Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8

Started Dec 4, 2018 | User reviews
Ken60 Senior Member • Posts: 3,115
Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8
1

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 !

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Gear ... what I need to get the job done , after all you don't see mechanics listing their brand of spanner as a qualification .

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Andy01 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,641
Re: Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8

Interesting feedback.

When I was deciding on a UWA for star shots earlier this year, I tried several lenses at a camera store, and found that the IQ of the 14mm f2.8 AF was almost as bad as the woeful (at least the samples I got in the job) MF version. Like you, I thought the lens was a little too "basic" with no markings etc.

I ended up getting the Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP (premium) version instead, and it is actually pretty good. Very nicely built, nice IQ, "normal" distortion pattern that is easily fixed with Adobe profile, very smooth focus ring with full markings, and the DoF is so wide with 14mm that MF is really not a problem, even for daytime photography.

I did consider the Sigma 14mm f1.8, but the size, weight and price put me off.

Colin

 Andy01's gear list:Andy01's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon 6D Mark II Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM +5 more
OP Ken60 Senior Member • Posts: 3,115
Re: Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8

Colin , I mentioned the Sigma because of price similarity and the extended usage. The Irix Firefly had a feature that I liked, it has a focus lock... when you dash out of a car to grab a shot of nature dancing in the sky, this locked and pre focused design would be amazing.   Believe me I am no stranger to manual focus , many a shot has been grabbed in a darkened room using hyperfocal pre focus and a flash for press shots.

Perhaps some of what I mentioned about the characteristics of the lens come from the fact that it is made by Xeen which is also Samyang. Video lenses traditionally are not known for their contrast, in fact if your going to all the trouble of shooting log it is not top of your list. Unlike stills with huge enlargements resolution has not been a biggie ... this is of course changing with 4 and 8K.   Perhaps the way you make the glass, and mature it  has a residual.

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Gear ... what I need to get the job done , after all you don't see mechanics listing their brand of spanner as a qualification .

Andy01 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,641
Re: Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8

I really wanted to like the Irix 15mm because I liked the "click stop/detent" for infinity and the focus lock, but no luck.

I initially bought a Firefly 15mm and it was awful - badly decentred with the left side horribly soft. I returned it and got a replacement. It was not decentred, but the focus ring did not travel far enough, so even past infinity at maximum travel was slightly soft.

I then tried a Blackstone 15mm at the store, and it was the same as my Firefly. The Samyang XP was noticeably better, so I bought it and returned the second Firefly. Trying 3 different Irix 15mm was enough for me.

IMO the Irix is nicer than the cheaper Samyang 14mm f2.8 lenses, but the QC still needs work. When I was searching for a solution, I found many complaints (especially in Pentax forums) of Irix lenses with the same infinity setpoint issues.

Colin

 Andy01's gear list:Andy01's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon 6D Mark II Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM +5 more
OP Ken60 Senior Member • Posts: 3,115
Re: Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8

Rumour is that Canon are working on new 14mm type lenses for the "R"  format , and Sigma too have new wide prime lenses to come. Let's hope that somewhere in there is a lens that offers a fast , reasonably priced astro lens with good coma.  The Sigma 14mm f1.8 is great , but how many want to break out £1300 for a little used focal length.  There is a market, shown by the number of niche manufacturers trying to fill it , however I think it is more in the £500 to £600 range.

The manual focus SP from Samyang , even though a good lens, is a little over the £800 mark and manual focus is only starting to be usable with focus peaking on mirrorless.

How many buyers want an affordable wide that they can use for several applications beyond the one trick pony of Astro.

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Gear ... what I need to get the job done , after all you don't see mechanics listing their brand of spanner as a qualification .

Andy01 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,641
Re: Samyang AF EF14mm f2.8

I don't know about UK, but in Australia, the prices were roughly;

Samyang 14mm f2.8 MF - $550

Samyang 14mm f2.8 AF - $800

Irix 15mm Firefly - $700

Irix 15mm Blackstone - $1000

Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP/SP - $1200

Sigma 14mm f1.8 - $1850

So, the difference between the cheap Samyang and the XP/SP was similar to the difference between the XP/SP and the Sigma.

I have found that having manual focus on the XP/SP is really not a chore because the DoF is so big that for outdoor use I just set it on infinity and forget about it, and for indoor use I can almost set it on about 3m and forget about it. The focus is actually quite forgiving, and I seldom (if ever) use even 10x magnification for focusing, never mind focus peaking (on my M5 only). Even at f2.8 and 3m, the hyperfocal distance is from 1.83m to infinity, so even if I am 1m out, it is still in focus. Obviously that widens even further at smaller apertures.

I have used it for astro, landscapes, and some indoor shots. It is certainly not my most widely used lens, but it is becoming more useful to me the more I use it.

Colin

 Andy01's gear list:Andy01's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon 6D Mark II Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM +5 more
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