Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

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Spaceflight Photographer
Spaceflight Photographer Forum Member • Posts: 52
Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Hi -

I am interested in perhaps purchasing one of the 14mm F/2.4 XP/SP lenses made by either Rokinon or Samyang for astrophotography.

A few years back, I did own one of the cheaper 14mm F/2.8 variants of the lens and was not impressed by the overall image quality, and have been hesitant on the brands ever since.

However, the reviews for the upgraded XP/SP versions seem to indicate far better quality control. I was hoping others may have input they'd like to share, and if the XP/SP is a significantly better lens than the original F/2.8.

Additionally, I've heard reports of the original F/2.8 becoming decentered over time - is this an issue  any long-time XP/SP users have seen?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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Alex Polimeni
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FSPhoto Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

I have one for Nikon F ( so branded Rokinon SP) that I got for astro but it's not long I have it and I have not used it that much. I have tested (look at lensrental blog or here for how) mine for decentering etc because I have read various rumors. Mine is centered and tested very sharp but a lot of field curvature. Strange enough the distance scale is off. Stars in the center and mid frame (on a FF body) are very sharp, in the extreme corners there is a bit of comma.

I hope this helps.

PS: for me 14mm is a bit too wide for astro and I'm looking for more flexible alternatives.

Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 15,238
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

FSPhoto wrote:

I have one for Nikon F ( so branded Rokinon SP) that I got for astro but it's not long I have it and I have not used it that much. I have tested (look at lensrental blog or here for how) mine for decentering etc because I have read various rumors. Mine is centered and tested very sharp but a lot of field curvature. Strange enough the distance scale is off. Stars in the center and mid frame (on a FF body) are very sharp, in the extreme corners there is a bit of comma.

I hope this helps.

PS: for me 14mm is a bit too wide for astro and I'm looking for more flexible alternatives.

I have the old model and it is very nice, but the distance scale was off as new, but adjusting is piece of cake, focus at infinity, fold up the rubber grip, adjust the end stop and everything is fine!

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Owner of a handful of Nikon cameras. And a few lenses.
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nighthiker Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Hi!

I'm using these 14mm only for astro.

I have had the old Samyang/Rokinon 14/2.8 with the usual decentering issue and was disappointed. Now I have the Sigma A 14/1.8 and the Samyang/Rokinon XP/SP 14/1.4 which have both pro's and con's. I'm very skeptical with non-XP lenses from Samyang due to their known poor quality.

Samyang 14/2.4:

- Very little coma (nearly coma-free around f/2.8)

- moderate vignette

- a sharp lens

- moderate price

- moderate weight

Using the lens-profile of Adobe Camera Raw I haven't had any problems with panoramas, but the lens has some distortion.

Sigma A 14/1.8

- little/moderate coma in the corners (nearly coma-free around f/3.2 or f/4)

- less vignette than the Samyang

- a sharper lens than the Samyang

- expensive

- heavy

When light-gathering or the best image quality is paramount (e.g. meteor shower) I use the Sigma, but when weight is an important point (longer mountain hike at night) I prefer the Samyang.

Due to their small opening both 14mm lenses are not that well suitable for astro (https://clarkvision.com/articles/characteristics-of-best-cameras-and-lenses-for-nightscape-astro-photography/), but for certain astro photos that is acceptable.

The new Sony 14/1.8 seems to be better in most aspects compared to the Sigma, but has - interestingly - more coma. OK, I'm not a Sony user.

Spaceflight Photographer
OP Spaceflight Photographer Forum Member • Posts: 52
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Thank you all for the detailed responses! I am very interested in the comparison of the Sigma 14mm 1.8 to the Samyang XP 2.4.

I do plan on using the lens solely for night photography - and I would certainly prefer to only pay the price of the Samyang! However, I don't want to feel that I have settled and need to upgrade in the future.

My night photography requires a 14mm or comparable unfortunately, so I can't really go to a 20mm focal length.

In your opinion, how significant is the sharpness difference between the Sigma and the Samyang XP? I've seen various reviews and haven't found a concise answer. Does the lack of coma make up for the less sharp Samyang?

Thank you!

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nighthiker Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Hi!

