Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - Printable Version
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Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - Luny Tune - 07-19-2019
I got the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE a couple of days ago.
In short, I love it. Is it perfect? No, and it wouldn't be at that price. Is it worth the extra money over the FE 50/1.8? Absolutely. It's not cheap, and it'll be more of a no brainer when the price drops a bit, but having bought it and tested it, I think the price is just fine. Calling it a little brother to the Sony Zeiss 55/1.8 makes sense. That one isn't perfect either, and I really think the Samyang 45 holds it's own it the 55's company.
1. It does suffer from CA.
My thoughts: I think it's decently controlled, and enough so for me not to see it as a problem. It's quite easy to fix in post, but it is something to be aware of. (I'm thinking about turning off CA compensation in camera when on paying jobs with it, so I can check for it on the spot and see what will be in the raw file.)
2. Resolution drops in the very far corners wide open.
My thoughts: It's sharp top to bottom and left to right, but in the very far corners it falls off. To be expected at the price point, and stopping down helps as it usually does with all lenses. A lab test will show a bit more softness and a bit less contrast at 1.8 than on 2.8, and very nice sharpness at f/4. In real life it's very nice at 1.8. I'm happy to use it wide open in natural light for portraits. Eye-AF sits right on the iris and is sharp. I'll expand further on this point later.
3. Vignetting and a bit of distortion.
My thoughts: It's there, but once a profile finds it's way to Adobe's products, it won't be an issue. Until then, you'll have to fix it yourself though.
And here's why I still love it:
Even the cons list holds some positive things. The CA is easily handled in Lightroom, the resolution and sharpness does stretch far enough into the corners for the fall off to not be a problem at all. Vignetting and distortion is a non-issue, or at least as little an issue with this lens as with all other good lenses.
What this means is that I find nothing on the cons list to be a deal breaker. And I'm a self declared pixel peeper. If CA was a real problem, I wouldn't be able to live with it. I have ditched lenses for having CA issues. (The Canon 50/1.4 USM is a good example. The chromatic and spherical aberrations it suffered from made it completely unusable for me.)
It has clarity and contrast. Granted more when you stop down than wide open, but wide open it's still waaay better than the FE 50. And I love the color rendition. It's detailed and nuanced. It has warmth to it. Not the orange tint/cast that many refer to as warmth, but deep and well saturated colours. I'm reminded by the Canon 50/1.8 that I like the rendition of, but here with this 45 it's just at a higher level of quality.
And my favourite thing of all ... it gives a great sense of depth to images. It has a very cool 3D pop to it. Often we attribute that to depth of field and bokeh, but that's not it. It just renders beautifully. Colours are nuanced and resolution is really good. Look at the image below from the park outside Kalmar Castle in Sweden. Do you see what I mean?
How about this outer part of the castle complex? Do you see how nice, clear and detailed it is? I'm just a tourist there, so this is what you get when you just pull the camera up to your eye and shoot. See how nice and sharp it is from edge to edge? And how resolution falls off in the extreme corners? I'll bet that last one there was a challenge, because it really isn't bad. You can only really see anything like that in the lower left of this image, but check the other images too for that. I can spot it when I shoot a brick wall, or in my case a wooden fence in our garden, but in real situations it's not a real issue.
And here's another image that exhibits the 3D pop I'm talking about, and note that there is no real bokeh to make that happen. It's the way it renders images, and I love that.
And it does smooth and romantic too.
And here's yet another example of the 3D pop. Granted it is enhanced by the blurry background, but you gotta admit that it is quite pronounced with this lens. (I had to pull down highlights quite a bit to recover detail in the sky, and that created a bit of outlining on a couple of features on the center tower of the castle. It's just a photo for ourselves here so I just left it there. Never mind that, but I just wanted to mention that in case anyone will wonder.)
I love it, it's all I hoped it would be and then some, and I highly recommend it!
RE: Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - Klaus - 07-20-2019
Thanks for posting this! Seems like a very nice lens.
What I noticed - the bokeh shows some double-edged edges in the last shot though (the castle).
I think such lenses make more sense to Samyang than the f/1.4s - I've a couple of them here now and they are soso at max aperture.
RE: Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - Luny Tune - 07-20-2019
(07-20-2019, 12:30 AM)Klaus Wrote: What I noticed - the bokeh shows some double-edged edges the last shot though (the castle).
Yes, but that's not the lens' fault. It's because I lowered the highlights a whole lot on the sky there. Both with the slider in the panel and then with a graduated filter too.
It was nearly completely blown out around the tower there, and instead of doing it properly (both in camera and later here in post) I just left it.
Here's the original. Including a bit of mud on her legs from when we walked through a park where it had just rained. You'll see that apart from the sky and the mud I really didn't adjust much at all, and the double edge is due to my editing of the top of the image and overdoing it. (I did mention it in the first post, but it does need this clarification.)
RE: Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - Klaus - 07-20-2019
Nice. I reckon I will have to test this lens alongside the Sigma 45mm f/2.8. It's also interesting that the Sigma has the same size but it's much slower.
(but then ... I've tested so many 50s lately (with one more to come), I'm beginning to wonder whether the number of new products correlates with consumer interest.
Espcially given the current price levels. Even the Samyang is far from being cheap.
RE: Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - robcarr - 07-15-2020
(07-19-2019, 10:29 PM)Luny Tune Wrote: I got the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE a couple of days ago.
I know I am late to the party. But I've found your review just now. Thanks for the recommendation. This might help me a lot.
RE: Mini review of the Samyang AF 45 mm f/1.8 FE - Ken Takao - 02-04-2021
Thanks for the review, very helpful, I saw this lens at a second-hand store for ~250USD and I'm considering it, here's more Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE sample images for those interested.