With an open aperture of f/1.2 the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS is a very bright, manual lens for mirrorless APS-C and MFT cameras. My product test reviews the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 on my Fujifilm X-T1.
With a focal length multiplier of 1.5 on the Fujifilm X-T1 the Samyang 35mm equates to using a focal length of about 50mm (52.5 mm) on a full frame sensor. Therefore it can be considered what we usually call a “normal lens” – but let’s get to this later.
The Samyang 35mm f/1.2 lens construction comprises 9 glasses in 7 groups, two of them being aspherical lenses to minimize aberration. A high-quality multi-layer interference and anti-reflective Ultra Multi Coating have been included to deliver well-balanced colors and avoid ghosting or lens flares.
The aperture ring clicks into place perfectly. The non-slip focus ring moves very smoothly and can be turned very far. This makes it possible to focus precisely without any problems even at a fully open aperture.
The mount as well as the aperture and focus rings are made of metal, which results in a nice feel and delivers a high-quality impression. Thus, from a technical side, apart from the focal length, the Samyang 35mm F/1.2 compares to the Samyang 50mm F/1.2 lens.
You will not find any charts or “standard” test series in my lens reviews, but my hands-on experiences and impressions with the lens.
SAMYANG 35mm f/1.2 – SOME TECHNICAL DATA
• Focal length: 35 mm
• Sensor: APS-C
• Min aperture: f/1.2
• Max aperture: f/16
• Auto focus: no auto focus
• Glasses/Groups: 9 / 7 (2 aspherical lenses)
• Minimum focusing distance: 0.38 m
• Filter size: Ø62 mm
• Length: 74.5 mm
• Weight: 433 g
• Current street price: € 419.99 (incl. 19% VAT)
IS THE SAMYANG 35MM F/1.2 A NORMAL LENS?
Before we can answer this question, let’s take a dive into theory:
Theoretical Considerations: What is a “normal lens” and why is it called “normal”?
The definition of a normal lens is as follows: “A normal lens is a lens with a focal length about equal to the diagonal size of the film or sensor format of the camera used.”
1. A digital full frame single-lens reflex camera (35-mm-film) has a diagonal size of 43 mm . This odd focal length has not found broad acceptance, so today a normal lens for full frame / 35-mm-film is usually sold with a focal length of 50mm.
2. An APSC camera (Fujifilm X-T1) has a diagonal size of 35mm. The size of objects on a picture that has been shot with a normal lens, when viewed at a ‘normal’ viewing distance in front of the original scene, matches the real-world perspective. A ‘normal’ viewing distance is considered to be the diagonal size of the respective picture.
Since all theory tends to be pretty abstract, the following more practical definition of a normal lens might be helpful:
“A normal lens is a lens that reproduces a field of view that appears “natural” to a human observer “.
Considering this definition and the theory, it can be clearly stated that the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 is a normal lens (on APSC cameras).
Considering the question “What kind of pictures are taken with a normal lens?” I would like to pick up the wording “normal” and present normal pictures as examples for this product test. Normal for me also means every day, e.g. product images or street photography.
THE SAMYANG 35MM F1/.2 FOR PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
I had just ordered new business cards from MOO for my blog, so I decided I can perfectly use them to test the possibilities the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 offers to isolate an object at open aperture.
If you look closely at the second picture, you can clearly see the incredibly small depth of field of the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 at fully open aperture. So even used on an APS-C camera the lens offers great possibilities to isolate objects from the background.
THE SAMYANG 35MM F1/.2 FOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
It is really hard for me to go out on the street to shoot scenes with people. But since street photography without people is only half the battle, I faced my problem and forced myself to simply go out and do it.
All pictures were taken in the past few days at an open aperture in Karlsruhe. Afterwards I used Lightroom to convert them into Fuji’s “Camera Monochrome” profile.
At first, my intention had been to take pictures of “smartphone zombies”. So I paced the streets in Karlsruhe at various times, but I was not very successful. Either this species is simply not that common in Karlsruhe or I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
THE SAMYANG 35MM F1/.2: MY CONCLUSION
In my opinion the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 is a very good lens for every photographic situation and every topic: the lens produces very natural-looking pictures, with minimal to no distortions and aberrations. The aperture 1.2 offers an immense reserve to easily take photos without a tripod even in low light conditions.
Thanks to the Fujifilm X-T1’s focus peaking, it is no problem to shoot with an open aperture, and with a little practice, there is only a minimum amount of pictures that need to be discarded, even at open aperture. If the focal point is put precisely, the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 delivers a sharp result, and I did not notice any chromatic aberrations or disturbing lens flares.