Friday, 9 April 2021

Samyang AF 24mm f1.8 FE

 



Samyang kick off 2021 with yet another release to their widely successful "Tiny" range. This time it's another 24mm lens and following on from their last couple of lens releases for Sony E-mount this new Autofocus 24mm lens follows suit with similar size and design to the AF 35mm f1.8 and AF 75mm f1.8 lenses. Again adding a custom button to the lens which comes in very handy especially for video use, Samyang have added another feature on this particular lens with an AF Hold button which allows photographers to set the infinity focus point, a great feature for astrophotographers. 

 

 

Suited mainly for landscape, street photography and architectural shots, to say that 24mm is a popular focal length is a bit of an understatement. Sony has the GMaster 24mm f1.4 (a very expensive variant at this focal length) along with nine zoom lenses which all have 24mm within the focal length range and that's just the native first party brand. When it comes to third party brands there's no fewer than five 24mm prime lenses and three zoom lenses. That's a total of eighteen full frame autofocus lenses that are capable of the 24mm focal length. So there is a lot of competition there at this focal length. Even more if you go further and include manual focus lenses.

 

As with the AF 35mm f1.8 FE and the AF 75mm f1.8 FE before that, the custom switch has two modes labelled "Mode 1" and "Mode 2". If the switch is set to Mode 1 then as you’d expect you can alter focus using the focus ring (if the camera is set to MF or DMF). However, if the switch is set to Mode 2 then you can adjust the aperture using the focus ring instead of the dial on the camera body.


At just 71.5mm in length and weighing in at a tiny 230g/270g (without lens cap or hood/with lens caps and petal shaped hood) this lens features a construction of 11 elements in 8 groups. Samyang utilises 2 aspherical elements, 3 high-refractive lenses, plus Ultra Multi Coating in the lens which are capable of capturing crisp, contrasty images with low chromatic aberration and minimal distortion. Similar to both the AF 75mm and the AF 35mm f1.8 it has nine aperture blades for smooth bokeh, a 58mm filter thread and quite a close minimum focus distance of 0.19m (0.62ft). It has a 83.7° angle of view on full frame, 60.9° on APS-C (cropped sensor) cameras. As with all Samyang's AF lenses this lens doesn't include a distance or depth of field scale. However, it does feature weather sealing with a rubber gasket on the metal lens mount. This lens has a slightly different and more matte finish/coating to the body of the lens itself as opposed to the other Samyang lenses which have a more shiny finish. After using this lens for a while I think I prefer this new look and feel. As with all other lenses from the "Tiny" range this lens comes shipped with its own little protective zipped case.

 

Size in hand (I have smallish hands)


The AF 24mm F1.8 FE lens incorporates a Linear Stepping Motor (STM) for fast, smooth and accurate focusing. Focusing is via focus by wire and is near silent. Eye AF works very well and is able to track movement. Low-light performance of the AF is great too. As with all of Samyang's "Tiny" lenses I love how compact and lightweight this lens is. This lens is definitely a great addition to Samyang's lens line-up and a lens that will appeal to a wide range of photographers.

 


Image below features Samyang's latest lenses for Sony E-Mount. From left to right, the brand new AF 24mm f1.8 FE, AF 35mm f1.8 FE, AF 75mm f1.8 FE. Note the size difference between the three lenses and the different (matte) finish on the AF 24mm f1.8 FE.

 

Due to the work and sort of images I shoot, a 24mm lens is a focal length that I rarely use. I usually shoot food so the lenses I mainly use are my Samyang AF 50mm f1.4 FE, Samyang AF 75mm f1.8 FE and a macro lens. I also shoot interiors so a 24mm for this sort of shoot would not be quite wide enough. For interiors, I usually use a 16-35mm on my Sony A7RIII or my Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 FE for really wide angles for smaller spaces to get as much in the shot as possible. Having said that, the size of this 24mm lens is relatively small, and it doesn't add much weight to add to a bag of camera gear. Also, the minimum focus distance allows you to get quite close to your subject so I was surprised to see that I was able to shoot a couple of food shots with this lens and they came out pretty well. Covid-19 has certainly limited the amount I've been able to get out and shoot with this lens as the UK has been in lockdown throughout the time I've had it. As such I haven't shot as many sample images as I would've liked especially in terms of landscape images which this lens would be ideally suited for. Also a comparison with the smaller Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE would be great as I have that lens too but just haven't been able to get out and shoot with the two. Maybe that would be an article for another time. To sum up, my overall conclusion of the lens so far is that it has a very similar build and size to the AF 75mm f1.8 which I love as it feels like it gives a great balance to the camera I use. It's not too big or too small. I really like the newer finish/coating to the body of the lens itself. Weather sealing, the custom switch and the new AF Hold button all make this a very appealing lens. The AF Hold button would be great for astro shooters but I haven't been able to test this out yet. AF is very responsive and accurate. Images are sharp and detailed as you can see from the samples below. Another great lens from Samyang!

