Samyang/Rokinon 35mm 2.8 vs Sony Zeiss 35mm 2.8 - Which to get?

JonathanF2

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Hey everyone, I'm debating between the Samyang/Rokinon 35mm 2.8 vs Sony Zeiss 35mm 2.8 lenses. I previously owned the Sam/Rok 35mm 2.8 and thought it was pretty good image-wise, but I didn't care much for the build quality. I'm now considering the Sony Zeiss 35mm 2.8, but I'm wondering if it's worth the price premium? I know the Sony is better built and somewhat weather resistant. I'm planning a major trip soon and I was thinking of pairing it with my 16-35/4 and 70-200/4 as a 3 lens travel trio. Though I might consider getting the Samyang 35mm again since it's so cheap.

I'm also open to other suggestion. Thanks for any help!
 

WoodWorks

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I'm very fond of my Sony Zeiss 35. But if the Samyang/Rokinan is close in image quality, I'd have trouble justifying the cost difference. And I'm not sure how much I'd depend on its durability under adverse conditions either.
 

pellicle

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I can't say about the Zeiss, but I'm really happy with the Samyang.

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ps the "noise" is an artifiact of Snapseed ...
 

addieleman

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Here in The Netherlands a new Samyang FE 2.8/35 costs € 315 and a used Sony FE 2.8/35 can be had for around € 400. So if my Sony 35 (bought used) would break down, I'd go for a second-hand Sony again because it has proven to be a very dependable lens: it still works and its image quality and autofocus speed and accuracy never let me down. I'm mentally unable to put up with cheap-feeling stuff, so my hobby is a bit on the expensive side (think Zeiss Loxias).
 

WNG

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Image quality may not be the issue, but AF performance could be. Plan to shoot videos with it? I think the Sony native lens will have faster response.
 

bdbits

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I had the Sony until recently. The focal length was right next to my Voigtlander 40mm so it is no longer with me, but wish I could have justified keeping it. Fast accurate AF, very nice IQ, very small and inconspicuous, really no complaints at all. It makes a great walking-around lens, so I should think it would do well for travel. I think it sometimes gets less than stellar reviews due to price vs the competition. But if I was looking for a 35mm AF lens and could find a good used one, I would buy the Sony again.
 

JonathanF2

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Here in The Netherlands a new Samyang FE 2.8/35 costs € 315 and a used Sony FE 2.8/35 can be had for around € 400. So if my Sony 35 (bought used) would break down, I'd go for a second-hand Sony again because it has proven to be a very dependable lens: it still works and its image quality and autofocus speed and accuracy never let me down. I'm mentally unable to put up with cheap-feeling stuff, so my hobby is a bit on the expensive side (think Zeiss Loxias).
I'm the same, I like my lenses to feel a bit solid and I just remembered the Samyang does feel very plasticky! I might look into the Sony 28mm f2 again, despite being plastic as well, felt a bit more solid.
 

MWhite

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I've been very pleased with the Sony and, like you, gave a lot of thought to getting the Rokinon. I was able to find a used, but excellent copy of the Sony which helped make my decision. You'll not go wrong with either, but the Sony is very nicely made and is a pleasure to use. I am also surprised by how much I can crop an image and still have great resolution. Good luck with your decision!
 

pellicle

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I'm the same, I like my lenses to feel a bit solid and I just remembered the Samyang does feel very plasticky! I might look into the Sony 28mm f2 again, despite being plastic as well, felt a bit more solid.
what ever you get let us know how it went.

Myself I gave up being worried about plastic lenses when I went to EOS in the 1990's and never found that the Samyang felt crummy. AF speed (mentioned previously) has never felt slow, even with my m43 lenses setting the pace. I'll be interested to hear if you buy the Sony if you think it was better.

I've always been a image quality over "how it feels in my hand" sorta guy.
 
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JonathanF2

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Hey chiming back into this thread. I kept wanting to pull the trigger on the Sony 35mm 2.8 FE, but the price to me just isn't a great value for what it's offering. I'm now reconsidering the Sony 50mm 1.8 FE and maybe the Sam 35mm 2.8 FE. Both will be used for both street shooting and family shots. I remember the Sony 50mm had decent image quality, so-so focusing while the Sam 35mm had good focusing, but had weird flaring with overhead sunlight which reduced contrast. I am also thinking about the new Sam 45mm 1.8 FE lens, but reports are mixed with some saying it might have infinity focusing issues.
 

