Samyang 14mm f2.8 review
Samyang 14mm f2.8 review
Focal length: 14mm
Why the Samyang ? Samyang makes very good quality manual focus lenses nowadays. This lenses doesn’t come just from nowhere, this lenses uses special Ed glass elements with multiple lens tags construction which is a result of serious innovation work done by the engineers of Samyang. What makes Samyang lenses so interesting ? The price tag of the Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens is 339 Dollar, while the Nikon 14mm is 1449 dollar and the Canon 14mm f2.8 L II USM is 2359 dollar. I doesn’t check the Canon and Nikon lenses, but the Samyang is very sharp from f5.6, I don’t think either the Canon or Nikon can be any sharper. I see the possible advantage of the Canon and Nikon in the following things: Autofocus, distortion, contrast, exif data. I can imagine that the Canon and Nikon can have better contrast, especially in larger apertures. Regarding chromatic aberration the Samyang is pretty well, I don’t see any practical advantage of the Canon or Nikon lenses. If you wants to be more scientific check Dxomark lens comparison according to that measurement the Samyang has the best overall score and resolution as well, but the Canon and Nikon has lower distortion.
The Samyang 14mm f2.8 built quality is very nice, feels rock solid, the rings operate smoothly, and despite of this is a Full Frame lens the lens is small, size perhaps similar to Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 11-16. The lens has no electronical connection with the Camera body. The aperture can be controlled with a separate ring as in the old days. What does it mean ? No autofocus function, no pixel peeping(means on computer cannot determine by data which aperture used, which shutter speed, etc.)
The lens has very good sharpness stopped down, but has pronounced distortion as well, on Aps-C bodies barel type, in Full frame Moustache type complex distortion. Wide open the contrast level is reduced. Chromatic aberration is very well controlled.
I usually compare lenses to other lenses I know. If I compare this lens to the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (non-is), which is a very sharp lens, the Samyang at f/5.6 significantly sharper, which is quite a rare experience.
Colors and contrast of the Samyang is not as exceptional, than with some Canon premium lenses, as I see. It has more neutral look. On flickr there are some pretty nice pictures with this lens, though. Post processing can solve the issue.
Click to see in large. Canon 30D Samyang 14 f2.8 f5.6 – No post processing just resize to 1200 pix, the lens is very sharp form corner to corner
Value for money:
The Samyang 14 f2.8 cannot be beaten for value for money. One pay three times of money if wants something similar.
Main rivals in Aps-C format:
Tokina 11-16f2.8, Canon 10-22, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6, Sigma 10-20 f3.5, Nikon 10-24, Tamron 10-24, Samyang 8mm f3.5
As I see the Tokina 11-16 is better wide open (f/2.8), than the Samyang, especially contrast, on the other hand the Tokina has CA (purple fringing). The Canon is not as sharp as the Samyang or the Tokina 11-16mm, but has low distortion, no flaws, and very good against flare, which is expected to happen with all other lenses.
Main rivals in Full frame format:
Canon 14mm, Nikon 14mm, Canon 15mm, Canon 16-35mm, Sigma 12-24, Nikon 14-24, Tokina 16-28mm
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 Pros
– Very good value, low price compared to rivals
– Class leading resolution
– Low CA
– Excellent build
– Compact size
– f/2.8 bright aperture
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 Cons
– No autofocus
– No auto aperture, stop down metering (if you adjust aperture the viewfinder will be darker)
– No electrical connection with the camera, no exif data, aperture, shutter speed cannot be checked
– Metering is not as sure than with af lenses, with some newer Nikons perhaps not works, with my Canon is ok
– High distortion, on Full frame complex moustache type
– Wide open contrast level is not the best
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 Bottom line / verdict
The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens is a very good value lens, especially for Full frame cameras. If you can tolerate manual focusing, high complex barrel type distortion and metering issues, it is highly recommended !