No Longer Mine
Having tried shots of the night sky, and booked to be in Iceland at a time when the Aurora Borealis was likely to show, I decided to try the Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 .
The price was somewhere between the other options and would not cause too great a hit when sold on. I was at first pleased with the weight, air hand bag allowances can be horrid if they enforce them. The finish was quite clean and as it was the AF version, it was recognised by the camera, and had applications beyond the manual version. The latter is the producer of quite horrid moustache distortion, and has a huge sample variance.
In use however the little annoyances began to show. The manual focus was only possible when the lens is powered by the camera. So no quick grab and turn on the focus ring when on a tripod. Speaking of this there is no indication on the lens barrel of infinity, or any other distance. Of course this is seen when you look at the product, but it is amazing how it starts to annoy when shooting at night. The cost of imprinting would seem little..... that is if the position of the focus ring were to be in the same position every time. Here we have the crux of the AF design, I know it is a low price item.. that is if you think £500 is low price. Focus by wire with nothing but the AF sensor to aid you.
The lens is susceptible to flare , and in normal usage I found it reminded me of shooting with my original 5D, compared to the 5DSR . What I mean is the files at lower apertures are not crisp even after an initial sharpen. Perhaps I am spoiled by the 16 - 35 f4 Canon , which on the same capera gives amazing images almost right out of the card... here I note it can be bought for no a lot more.
So, how was this lens for the purpose of night photos, I guess not bad is the answer. The colour is not too bad, the sharpness is adequate, and the coma distortion is mostly good. however on inspection there were dissimilarities in the rendition on each side of the image. Enlargements of the files would be better in this respect than many other lenses , but for me, not even enough to tolerate the other issues.
When you get your files home is when the other annoyance arrived. On the Samyang site they list lens correction profiles for their lenses, but only for working with processed files such as jpeg and tiff. In Adobe camera RAW the only profile i could find was for a Sony AF version. Adobe DNG converter still offers nothing beyond the Sony version.
I asked both Samyang in the UK and in Korea why this was, the guy in the UK asked for files and I duly sent them to him, showing the settings in the correction file had a line that stated
" stCamera:CameraRawProfile>False</stCamera:CameraRawProfile "
Even when edited to true, this would see RAW files but the results were not usable. RAW files need a correction file produced in software supplied by Adobe. The guy in Korea, rather brushed me off with " there are some on our website", and linked me to the files I mentioned. I was contacted back by the UK guy who said " the man from Korea will contact you ". This was months back, and it seems their pretty website is only a ruse to hide the lack of customer service. Oh just out of interest the files the Korean spoke of have listed compensations for this lens with
Canon 6D , Canon 5D4, Canon 5DS, Canon 5DSR ...
thats four full frame compensation profiles, even differentiating between the 5DS and 5DSR yet only for processed files. Thorough but of little use if you have bought a camera that shoots RAW ! To suggest that you can differentiate so precisely between top models for a jpeg, but send a RAW file to a compensation built not only for another manufacturers camera, but a mirrorless one to boot.
For me this was enough, the lens now has a new owner, I have learned a lesson. There is much more to a lens than test charts, contrast and coma , sharpness and decentering all become insignificant when you throw your nose in the air on customer service.
My path might have been towards the Sigma 14 - 24 f2.8 , or one of their other lenses in that price range. Sigma compensation is built into the Canon 5DSR , it offers more than 14mm, and having spoken to them regarding lenses or advice they are right on it !
to get the job done , after all you don't see mechanics listing their brand of spanner as a qualification .