Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Started Aug 29, 2010 | Discussions
marco1974 Senior Member • Posts: 1,929
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Hello,
I thought this might be of interest to some.

I have recently bought this little Korean lens (the latest Ultra Multi Coated version), in my long-standing quest for a good wide prime for digital Nikons (and Fujis).

To set some context, I have tested it on DX (Fuji S5 and Nikon D200) and compared it to the following lenses: Tamron SP AF 14/2.8, Zeiss ZF 18/3.5, Nikkor AF 18/2.8D, Nikkor AIS 20/2.8, Tokina AF 12-24/4 (the only DX lens).

To cut to the chase: the Samyang is a ridiculously good lens for the price (350€ retail in Europe), MUCH MUCH better than it has a right to be! I am thoroughly impressed.

Specifically:

BUILD QUALITY: nice fit and finish, with good quality plastics and no play in either the (nicely damped) focus or aperture rings. Not quite up to Zeiss standards, but nothing to complain about.

SHARPNESS: outstandingly sharp all over, straight from f/2.8. The sweet spot is f/5.6-11, with f/16 still very good. This level of sharpness in an ultra-wide angle design is really remarkable, and it is insane at this price level! To provide some context, the Samyang is leaps and bounds ahead of the Tamron 14mm prime and the Tokina 12-24 at 14mm. Astoundingly, it is also a hair sharper than the Zeiss 18mm prime (believe it or not), and unsurprisingly it is way better than both Nikkor primes (which are really nothing to write home about on digital).

CHROMATIC ABERRATION: None whatsoever! This is the second, astonishingly good trait of this lens! No other wide-angle lens I have ever tried has pulled this off, not even the ZF 18 (which shows traces of CA in the corners). Kudos to Samyang.

FLARE & GHOSTS: Even putting the sun directly in the corner of the frame only produces some mild ghosts, with no visible veiling flare. This is again very good performance in general, and outstandingly so for such a wide-angle lens, especially one with such a large bulbous front element. The similarly shaped Tamron 14mm fares way worse here, and from what I have seen and heard, so does the huge (and expensive) Nikkor 14-24 zoom.

VIGNETTING: On DX there is only some mild vignetting at f/2.8, reduced by f/4 and gone by f/5.6. I assume vignetting will be more visible on FX.

DISTORTION: This is probably the only downside to this otherwise almost perfect 14mm prime. I know, I know, big words, but I still can't get over how good this little lens is - I have been literally swept off my feet! Distortion is pretty heavy and easily visible when the frame contains straight lines near the edges (e.g. architectural shots). The good news is that on DX it is almost pefectly barrel-shaped, and can be removed completely using Photoshop's correction tool (+8 setting) with negligible loss of resolution. On FX this might be more of an issue if (as is probably the case) the distortion pattern reverts to a 'moustache' shape in the far corners. I have read that PTLens has a specific correction profile for this lens already, though, so it might prove a non-issue there too.

All in all, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
A few samples below.

at f/16:

at f/8:

at f/4:

at f/2.8:

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Jørns UNESCO Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Thanks very much! Samyang make excellent quality optics from what I have heard, with attention to details that count (such as Bokeh on the 85mm 1.4).. i need something NON USM/HSM/AF-S for my older film camera anyway..

Boris
Boris Veteran Member • Posts: 9,257
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

I have the Tamron 14mm f2.8 and I have no other super-wide to compare it to and while I'm not impressed with the Tamron 14f2.8 on FF the samples from the Samyang 14f2.8 at http://www.lenstip.com/1761-news-Samyang_14_mm_f_2.8_IF_ED_MC_Aspherical_-_sample_shots.html
make the Tamron look good.
Boris

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Jon Rty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,838
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

It's good isn't it? Just gave my brother and his new wife one as a wedding-gift. There's also a Photoshop Lens Profile available at http://www.photo-worx.de/privat/ , on the left side of the bar. It gets rid of the mustache distortion almost completely.

As to Boris, Lenstip tested the old version. Photozone.de tested the new version, and has samples: http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/532-samyang14f28eosff?start=2 . I'd say there's nothing to complain about.

