In what seems to be almost a weekly occurrence, Samyang (Rokinon in the US) has announced yet another new lens. This time it's a second generation 85mm f/1.4 autofocus optic for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras. The new AF 85mm F1.4 FE II incorporates two new features: a Focus Hold button, and a Custom Switch.
The Focus Hold button will keep the lens locked to a pre-set focus distance, which in turn can be used to assign functions such as Eye AF via the settings on the camera body. The newly integrated Custom Switch enables silent adjustment of the aperture by rotating the focus ring. Samyang's optional Lens Station can change the function assigned to the Custom Switch, with more functions set to be added with future firmware updates. The FE II lens is also smaller and lighter than the original version, though exact size and weight figures are yet to be revealed.
Ideal for portraiture, the new AF 85mm F1.4 FE II incorporates four High Refractive elements and one Extra-Low Dispersion element to increase sharpness and contrast. Beautiful bokeh is promised, in part due to the absence of any aspherical elements in the lens' construction. According to Samyang, including an aspherical element would result in an onion ring bokeh effect, compromising bokeh quality.
Autofocus performance is also said to be improved relative to the first AF 85mm 1.4 lens, with special attention paid towards minimising vibration and noise from the Linear Stepping Motor during video shooting. Manual focussing should also be easy and precise in all weathers thanks to the micro-patterned rubber focus ring, while weather seals in seven areas protects the lens from light rain, snow and dust.
Pricing in the UK is set to be £767 - for context, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM lens currently costs £1,750/$1,798.
In the US, the Rokinon AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II is available for pre-order now for $799.