The new Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE lens is a telephoto prime lens for full-frame Sony E mount cameras. It offers a minimum focus distance of 0.69 meters (2.26 ft), three customized buttons, fast and accurate autofocus, and a lightweight design. The lens is available for preorder now for $999.
The Korean lens manufacturer Samyang Optics have been known for their very affordable manual Samyang (in some parts of the world sold as Rokinon) prime lenses for years now. In recent years, the company started to design and manufacture more and more autofocus prime lenses and even its first autofocus zoom lens – the Samyang AF 24-70mm f/2.8 FE (announced in October 2021). This time, the company announced another new autofocus lens for the Sony E mount – the Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE. Let’s take a look at the details.
Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE lens
According to Samyang Optics, the new Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE lens for full-frame Sony E mount cameras was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company and also to bring a new lightweight fast alternative to its popular Samyang MF 135mm f/2 lens.
The aperture offers a range from f/1.8 all the way down to f/22 and has 11 blades. The angle of view on a full-frame camera is 18.9°. The lens achieves a minimum focus distance of just 0.69 meters (2.26 ft) and a maximum magnification of 0.243x for close-up photography.
In terms of optical design, the lens includes 6 special elements – 3 ED (extra low-dispersion), 2 HR (high-refractive), and 1 UA (ultra-precision aspherical lens). In total, there are 13 elements in 11 groups. According to Samyang Optics, with the UMC coating, the lens controls aberration well at all focusing distances.
The lens also features an optimized function for astrophotography, the Astro-Focus Mode. Its mode status can be easily recognized with the LED Index when shooting at night.
Autofocus and custom buttons
As Samyang Optics states, the lens’ autofocus should work well for both photo and video use cases and it should be able to track the subject accurately and quickly while being relatively quiet. The Linear STM (stepping motor) should provide quieter and more accurate control of the focusing lens groups. According to Samyang, the optical design of the lens minimizes focus breathing, which is especially useful for video recording.
The Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE lens features 3 different buttons to enhance its usability:
- Focus Hold Button – Pressing this button on the lens will keep the lens locked to that focusing distance. You can assign functions such as Eye AF in settings on the camera body.
- Custom Switch – This button can be set to allow adjustment of the aperture silently by rotating the focus ring. Using the optional Lens Station, you can set up the mode to suit your own preference. As Samyang states, more functions will be added through firmware updates in the future.
- Focus Range Limiter Switch – The Focus Range Limiter only operates in AF mode and it can be moved forward or backward to select the focus range. The advantage of limiting the focus range is that it will make the AF work faster.
- FULL: The AF range is set to infinity at a minimum focus distance of 0.69m (AF search may take slightly longer.)
- 0.69m – 2m: The AF range is set between 0.69m and 2m, which is suitable for close-up shooting.
- 1.5m – ∞: The AF range is set from 1.5m to infinity, which is suitable for normal shooting.
Lightweight and weather-sealed
One of the unique features of the Samyang AF 135mm lens is its lightweight design – the lens only weighs 772g (27.2oz). For comparison, the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM lens weighs 950g (33.51oz), and the SIGMA 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens for Sony E is the heaviest with 1,130g (2.5lbs).
The Samyang AF 135mm lens has a micro-patterned rubber focus ring and weather-sealing to protect the lens from light rain, snow, and dust. The maximum diameter of the lens is 93.4mm and its length is 129.6mm (5.1″). The lens has an 82mm front filter thread.
Price and availability
The new (Rokinon) Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE lens is now available for preorder. The price has been set to $999 which is quite affordable when looking at its competition. For reference, the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM lens is currently selling for $2,098 and the SIGMA 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens for Sony E costs $1,399.
Do you use a 135mm prime lens (or its equivalent) for your work? Do you have experience with AF lenses from Samyang? Let us know in the comments section underneath the article.