Samyang 135mm f/2 (part 2)
Following from the last post, here is second part of the review of the Samyang 135mm f/2, this time on a Fuji X camera.
Everything concerning build quality and user experience mentioned in the first part of the review, still stands, of course. I would again advise on using a battery grip (or even an additional bigger hand grip will do), on your X-camera, in order to ease operation, since this is a long and somewhat heavy lens.
In APS-C terms, the Samyang becomes a "long portrait" lens, similar to 180-200mm prime lenses for the FF 35mm format. As a result, it is very useful for portraiture, giving a unique look in this respect. It remains, of course, a telephoto lens for any relevant use. I used it in a variety of shots, and even did a bit of candid photography with it (check the gallery for samples): it is certainly not the most discreet lens you can use, though!
On the X-T1, the Samyang is a joy to use: this camera has perhaps the best MF assist features you can find. I should caution potential buyers, that manual focusing remains a discipline that one has to master, but, that said, the X-T1 helps immensely. Having a larger sensor than the E-M1 from the last article, it also offers a shallower DoF for the same framing and F-stop. Check for example the photo of the two kitties in the gallery: the eyes of the front one are tack sharp, while the one on the back is definitely out of focus. And this shot is at f/3.5. It will take a little time to achieve exactly the DoF you want, but results are unquestionably rewarding.
One note on photos: some shots of animals, both in this and the previous article, show a type of pattern in the out of focus regions. This is from the wire mesh from the cages they were in, and has nothing to do with the lens or camera.
Talking of this camera and lens combination, the X-T1 and Samyang 135mm produce some amazing photos. X-Trans rendering coupled with the lens sharpness and contrast, result in vibrant, detailed images, with beautiful bokeh and very little else to be desired. Vigneting is still quite low; in fact I was usually tempted to add vignette in post (and actually did, a couple of times...). Abberations are, again, non-existent.
Fuji doesn't currently have fast telephoto prime; the system's lens closest to the Samyang is the magnificent 50-140mm f/2.8, which excels in image quality, build and versatility. It is weather sealed and can also be used with the new Fuji 1.4x telephoto converter. Some people may find it quite big and heavy though, and may not really be interested in the lower mm range. Being less than half the price, the Samyang is a great proposition, also being 1 stop brighter. What I can say, viewing the results is that, optically, it easily stands among the great Fujinon lenses.
A final thought on the Samyang: if you happen to use more than one system (say two different mirrorless systems, or a DSLR and a mirrorless), this lens becomes even more of a bargain. Just buy one with the longer flange distance (Canon or Nikon) and use adapters to mount it to other cameras. If fast telephotos with great optics and dependable build quality is your thing, the Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC is something to definitely consider.