Samyang 12mm F2 vs Viltrox 13mm F1.4 multiple usecases - opinions?

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Ratatoskr Forum Member • Posts: 64
Samyang 12mm F2 vs Viltrox 13mm F1.4 multiple usecases - opinions?

Hey all!

I'm trying to compare the newer Samyang AF 12mm F2 (as opposed to the older MF variant) with the Viltrox 13mm F1.4 for my usecase(s). Going into those below the short pros/cons list I've put together.

I think this was discussed quite a bit when the Viltrox came out, but I was searching for more recent comparisons – now that people have had a chance to use those two lenses for a while and compare them in depth – yet couldn't really find much. I realise they are quite different lenses, but since they seem to compete (at least) for the same Astro photography market, I would have expected more head-to-head comparisons. In my mind:

Samyang

  • Is half the weight and much more compact.
  • Is 1mm wider (which I believe in this range is quite a lot?)
  • Has the more trustworthy distribution channels – the Viltrox seems to be directly shipped from China via websites I haven't heard of before.

vs.

Viltrox

  • Is one stop brighter
  • Has the better build quality
  • Has a marked aperture ring (I love those) and overall looks much more Fuji-like
  • Has newer optics, since by my understanding the Samyang optics hasn't changed from the MF version
  • Not necessarily following from that, but it does seem produces a better image quality

On paper, it looks like the Viltrox may be an obvious choice at first glance, but given my likely usage, I'm actually not 100% sure.

The widest I currently have is the 16-55, and I'd as my first use case quite like a wider addition for landscape photography, on hikes, roadtrips and the like – which makes the shorter focal length interesting, with no need for F1.4 (or F2 for that matter) and image quality probably comparable for smaller apertures – size and weight on the other hand become decisive factors, and the Viltrox is the size of the 10-24, which, eventually, down the line, I'm interested in, but can't quite justify spending the money on at the moment.

As a secondary (and ternary) use case however, I would quite like to use it for low light shots, both the classical astro application (which I'm not really doing a lot of at the moment, but definitely have an itch for trying) as well as hand-held low light cityscape shots, where that additional stop of light would come in quite handy, and the weight is less of an issue.

So I'm wondering – is anybody using one of those lenses, or, ideally, has tried both, with a similar mix of usecases, and / or has an opinion on which one would fit the bill better? And if it were the Viltrox – what are the more trustworthy places to buy one in the UK?

My head is leaning Samyang, my heart is leaning Viltrox, or something like that. Would love to hear opinions!

PS: Currently looking into this since Samyang has recently fixed the IBIS issue it had with the XT-4 (my body) with a firmware update which has made me sit this one out in the past (confirmed here), plus in the UK you can currently - until Monday - get the lens station needed to perform said firmware update for free, when purchasing the AF 12mm F2, as an extended Black Friday deal – so it's now or never on that one, since I don't really want to spend 60 pounds on an item I'll be using once.

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