Samyang is a company that has been making big strides in improving its image in the greater photography community. It built upon that trend Monday with the introduction of its new XP series of lenses, which debuts with 14mm and 85mm options.
Much in the same way that Sigma looked to improve its image years ago with the Global Vision line, Samyang is looking to redefine what people think of its brand with the launch of these new XP lenses. They have been developed with optimal build and image quality in mind. Because they are manual focus, Samyang was able to keep the price down compared to what lenses of this caliber would cost with built-in AF.
The 14mm F/2.4 features 18 glass elements in 14 groups with six different types of special optics. Samyang says the lens was designed for maximum resolution while minimizing distortion, which can often be an issue with superwide angle lenses like the 14mm.
The 85mm F/1.2, on the other hand, is that classic portrait focal length and aims to go up against big brand players like the Canon 85mm F/1.2 and Sigma 85mm F/1.4. The Samyang 85mm F/1.4 features 10 glass elements in seven groupings with three special optics. Samyang says it optimized this lens for good performance while wide open, which has traditionally been a sticking point for superfast lenses.
It will be interesting to see if photographers will be willing to pay the premium for these lenses, which do not have autofocus. Specialty and luxury lens makers like Zeiss can get away with it because of their renowned history as a legendary lens crafter. Samyang does not enjoy such a reputation.
The two lenses are expected to become available in retail outlets at some point in December, with both the XP 14mm and XP 85mm retailing for a suggested $949.