 


 

All sample images shot with a Sony A7RIII (click to enlarge)

1/160th sec, f4, ISO 64




 

 

 

 

 

1/160th sec, f5, ISO 100
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/160th sec, f5, ISO 50
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/160th sec, f5, ISO 50
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/160th sec, f5, ISO 50



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/160th sec, f10, ISO 125

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/160th sec, f10, ISO 125

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/800th sec, f4, ISO 80


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/4000th sec, f1.8, ISO 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


1/160th sec, f4, ISO 80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/1600th sec, f1.8, ISO 100





1/4000th sec, f1.8, ISO 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/1250th sec, f2.5, ISO 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/1250th sec, f3.2, ISO 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/500th sec, f5, ISO 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video footage straight out of camera. Recorded in S&Q mode on Sony A7RIII at 120fps. I'm pretty new to shooting video and don't really know what I'm doing with it. I need to look more into the editing side of processing video hence the raw footage here. The camera was handheld, but I think the footage is fairly smooth and the AF performs well even in a relatively low light situation.

 

Thanks for reading!

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. If you're based in the UK then check out UK distributor Intro 2020.


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Monday, 20 April 2020

Samyang AF 75mm f1.8 FE Initial Thoughts

Samyang AF 75mm f1.8 FE mounted on Sony A7RIII

Samyang kicks off 2020 with another exciting new lens for the Sony E-mount mirrorless system. This new lens follows on from last year’s successful AF 85mm f1.4 FE, AF 45mm f1.8 FE and AF 18mm f2.8 FE.  This new "Tiny but Absolute" AF75mm f1.8 FE lens features the same design principles as the other "Tiny but Almighty" series lenses for full frame with a compact build and extremely lightweight for the type of lens it is. Due to it's telephoto-like focal length this lens will be ideally suited to portrait photography but I can also see that it would make a great addition to my kit as a food photographer. I have a couple of the other "Tiny" lens; the AF 24mm f2.8 FE (review HERE) and AF 35mm f2.8 FE (review HERE) lenses which I find to be very useful lenses when travelling. Samyang introduced the first lens of the "Tiny" line-up starting with the AF 35mm f2.8 FE lens back in 2017. With the addition of this new AF 75mm lens it takes the "Tiny but Almighty" lens line-up to five lenses and the overall autofocus (AF) lens line-up for Sony E mount to nine lenses with a further five AF lenses available for Nikon F mount, Canon EF and RF mounts.


At just 69mm in length and weighing in at a miniscule 230g (without lens cap or hood) this lens features a construction of 10 elements in 9 groups. Samyang use 5 special elements (3 Extra Low Dispersion and 2 High Refractive) which can capture crisp, sharp images with low chromatic aberration and minimal distortion. It has nine aperture blades for smooth bokeh, a 58mm filter thread and a minimum focus distance of 0.69m (2.26ft). It has a 32.9° angle of view on full frame, 21.9° on APS-C (cropped sensor) cameras. Sadly no weather sealing gasket on this lens unlike the AF 85mm f1.4 FE that was released around the same time last year. The 85mm is the only Samyang E-mount lens to have weather sealing. When released the lens will cost £379.99/389.


