A really nice “budget” manual focus (and on lens aperture!) 35mm F1.4 lens

The 35mm lens is one of those key lenses you should have in your kit, like a 50mm and an 85mm. Especially if you are using a crop sensor camera. On those camera cameras it gives you your standard lens field of view.

There are loads of 35mm lenses out there. The best one, certainly for video has just been released. The Zeiss 35mm F1.4 is beautiful. Lovely optics. Fast. Incredibly well made. Unfortunately out of the price bracket of many people as it’s around $1900. Worth the money? Yes if you are a pro for sure.

For others, a really nice new option has come out for about a quarter of the price.

The Samyang 35mm F1.4 is a manual focus lens. No auto in this (neither has the Zeiss), but that is fine for video. In fact it’s great as we have hard stops on the focus. Also key for me is the iris is actually on the lens rather than controlled via the camera. The video guy in me much prefers this and of course with an adaptor you can use this lens on other cameras like the AF101 or F3 with a Canon EOS adaptor and still have iris control.

It actually has been made in various mounts…Canon, Pentax, Nikon, 4/3, Sony etc…

Quality wise…it’s not a Zeiss, but it’s pretty nice and for the money great value.

I haven’t shot any video with it yet. But here a couple of photos of my cats on the Canon 5Dmk2. It covers both the full frame and the APS-C

Percy
Bertie

 

I bought mine here for 415 Euros which is about $600 from Poland and it came to my pretty quickly. This lens is often rebranded so keep an eye out for it under the name Rokinon and other such names. Do a google for it and you will find it.

It’s not perfect, I hear there are some chromatic aberrations in far detail but from the reviews I have read it’s all pretty positive.I wouldn’t expect perfection in a 35mm F1.4 prime lens that covers a full frame and APS-C for this price. But it’s pretty bloody good!

This is my second Samyang one. I already have the 8mm fish eye and it’s sweet. Good job on this new 35mm F1.4!

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Comments

  1. I read about this lens recently, and the only this I kept wondering about was the quality of this lens compared to the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 – which is in approx. the same pricerange. If having to choose one of the two – which one would it be …

      1. Good point! I won’t be shooting with a FF camera for a while I suspect, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind! Manual aperture is a pro, certainly, but can be overcome if the glass-quality is better on the Sigma

      2. it’s hard to play with micro4/3, the framming is only 33 degrees..,
        maybe 28mm ..it will be nice for apsc to..

  2. I don’t really understand… How can this lens cover APS-C and Full Frame ? Is it a 35 mm on FF or APS-C ?

    1. if a lens covers FF sensors it covers APS-C as well because they are smaller. lenses usually report their field of view on FF sensors not in angles but in mm that is an equivalent of another equivalent which i find paranoid by the way.

      anyway this lens is 35mm on FF and 1.6x35mm on APS-C sensors.

  3. I’d love to compare this lens to my Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 2.4! The Flek’s only 2.4 but can close-focus to about 9cm!

  4. Nice to see a decent prime for video that’s priced well and not 50 years old and being sold on eBay. Now to find a comparable 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm…

  5. It looks quite interesting to me, BUT I’m not sure I would buy it since I find the Zeiss (ZF2/ZE) is not so much expansive for what it is (if it is really the same optics we can find on a CP.2 !)

  6. Great! I’m a big fan of Samyang/Rokinon lenses. I can’t wait to see a video taken with this Samyang or Rokinon 35mm f1.4 lens. Amazon already has this lens up for pre-sale. Look for Rokinon 35mm f1.4. They say it will be available within 2 weeks. Yeah~* 😀

    1. I ve been using the 14 f2.8 since january, its an amazing lens well worth the money!you can see it here on the opening time-lapse http://vimeo.com/22418318 (we had a 16-35 2.8 L but I opted for the 14mm it made a difference.. (the museum would not fit the frame of the 16)

      I cant wait for the 35 1.4 to be available…

  7. What focal length will this lens become if I use it with Panasonic 101?
    I would assume 75mm since it covers both FF and DX?
    I am after a 35mm and 75mm for my Panasonic, any suggestions?
    Very Best regards

  8. You where passionate about the 35 mm 1.4 L from Canon, and now in a post about a 35 mm Lens you do not mention that jewel in one word, how come? Is the Zeiss so much better?

