Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE Review


Introduction

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE is a versatile wide-angle to medium telephoto zoom lens for Sony’s Alpha range of 35mm full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras.

The optical formula is comprised of 21 elements in 18 groups with special lenses used for 12 out of the 21 total elements, and there’s Ultra Multi-Coating (UMC) technology to help minimize flare and ghosting.

This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 33cm / 1.08ft with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.175x / 1:5.7 (at 35mm).

It features a rounded 9-blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out-of-focus areas of the image and an internal focusing mechanism which means the lens barrel doesn’t move.

It uses a Linear Stepping Motor focus mechanism for fast, quiet and precise auto-focusing, and full-time manual focus override is also possible.

There are two Focus Control buttons, Custom, AF/MF and Zoom Lock switches, Lens Station support for firmware upgrades and customisation, and it has a moisture-sealed construction.

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE lens is available now priced at £1319 / $1199 in the UK and USA, respectively.

This lens was first announced in April 2023. It is designed and made in the Republic of Korea.

Ease of Use

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE is a rather large and heavy lens, which is not that surprising given the combination of the fast, constant f/2-2.8 maximum aperture and wide zoom range.

It measures almost 16cms in length and weighs in at well over 1kg – 1,231g / 43.4oz, making it slightly heavier than the Tamron 35-150mm equivalent (1,165g (2.57 lbs.).

If you consider that it could effectively replace both a 28-70mm and 70-200mm lens in a typical event photography setup, however, it’s actually substantially lighter, just so long as you don’t mind the reduction in zoom range at either end.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

While you can use it on a smaller Sony APS-C sensor camera body, it won’t balance particularly well and the equivalent focal length will also change to 52-225mm.

As demonstrated by the product images, it’s a better match for a full-frame camera like the Sony ZV-E1 that we tested it with, where it just feels better balanced and more “at home”.

Build quality is excellent, despite Samyang traditionally offering lenses at the cheaper end of the market. The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE feels very solid in your hand, with the outer barrel being made from metal rather than high-grade plastics, which probably accounts for its extra weight.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The zoom ring is wide enough, offers a smooth action and has a tactile ridged, rubberised grip band. The lens extends by about an extra 3cm when fully zoomed out to 150mm.

The AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE features a Zoom Lock switch which fixes the lens at its 35mm setting and prevents it from extending when it’s pointed downwards, although we didn’t really notice too much zoom creep in normal use.

There are two focus control buttons, a feature that is found on many other Samyang zooms. It saves the focus at any desired position and naturally changes focus between two subjects.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The optional Lens Station accessory allows you to update and customise the lens directly, rather than via a camera body.

In the customisation options, the direction and speed of focus can be changed and the focus ring can be used for aperture instead of manual focusing,

For video, the focus hold buttons can be customised for preset focus points 1 and 2 for video so that you can pull focus from one to the other at a designated speed.

If you set the MF position to Mode 3, the focus ring and zoom ring are linked together so that you can take a dolly shot simply by operate the zoom ring.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The focusing ring is located towards the end of the lens mount, making it slightly unintuitive and harder to locate in a rush.

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE features the latest Linear Stepping Motor focus mechanism which allows for virtually silent auto-focusing, making it well-suited to video.

In use, we found the focusing system to be very quiet and also very fast with the lens mounted on a Sony ZV-E1 camera.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The autofocus can be over-ridden simply by rotating the lens focus ring while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway.

Focusing is fully internal but zooming is not, with the length of the lens changing as you zoom from 35mm to 150mm.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE isn’t fully weather-proof but it does benefit from a moisture-resistant construction with 11 internal seal points and a rubber gasket around the mount.

This helps to prevent moisture from penetrating the lens, although we’d hesitate to use it in the rain for a prolonged period of time.

The front element has a hydrophobic UMC Coating that is highly resistant to fingerprints and debris.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

The lens is supplied with plastic lens caps and a plastic flower-shaped lens hood – there’s no lens bag included. The filter size is 82mm.

Note that this lens is not compatible with Samyang’s range of teleconverters. Also there is no official tripod collar/mount available for it, although a third-party one may well be released in the future.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

Focal Range

At the 35mm focal length the angle of view is 63°26′ degrees.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

35mm

At the 150mm focal length the angle of view is 16°25′ degrees.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

150mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are well controlled with this lens.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

35mm

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

150mm

Vignetting

With the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE wide open at f/2-2.8, you can see some noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/5.6 or smaller.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

35mm

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

150mm

Distortion

Barrel distortion is well controlled, but there’s some pin-cushion distortion evident at 150mm in both the JPEG and RAW files which you’ll need to correct in post-processing until a suitable lens profile is released for your editing software.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

35mm

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

150mm

Sunstars and Flare

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE produces quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16-f/22, as shown below, although it it a little prone to flare when shooting directly into the sun.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

35mm

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

150mm

Macro

The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE isn’t claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers pretty good performance nonetheless if you zoom to 150mm.

The close-focus point is an impressive 33cm from the film/sensor plane at the 35mm focal length (85cm at 150mm) and it has a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.7 at the 35mm focal length (1:5.5 at 150mm).

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

One of the reasons to buy such a fast lens as the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE is to be able to isolate the subject from the background.

Samyang was apparently very much aware of this requirement, as they employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they largely succeeded.

Below you’ll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE
Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2-2.8 FE lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.



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