Back in April 2021, Samyang updated one of its most popular lenses. The new 12mm f/2 received a new design, weather sealing and autofocus. The lens was very well received, so Samyang decided to repeat the formula. This time though, the updates are even bigger.
The Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE is not a surprise though. The old 135mm f/2 is praised by both portrait and astro photographers. Therefore launching an autofocus version is a logical step in the right direction for Samyang.
So what’s all the fuss about? Besides autofocus, the new Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE has a new design, weather sealing, a focus hold button, a focus range switch, a custom switch and the LED light borrowed from the 24mm f/1.8 lens. The latter is very useful for focusing on stars.
What’s even better is the weight. At 772 grams, it’s just a bit lighter than the manual version it replaces. Sure, the old lens was made of metal and this one uses plastic, but quality shouldn’t be an issue.
Other things to consider? The filter size is bigger this time (77mm on the old one, 82mm on the new one) and the minimum focus distance is just 0.69 meters (down from 0.8 meters).
The Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE costs just $999 (or €900), making it almost $1100 cheaper than the Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM and $400 more affordable than the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art.
Why it matters
Competition is great for the consumer. The price alone should make a lot of photographers consider the Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE. If it turns out to be as great as shown in the video below, then Samyang will surely have a best seller in their line-up.
For astrophotography users it’s even better than the old one. Not because of the autofocus, but thanks to its lighter body and faster aperture. Here’s what the old lens can do in capable hands:
And here’s the first video Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE: