Photography News

Yongnuo 85mm 1.8: An 85mm at a cost

Yongnuo is an interesting company because a lot of what they do is reverse engineering major brand name products and sell the end result for a fraction of the cost. This seemed to work well for a number of products like speedlight’s, transmitters, and video lights, which all functioned reasonable well considering the massive cost savings. But recently they have ventured into building reverse engineered lenses, and this is where things are starting to fall apart.

Their first venture into the optics market was their version of Canon’s nifty fifty! A very interesting attempt at an already cheap lens, but optically it just couldn’t keep up to today’s high resolution sensors. If you want to find out more about that lens, checkout this Petapixel post.

Fast forward a few years and they released a clone of Canon’s wonderful 85mm f1.8, and it is half the price! For that amount of savings its easy to see why so many people were excited to get their hands on the lens and give it a test.

The YouTuber Christopher Frost did just that. He gives a great overview of the lens, and his overall verdict was not that surprising, the lens just cannot keep up with the original.

But exactly where did this lens fall short? The auto-focus, it is abysmal! The lens hunts, allot, is noticeably slower, and is very loud. Loud enough that its audible from a distance. But the biggest shortfall is that it doesn’t seem to work with Canon’s mirrorless cameras with the adapter.

Okay, so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the price difference and that it has been re-engineered to work with a canon body. It’s not all downsides though, the build quality is quite good and when you stop down its quite sharp.

So should you get this lens? If your expecting the best quality and don’t want to compromise, then no, get the Canon, its a wonderful lens. But if your on a budget and are willing to deal with the autofocus issues, then this lens might be something to consider.