    1. The Zeiss 35mm F1.4 is the top of the tree for video DSLR work. The Canon 35mm F1.4 is a great lens, but a bit tired and needs replacing as it’s not the sharpest compared to say the 50mm F1.2 or 24mm F1.4. For stills the L series is still probably number one choice

      1. thanks for your reply, the most popular picture from flickr (obama and hillary in the situation room) was made with 5d mark II and 35 1.4 L…yes, it’s a great lens and for me still Nr. 1 😉

  9. This is coincidental… I was in NYC last week to see if they had the Voigtländer 35mm 1.4 but they didn’t and I didn’t like the plasticy feel of the 30mm 1.4 Sigma (focus was awful on manual) and I was looking for a 35mm Zuiko in f2 but couldn’t find it and came across this one wondering if there were any reviews yet and here you are. Good to read it’s worth the money, how heavy and large is it? Looks pretty substantial but great it has a Canon mount.
    Ordering it now.

  10. I am hesitant to purchase an off-brand lens due to the fact that I am always considering resale value when I make a purchase and well-know brands tend to do well in the used market.

    However, the ability to cover FF and APS-C is a huge selling point since I own a 7D but I foresee a time when crop sensors will fall by the wayside as FF becomes less expensive. That has kept me from purchasing the Sigma.

    In addition, the huge aperture at such a low price is very appealing for low-light video work. I am always struggling to keep the ISO as low as possible. Of course an endorsement from Philip Bloom doesn’t hurt.

  11. Hey Philip,

    The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM II = € 1.265 / £ 1.103
    The Samyang 14mm 2.8 + Samyang 35mm 1.4 = € 728 / £ 635

    Is the Canon worth the extra cost ?
    (5DmkII, often shooting in lowlight conditions, I already have a 24-104 f4)

  12. Thanks for this post. I am still building my kit and this would be a nice lens to have while waiting for my bank account to rise up enough to get the Zeiss lenses haha.

    Mel

  13. Looks good. For stills I still would go for the sigma because of the autofocus. How would this lens compare to an old Nikon lens for instance?

      1. I bought an old nikon ai f/1.4 to shoot in clubs but it sucked at f/1.4 which sucked because that’s what I bought it for, I already had the f/2. It was great from f/2 but the bokeh sucked too. The bokeh in your stills looks deliciously creamy. I ended up ditching all my nikkors for old leica’s but this one is tempting. 31 lenses might be a bit excessive though.

  14. Is Samyang the same as Rikinon? I go on amazon and they only have Rikinon.

    1. i have pentax 35mm f2 one, i really love for micro 4/3..
      it is nice but yaou cannot shoot with this at long distance.. it will be reduce art picture..

  15. Great find! Shopping for bargain lenses is a pain… I hate taking my chances on. Any other quick suggestions for lesser known brands?

  16. I got both the Sigma 30mm 1.4 and the Samyang 85mm 1.4 and I must say, the build quality of the samyang is much better! It feels sturdy and the focus ring is much smoother (probably because of the motors inside the Sigma).

    If you’ll only use this lens for video I’d go for the Samyang (Rokinon, Bower..). But then an all manual focus lens for photography, that’s kind of painful!

    Oh by the way, may I ask you guys. I like to use the autofocus to make sure I’m spot on before starting to shoot. Is it a bad habit to have for a filmmaker?

    Cheers!

  17. Wasn’t expecting much from this lens but this looks promising. Must say I am pretty happy with the Canon 28mm/1.8 on my 7D though. Is anyone else here using it?

    A hard focus stop would be a huge improvement though. It’s too easy to focus past infinity with Canon AF lenses!

  18. So I ended up buying the 14mm 2.8 yesterday after seeing the test below. I would rarely use the lens and I just couldn’t see spending over 2K for the Canon. I feel like every time I come to your blog I spend money. Thanks Philip.

    http://vimeo.com/11204267

  19. for people doubting samyang: the samyang 85mm f/1.4 is much closer to the canon 85mm f/1.2 or to the zeiss planar 85mm f/1.4 than to canon’s 85mm f/1.8; sure, it’s not nearly as good in terms of sharpness, but check out these bokeh tests!!
    http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/483-samyang_85_14_5d?start=1
    http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/536-zeiss85f14eosff?start=1
    http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/502-canon_85f12ff?start=1
    http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/419-canon_85_18_5d?start=1

  20. Hey Phillip,
    Thanks for the review.
    My mate had a Samyung 85mm which was absolutely brilliant.
    I have 50mm F1.4, 85mm 1.4 from Contax Carl Zeisses. These lenses are great too.
    BTW, When you take photos with manual lenses, how do you focus (without using Live view)? It’s really difficult to get focus on those mattes… Focus is so shallow… I wish the 5D had one of those focus screens with the split circle in it. But they don’t make those anymore…

  21. Is there really a big difference in prime and zoom lenses for video? I use the Canon 24-70 2.8 as the go-to lens for most of my 5D work as I can’t tell any difference (image quality wise) between this and any of the prime lenses I’ve tested (admittedly I haven’t tested a Zeiss). 2.8 is normally fast enough for me and the flexibility of a zoom in the field can be priceless. Have you noticed big differences between good zooms and primes?