I want to have point-like stars and that's why I normally prefer less coma over a faster lens. The resolution also depends on your camera and I don't see there a high-megapixel camera. I don't see a big difference between the Samyang and Sigma 14mm lens and for parameter testing lenstip is your friend. Stopped down the difference isn't that big:

https://www.lenstip.com/506.4-Lens_review-Sigma_A_14_mm_f_1.8_DG_HSM_Image_resolution.html

https://www.lenstip.com/512.4-Lens_review-Samyang_XP_14_mm_f_2.4_Image_resolution.html

Are you stopping your lens down as starting rockets are rather bright compared to stars.

The normal workaround for night photography with WA lenses is panorama photography, but that is slightly difficult for starting rockets

Spaceflight Photographer
OP Spaceflight Photographer Forum Member • Posts: 52
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

I greatly appreciate the response.

Generally, I like to stack an exposure of the arc of the launch, with an exposure of night sky. The launch frame will be stopped down to maybe F/16-22, and the sky frame will be wide open. I have also been stacking several night sky photos lately with Starry Landscape Stacker to reduce the noise a bit.

The launch arc is the primary driver behind a 14mm lens, to be able to capture everything as it continues on its trajectory. Sometimes 16mm isn't even enough to fit the entire arc in!

An example is here - https://flic.kr/p/2kFSJw9

I took this particular photo in 2017 with one of the Samyang/Bower 14mm 2.8.

Those two links are extremely helpful! The sharpness appears to be really close between the two. From those MTF charts, it seems as if the Samyang has slightly sharper edges, which is surprising. If I haven't specified, I am shooting with a Canon 6D.

I am definitely leaning to the Samyang XP, after seeing that comparison. The original Samyang 2.8 I had just wasn't sharp enough, and the mustache distortion was too significant for a horizon.

Did you have any sample variation issues, or was your first lens perfectly centered?

Thank you!

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Alex Polimeni
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nighthiker Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Hi!

Samyang XP: I'm not absolutely sure about the sharpness in the corners, but the coma of the Samyang at f/2.4 is still slightly better (=less coma) than the coma of the Sigma A at f/2.4 .

I have 3 Samyang XP14/2.4 lenses (for meteor showers) and all three are OK. I tested sharpness and de-centering. With one Samyang lens I have had a contact-problem: Using it with the Canon EF-RF adapter on a Canon R the aperture was set to something like 2.8 and that's what was written into the EXIF data, but the used aperture was f/2.4. It took me a while to find that out with a HDR bracketing sequence. After cleaning the contacts of the lens and the adapter the lens is working fine again. I don't know were the problem was (adapter or lens) and I don't know were it was coming from as both were relatively new and I care of my equipment, but I was hiking with the stuff and working in harsh winter conditions. It was probably just an unlucky event.

Spaceflight Photographer
OP Spaceflight Photographer Forum Member • Posts: 52
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Thank you! This is really reassuring that you have three good copies, considering my biggest fear was quality control on the Samyang XP.

I have read that owners of the original Samyang 2.8 have seen decentering occur over time, as the lens aged. If you don't mind me asking, how long have you had all of your lenses, and have you noticed any degradation? It definitely sounds as if Samyang increased their quality control significantly for the XP, and that is great news.

Thank you!

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Alex Polimeni
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nighthiker Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Hi!

I own the 14/2.4 Samyang lenses since one year, but they have to survive moderate-harsh transportation as I'm hiking to my locations on the mountains with a normal back-pack. Cameras and lenses are packed in these neoprene pouches (around 3mm thick) and put into the back-pack together with the usual (winter) mountain equipment. So that's probably comparable to 2-3 years of use in a dedicated camera bag.

Summary: The Samyang XP lenses does not degrade in the first years of normal use, but I have no long-term experience yet.

davescliches Regular Member • Posts: 255
Re: Rokinon/Samyang 14mm F/2.4 SP/XP Lens Quality

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

FSPhoto wrote:

I have one for Nikon F ( so branded Rokinon SP) that I got for astro but it's not long I have it and I have not used it that much. I have tested (look at lensrental blog or here for how) mine for decentering etc because I have read various rumors. Mine is centered and tested very sharp but a lot of field curvature. Strange enough the distance scale is off. Stars in the center and mid frame (on a FF body) are very sharp, in the extreme corners there is a bit of comma.

I hope this helps.

PS: for me 14mm is a bit too wide for astro and I'm looking for more flexible alternatives.

I have the old model and it is very nice, but the distance scale was off as new, but adjusting is piece of cake, focus at infinity, fold up the rubber grip, adjust the end stop and everything is fine!

.......add to that removing the sticky tape to align the focus scale to infinity and re-sticking it down once calibrated !!

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