Monday, 14 August 2017

Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 FE

Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 FE


Having already tested, reviewed and supplied sample images for several of Samyang’s lenses including both AF 50mm f1.4 FE and the brand new AF 35mm f2.8 FE lenses, Samyang sent me a copy of their other AF lens recently to test out during my trip to New York. I had in the past also tested their 14mm f2.4 XP lens (which was simply superb – review HERE) so I had previous experience using such wide focal lengths.

Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 FE mounted on my Sony A7R

The AF 14mm f2.8 FE follows suit with the other AF lenses and is built for use on full frame Sony A7/A9 series camera systems but can also be used on APS-C (cropped sensor) Sony bodies such as the A6500 or A6300 but would give a 21mm relative focal distance.

Design and construction is similar to the 50mm f1.4 with a high quality metal alloy build. However, whereas the 50mm has a detachable lens hood, the 14mm does not. This helps to protect the bulbous glass front element but prevents the ability to use standard filters as there is no filter thread. Maybe a filter manufacturer such as Gobe could someday produce a filter adapter to be used with this lens so that landscape photographers can use their array of filters when out in the field.


Size in hand (I don't have the biggest of hands)
Specs
The lens has 14 elements in 10 groups (3 of which are aspherical) to minimise aberration and unnecessary light dispersion, delivering high resolution from the centre to the corners of the frame. Angle of view is a very wide 113.9° on full frame cameras and 89.8° on APS-C cameras. Aperture ranges from f2.8 at its widest all the way to f22 - pretty standard range. Minimum focus distance is 20cm. Size-wise the lens is fairly compact and weighs in at 505g so during my New York visit while mounted to my A7R it wasn’t at all cumbersome compared to other lenses in my bag.


The Competition
Looking at the other full frame rectilinear lenses which feature a similar focal distance for Sony E-mount cameras it's easy to see that this lens is capable of producing stunning images while offering great value for money. Although not an exact match, the new ultra-wide zoom that Sony has released themselves not so long ago - Sony 12-24mm f4 G lens costs around £1650 compared to this Samyang AF which costs around £600. There's also the older, manual focus Samyang 14mm f2.8 which can be bought for around £375 brand new but isn't as good as this updated AF version. There's also the even wider Voigtlander 10mm f5.6 which is available at around £800 and the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens also available for around £1000.

Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 FE mounted on my Sony A7R


Conclusion
Autofocus on this lens seems to be the fastest out of the three autofocus lenses that I’ve tested for Samyang with very little AF motor noise. Looking at the test images that I've shot below it's easy to see that this lens performs well giving high quality, sharp images throughout the frame. The lens copes well when shooting directly into the sun with little flare (as seen below) which will be great news for landscape photographers. Images are crisp with the optimum aperture around f8 -f11. It offers a great ultra-wide option and is a welcome addition in the range for any shooter with a Sony A7/A9 series FE mount camera or even the cropped sensor A5000/A6000 series cameras.

All test images were taken with my Sony A7R.
1/200th sec, f8, ISO 100

1/40th sec, f9, ISO 200

30 sec, f11, ISO 100

1/400th sec, f10, ISO 100

1/320th sec, f10, ISO 100

1/200th sec, f8, ISO 100

1/640th sec, f13, ISO 100 

1/15th sec, f22, ISO 50 

1/30th sec, f4.5, ISO 320

1/250th sec, f8, ISO 100 

1/200th sec, f10, ISO 125 

1/400th sec, f8, ISO 100

1/320th sec, f2.8, ISO 100 

1/25th sec, f22, ISO64

Below is a comparison of the image quality throughout the aperture range. The same composition shot at various different apertures from f22 right up to it's widest aperture f2.8.

f22

f16

f11

f8

f5.6

f4

f2.8


Thanks for reading. I hope that you enjoyed my short review and test images.I kind of left it quite short to leave the images do the talking.

I'd like to thank Jane at Intro 2020 for sending the lens out to me for testing, Karin and all involved at Samyang Korea for the top quality work going into making these fantastic lenses.

For more information on Samyang products please take a look at their website - samyanglensglobal.com and subscribe to their newsletter to keep up to date with product news.

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