On July 13th, Korean manufacturer Samyang issued the image below in a sort of grandiose fashion, stating that they would be announcing a new lens each week for 5 weeks starting Monday July 18th and finishing up today, August 15t. They dubbed the event Samyang Blockbuster and the lenses announced/released have been quite a mix across the board, and nicely tied up with today’s announcement of the 14mm f/2.8 FE.
Here is the list of lenses in the summer Samyang Blockbuster (see below for details):
Xeen 135mm t/2.2
50/1.4 FE AF
35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS
20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC
14mm f/2.8 FE
While cardinal brands like Canon and Nikon have traditionally been the typical lens-makers of choice, we’ve seen third party companies rise in quality and number of offerings over the past few years. Sigma, of course, is the poster child of this movement but other brands like Samyang are clearly trying to follow Sigma’s bold footsteps.
The 14mm f/2.8 FE AF is the second dedicated Sony e-mount lens in the releases, the other being the 50mm f/1.4 FE, and both are likely the most exciting (or at least broadly appealing) lenses in the group if for no other reason than the fact they are Samyang lenses with autofocus, and that would’ve previously been a mis-type.
So it’s exciting, and that 50mm f/1.4 FE joins the ranks as the brightest you’ll get a 50mm on E-mount thus far. However, Samyang has been known to have production inconsistencies, and regardless of how well priced these may be, one hopes this has been sorted out. Either way, it shows Samyang is trying to crawl out of its shell and doing it with Sony E-mount is a smart move.
XEEN 135MM T/2.2
Calling it a ‘Samyang Blockbuster’ was an attention grabber and gets our hopes up, but perhaps (predictably for Samyang) their first reveal was always going to make video shooters happy, and the first lens announced is a Xeen 135mm t/2.2.
‘Xeen’ and the ’t’ denote that this lens belongs to the professional video lens line that include 85 t/1.5, 35 t/1.5, and 50 t/1.5 among others, and while there was no mention of price, given its predecessors we can figure the lens to be somewhere north of 2k. Keep in mind, if you’re about to dismiss this, that cine lenses tend to be built a bit differently but there’s nothing that necessarily requires they not be used for still shooting, and that t-stop tells you these are bright lenses of high quality.
50/1.4 FE AF
“Samyang AF 50/1.4 FE is specifically designed to work in harmony with full frame mirrorless cameras in Sony E mount,” is what reads on the Samyang release, and the lens will have the Ultra Multi Coating that’s now a Samyang standard, along with three aspherical lenses among nine glasses in eight groups to minimize aberration and unnecessary light dispersion. Surprisingly, however Les Numerqieus got hold of one and pitted it against the Zeiss Planar 1.4, and it was the Samyang that won favor. We’ll have to get it in to see. We expect this lens to be aggressively priced at around $700 USD.
35MM F1.2 ED AS UMC CS
Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS is a standard angle manual focus lenses for mirrorless APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras of 4 mounts:
Sony E, MFT, Fujifilm X, and Canon M.
Samyang suggests that Ultra Multi Coating and two aspherical lenses have been included among nine glasses in seven groups to minimize aberration and unnecessary light dispersion, therefore allowing high resolution files from the center to the corners. It has a 62mm wide filter diameter and there is a cinema variant of the lens that has gears for follow focus and an aperture ring without the click.
20MM F/1.8 ED AS UMC
The most recent lens in the lineup is the 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC and it’s a full frame prime. Unlike the last release, this will be available for a full 10 mounts:
Canon EOS, Nikon AE, Pentax K, Sony ∝, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, FT, MFT.
This wide angle manual focus lens also has a minimum focusing distance of 0.2m, and is the beneficiary of their Ultra Multi Coating, two aspherical lenses, and three extra-low dispersion have been included among 13 glasses in 12 groups. Like the 35mm 1.2, this too will come in the regular variant, and a cine variant, the 20mm T1.9 ED AS UMC. It would be interesting to know if the standard variant of the lens has a T-stop value of 1.9 as the cinema lens does, as that would be unusual but attractive. Both lens variants are suggested to cost between $550 and $610 respectively.
14mm f/2.8 FE
Like the 50 1.4 FE, this 14mm 2.8 was one of the two lenses Samyang hinted it would be releasing in May, and both of those were AF lenses for E-mount. The 14mm is “the widest angle [FE-mount AF lens] available in the market,” covering a broad 113.9° on full frame. It has a circular aperture with 7 blades, 14 elements in 10 groups, three of which are aspherical elements, and topped off with Samyang’s Ultra Multi Coating. It’s also small at just shy of 4 inches long, and is expected to be priced at around 700 Euro in that market, with American prices not yet released.