JonathanF2

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I just received the Sony 50mm 1.8 FE and mounted it to my A7III. Running firmware 03, on a newer Sony body this lens is plenty fast and sharp enough. I had the Zeiss 55mm 1.8 and despite being a good lens, it didn't really vibe with me especially for the price. It's definitely much faster this time around when I was originally using it on an original A7 mk.I! :D
 

pellicle

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Hey chiming back into this thread. I kept wanting to pull the trigger on the Sony 35mm 2.8 FE, but the price to me just isn't a great value for what it's offering.
understood (see my above contribution) ... the AF on my Samyang is fine IMO, I would doubt *anyone* would ever look at a picture and say: "Oh man, thats good, but if only you'd shot that with the Zeiss"

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I'm now reconsidering the Sony 50mm 1.8 FE and maybe the Sam 35mm 2.8 FE.....
seems like a prudent mix ... I'll be very interested to hear your views on the 50f1.8 FE (considering one myself)
 

JonathanF2

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understood (see my above contribution) ... the AF on my Samyang is fine IMO, I would doubt *anyone* would ever look at a picture and say: "Oh man, thats good, but if only you'd shot that with the Zeiss"

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seems like a prudent mix ... I'll be very interested to hear your views on the 50f1.8 FE (considering one myself)
Optically the 50mm 1.8 FE is very sharp. I tried this lens when I had my Sony A7 mk.I with the original firmware. Unfortunately I didn't find it very fast to focus back then and decided to write the lens off. With the new firmware 03 it is much faster especially on an A7III camera. In fact it's fast enough (in most general shooting), for the price I prefer it over the Zeiss 55mm 1.8 FE lens. The Zeiss 55mm lens is better in every metric like OOF rendering, faster focusing, build quality, etc., but it just wasn't worth the price for me. Saying that, the Sony 50mm 1.8 FE might not work as well if you have an older generation A7 body, since it seems to focus fastest with the 3rd gen Sony bodies.

In terms of usage, I'd rather use the 50mm 1.8 FE for more street and editorial shooting which seems to prioritize sharpness over OOF rendering, while the Zeiss 55mm 1.8 FE is better suited for things like portraiture prioritizing OOF rendering, while opting for more transitional smoothness in the image.
 
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somnambulist_squirrel

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I think it's pretty hard to beat the FE 50 1.8 for the money. Here are some shots I have taken with mine, on both full frame and APS-C bodies:

On the a6000:

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On the A7Rii:


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I have updated the firmware on mine, and I would say the autofocus performance is generally fine. I have shot youth basketball and skiers with it and not found it to be constraining - even if not blindingly fast. I shoot old manual lenses mostly, too, so I am not especially well-practiced at optimizing my autofocus mode and technique for the shot. I am thinking of swapping for a small sigma APS-C prime (30 or 56), as I plan to keep my a6000 set up with a small autofocus lens for family, travel and hiking, and reserve my full frame body for the manual lenses and more thoughtful, less on-the-go shooting.
 

somnambulist_squirrel

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Addit: used the fe50 last night at an outdoor evening event, continuous af, wide area, and it wouldn’t stop hunting at smaller apertures. I’m trying to figure out what settings would be better, will report back. Also, should have tried the a6000 as well to see if it’s different, but didn’t have it with me.
 

addieleman

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Addit: used the fe50 last night at an outdoor evening event, continuous af, wide area, and it wouldn’t stop hunting at smaller apertures.
With AF-C you have to stay at f/8 or wider, otherwise the camera (A7R2) will not focus: it can only use AF-C at f/8 or larger apertures (smaller f-number).
 

JonathanF2

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Addit: used the fe50 last night at an outdoor evening event, continuous af, wide area, and it wouldn’t stop hunting at smaller apertures. I’m trying to figure out what settings would be better, will report back. Also, should have tried the a6000 as well to see if it’s different, but didn’t have it with me.
On my A7III I'm shooting the 50mm 1.8 FE on: AF-C and AF Track Sens - 5. In low light it locks on no problem at objects more than 5 feet away, though it might slightly hunt on subjects at 3 feet or less.
 

somnambulist_squirrel

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Thanks, both of you, I will try some more with those in mind! It certainly had no issue at 1.8:

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