The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE is the second lens with the fairly special 35-150mm range, after the Tamron with the same specifications. It is also exactly as bright and almost as big and heavy. However, the Samyang is a lot cheaper than the Tamron and it is also parfocal.
TESTRESULTS Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE:
The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE seems to have some very attractive features, especially for filmmakers.
If imitation is the highest form of appreciation, then the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE is a testament to how good and popular the Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD is. At first glance, the Samyang resembles a faithful replica of the Tamron. They have precisely the same focal range and brightness and are about the same size and weight. The Samyang is 1mm thicker and 60g heavier, but that’s not much on the whole. The shortest focusing distance is also the same for both, which is remarkable.
Even the Focus Hold buttons and switches look similar. They also both have 21 lens elements, although Tamron states that these are in 15 groups and Samyang says they are spread over 18 groups. Whether or not they have the same design, more choice is always good. If only because the recommended retail price of the new Samyang is some 600 euros below that of Tamron’s current price. And that makes this lens more accessible to a target group for whom the Tamron is just a bit too expensive.
According to Samyang, the AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE is also parfocal, meaning that when zooming, the focus does not change. That was generally only reserved for expensive cine zooms. Tamron does not claim their lens is parfocal, so we did not test it for that. It makes this Samyang especially interesting for cinematographers. In that respect, this lens fits in nicely with the Samyang 24-70mm F2,8 FE.
In terms of construction, the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE is very similar to the Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD. They are almost the same size and the Samyang is 60 grams heavier. With a bit thicker metal or a bit more metal or a different motor, you’re right at that weight on a lens that weighs over 1200 grams. They both have an 82mm filter size and an aperture that has 9 blades.
Like the Tamron, the Samyang has the focus ring at the front and the zoom ring a bit more to the back. Most zoom lenses have this arrangement, but with Tamron it is the other way around on many zooms.
The Samyang, again like the Tamron, has two focus hold buttons, an AF/MF switch and a custom switch with three modes. These are distributed in the same way as on the Tamron, only they are just in a slightly different place. This is because the Tamron has a wider focus ring, whereas on the Samyang the zoom ring is wider again. As a result, the buttons on the Samyang are further forward.
The Samyang’s optical design consists of 21 elements in 18 groups, with a choice of exotic glass. The lens is weatherproof with gaskets around all rotating parts and a gasket around the bayonet. The lens comes with a tulip-shaped lens hood.
For focusing, the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE uses an STM motor. This is a stepper motor and it will be a bit slower than the VXD motor found in the Tamron. How much difference it makes does depend on the size of the optical group to be moved. Stepper motors are nice and quiet and focus smoothly, though. This makes them great for video work.
The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE has two more special features that are particularly interesting for film makers. Namely, the lens is parfocal, meaning the focus does not change when you zoom. Another special option is ‘Dolly Zoom’. You get that with the Custom button set to position 3 and the AF/MF switch set to MF. In this mode, you can zoom out while moving towards your subject or vice versa. Your subject does not change size in these types of shots, but the perspective does change. The effect was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo, but is also widely used today in auto shows and music videos.
The shortest focusing distance of the Samyang is 33 cm. at 35mm mode and 85 cm. at 150mm mode. The magnification ratios you can achieve with it are 1:5.7 in wide-angle mode and 1:5.9 in telephoto mode. So no macro capability, but more than sufficient for close portraits, for example.
The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE has a custom switch that has three positions and it works in conjunction with the AF/MF switch.
In Custom mode 1, the AF/MF switch works just as you expect. AF is autofocus, MF is manual focus.
In Custom mode 2, the focus ring in AF mode acts as a (clickless) aperture ring and in MF mode you get linear manual focus. For filmmakers who want their own control, this is perfect.
In Custom mode 3, the focus ring in AF mode does nothing, and you get Dolly Shot mode in MF mode.
The Focus Hold buttons also have a cleverness of their own. Namely, holding them down for 3 seconds with the AF/MF switch on MF puts the set distance in a memory. If you then change the focus, but want to quickly return to the set distance, just press the Focus Hold button again.
MTF curves of the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE are not yet available. Looking at the available high-resolution imagery of this lens, we see decent resolution, little to no chromatic aberrations and at full aperture a nice blur, which of course you would actually expect from a lens with such high brightness. For further judgment, we will have to wait until we can test this lens extensively ourselves.
|Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE|
|field of view (diag)|
61°8’ – 16°4’
|min. setting distance|
33-85 cm (35mm-150mm)
Conclusion test Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE
The Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE is an attractive alternative for those for whom the Tamron costs a bit too much.
Whether or not the Samyang AF 35-150mm F2.0-2.8 FE is internally similar to the Tamron is not really that important. Those considering either of these two lenses will look mainly at price and features. The Tamron has faster autofocus thanks to its VXD motor, we think, and the reputation of Tamron’s lenses is ironclad. The Samyang scores on price, which is almost 30% lower than that of the Tamron, and on a number of features that are particularly interesting for filmmakers.