Samyang 135mm f2.0 Lens Review

I consider my 85mm 1.8 Nikkor lens to be the sharpest lens I own. This is in part from the performance I see in the shots it takes, and from knowing that it is the 3rd sharpest lens of all lenses tested by DMOMark on the Nikon D800E.  That said, I wonder if the Samyang 135 f2 is sharper.

The results are stunning.

The Samyang 135mm f/2.0 ED UMC Lens for Nikon F Mount is mind blowing. As long as you nail the focus, the lens delivers laser beam sharpness, micro thin depth of field, and stunning color rendition. This might sound like some ad for the lens, but I can say that Im just writing this out of stoked-ness. ( No affiliate links here (: )  While I can best compare it to the Nikon 85 1.8g as that is the lens I know best, I can simply say that the Samyang rivals some of the best glass out there.


The Bokeh is buttery bulbous bodacious and beautiful. You get nice separation, but you also get this 3D thing that happens on certain shots. Here is a sample:

Manual Focus

It hard to focus manually, and so far, with the stock D610 focus screen in place, I am having a 10% success rate, which frankly sucks.  That said, this is my learning curve, and when I get it right, often by chance, this lens delivers. It is fairly easy to focus via live view, and the results are spot on.


You can read more below, but after about 3 weeks with the new focus screen, I just did a shoot today using MF / the viewfinder to visually focus, and got 80-90% of the shots spot on.  This would not be possible without the new screen, but it finally has come together.

D610 Focus Screen

I have just ordered a S-Type focus screen for my camera to open up the door for through the lens manual focusing.

With the stock focus screen in place, I think that it is impossible to focus manually through the view finder.  The camera simply does not resolve enough detail with the stock screen.  I have ordered a new canon S-Type Super precision matte focusing screen (link). From what I read, this screen should give me way more accuracy through the view finder.


I got the screen and installed it – huge boost in focus. I can now get 75% of shots on target.

A solid feel and smooth focus.

So many times, when I am reading reviews, I am seeking to hear what I want to hear – something to convince me to buy the lens or body I am after. In this light, I have to say that this lens just feels incredible. It is solid, its heavy, its smooth as butter when you focus it. It feels like Nikon glass used to. I wish every lens felt this way in hand. If I compare the build quality to the Nikon 85mm 1.8g, there is no contest. Its like comparing a fast food burger to some top ground sirloin burger with smoked apple wood cheddar on top, made by the farmer down the road. The 85mm feels like plastic crap.

Mounting this lens, always feels like a ritual, like its time to get serious now. Unless you point the camera the wrong way, you cant get a bad shot out of this lens.  It tells a story unlike any other.

Sample photos from the Samyang 135mm f2.0