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The ambitious Samyang AF 35-150mm FE

Foto: Petr Klapper

With the arrival of summer, holidays, outdoor events and festivals, Samyang has prepared for us a second and noticeably more ambitious zoom for Sony's full-frame mirrorless cameras, an autofocus glass with a "dual" 35-150mm range.


Text & photo: Petr Klapper, www.klapper.cz | Instagram | Facebook | Focus Nordic ambassador

A really nice piece of lens

This previously unthinkable combination of range and apertures is not entirely new to the market, and it is perhaps because of its success with a wider range of photographers that Samyang decided to create its own version of the lens. For myself, after two months of permanent use, I have to say that the lens has really succeeded.

Right from the start, it should be mentioned that this is not a lens for everyone. Years with mirrorless lenses, especially in the Sony system, have shown that it's not always a necessity to lug around kilos of gear in the form of large camera bodies and especially bulky lenses. These continue to be on offer from all brands, but smaller and lighter lenses are becoming more and more common, which is why the weight of this approximately 1.2kg new piece is crucial for prospective buyers, and more than ever depends on the angle of view and specific use. For some people, it's too much to have a heavier all-in-one lens, others still find the weight a significant help and gain.

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 1/6 s, f/2,8, 81 mm, ISO 640

Personally, I belong to the second group - I can't do without a telephoto lens, which is close to the 135mm f/1.8 in weight and often surpasses the 70-200mm f/2.8, for most of my shooting, and due to reportage and often the need to react quickly to events on stage and among the audience, the possibility of combining a medium and a telephoto shot on one camera is almost priceless for me and I can't imagine not having that option anymore.

This substitution of two focal lengths in one isn't perfect of course - 150mm is not 200mm and 35mm is noticeably narrower than 28mm or even 24mm, but most (reportage) photographers can't do without another (ultra) wide lens and this one can complement the range naturally. In addition, the aperture range from f/2 on 35mm to f/2.5 on 70mm noticeably adds to the luminosity and especially to the repulsion of the subject from the background. The bonus of 35mm f/2 without the need for a prime lens surprised me to no end, and I now also appreciate how I am occasionally "pushed" into finding a better composition rather than just at once switching to a second lens with 12-24mm f/14.

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 1/250 s, f/2, 35mm, ISO 320, ‒0,3 ev

Durable for travel

Apart from reportage photography, I was sceptical about the presentation of the lens as an ideal travel lens. After all, I have already got used to my smaller prime lenses when it is usually time to change them on one camera. I brought it with me on a short trip to Thailand right after the launch and it was a pleasant experience, one gets used to not having a small lightweight 24/35/45/50mm with f/1.8 and even the 85mm f/1.4 for travel portraits to "catch up" in terms of bokeh on the 150mm f/2.8, the overall weight again makes up for it. At the same time, not having to change lens all the time is handy on a hike.

From a technical standpoint this is a solidly built lens, photos are sharp, aberrations and distortion are minimal, and on my older A7R IV, on more than one "flickering" or darker counter-light event, the silent autofocus in human tracking mode has saved me in situations where I almost wouldn't have expected it. It will also playfully fill the role of portrait lens, either in width or length with a nice bokeh/reflection when the situation doesn't downright call for f/1.4 for example.

The lens is also equipped with two switches to change the AF behaviour and has two focus hold buttons common in Sony's system.

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 1/125 s, f/16, 47mm, ISO 100, ‒3 ev

To summarize

Overall, this is a really versatile lens for a wide range of genres. It often brings more efficiency and responsiveness, for the first time I got closer to the ideal of "two camera bodies and two lenses is enough" and for the price I think it does an unexpected amount of work.

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 15 s, f/14, 35mm, ISO 320

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 1/200 s, f/2, 35mm, ISO 1600

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 1/100 s, f/2,8, 150mm, ISO 1600

Sony A7r IV, Samyang AF 35–150mm f/2–2,8 FE, 1/25 s, f/2,8, 150mm, ISO 320

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