Sony E-mount shooters have a new portrait lens option that’s both lightweight and customizable. Samyang has announced the Rokinon AF 75mm f/1.8 FE, a lightweight prime designed for Sony mirrorless cameras. (Samyang is the lens manufacturer, but the lens is distributed by, and named, Rokinon in North America.)
The 75mm lens is a bit of an unusual focal length for a full-frame camera system, but Samyang says the focal length was popular in the era of rangefinder photography. The “forgotten” focal length, as the company calls it, falls between the 50mm and 85mm standards popular for portrait photography.
The choice of the 75mm focal length means a lighter, smaller lens than an 85mm, but with more telephoto compression than a 50mm, an effect considered flattering for portraiture. Weighing under nine ounces, the lens is significantly lighter than the Rokinon AF 85mm f/1.4, helped by both the shorter focal length and narrower aperture. The lens is also compact, measuring under three inches in length, making it well-suited for compact and lightweight mirrorless cameras. That small stature still manages to encompass ten elements in nine groups.
Samyang says that the lens offers high resolution with corner-to-corner detail. The midrange focal length and f/1.8 aperture help to separate the background while creating soft, circular bokeh, the company says. Three extra low-dispersion lenses and high-refractive lenses help combat chromatic aberration, while coatings fight against flare and maintain contrast.
The autofocus uses a stepping motor that is designed to enhance precision without increasing noise.
A somewhat innovative feature is the custom control ring, which can be changed from autofocus to aperture control using a switch on the lens barrel. Custom lens rings aren’t uncommon, although most are programmed from a camera’s menu system, rather than using a switch on the lens. Many lenses also use dedicated focus and aperture rings, but the one-ring design is likely a move to keep the lens smaller and simpler while still offering more control.
The company hasn’t yet shared a price or ship date for the new lens, though Rokinon lenses tend to be priced lower than the equivalent models from major camera manufacturers. The Rokinon AF 85mm f/1.4 lens, for example, lists for $ 700, while the Sony-made 85mm f/1.4 sells for almost $ 1,700.