OP marco1974 Senior Member • Posts: 1,929
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Lenstip has a test for the newer UMC version too:
http://www.lenstip.com/index.html?test=obiektywu&test_ob=239
Marco.

 marco1974's gear list:marco1974's gear list
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DimensionSeven Contributing Member • Posts: 891
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Do you have the chance to test this lens on an infrared converted body as well? Would be interested!
--
http://dimensionseven.deviantart.com

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OP marco1974 Senior Member • Posts: 1,929
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

no, sorry.
M.

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victoria1 Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Mine arrived today.  Using it on a Canon 50D but with the upcoming 6D in mind.  I'm picky about sharpness and sometimes fiind that what satisfies forum posters and reviewers doesn't satisfy me.  I am an unashamed pixel peeper.  And the Samyang 14mm USM just makes me tremble with joy.  It's going to take a while to work up some experience focusing this little beauty, but I've already worked out what a distance of, say, 4.25'  equates to on the focus ring - 7' ish.  (I picked this distance as it is the hyperfocal distance for my camera at f/8)  This is how I am going to master the manual focus because it is very difficult to judge optically as you spin that focus ring.  But with a little trial and error, and my knowledge of hyperfocal distances, I will dominate this lens and it will bow down to me and we shall create such sharp images that I will dedicate a special place to it on the Altar Of The Lens in my Chapel of Cheap.

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Leon Obers Senior Member • Posts: 2,788
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review
1

marco1974 wrote:

I have read that PTLens has a specific correction profile for this lens already, though, so it might prove a non-issue there too.

For best judgment of the following images (especially the 100% crops), look at it in separate browser windows at 100% enlargement by choosing the proper menu by clicking the right mouse button.

PTLens used

Test of PTLens with the images that where made by Photozone.de for their lens-test (Canon). In meanwhile different pictures are at their website now.

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/532-samyang14f28eosff

PTLens used, only corrected for distortion, not for perspective.

100% crop. What you see as a very tiny "wave" at the roof, is just the building itself as a result of aging during history.

Corrected with e "skew" correction of Photoshop as the perspective control of PTLens was not far enough to correct the extreme perspective distortion. By only correction of "skew" in one direction, I guess the height of the image is a little to short in this example.

100% crop. By this extreme correction for perspective, the sharpness is lowered for some degree. Keep in mind that you get this loss in sharpness with any lens if you correct in this extreme degree.

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Leon Obers

trts Forum Member • Posts: 54
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

I can't speak for the 14mm, but I just bought their 85mm (as Rokinon) for my D90 and have borrowed the 35mm lens from a friend a couple times. Both are just excellent. The bokeh on the 85mm is simply out of this world. And it's super sharp even at 1.4. What I like about their lenses (and I'm sure it's also the case with the 14mm) is that they are well built, even though they look cheap on pictures. But when you touch them, they're surprisingly tough. Much better than the plastics that Nikon uses in their newer lenses, IMO.

Based on your review, I might sell my Tokina 12-24mm to finance the 14mm Rokinon.

mycom Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review
1

Hahaha "testing" a FX lens on a DX body.. what a joke...

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regards JoeM

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OP marco1974 Senior Member • Posts: 1,929
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

mycom wrote:

Hahaha "testing" a FX lens on a DX body.. what a joke...

What a ridiculous comment.

Of course, it makes perfect sense to "test" and find out how a particular lens behaves on any particular format, especially when it's a lens that has a native bayonet (F-mount) that directly mounts on 90% of Nikon's DSLRs being sold.

Marco

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Leon Obers Senior Member • Posts: 2,788
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Keep in mind that the setting used for USM by Lenstip.com for tests always is the camera "soft" setting. Photozone.de do use the default "normal" camera setting. The "normal" setting is a more strong USM in comparison to "soft".

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Leon Obers

leoda Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

I have been thinking about this lens for a while.

This may sound silly, but I'll ask anyway . . .  I have the Nikon 18-55 kit lens, and have been waiting anxiously for Nikon to come up with a "consumer" grade wide angle prime, but let's skip that. My question is . . .

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

Leon Obers Senior Member • Posts: 2,788
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

leoda wrote:

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

No you can't. Field of view of a Samyang 14mm for FX image area is comparable to a focal length of 9.33 mm lens for a DX camera.

