Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical - APS-C Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2010

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 has already been tested in the full format scope. We'll reuse some of the generic portions of this article here.

Introduction

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical is a full format ultra-wide angle prime lens. It is, obviously, an extreme lens in its native playground but it's still fairly wide when using it on an APS-C DSLR - the field of view is equivalent to ~22mm (full format) here. There's a bunch of APS-C zoom lenses which outclass the Samyang in this respect but it performed extremely well in our full format test so it's surely interesting to see whether it can keep this performance level in this scope. The lens is also sold/co-branded by other companies including Bower, Rokinon, Walimex and a couple more.

Upon first contact you will experience two immediate drawbacks - the lens does not offer AF nor any "native" coupling apart from the Canon EF-compatible mount. Consequently you have to focus manually either by checking the viewfinder image or by using Live-View. You may think that focusing should be a non-issue but we struggled at first during our field tests. Infinity focus is actually way "beyond" infinity - at least on our test sample. Consequently the initial field attempts were pretty bad but during our 2nd session we used settings at slightly less than 2m (which is a good idea anyway) for wide, open scenes and the results improved drastically.

The aperture is not controlled by the camera but directly on the lens using an aperture ring just like back in the old days. The camera is naturally unable to display the selected aperture so both the viewfinder as well as the EXIF data will only show f/0.0 here. The aperture will also stop down immediately so the optical viewfinder will darker image according to the selected setting. This may sound a bit discouraging for some but it's mostly a non-issue in field conditions.

The build quality is surprisingly high for such an affordable product. It is made of a tightly assembled combination of metal and good quality plastic parts. The focus ring operates as smooth as silk (dampened). The plastic aperture ring has distinctive clicks in 1/2EV steps. The lens features an internal focusing (IF) mechanism so the physical size remains constant during focusing and the big front element does not rotate.

The front element has a "bulb"-like shape, a fairly popular approach these days. It seems to help to control the rather tricky optical problems inherent to ultra-wide angle lenses. On the downside it's not possible anymore to mount front filters for obvious reasons. The lens is supplied with a deep snap-on lens cap (rather average plastic quality) and it's certainly a good idea to use it during transport in order to protect the vulnerable front element. The petal-shaped lens hood is fixed.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length22 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.5 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction14 elements in 10 groups inc. 2x aspherical and 2xED elements
Number of aperture blades6
min. focus distance0.28 m (max. magnification ratio ~1:?)
Dimensions96 x 117 mm
Weight552 g
Filter size-
Hoodpetal-shaped, fixed
Other features-




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