A few months ago I purchased a Sony A6000, after a month of using the A6000 I decided to sell all of my Pentax Kit and go Mirrorless with Sony. With the release of the Sony A7Rll, I have everything I need to meet my photography needs and started looking a new lenses and focal lengths, and the Samyang 135mm f/2 really caught my eye.
The 135mm focal length is excellent for a wide range of applications regardless of the brand of camera one uses, so when I read that Samyang produced this lens in E mount and seeing a great offer on one, a order had to be placed.
After having read some reviews and seeing some examples of what the Samyang 135mm f/2 lens could produce, I was eager to attach one to my Sony A7ll.
Although the lens is manual focus only, using focus peaking and the focus magnify feature on the A7ll makes focusing a breeze, so nailing focus is a lot easier than on a DSLR. After taking a few images outside in the garden and in the street, it did not take long to see just how sharp this lens is, even at f/2, the backgrounds just melted away when shooting wide open and created the look I was after.
I had to wait a few weeks before I had the chance to use the lens for a portrait, but when a musician offered to bring along a few musical instruments to a local park on a late Sunday evening I got thinking about how I could use the lens and some of the images I might be able to create.
I have two Cactus RF60 flash’s and a few Cactus V6 triggers and a selection of various other flash’s, so I decided to pack these into the camera bag, together with a soft silver Westcott Umbrella and head to a local park.
I knew I wanted to shoot at f/2, so I took a few ambient light meter readings and then matched the flash power to f/2. I then just played around with the shutter speed to control the ambient light to create the look I wanted
Anyway here is one of the images I produced with the Samyang 135mm lens and using two flash’s off camera balancing the ambient with flash, which I think shows what can be achieved.
RAW Image converted in Lightroom, with some highlight and shadow adjustments made, together with HSL slider adjustments. Some basic image processes via Photoshop.
the body of the Samyang 135mm f/2 is plastic. However, it’s is extremely sturdy and has a good feel to it. However, if you are looking for Zeiss quality, you will need to pay Zeiss prices, although optically the Samyang 135mm is far from budget in terms of the images it can produce and gives the Nikon & Canon 135mm lenses a run for their money.
Being a manual focus lens only, the focusing ring is huge, pleasingly grippy, and rotates with a good level of smoothness. The images this lens can produce in relation to its price are remarkable, so if you are looking for a great portrait prime lens on a budget, the Samyang is clearly unique in how it performs in relation to its price.