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Dream in Bokeh: Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 FE II

Alyssa Zalabai

Photographer from England

Dream in Bokeh:
Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 FE II

Shooting Portraits with Dreamy Bokeh

Back in 2019, I got the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 MK1 and it got me further into children portraiture. Since then, it was my best choice for outdoor portraits due to its gorgeous bokeh and sharpness. So, I am so happy to try the second generation of this lens, which is the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 FE II. From using the first one for years, I knew instantly that this lens will produce a gorgeous bokeh that made me fall in love with the first one. I always say the term ‘’dreamy bokeh’’, and by this, Alice in Wonderland theme portrait shoot came to me on a whim. The theme fits as this does create a very dreamy smooth bokeh in which isolates your subject from the background. One of the reasons that I love a good 85mm focal length is the short distance from my subject but still retains a really good subject separation, curiouser and curiouser indeed!

zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/1250 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/200 sec
ISO 200
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/500 sec
ISO 200
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

Shooting Portraits with a Classic Vintage Look

One thing that this lens reminds me of is a classic vintage lens, it adds mood and feeling to my images but at the same time, sharp and crispy. When shooting directly into the sunlight, it creates a haze which adds more mood effect. There may be a mix opinion when a lens creates haze but, in my case, I love to use it purposely for a matte effect on photos, as well as to heighten the dreamy bokeh it already creates, and anyway, photography is playing with light.

zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/1250 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/800 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/1000 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/1250 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

Shooting Portraits with Great AF Performance

In portrait photography, lenses with beautiful bokeh are sought after by many photographers. Right after I had years of newborn photography experience and was ready to venture into a much older crowd, well, not that old at least! I have come to realize that fast auto-focus is also very important in my line of work. I need to capture those split-second poses and I’m so delighted that this lens has a much better AF capability in combination with crispier sharpness, I mean, come on, just check out these images! Because of its lighter build, the handling is very well balanced, especially shooting outdoors handheld for hours.

zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/640 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/640 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/640 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

Shooting Portraits in a Studio

Now, that is all with portraits outdoors using nothing but natural light. How about using it in a studio with controlled lighting? Well, with flash photography, I think this is when you truly see how sharp a lens is and with these images, I am shooting wide open f1.4 with an ND8 filter which gives me 3 stops down which will equal my exposure to at least f5.6. Shooting wide open for headshots in a studio can sometimes be tricky. Due to a very shallow depth of field, the tiniest movement can render your shots out of focus, but worry not! I got the shots to show you all that this lens is sharp at wide open.

zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment
zoom
LENSES AF 85mm
F1.4 FE II
CAMERA SONY
ILCE-7RM3A
DIAPHRAGM F1.4
SPEED 1/160 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Manual
PHOTOMETRY 85mm
BRIGHTNESS -
PHOTOMETRY Multi
segment

Shooting Infrared Photography

So, now, let’s talk about a more special kind of photography, Infrared Photography. It’s special because this shows us a unique world because human eyes can’t see IR light. Through this photography, we see our surrounding differently such as textures and colours. This lens is performing very well with this as it doesn’t have any hotspot, well, slightly visible when you step down to f16. We have created a video of this on our Youtube channel, which you are welcome to have a peek!

zoom
zoom

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 FE II is indeed a better version of its predecessor, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 MK1. When you start you decide to get into telephoto lenses, I must say that this will be a great choice to introduce yourself as this is a short telephoto lens which will give you the opportunity to learn and experiment with different angles as well as learn how to incorporate bokeh into your photographs, definitely, a must-have lens in your bag.

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Samyang’s Guide to Achieving the Optimal Angle of View

The perfect spacing and distance are always necessary when shooting all kinds of subjects, including people, to give them a proper relationship with the beautiful space around them. So, what’s the exact distance that helps you best appreciate a work of art, or a photo?

The correct answer is the diagonal length of the full frame of a subject.

표준화각 자료 이미지
표준화각 자료 이미지

The best standpoint from which to appreciate the full view of a subject is the distance of the diagonal length of the subject frame. This wider angle is superior to standing closer at a 50 degree angle to get a more detailed view. This notion of an ideal distance or view point is also applicable in the world of photography.

For still images, keeping a distance equal to the diagonal length of the full image surface is recommended. The full frame sensor of a digital camera is 36 x 24mm and the diagonal length is 43.26mm so any distance close to this number is nearer to the ideal than the currently accepted industry standard of 50mm.

Back when film cameras were common, 45mm was the industry standard and this continued as reflex cameras needed extra space to fit a mirror. However, as mirrorless cameras become more popular again, there has been a need to return to this industry standard…which is the impetus for the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE. With less distortion than a 35mm lens and wider angles than a 55mm lens, the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE is a perfect lens for portraits, landscapes, architecture photography, and pictures of pets.

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1D X Mark Ⅱ
1D X
1Ds Mark Ⅲ
1Ds
5DsR
5Ds
5D Mark Ⅳ
5D Mark Ⅲ
6D Mark Ⅱ
6D
DSLR / APS-H
1D Mark Ⅲ
1D
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M2
DSLR / APS-S
7D Mark Ⅱ
7D
80D
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D60
D30
77D (9000D)
760D (8000D / Rebel T6s)
1300D (Kiss X80 / Rebel T6)
1200D (Kiss X70 / Rebel T5)
200D (Kiss X9 / Rebel SL2)
800D (Kiss X9i / Rebel T7i)
700D (Kiss X9i / Rebel T7i)
100D (Kiss X7 / Rebel SL1)
650D (Kiss X6i / Rebel T4i)
600D (Kiss X5 / Rebel T3i)
550D (Kiss X4 / Rebel T2i)
500D (Kiss X3 / Rebel T1i)
1000D (Kiss F / Rebel XS)
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D300
DSLR / Full Frame
Z6
Z7
D810A
D4S
D750
D810A
DSLR / APS-C
D7200
D500
D3300
D5500
D5600
D3400
D7500

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