Over the last year Samyang Optics has released a number of Auto focus lenses for Sony’s mirrorless mount, the AF 14mm f2.8 FE , AF 50mm f1.4 FE, AF 35mm f1.4 FE and AF 35mm f2.8 FE, these have been very popular amongst Sony mirrorless users, it was only a matter of time for them to bring out Auto focus lenses for other brands.
Samyang’s latest release is the Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 EF lens for Canon EF mount, yes that’s right an Auto focus 14mm for Canon! a first for Samyang. This is a huge news for Samyang fans, the current manual focus 14mm f2.8 and XP 14mm f2.4 have been extremely popular and hold their own against a lot more expensive lenses, the Samyang 14mm 2.8 manual focus is possibly the most popular astrophotography lens out there, but enough about the manual focus lenses, this one is a different beast.
Although a different optical design this new lens looks similar and is built much the same as the Samyang auto focus lenses designed for Sony, clean modern lines, black metal/alloy body with red ring, it looks great and feels well built. The lens has a built in plastic lens hood with slip on lens cap, an Auto focus/Manual focus switch, and a weather sealing rubber gasket/ring around the lens mount, another first for Samyang, nice!
The Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 EF looks great on the Canon 6d. (Other gear used Benro Travel Angel tripod review here)
Note the rubber gasket around the lens mount, this is a first I believe for a Samyang lens.
My first thoughts on opening the box was wow, an auto focus Samyang 14mm f2.8! My first Samyang lens was the manual focus 14mm f2.8 that I have captured most of my favourite astro images with so I was more than a little excited about this. I’m a fan of the look of the current Samyang AF lenses for Sony E mount so I was also very happy to see this same design consistency and build quality used for the new lens. The next thing I noticed was the weight and size, this lens is pretty compact and quite light at under 500g. As always I was keen to test the lens out quickly, as I mounted the lens to my Canon 6d I noticed something else, weather sealing around the lens mount, wow a nice addition it’s clear Samyang wanted to make something a bit special in their line up with this new lens, auto focus, weather sealing, lightweight.
Lets get straight into it, how does the manual/auto focus perform?
Firstly the lens is focus by wire so when manual focussing, when you turn the focus ring it actuates an electric motor that moves the elements to achieve focus, there’s lots of articles about the benefits and negatives of this system and how it works, just google focus by wire. Manual focus with this lens works as intended and I had no problem grabbing accurate focus manually when shooting astrophotography or with general shots.
But more importantly lets talk about the Auto focus, well it is fast and accurate, really fast and locks on first time. In my initial test shots at home this was immediately noticeable but out in the field shooting mountain bikes was where I noticed just how well the AF works, not once did I miss a shot due to the lens not focussing quick enough or holding focus while tracking, I used it my 6d mark 1 and on a friends Canon 6d mark2 and the lens performed excellent on both cameras. It also performs well in low light, I could grab focus on my son riding his scooter in our backyard at 9pm, almost dark, not bad at all, I’m pretty happy with the AF on this new lens. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to test the focus shooting video, I will try and test this as soon as possible and will update this review to reflect that, so check back if video is your thing.
Whoops, dusty corner and pushing hard for these pics, sorry Simon!
The focus on the Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 EF lens had no problem keeping up with a bit of Mountain biking.
My son at the local skate park, again no problem with tracking.
As you can see the Auto focus on the new Samyang works well. I’m confident Samyang have done a great job with the auto focus on this lens. I tried various focus points on both the Canon 6d mark1 and Canon 6d mark2, shot a couple of hundred shots and the lens worked perfectly as expected, very happy with the AF performance.
Samyang did really well with their XP 14mm f2.4 so I had high hopes for the image quality of this lens. It didn’t disappoint, it’s very sharp, even to the corners, I didn’t have problems with purple fringing, flare etc It seems to perform very well.
The next few images show how the lens performance at various apertures, 100% corner and centre crops and some comparisons with the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 lens. I’d rather leave the lens charts etc to someone else so If you are looking for them you will not find it here, I like to keep my reviews and images more real world.
Samyang AF 14mm EF Full image at f2.8
Samyang AF 14mm EF centre 100% crop at f2.8
Samyang AF 14mm EF bottom left corner 100% crop at f2.8
Above is a comparison between the NEW AF 14mm f2.8 EF and the XP 14mm f2.4Lens. Top image is a 100% crop from the bottom left hand side corner from the Samyang 14mm AF f2.8 EF lens. The bottom image is a 100% crop from the bottom left hand corner from the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 lens both images are taken from the same position one after the other at f2.8. The NEW lens looks like it has a tiny bit more distortion and as a result is a tad softer in the extreme corner, fantastic performance head to head with the XP. Lets look at the full image compared.
