Photography is my therapy and this week I received a (much needed given current events) megadose of therapy in the form of the Samsung 85mm f1.4 lens. Must admit I have already started giving it nicknames… Light sucker. DOF Whisperer. Photon cannon. Brick. Blunt instrument in a pinch. Captain make anything look good. Mr. turn night to day. And lastly the portrait machine. There will be more to come. Within a
habit hobby that often defies logic, photography, for my next choice of light gatherer I for once chose to go with want instead of ‘need’ (a manufactured construct since both are purely wants). I voted for one trick pony over practical all arounder or multi purpose. This review was the final decider for me. Plus, while I enjoy shooting for the fun of it I do get a fair share of portrait offers. And I am glad I did.
Will you look at the gaping glass maw on this thing! I made it a point to definitely order and keep a filter on it as I have never had a lens with this much vulnerable exposed glass at the front end. Samsung lists it at $999, but most retailers have it for $799 or less. I picked it up from Adorama for $763. B&H Photo Video had bounced up to $799 for a minute, but as of this writing both Amazon and B&H are at $763 now also. That may sound steep, but compared to offerings from other brands that is quite reasonable. I had Nikon recently and their brand offering is twice this amount and even the after market versions are hundreds more. I am not saying they are not worth the price, because they are, but it does show how reasonable Samsung’s price is. Some website and personal reviews have dinged the Samsung for not having OIS, but I find this odd since neither of the higher cost options mentioned above offer OIS either. Plus with such a bright, open aperture I have yet to run in to any handheld handshake issues. I have yet to even bother mounting it on a tripod.
Enough of that. I close with a sample gallery of my first day and a half with the lens. On the casual portraits of my family taken minutes out of the box please notice the brightness, clarity and tight DOF this lens offers with no flash, at night with only interior household lamp lighting. On the outside and evening shots these were all standard issue opportunistic, spur of the moment, unplanned shots that show that this lens is very useful beyond portraiture. On the evening shots also notice the shutter speeds used compared to the amount of light visible in the picture. Very modest, mostly crop and straighten post edits with nearly no exposure adjustments. All shots were handheld. Here is an ongoing flickr album. Thanks. -ELW
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