If you will put the Samyang lens to a DX camera, you have to compare to another 14mm lens. The 18-55 kit lens doesn't go to 14mm

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Leon Obers

leoda Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

Leon Obers wrote:

leoda wrote:

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

No you can't. Field of view of a Samyang 14mm for FX image area is comparable to a focal length of 9.33 mm lens for a DX camera.

If you will put the Samyang lens to a DX camera, you have to compare to another 14mm lens. The 18-55 kit lens doesn't go to 14mm

Actually 14mm in FF has the FOV of 21mm in DX, but let's skip over that mistake.

It is possible to compare and comment on image quality of one lens set at 18mm and another at 14mm. It would help me decide if I wanted to buy the Samyang.

pavi1 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,869
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

leoda wrote:

Leon Obers wrote:

leoda wrote:

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

No you can't. Field of view of a Samyang 14mm for FX image area is comparable to a focal length of 9.33 mm lens for a DX camera.

If you will put the Samyang lens to a DX camera, you have to compare to another 14mm lens. The 18-55 kit lens doesn't go to 14mm

Actually 14mm in FF has the FOV of 21mm in DX, but let's skip over that mistake.

You are correct the 14 will have FOV of 21 on DX but you still need another 14 to compare, not a 21.

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WSSA #44

leoda Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

pavi1 wrote:

leoda wrote:

Leon Obers wrote:

leoda wrote:

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

No you can't. Field of view of a Samyang 14mm for FX image area is comparable to a focal length of 9.33 mm lens for a DX camera.

If you will put the Samyang lens to a DX camera, you have to compare to another 14mm lens. The 18-55 kit lens doesn't go to 14mm

Actually 14mm in FF has the FOV of 21mm in DX, but let's skip over that mistake.

You are correct the 14 will have FOV of 21 on DX but you still need another 14 to compare, not a 21.

There are endless comparisons here, and elsewhere, of lenses of different focal lengths, and zooms with different ranges. In fact the OP did that right here in this thread !

My question is simply can the OP compare the image character of the Samyang to that of the 18-55kit lens, set at 18mm ?

pavi1 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,869
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

leoda wrote:

pavi1 wrote:

leoda wrote:

Leon Obers wrote:

leoda wrote:

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

No you can't. Field of view of a Samyang 14mm for FX image area is comparable to a focal length of 9.33 mm lens for a DX camera.

If you will put the Samyang lens to a DX camera, you have to compare to another 14mm lens. The 18-55 kit lens doesn't go to 14mm

Actually 14mm in FF has the FOV of 21mm in DX, but let's skip over that mistake.

You are correct the 14 will have FOV of 21 on DX but you still need another 14 to compare, not a 21.

There are endless comparisons here, and elsewhere, of lenses of different focal lengths, and zooms with different ranges. In fact the OP did that right here in this thread !

My question is simply can the OP compare the image character of the Samyang to that of the 18-55kit lens, set at 18mm ?

Ok, my bad. Maybe while he is at it he can compare it to his 70-200 at 85.

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Everything happens for a reason. #1 reason: poor planning
WSSA #44

HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,176
Re: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC mini-review

leoda wrote:

Leon Obers wrote:

leoda wrote:

Can you comment (seriously) or show how this Samyang compares to the 18-55 kit lens set at 18mm on a DX camera?

No you can't. Field of view of a Samyang 14mm for FX image area is comparable to a focal length of 9.33 mm lens for a DX camera.

If you will put the Samyang lens to a DX camera, you have to compare to another 14mm lens. The 18-55 kit lens doesn't go to 14mm

Actually 14mm in FF has the FOV of 21mm in DX, but let's skip over that mistake.

It is possible to compare and comment on image quality of one lens set at 18mm and another at 14mm. It would help me decide if I wanted to buy the Samyang.

Your question wasn’t logical and his statement is correct (he says in what FL the FOV are comparable on each format) as well as yours is correct with a little correction (how to get "14mm dx' FOV" on fx, which is 21mm) but they are both irrelevant;-)

For this comparison 14mm Samyang is 14 and 18mm is 18.

He answered it already as he uses dx cameras:

Astoundingly, it is also a hair sharper than the Zeiss 18mm prime.

-the 18mm zeiss is no doubt sharper than 18-55.

I would love to get my hands on 35/1.4 Samyang soon. I handled one about a month ago. The build quality of the lens surprised me and the same for what it produced.

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Hynek

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