New Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II Lens Announced

Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II is a second-generation portrait lens for full-frame Sony cameras with a fast aperture and autofocus. The lens is smaller and lighter than the first generation, it features two buttons, a weather-sealed body, and a 72mm filter thread. It can be pre-ordered now for $799.

Gone are the days when the lens manufacturer Samyang based in South Korea only produced very affordable fully manual lenses. The company has been releasing fast AF prime lenses (and even a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens with AF) for a while now.

The newest addition in the Samyang lens lineup is the AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II. The original Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 lens was released back in March 2019 (ah, those “pre-Corona” times). In fact, to celebrate Samyang’s 50-year anniversary, the company is renewing the whole AF f/1.4 FE primes lineup. Both 50mm and 35mm lenses are out already – here is our news article about the 35mm release. Now it is the 85mm lens that gets released, so let’s take a look at the details.

Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II lens

Samyang AF 85mm II
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II sample. Image credit: Jay Gilmour

One of the most noticeable upgrades of this new lens is the reduced weight and smaller size. When compared to other 85mm f/1.4 autofocus lenses for Sony’s FE lens mount (including the original Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 lens), the FE II is indeed lighter than the rest and the only smaller (but heavier) lens is the SIGMA Art:

  • Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II – weight: 509g (18oz), length: 99.5mm (3.92″), diameter: 83.4mm (3.28″)
  • Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE – weight: 568g (1.25lbs), length: 99.5mm (3.92″), diameter: 88mm (3.46″)
  • SIGMA 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art – weight: 625g (1.38lb), length: 96.1mm (3.78″), diameter: 82.8mm (3.26″)
  • Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM – weight: 820g (1.8lb), length: 107.5mm (4.23″), diameter: 89.5mm (3.52″)
Samyang AF 85mm II
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II lens. Source: Samyang

The 9-bladed aperture is available between f/1.4 and f/16. The minimum focusing distance of the lens is 0.85m (2.79ft).

Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II – MTF charts and optical structure. Source: Samyang

The optical design of the lens consists of 11 elements in 8 groups, including 4 HR and 1 ED glass element. Samyang used a UMC coating and claims that it provides the lens with good sharpness even in poor lighting conditions and results in a clearer image with an improved CCI (color contribution index).

Samyang AF 85mm II
Samyang AF 85mm sample. Image credit: Alyssa Zalabai

The lens is equipped with a linear STM motor which, according to Samyang, makes the autofocus faster, quieter, and more accurate. The company says that the new AF system has been optimized for continuous video AF with less vibration and noise.

The lens features two physical buttons:

  • Custom switch – This switch 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. According to Samyang, more functions will be added through firmware updates in the future.
    • Mode 1 : Operates with focus control function (MF, DMF mode)
    • Mode 2 : Operates with aperture control function (AF mode)
  • Focus hold button – Pressing this button will keep the lens locked to that focusing distance. Further functions such as Eye AF can be assigned in the settings in the Sony camera.
Samyang AF 85mm II
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II lens – buttons. Source: Samyang

There is a 72mm front filter thread on the lens and its body is weather-sealed.

Price and availability

The lens can be pre-ordered right now for $799, and it includes a sun hood. There is no info on when exactly the new lens will ship, but we will update the article as soon as we find out.

Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II lens. Source: Samyang

For reference, the original Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE lens currently sells for $579, the SIGMA Art lens sells for $1,199 and the Sony GM lens retails for $1,798.

Do you have experience with any of the Samyang AF lenses on a Sony camera? How are you satisfied with the AF speed and the lens performance? Let us know in the comments section below.

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