Samyang recently announced a new lens the Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS, a mirrorless aps-c specific lens that will be available in Sony E, Fujifilm X, Canon EF-M and MFT mounts. I have already written a general review of this lens that can be found HERE, I will also link it at the end of this review, so if you are after more information please check it out.
But as I managed to get a clear night to use this lens under the stars I thought I would also write a short Astrophotography review as I found this lens to perform quite well.
Here are a few images of the lens to start with.
Doesn’t camera gear look great in all black! The NEW Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS does look nice on the Sony a6500, it also feels well balanced and makes for a nice compact kit but we are interested in Astrophotography and this lenses performance so read on…..
I shot all the example images here with my Camera and the Samyang 85mm f1.8 mounted on my Skywatcher Star Adventurer mini eq mount (star tracker) and Benro Travel Angel Tripod, I could of shot images straight off the tripod un-tracked and got ok results due to the fast aperture of the lens, I bet at very high iso, but having it all mounted on the Star Adventurer minimises movement in the stars and gives superior results for both the images and this review. I also shot at a maximum shutter speed of 30seconds as I haven’t purchased a timer remote for my Sony yet.
Manual focus, Manual aperture
The Samyang mf 85mm 1.8 is a manual focus lens with full manual aperture, for most shooting astro this is no issue as we manual focus anyway, the manual aperture is also useful as it allows us to mechanically set the aperture and not have it move between shots, important for those that want to shoot time-lapse flicker free. The manual focus feels smooth and dampened, think old film era lenses, the aperture ring clicks positively in half stop increments.
So how does the Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS perform?
Usually when shooting with my Star Adventurer I would stop down from the lenses widest aperture to help performance but with the Samyang I shot all the following images wide open at f1.8. I decided to do this as I was quite happy after reviewing the first couple of images on the LCD of my Sony, the stars looked nice and sharp and there was very little signs of coma, very promising, so rather than testing multiple apertures I just shot images I could stack later in post, here are a couple of the un-edited files straight out of camera.
Sony A6500, Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS – Settings, 85mm, f1.8, 30sec, iso 2000, tracked
Sony A6500, Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS – Settings, 85mm, f1.8, 30sec, iso 2500, tracked
COMA Performance and 100% crops.
Below is an un-edited image of the Southern cross and Coal Sack Nebula along with 100% crops from the centre, and each corner of the main image.
Southern Cross and Coal Sack Nebula, Main image – Sony a6500, Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS settings 85mm, f1.8, 30sec, iso2000
Centre 100% crop
Top left 100% crop
Top right 100% crop
Bottom left 100% crop
Bottom right 100% crop
As you can see in the images above coma performance is pretty good at f1.8 it’s one of the better lenses I’ve used wide open making this a really nice option for mirrorless aps-c users that are looking for a fast lens for astro photography, coma and image performance is only going to get better if you stop the lens down.
BEFORE AND AFTER EDITING RESULTS
You have already seen the next image, the unedited straight out of camera shot of Rho Ophiuchi, I shot 5 consecutive images exactly the same and median stacked them using photoshop to produce the final image, of course there was also some post processing in the five images and the final image to bring out the colour and details along with some star reduction, but it shows how capable the Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 and Sony a6500 combination can be. With more files and better post processing skills I have no doubt better results can be achieved.
Above – single image straight out of camera- Sony a6500, Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS Settings – 85mm, f1.8, 30sec, iso 2500
Above – Rho Ophiuchi Final image – Sony a6500, Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS, Skywatcher Star Adventurer – 5 images Stacked
Next is the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae, this time I shot 8 consecutive images of the region and gave each of these 8 images some very basic post processing to help pull a little detail.
The first image is the unedited image straight out of camera. The second is the very slightly edited version, next is the 8 images used to create the final image of the region. Again I median stack these 8 images in photoshop and then used photoshop to bring out the details and colour along with star reduction to clean the image up a bit.
Above straight out of camera
Above slightly edited in Lightroom
Images used to stack in photoshop to produce the following image.
The final image of the Lagoon and Trifid nebulae – Sony a6500, Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS, Skywatcher Star adventurer – 8 images stacked
The NEW Samyang MF 85mm f1.8 ED UMC CS lens makes a great option for mirrorless aps-c camera users for Astro Photography, it’s fast aperture, low coma wide open, is exactly what a lot of us are after. Low price point and compact size are also a bonus.
Price here in Australia will be approx $549
Don’t forget to check out the related links and general review of this lens below.
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