HomeReviewsLensesFor Sony mirrorless cameras, Samyang's 135mm lens maybe a telephoto bargain.

For Sony mirrorless cameras, Samyang’s 135mm lens maybe a telephoto bargain.

The Samyang 135mm f/1.8 AF telephoto lens is a possible bargain if you possess a Sony mirrorless camera and enjoy shooting portraits, landscapes, and the night sky. It was just produced by Samyang and is compatible with Sony mirrorless cameras.

The 135mm prime lens from Samsung is compatible with both full-frame and APS-C cameras that use Sony’s E-mount and is the latest in a long line of autofocus-equipped rivals from the South Korean firm (which also trades under the Rokinon brand in the US).

Its specifications and brilliant maximum aperture imply it might be a good alternative to the more expensive Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM, which costs $2,099 (£1,750) or $2,649 (Australian dollars). Samyang’s new 135mm option, on the other hand, will cost just $999 / £799 (about AU$1,515) when it launches in March.

Naturally, Samyang’s primary lens will have a difficult time matching the optical performance of Sony’s ‘G Master’ lens, which is widely regarded as the gold standard for image quality regardless of price. However, earlier Samyang primes (including the 24mm, 35mm, 45mm, and 75mm) have given Sony’s top-end lenses a run for their money, and this new lens is the company’s longest choice with autofocus, making it a compelling alternative.

Because of weather-sealing and a rubber focus ring, the AF 135mm F1.8 FE is protected against light rain, snow, and dust, among other things. As a bonus, the Linear STM (Stepping Motor) should provide silent AF performance, making it a good choice for video shooters as well as photographers.

A focus range limiter, which only works in autofocus mode, is also available to make focusing even faster and more precise. As an alternative to the conventional ‘full’ focus range (in which the AF searches from its lowest focus distance of 0.69m to infinity), you may configure the AF to hunt between 0.69m and 2m or to hunt from 1.5m to infinity, among other options. Those three alternatives should provide you with a solid foundation for portraiture, landscape photography, and astrophotography.

As you might expect from a 135mm f/1.8 prime lens, it’s not exactly a pocket-sized device. Despite this, it is somewhat lighter and more compact than Sony’s ‘G Master’ version, coming in at 901 grams and measuring 129.6 millimeters in length. Both lenses have the same filter thread size of 82mm, which is shared by both lenses.

Other features, such as a focus hold button and a custom switch, should make the Samyang 135mm f/1.8 AF a popular pick when it launches in March for $999 / £799 (about AU$1,515). We’re looking forward to putting it through its paces to see how close it comes to its Sony competitor.

Sony cameras are getting even more third-party love.

The fact that Samyang’s 135mm f/1.8 AF telephoto lens for the E-mount is the company’s sixth telephoto prime for the E-mount demonstrates the depth of experience that Sony’s mirrorless cameras have when it comes to high-quality full-frame glass.

While Sony’s primary competitors, the Canon RF, and Nikon Z systems, have rapidly expanded their lens lineups in recent years, both systems remain more restricted than Sony’s and do not provide the same amount of third-party choice as Sony’s system does.

This may possibly change in the near future, but the upside for owners of Sony mirrorless cameras is the possibility of more cheap alternatives to Sony’s expensive G-Master lenses, which would be a welcome development. Even if Canon and Nikon’s mirrorless cameras do come with adapters that let you utilize their older DSLR lenses, they are not as popular as they once were.

The FE 135mm f/1.8 GM, made by Sony, is an excellent lens; however, the Samyang 135mm f/1.8 AF, made by Samyang, is nearly half the price – and that could represent excellent value for hobbyist shooters who cannot justify professional-level prices, particularly for a lens with a relatively specialized focal length.

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how Samyang’s new lens works in the real world, but it’s already building up to be another excellent choice for portrait and landscape photographers seeking a lens with a little more reach than the company’s existing 75mm prime lens.


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