  22. Sometimes you look at a picture and laugh for the humour. Other times, you look at a picture and laugh with joy. Sorry Percy, not laughing at you, dude.

    This is the third lens that made me laugh with joy – the first was the Tokina 11-16. The second was the Sigma 50mm 1.4. Now the Samyang does the impossible: a wide(ish) angle lens with selective Depth of Field – isn’t that so absolutely and effingly wonderful?!

    Even with an FS100, you can make wonderful interview shots that give your subject plenty of space to put then in their environment without letting their environment muscle-in on their little private moment. That’s you, Percy, in the second shot.

    Good find, Mr Bloom – thanks for buying it on a whim, trying it and sharing the results with us. Would never have experienced this bit of glass without you.

  23. I have been hearing more and more good things about these Samyang lenses.

    Have you used classic 35mm photo lenses adapted on EOS before? The classic Zeiss for Contax/Yashica mount or similar possibly. I love finding good and bad old lenses and trying them out with adapters, some give amazing color and bokeh. Wasn’t sure if you have ever tested out similar things.

  24. Hey Philip,
    interesting lens- I was wondering if you have ever used older leica lenses at all, I found some on ebay for around $500, thought they would be great for video considering their reputation..

    And I was also wondering what the best old nikons you would use, pre-AI? I just shot a short using them and they were alright, was wondering if maybe the AI lenses from the 80’s might be sharper than the older ones?

    It would really be great if there was a bigger resource for checking out budget lenses, I know I would love to get some zeiss glass, but the truth is that I just cant afford it yet.

    I love the new work you’ve been doing lately by the way, it’s really incredible stuff.

    -devin

  25. Hi everyone!

    Im about to get my first prime lens, and i want to achieve the best film look.

    Im thinking either to buy a sigma 30mm or the samyang 35mm.

    Any thoughts?

    -Sondre

  26. Man, this is tempting. I love the image quality of the Sigma with my 60D, but the stiff focus ring is a pain! Wonder if I should swap even if I don’t have a full frame camera.

    Thanks for sharing.

  27. This looks like a great lens for the money – is the aperture ring smooth or clicky?!

    Cheers! 🙂

    Jon

  28. Really want to buy this lens, but have one question for anyone who already has it.

    DOES THE FOCUS SPINS THE SAME WAY AS CANON LENSES OR OTHER WAY LIKE NIKON?

    IT IS QUITE IMPORTANT FOR ME FOR FF USE.

    THANK YOU!!!

      1. Hi there, Im new to photography and shooting with a DSLR, I have just bought a Canon 60D with a follow focus system and just a kit lens which will not work with the follow focus due to the size and position of the focus ring on the lens that I have. This lens looks really nice and fits within my proice range, would you recomend it for a newbie? and also is it a good lens for still photography too?

        Any help would be great

  29. Hi Philip

    Could you please explain this for the less enlightened amongst us, thanks.

    “The 35mm lens is one of those key lenses you should have in your kit, like a 50mm and an 85mm. Especially if you are using a crop sensor camera. On those camera cameras it gives you your standard lens field of view.”

  30. It looks like the Samyang is actually more like a 38mm and not a true 35mm.

    Image quality seems pretty good. My main issue is the large physical size of this lens. Its bigger than the Canon EF 35/1.4 L.

    I am currently converting a Minolta Rokkor MC 35/1.8 which has really nice IQ but is much smaller with a 55mm filter size…

  31. Philip, thanks for the great blog! I shoot with a 7d and was thinking about getting some cooke kinetals (a cheap way to get a cine/prime set) Are these too out-of-date? I’ve seen some current stills captured with them and they look good. Would these crop the sensor of the 7d (due to them originally being made for 16mm cameras in the 50’s)?
    Thanks,
    Maury

    1. Hi Maury

      I have three old 35mm Cooke Kinetals bayonet mount which I have modified to PL. They are ok. 1 is sharp the other two not. They are 60 years old…they wont fit on a 7d without that PL mod which is expensive and means no canon lenses fit on it. Avoid the 16mm lenses they simply wont work.

