Remember when Samyang was a disruptive outsider, producing affordable manual focus prime lenses for niche applications? Well in recent years, the company has not only added autofocus primes to its lineup – now there’s a zoom, too. The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE is a useful wide-angle to short telephoto ‘standard’ zoom lens and it’s designed for Sony E mount mirrorless cameras.
As an E mount lens it’ll fit not only 35mm full-frame format bodies like the A7R IV and A7S III, but also Sony’s APS-C cameras, like the A6500 where it’ll give a 36-105mm equivalent.
Not content with its personal breakthrough, Samyang says, the new lens is “the most versatile and universal lens of all time.” That’s a pretty grand statement, but the AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE certainly packs in some interesting features, which make it just as capable for video as it is for stills, so it should be an attractive option for hybrid shooters.
Backing up those claims, the AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE’s key features include a par-focal design, meaning that it will maintain focus on a particular distance even when the focal length is changed. This is important in video and usually only seen on pro-level cinema lenses. It’s not found on stills lenses because the assumption is it’s not needed. It also uses optimised Cinematic Video AF performance where the focusing speed is controlled for smoother movement and the removal of any ‘wobble’ that gives footage an amateurish look.
Completing the video appeal, the lens uses Linear MF Focus Control, which matches the torque of the focus ring as closely as possible to that of a manual focus lens when shooting video, basically to improve handling and manual focus accuracy. Samyang is also offering a separate Cine Kit with focus gearing, follow focus and a tripod mount, allowing improved manoeuvrability and handling in professional applications.
For both stills and video, the AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE uses a Linear STM (stepping motor) which provides smooth, quick and quiet lock-on and tracking, the latter of which is obviously more and more important with modes like eye-detection AF keeping the lens elements moving all the time. The minimum focusing distance is 35cm, and the maximum magnification is 0.27x.
Excellent resolution is promised, with an optical design that includes 17 elements in 14 groups, within which are three aspherical, three high refractive and three extra-low dispersion lenses. Sharpness is promised from corner to corner. The F2.8 aperture is available at all focal lengths providing improved subject separation over lenses with smaller, or variable apertures, and also giving greater exposure control in low light. The diaphragm has nine bladed for more circular bokeh.
The AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE has a weather-sealed design that’s resistant to light rain, snow and dust, and it has a micro-patterned rubber focus ring giving better handling. The filter size is 82mm, it measures 128.5x88mm and weighs 1,027g. It also has a ‘custom switch’, the function of which can be set using Samyang’s optional Lens Station, for instance, setting the focus ring to control the aperture if that’s your preferred way of working. It’ll set you back around £830. Check out a few samples from the lens below.