If you haven’t yet heard of Samyang I can understand. For quite a while now they have been making waves in some more niche photography markets as sellers of manual lenses to whatever company wanted to slap their label on their product. So if you looked, you could find Samyang lenses on the market under the name Rokinon, Bower, Bell & Howell, Vivitar among others. Now it looks like things may be changing.
The lenses they have been producing up to this point have been both exceptionally inexpensive, and optically pretty outstanding. One of their current best is their 85mm f/1.4, a stunning portrait lens seen below.
They also have a wide variety of fisheye lenses and more standard wide angle lenses. All of which have been well noted for their sharpness and overall great image quality for the price. Heck the past few months I’ve started to see them out in the wild on the wedding circuit from time to time. The biggest issue was that all of their lenses are entirely manual. This has been no problem for the DSLR video people or those who can really take the time to work with manual lenses. But for the run and gun pro, they have been almost eliminated from the competition because of the lack of autofocus.
It was really only a matter of time, but the rumor mill for a while has been churning that Samyang is looking to take a bigger chunk out of the lens market and make the dive into Autofocus lenses. This seems to be confirmed now by the teaser image above that Samyang put out today. If I had to take a guess, we will probably see Autofocus versions of their popular 14mm and 24mm lenses and perhaps a 35mm. Unfortunately I doubt we will immediately see an autofocus version of the 85mm. Focusing on a lens like that is far too critical, and with them just getting into the AF business, I doubt they would pin their early hopes to a lens that could be that difficult to build a reliable AF system for. Once they get the hang of it, I’m sure you’ll start to see a lot of interesting products coming from them. Samyang today is in the position Yongnuo was 3 or 4 years ago. Just starting to get out there, releasing simple and inexpensive tools, building their skill sets and reliability. Now Yongnuo is starting to become a heavy hitter among strobist enthusiasts and many other photographers for having fantastic tools at great prices. I think we may see Samyang start to hit those marks even faster!