractive lenses, plus Ultra Multi Coating. The optical design minimises various aberrations and unnecessary light dispersion to deliver outstanding resolution. Fast, precise and quiet autofocus performance meets Samyang’s exceptional optical technology to capture any moments clearly. The bright F1.4 secures fast shutter speed and creates shallow depth of focus images in wide-standard angle of view. The new 35mm F1.4 lens is ideal for professional photography including low-light events, landscapes and portraits with expressive characteristics.
Considering Sony’s 35mm costs $1600 I can’t help but Samyang saw this lens as low hanging fruit… something that would be very appealing to photographers at the lower prices Samyang can offer but would simultaneously allow Samyang to have a big fat (relative) profit margin on the lens.
Samyang has not released pricing information yet but I’m going to bet it’ll be around $1000.
Interestingly, the specifications for Sony’s and Samyang’s lenses are nearly identical.
Sony’s lens weighs 630 grams while Samyang’s weighs 703 grams.
Sony’s optical formula is 12 elements in 8 groups while Samyang’s is 11 elements in 9 groups.
Sony’s lens has 9 diaphragm blades while Samyang’s also has 9.
Sony’s magnification ratio is 0.18 while Samyangs is 0.17.
Sony’s front filter thread is 72mm while Samyang’s is 67mm.
Sony’s angle of view is 63mm while Samyang’s is 65mm.
But while Samyang’s and Sony’s lens share very similar physical features they begin to differ when it comes to MTF…
Notice how Samyang didn’t state on their chart what aperture their MTF test was taken at. But if we were to assume that the chart shows the lenses maximum aperture then the lens performs similarly to Sony’s at low resolutions.
But beyond that there isn’t enough data to make any real comparisons. We’re missing MTF measurements for a lot of commonly used apertures beyond the maximum one as well as missing 30 line pairs / mm data on Sony’s chart as well as 20, 40, and 50 lp / mm on Samyang’s.
Sony is also missing 50 lp / mm data which is increasingly important as Sony introduces higher resolution sensors in its camera bodies (a7III coming up, rumors say a ton of pixels).
I would bet that Samyang’s and Sony’s 35mm lenses will perform pretty similarly optically while Sony’s will have faster and better auto-focus. However, people will inevitably think that Samyang’s lens is worse simply because it’s cheaper and off-brand.
Take that as you will.