Today we’re taking a look at a lightweight full-frame portrait lens for the Sony E-mount system. The Samyang 75mm. I will be filming most of this review using the lens except in the clips where you see the lens itself. Samyang did send me this lens for review but all of my thoughts and opinions are my own.
In the box for this lens you get a very nice little hard case to store the lens in. And a lens hood. And yes the lens with lens hood attached fit in the case as you can see here. Taking a look at the lens itself its very compact and lightweight for a 75mm portrait lens. It has a function switch on the side and a ring that changed function depending on the settings, which I’ll talk more about a bit later. It weighs only 230grams or 8oz and is smaller and lighter than both the Sony 85mm 1.8 and the new Sigma 65mm f2. As you can see in this comparison image.
Also I should note that this lens has absolutely no water resistance built in. Not rubber sealing gasket and no guarantee of dust or water resistance. So keep that in mind if you’re someone who shoots in extreme conditions regularly. Samyang new 35mm 1.8 does have weather-sealing though, so I hope its something Samyang will include on a mark 2 version of this lens perhaps.
This lens makes a very good match with the new compact Sony a7C full frame mirrorless camera. Paired together they balance very well and weigh a total combined weight of only 735g (1.6lbs). It also fits into my Tenba BYOB 7 camera bag with room to also fit the Samyang 18mm 2.8 ultra wide lens. So for me having an ultra wide and a portrait lens together make a great lightweight portable travel setup. Of course you might want to also add a 35mm or 50mm if you like those focal lengths. Samyang have a great new 35mm 1.8 and also a 45mm 1.8 you can consider.
Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try the Sony 85mm or the Sigma 65mm. But I can say that from watching others comparisons and reviews online. This 75mm is slightly shaper than the Sony. The Sony lens does have slightly faster autofocus though however. In my testing I never had a problem with autofocus in photo modes. But there were occasionally times I needed to compose my video shots in a way that worked better with the autofocus.
For example in a brightly backlit scene the autofocus can hunt a bit and it has trouble locking on to a face. But adding a key light helped the autofocus lock on. In photo mode the auto focus is fast but just slightly slower than a Sony native lens.
As I mentioned earlier the lens has a function switch on the side. When you get the lens out of the box its default setting seems to be focus and aperture control. Although for me mode 1 didn’t seem to do anything, even in manual mode. But switching to mode 2 engaged the aperture control. These settings can be adjusted, however only if you have the Samyang lens station.
Now speaking of photos, I’ll show you a few of the photos I’ve taken with this lens so far. I have been impressed with the sharpness of this lens and the colours and contrast are very pleasing. Most of these shots I used aperture priority and shot in f1.8 but some were stopped down. Ive included the f-stop numbers in the bottom of the screen.
The lens is very affordable at US$339 on the US amazon store, links are in the description below. And AU$492 on the Australian amazon store. The lens station is an additional US$59 depending where you get it from. The lens station also is used to update the firmware on the lens. You can sometimes find this lens in a bundle with the lens station included. I actually bought it separately with my own money on a recent sale.
All in all I think this is a fantastic lens that I think for the size, weight and price make it a really perfect match for smaller mirrorless full frame cameras like the Sony a7C. Its also very good for travelling as its so lightweight you can fit it in any camera bag. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the market for a versatile portrait lens for your camera.