Samyang XP 35mm F1.2 manual lens Review
Could this possibly be the sharpest 35mm lens around?
On paper the details from the new Samyang XP 35mm F1.2 lens looks like it is going to be a popular lens for Portrait/Lowlight/Landscape/Astrophotography. The lens has been designed with optics to be used with Cameras up to 50 Megapixels or 4K+ (up to 8K filming). The XP lenses are Samyang's Premium manual focus range and have been designed with optical quality and build in mind.
This is a wonderfully constructed and well-built Manual lens. It comes with a nice cushioned soft bag and detachable lens hood. The weight is the first thing you notice when you take it out of the box along with the satin metal construction. This is where you can see the product engineers have worked very hard in making a professional and top of the range lens. There is quite a few pieces of glass and workings inside the body of the lens which explains the heavy weight (about 1100g, or 2.4lb). The filter thread is a 86mm size for detachable filters etc.
The Aperture range is F1.2 - F16, the lens is made up of 12 glass elements along with a UMC coating to help with flaring and ghosting.
Samyang XP 35mm F1.2 lens on a Canon 6D body
The lens has a large smooth focus ring on the outer body with distance markers written clearly, but there is not aperture ring as this is controlled electronically via your camera, which is nice and easy to use. However there is no weather sealing on the connection ring which is a shame as this is something us Landscaper/Astrophotographers like to have when out in the elements.
Straight away when testing some shots inside my living room I notice how easy it was to focus especially using the live-view function on the camera with the focus ring being easy to turn but give a positive feel.
I was blown away to be honest with the first shots taken on my slightly older full frame Canon 6D camera.
Let’s see some sample pictures
The photo below was one of my first photos taken (one of my dogs, 'Lily' the Labrador) which were taken hand-held in poor lighting indoors (no flash) at 1/40sec, F2.8, ISO320. Along with no post-editing.
1/40sec, F2.8, ISO320, handheld (no tripod)
You can see how sharp this is along with the wonderful colours and contrast it produced.
Below is a 100% crop from the above image.
As you can see very sharp with great textures and colours.
This made me excited to get outside and test the lens some more!!
I began testing on a holly bush on the side of the house with the winter sun low in the evening sky and again these were shot by hand and no tripod.
1/1250sec, F1.2, ISO 400.
1/250sec, F2.5, ISO 400.
1/250sec, F2.8, ISO 400.
There is a nice Bokeh around the F1.2 stopped down to F2.5 and then begins to fade off nicely.
1/1250sec, F1.8, ISO 100
Flaring is not bad looking into bright light such as Sunlight and the contrast in colours are not lost.
Great lens for Astrophotography? (NOTE: test images taken with almost a full moon)
As a keen Astrophotographer I couldn't wait to test this lens out on the night sky and see how it fairs optically. However during the time I had to test it the weather and almost full moon made it difficult to give the lens a good test on dark skies.
So below are some single short exposures to test for Vignetting/chromatic aberration. I also made the ISO very high (12800-25600) to see how far the camera and lens could be pushed.
2.5 sec, F1.4, ISO 12800
2.5 sec, F2.5, ISO 25600
As can be seen in the above two images when open almost fully (F1.4 instead of 1.2) you can see some noticeable Vignetting around the edges (very common on very fast lenses) but this disappears when stopped down to F2.0 - F2.5.
Below shows the above image cropped into the top left corner and you can see its a nice clean image with very little Coma or Chromatic aberration. Only the stars have a small amount of purple fringing which is easily fixed post-editing.
And Finally here is a 30 sec exposure taken on a tracking mount (Omegon mini track LX2) with only a bit of Clarity added in post editing. This looks fantastic even with the half-moon in the sky effecting the image. You can see the detail in the Milkyway and stars. Imagine what it would be like with clear dark skies!!!
A 30 second exposure at F1.8, ISO 2000. (using a basic tracking mount)
Already with this lens I can see this will be a Landscapers/Astrophotographers dream lens especially when doing Panoramic stitched photographs. It is a fast well-built lens with image quality to match. You do not get for this value for money from other lens manufacturers.
I hope to try to see what this lens can do especially for Astro/night photography without the moon in the sky along with seeing how well Panoramic photos come out. Going by these examples so far I do not think it will be a problem for this amazing piece of glass.