  32. Hi Philip

    I’m really stuck between this lens and the sigma 1.4, I’m using a APS-C camera.

    I want to use it for a combo of video and stills.

    Any insight from anyone would be fantastic!

    1. Even more confused! These guys have now got two versions of this lens, one they call the video version with a ‘smooth aperture’ and the one above. Could anyone cast any light on the difference for me (beginner) and which one would be best for stills and video.

      Thanks

  33. Ok, i bought this lens (Nikon mount) and put it on my AF101, but i can’t see it being useable for video, except for handheld, because of the following.
    When i turn the focus ring clockwise, the image moves up, and when i turn it c-clockwise, the image shifts down. On my 24 inch monitor, that’s more than one and a halve centimeter of image shift either way.
    Can you, Phil, or any other Samyang 35/1.4 owner confirm this? Or do i have a faulty lens OR Nikonmft convertor? I’ve seen this behaviour before with lenses, but not this violent.
    Thanks,
    Martin.

  34. Hi folks !
    I am searching this second version of the samyang 35mm 1.4 with “smooth aperture” for video but I can’t find it clearly. Any idea ?

    1. Finally a quality test video with this lens! I can’t seem to find many. And the color grade was an added bonus. Thanks!

  35. Hi Philip

    I was thinking of getting a Nikon 35mm f/1.4 for my canon 5d, I can see on ebay if i get lucky i can get for around $500 more or less the same price of the samyang.

    Would you recommend the samyang over this?

  36. I’ve actually heard that this lens has less of a “breathing” issue than the Zeiss 35 2.0 that I’m also considering. Does anyone have any experience with either regarding lens breathing while focusing?

  37. hello my work is mainly video and i shoot feature films in lowbudget, then transfare it to 35 mm screens “trailer for my 1st feature ”
    http://vimeo.com/27028552
    so i do own some lenses , to my eyes and iam just a director and editor not dop, i think its ok u just add lil bit contrast after the zeiss to canon lens to match some times not but am not the expert here
    do u think matching sets is very important , or the different look can easly matched during colour grading.
    and do u think i could i shoot with this set as an example:” for 5d mark2
    24-70L ” use it as a 24 and 35 end only”
    zeiss ze 50 f1.4
    canon 85 f1.8 or samyang 85 f1.4
    sigma 150 f2.8
    sigma 12-24 4.5-5.6 or samyang 14 f2.8
    17-50 tamaron only for 7d on car mounts or danger positions
    sigma 70-20 macro dg f2.8″ i dont use alot”
    do u think this will match
    or should i get loan and do changes
    note: selling used in my country isnt easy and its not easy to sell my lever to buy new lenses so plz tell me what is bad in my collection appreciate u r help sorry for my bad english thxxxxxxxxxxxx thxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  38. my 24-70 canon l lens stoped working with no accident aperture stucked at f22 so i sent it out of my country to fix and i replaced my sigma 70-200 f2.8 with Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM did i made right acording to lenses above i have

  39. call me retarded but this has to be cleared up in my mind. So here goes.
    I’m a micro four thirds shooter GH1 and GH2, micro four thirds sensor – 35mm equivalent. Is a lenses on a full frame system say a 35mm 1.4 different on a MFT system? as in is it the same field of view? am i getting a true 35mm? If so then never mind, but if i’m not, then why are lenses on MFT systems named in 35mm format? Am i getting less field of view on a MFT system as appose to the field of view i’d get on full frame with the same lens? someone please clear this up, it will help me buy better, because if i’m right about this all i really need are fast lenses between 7mm – 58mm. Primes that is. maybe one zoom, The Oly 11 – 22mm f2.8.

  40. I’ve just been over at Abelcine hope I spelt that right. Ok so, from this day forth start thinking in WNT, Wide Normal Tele, instead of MM if your a MFT shooter. this changes everything given the fact that lenses on a MFT sensor aren’t actually what they say they are. Wiser and upset but laughing . This is big to me.

    Widest you can get with MFT is the 7 – 14mm? just remember that it’s actually something like 18 – 30? not sure, near enough. So I can’t actually shoot 14mm, why the f**k is Panasonic naming their lenses in 35mm format, actually never mind scrap this whole post, i remember seeing this somewhere haha sorry, yeah business is retarded. But WNT stands. That full frame crowd is looking rather inviting right now panasonic. But i’ll stay for my own reasons.