AF 75mm f1.8 FE lens with carry case

75mm is quite a unique focal length with pretty much no other lenses in terms of direct competition already on the market. However, I did find an SLR Magic 75mm f1.4 Cine lens for Sony E-mount which is manual focus only and suited to video use and so not comparable to this Samyang lens. The only other lenses that offer 75mm are zoom lenses like the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 or the expensive Sony G-Master 70-200mm f2.8. Sigma have a 70mm f2.8 Macro lens which is a similar focal length but a completely different type of lens as it's a macro lens and it's also a fair bit larger. So, I feel like there is a gap in the market for an affordable, lightweight autofocus 75mm prime lens.


Size in hand (I have smallish hands)



New switch (Toggle between controlling focus/aperture adjustment)
In a very interesting development Samyang has added a different type of switch to this 75mm lens that doesn’t appear on other Samyang lenses. The custom switch has two modes labelled "Mode 1" and "Mode 2". If the switch is set to Mode 1 then as you’d expect you can alter focus using the focus ring (if the camera is set to MF or DMF). However, if the switch is set to Mode 2 then you can adjust the aperture using the focus ring instead of the dial on the camera body. From what I'm lead to believe, this function of this switch will be able to be changed via firmware updates using Samyang's Lens Station. This kind of makes it similar to Canon's new RF lenses for the EOS R, EOS RP and highly anticipated EOS R5 which features Canon's Control Ring - a separate ring that can be customised to control ISO, Aperture or even Exposure Compensation. I could see that this would be welcomed by videographers especially as this method of changing the aperture is a lot smoother than turning the dial on the camera.


The AF 75mm F1.8 FE lens incorporates a new Stepping Motor (STM) for fast, smooth and accurate focusing. Focusing is via focus by wire and is near silent with just a little click-like sound when it finds focus. Eye AF works very well and is able to track movement (as shown in some of the boxing images below). Low-light performance of the AF is great too. As with all of Samyang's "Tiny" lenses I love how compact and lightweight this lens is. It's certainly going to be another lens that I take to shoots with me and I can now consider leaving my heavy XP 85mm at home.


Samyang AF 75mm f1.8 FE mounted on Sony A7RIII
Samyang really seem to have found their niche in the market by designing compact, lightweight prime lenses which are capable of high quality images at a very low price. These type of lenses really fit well with mirrorless camera systems to make a very portable but powerful combination. This 75mm lens slots nicely into the "Tiny but Almighty" lens roster which has a diverse focal length range from 18mm all the way to 75mm. With the size and weight of these Tiny lenses it would be very easy to carry all of them when travelling and still you would only be carrying just over 800g. That's for five lenses. I have several lenses which weigh more than that alone. Team these lenses up with a mirrorless body like an A7III or A6400 and you have a low-cost, compact, lightweight solution that packs some serious punch.

I've had this lens for nearly two months (as of the date of publishing this article) and it's been a lovely lens to shoot with. Fast AF, beautiful bokeh and more than capable of capturing stunning images with crisp sharpness and attractive colour rendering. It does show some signs of barrel distortion (see image below) but with a little tweak in Photoshop or Lightroom this can easily be corrected.

Sample images shot with Sony A7RIII:


1/50th sec, f2.2, ISO 160

1/125th sec, f1.8, ISO 320


1/160th sec, f9, ISO 80

1/200th sec, f5, ISO 200


1/200th sec, f5, ISO 200


1/200th sec, f5, ISO 200


1/160th sec, f8, ISO 125

1/160th sec, f4, ISO 64

1/160th sec, f2.2, ISO 100

1/50th sec, f1.8, ISO 100
1/800th sec, f2.8, ISO 400


1/160th sec, f2, ISO 100


1/160th sec, f10, ISO 64



1/160th sec, f3.5, ISO 80


1/100th sec, f2.2, ISO 64


1/160th sec, f3.5, ISO 125


1/160th sec, f4, ISO 100

1/100th sec, f1.8, ISO 200 (some signs of barrel distortion)

1/400th sec, f1.8, ISO 250

1/2000th sec, f2.2, ISO 200

1/400th sec, f7.1, ISO 125

1/125th sec, f8, ISO 200

1/30th sec, f2, ISO 160

1/50th sec, f1.8, ISO 400

1/3200th sec, f2.2, ISO 250 (very windy conditions hence high SS + ISO)



Thanks for reading!

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. If you're based in the UK then check out UK distributor Intro 2020.


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Samyang AF 24mm f1.8 FE