35mm Normally

I got myself the Samyang 35mm F1.4 ED AS UMC for Sony Alpha A-mount!

It is, of course, a full-frame lens, for its full glory on my Sony Alpha 900. It is manual focus though – which is why it costs a lot less than the Sony 35mm F1.4G. It’s got a bit of weight at 700 grams for the A-mount version, and a 77mm filter thread.

My Opteka 85mm F1.4 (rebadged from Samyang) is very, very easy to manual focus. This lens, being wider, is a bit harder – I’d say with the 85mm I could get exact focus 95% of the time, with 5% being slightly off (not noticeable when not zoomed in.)

With the 35mm my perfection rate is probably a 75% – but after a few days, I got used to it and got better, about 85%. That said I’ve had the 85mm for 2 years already…

Interestingly, this is the only lens I’ve bought for all of 2011.

I knew that Samyang made awesome lenses – cheap because they are manual focus, but contrasty and sharp wide open! (Though when compared to a Zeiss it would lose in micro-contrast – the details are just crispier on the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm F1.4 ZA, for example.)

Just like the Samyang/Opteka 85mm F1.4, the aperture ring jumps from F1.4 to F2.0 then clicks in half-stops until F16, where it jumps to F22. Its minimum focus distance is a very useful 30cm close (compared to the rather weak close focusing of the Samyang 85mm F1.4 and Samyang 8mm F3.5 diagonal fisheye…)

On the Sony Alpha 77 – with focus peaking and Live View with magnification, it is a lot easier to quickly manual focus.

On the Sony Alpha NEX-5 with the Sony LA-EA1 A-mount to E-mount lens adapter.

So here are my primes!
Left to right: Peleng 8mm F3.5 M42 circular fisheye, Vivitar 24mm F2.0 OM-mount, Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM, Samyang 35mm F1.4 ED AS UMC, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA.

Clockwise from left: Samyang 35mm F1.4 ED AS UMC, Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Vivitar 24mm F2.0 OM-mount, and the Peleng 8mm F3.5 M42 circular fisheye in the middle.

Be warned! The rear element sticks out when the lens is focused to infinity, so you may not want to put the lens on a table facing up…

Onto the pictures! 35mm F1.4 on full-frame. As a buddy of mine said, it looks kinda toy-camera-ish.

Click the image
for the full 24-megapixel image from the A900! Wide open, it provides decent detail, with a minor amount of chromatic aberration.

Click the image
for the full 24-megapixel image from the A900! As they say, F8 and be there!

Bokeh is generally good…

…though the out-of-focus highlights may sometimes exhibit concentric patterns like this. I have no idea why this happens.

There is a very slight tinge of brightline bokeh especially in the middle. Also notice that there is physical vignetting – not only do the out-of-focus highlights become cats-eyed in shape, they also get cropped.

There is a bit of barrel distortion.

This is my best effort to fix it without going into complex moustache distortion correction.

Anyway, F1.4! It will rule the night!

It picks up ambient color alright. Note the blue light on the trousers.

1/4th of a second, ISO1600, F1.4. There was a lunar eclipse that night, and the moon ended up looking red.

Jason through the NEX-5, LA-EA1 and of course Samyang 35mm F1.4. The angle of view is perfect for street photography and general multipurpose photography, whether on APS-C or full-frame.

35mm on full-frame is the same angle of view as your phone’s camera.

I took it to Rock The World 11! Here’s Maddame, a most awesome grunge band. I have to say though, that when he first got on stage and started shredding, I thought he looked like a Malaysian Marty Friedman, and even played like one! It wasn’t until he said his band represented the Malaysian grunge scene that I realized he was just playing some pretty riff-ful grunge!

A 100% crop of the above picture, taken with the 24-megapixel A77.

Ewin took this picture. Thanks Ewin!

Notice that the bokeh may sometimes be slightly wiry. That said it is generally good.


Into the night.


Depending on the light, you could turn it into day.

MSC Malaysia Cybercentre, in downtown KL – ironically, the most un-Malaysian part of KL.

Shot with the NEX-5. All I had to do was stand in their path to get a street shot like this!

Shot with the NEX-5 at F1.4. Thanks to Waifon for this picture!

All pictures were taken with the A900, with the Samyang 35mm F1.4 set at F1.4, unless otherwise stated (or if the lens is in the picture).

I bought the lens from Chia Hau – give him a holler if you’re interested! He deals with cameras and lenses.

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