    1. all lenses no matter what they are for are in MM. it’s irrelevant what camera the lens is designed for when it comes to it’s focal length. That will never change. It’s the equivalent field of view that changes.

  41. i disagree with you, that the L Series Canon Lenses are better than the Samyang 35. Especially for stills. Could you back your opinion, with some pics.
    Btw, the Samyang does not automatically focus at Infinity, at the very end of the focus ring. That is one of it’s few drawbacks.

    1. I love my Samyang and it’s a great video lens. But the lack of autofocus makes stills harder of course. Optically it is good but not as sharp as the Canon wide open

  42. Hi Philip!
    I have two buying options: 1) Carl Zeiss ZF (not ZF.2) 35mm f.2 and this 2) Samyang 35mm 1.4.

    I’m currently using a Canon 7D, mostly for video, and really thinking about the future and building my lens kit to last for a long time. Don’t mind about the price because I have a Zeiss in bargain. What do you think about it?

    I currently only have a Sigma 24-70mm f.2.8 that just a hell lot of job, but the small focus ring is killing me!

    Best!

  43. I am ordering samyang (rokinon) 35mm and am wondering about canon 50mm 1.8.

    This may sound stupid but can 1.4 intercut 1.8 in cinematography process without grading. For instance by using filters, or any other way.

    Do we have to shoot B O T H lenses at 1.8. I want to use samyang at 1.4 because i have h e a r d that it is insanely sharp at that f-stop number.

    Please pardon my ignorance.

  44. Sir,

    I’m Sorry for flooding with too many comments.

    Does samyang + 7d look good on 40 foot screen?

    Please reply for no matter how foolish the question might sound, this doubt needs to be cleared for me.

    Thank you. 🙂

  45. thanks, but

    1. is samyang good enough for cinema quality?

    2. or should one have to have zeiss/canon lenses at least for technical reasons?

    PS: Hope I am not pestering.

    1. Samyang are very sharp lenses i use them for fil they are great !!
      35 mm 1.4
      14 mm 2.8
      8 mm 3.5
      85mm 1.4

  46. thanx, how foolish of me, you replied on the other page where i had posted as well.

    Again sorry and thanks

    Cheers, you’re the man

  47. Hey Philip, firstly cheers for your blog. Has helped me make many a decision on equipment in the past.

    I found the following comparison by Matt Duclos between the Zeiss 1.4 and the Samyang 1.4 35mm lenses.

    http://matthewduclos.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/35mm-f1-4-showdown/

    From what I can see, if you are not going to buy a matching set of cinema primes then the Samyang appears to be the obvious choice. Its also kind of nice how it doesn’t change length while focussing.

    Seems I’m going to be poor again in the not so distant future.

  48. Hello Philip.
    What mount should I go for? Nikon or Canon? I am using a Canon 550D for now, but most probably I will replace it in the future.

    Cheers,
    Peter

  49. Hi philip

    What is sharper image for video 5d mark ii or GH2 to me it look like GH2 has better image i mean sharper image for video ??

  50. Hey Philip,

    I know it is very old topic, but I hope you could help.

    I want to buy a 35mm lens for my DSLR.

    I checked Samyang 35mm F1.4 on eBay and it runs for around $500. But, the same price is for old Nikkor EIS 35mm 1.4 + you can get good deal on craigslist if you are lucky.
    Which do you think is better for shooting video?

    Thanks a lot.
    Kamil

  51. Hi Phil,

    I’m looking to purchase this lens for to shoot video with my 7D and I’ve learnt you can buy it de-clicked too. I’d go for the de-clicked version but I’m located in Australia and can’t find it available anywhere…

    Is the click version a deal-breaker if I want the option to adjust aperture whilst filming?

  52. Just bought the Cine version of this lens and I’m having the worst time controlling the exposure. I’ll take a photo and it’ll be a few stops brighter when I view it, so I always have to guess and under expose my shots when shooting.

    I heard of this happening in the view finder but I’m using Live View. Is this normal? I like manual focus, and manual aperture but always having to guess what my exposure is doesn’t seem like the best workflow.

    I have this on a Canon 60D.

  53. Hello Philip great review here, for some reason I found another 35mm SAMYANG T1.5 supposedly a cine lens, as far as im aware the only difference is that the cine version has a Geared Focus and Aperture Control Ring according to the website,but again im not too sure about that.

    Whats your take on that mate. im close to buying one.

    cheers