While the Samyang 85mm is not a vintage lens, it definitely deserves a place on this website as somewhat of a bridge lens between the solid, manual vintage lenses & modern optics. It has almost all the features I like in vintage lenses and also has the sophisticated optics found in high-end modern lenses. The price is also somewhere in the middle between incredibly affordable vintage lenses and sometimes little overpriced modern lenses. If you do a lot of photography then buying more expensive Canon/Nikon alternatives featuring sophisticated auto-focusing systems might still make a lot of sense, but if you need a lens purely for video use, then there is not much point overpaying for something you’ll probably never use.
Being a fully manual lens it’s easily adaptable to various cameras. There is no electronic aperture control to battle with when trying to use it on a completely different camera; a simple, cheap adapter does the job very well, therefore such lens is quite future proof, although I would recommend sticking to Canon or Nikon mounts as they are much more adaptable to other mounts than something like Sony E-mount.
I do not own one of these at the moment and borrowed this 85mm from a friend I often work with. I’ve used this lens on many different real life shoots and can recommend it with a great confidence.
My friend Steve, who owns this particular lens decided to go for the most affordable “photo” version of this lens, featuring a rubber focus ring & click-stop aperture adjustment.
If I were to buy one of these (and I hopefully I will soon), I’d go for a slightly more expensive “cine” version which has the geared focus & aperture rings (for follow focus use). The cine version also has a smooth, click-less aperture adjustment and T-stop markings (commonly found on cine lenses). The aperture and focus scales on the “cine” version are located on the side of the lens, where it is easier for focus pullers to read them. Overall the “cine” version of this 85mm lens takes us even closer to a proper cine lens experience making this and other Samyang “cine” primes a perfect choice for serious cinematographers on a limited budget.
I absolutely love what Samyang is doing for the indie market and hope to build up a set of these myself in near future.
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