If you are a Sony camera user looking for an excellent telephoto prime lens, the Samyang AF 135mm f1.8 FE might just be what you need. In the past I have used the Sony 135mm f1.8 GM, which was a stella lens, and probably the sharpest lens I had ever used. A friend recommended that I try the Samyang version, and it really didn’t disappoint. In fact I would go as far as saying its on par with the more expensive GM.

I tested the lens with the Sony A7IV camera around our home and town of Hornsea. The Sony A7IV has been my goto camera for the past year for weddings and events.


The lens has a diameter of 93.4mm (3.7 inches) and a filter thread size of 82mm. It measures 129.6mm (5.1 inches) in length, making it slightly longer than the GM lens. It may be longer, but it weights almost 180g less than the GM. There is another lens to compare this to, and that is the Sigma 135, but that lens is a tank, and this Samyang is 400g lighter than the Sigma. It features three customised buttons: a focus hold button, a custom switch that you can personalise with the lens station, and a focus range limiter switch. However, it does not have an aperture ring or a dedicated AF-MF switch, unlike most GM lenses.

The lens comes with a nice lens hood, which is of high-quality. I am pleased to say that is is also weather sealed. The lens has at least seven seal points, including various transition points such as the front and rear elements, either side of the focus ring, and at the switches.


The bokeh from the Samyang 135mm f1.8 AF FE is stunning, with a well-defined and smooth background. There is no texture or chromatic aberration around the edges, which is amazing from a lens that costs so much less than the GM version.

Lens flare produced by the Samyang 135mm is well controlled and blends in nicely.


In terms of image quality, this lens is very sharp at f1.8 and f2.8. I can barely tell the difference between the Sony 135mm f1.8 GM and this Samyang version. At f1.8 everything not in focus just melts away.

The optical configuration of 13 elements divided into 11 groups comprises six specialized glasses, including three extra-low dispersion lenses (ED), two high refractive lenses (HR), and one ultra-precision aspherical lens (UA), to attain the optimal resolution. The ED lenses effectively minimize chromatic aberration and produce a clear image quality. Additionally, the HR lenses with high refractive index and the UA lens with ultra-precision aspherical design ensure exceptional sharpness and contrast in all parts of the image.


The Samyang 135mm F1.8 has a Linear STM focus motor, which distinguishes it from the Sony 135mm F1.8 GM that employs dual high torque linear motors for focus. Put simply the GM focuses almost instantly, but with the Samyang it can be a bit of a battle to lock on. If you are looking for a lens that can shoot fast action such as sport, then I would recommend the GM for that.

I would say 9 shots out of 10 were tack sharp and in focus, which is exceptional for a third party lens to the Sony mirrorless cameras. I did find on occasions it did a little hunting, and with the odd shot not in focus. Every lens I have owned has some kind of quirk, and that is the case with the Samyang. Once locked on the images it produces are stunning, so that battle is well worth it.


Overall the Samyang 135mm is a fantastic lens and worth every penny. As a Yorkshire wedding photographer and even as an events photographer it’s important to stand out a little from the crowd, and this focal length and lens can do that.

However, it could never replace my 70-200 f2.8 GM ii which is one of the best lenses in my bag, especially for weddings and events. I did try the Samyang 135mm a couple of times at weddings, which can be fast paced, and I did find the autofocus a little frustrating. I believe in a more controlled environment, such as portraits, the lens is first class.

What can you use a 135mm lens for? Most certainly portraiture, maybe even some wildlife photography. Due to it’s minor focusing issues I don’t believe it would be a good match for fast action like sport. Obviously in tight spaces this lens isn’t an option, but for portraits, speeches, back a church, even shooting on the fly at receptions, I can see it becoming invaluable.

Here’s a handful of photos I took with this lens…