The above two images are both full images the top taken with the NEW Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f2.8 and the bottom taken with the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4. I can see a tiny difference in the corners as mentioned above, the XP lens being slightly sharper, I’m peaking pretty hard on a 27inch monitor I doubt you can see it in the example images, the new Samyang performs really well in the corners and is sharp across the frame wide open at f2.8.
Samyang AF 14mm EF Full image at f4
Samyang AF 14mm EF centre 100% crop at f4
Samyang AF 14mm EF bottom left corner 100% crop at f4
Samyang AF 14mm EF Full image at f5.6
Samyang AF 14mm EF centre 100% crop at f5.6
Samyang AF 14mm EF bottom left corner 100% crop at f5.6
Samyang AF 14mm EF Full image at f8
Samyang AF 14mm EF centre 100% crop at f8
Samyang AF 14mm EF bottom left corner 100% crop at f8
The above images are straight out of camera, no post processing other than cropping, re-sizing and Jpeg conversion they show the NEW Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 EF at various apertures. At f2.8 the lens performs very well, very sharp showing lots of detail, when we compare it to the XP 14mm at f2.8 the new lens looks a tiny little bit softer in the corner, given the XP 14mm f2.4 lens is pretty amazing in the corners this is a really good result for the new AF lens. AT f2.8 we can see some vignetting, similar to the XP lens.
At F4 the corners are really sharp, we can still see some vignetting but it has improved. AT f5.6 the vignetting is pretty much gone, image is very sharp across the frame at F8 it is pretty much the same. The lens has no problem showing a lot of detail.
The above images are taken with Canons 6d, how does this lens perform on a higher resolution camera such as the Canon 5d mark4? here are a couple of examples,
Canon 5d mark4, Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f2.8, full image.
Canon 5d mark4, Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f2.8, centre crop
Canon 5d mark4, Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f2.8, bottom left 100% crop.
Canon 5d mark4, Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f4, full image.
Canon 5d mark4, Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f4, centre crop.
Canon 5d mark4, Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 at f4, bottom left crop.
On the higher resolution Canon 5d mark4 the lens performs well. Again the images are straight from camera there is no post processing apart from cropping, resizing, colour correction and jpeg conversion.
Distortion. The following “brick wall test” images are to show how much distortion the lens has, I’ve included comparisons with the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 and 14mm f2.8 manual focus lens. These are straight out of camera no correction, the images were taken from about 2m from the wall at f5.6.
First up is the manual focus 14mm f2.8
Next is the XP 14mm f2.4 lens
Last is the NEW Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 EF lens.
The above three images show the “old” manual focus 14mm f2.8 lens has quite strong moustache shaped distortion. The XP 14mm f2.4 has quite even distortion and the AF 14mm f2.8 EF has some moustache distortion pronounced near the top and bottom. The images also show that I didn’t quite have the lenses completely level but as the shots were taken by simply changing the lens, it is a good comparison between the three lenses and gives us a good look at the distortion characteristics.
REAL WORLD, these images are not corrected and straight out of camera, 2m away from the subject. In real world images the distortion would be less noticeable and correctable. For instance I can easily correct the XP lenses distortion to almost perfectly straight using just the tools in Light Room, I don’t even bother correcting landscape images where there are no straight lines, this is pretty normal behaviour for a quality 14mm lens, I have no doubt the new AF lens would be easily correctable to make lines perfectly straight, for landscape there would be no need. Here’s a couple of real world images from the NEW AF 14mm f2.8 EF lens.
The above two images are from the new AF 14mm f2.8 lens, with no distortion correction, they show how in a real world shot the straight lines are quite straight. These images also show how much detail the lens is able to capture with sharp detail right up until the corners. This is really nice performance for such a wide lens.
Samyang lenses are well regarded by those interested in astrophotography and nightscapes with both the Samyang 14mm f2.8 and XP 14mm f2.4 manual focus lenses being extremely popular, the 14mm f2.8 may be the most popular astrophotography lens available so the new AF 14mm f2.8 EF has a lot to live up to. Good coma performance is an important feature of an astrophotography lens so the following images demonstrate the AF 14mm f2.8 EF lenses coma performance. The images have had no post processing so excuse the odd hot pixel and a bit of noise, but it’s important to show the true performance of the lens.
Above full image f2.8, 20sec, Iso3200
Top left corner 100% crop
Top right corner 100% crop
Top left corner 200% crop
Top right corner 200% crop
The above images, in order top to bottom. Top image is the full shot, next is the top left corner of the image at 100%, next is the top right corner 100% crop after that we have a top left corner crop at 200% and lastly a top right corner crop at 200%.
Coma performance is excellent and we are getting nice sharp round stars. Being a wide fast f2.8 lens with virtually no coma and excellent image quality this lens will be very popular with wide field astrophotographers, at the right price point this could be the most popular 14mm astrophotography lens for Canon dslrs.
Next just some general images
The above images are taken with the Samyang AF 14mm f2.8 FE lens and Canon 6d mark 1.
This new lens is an important lens for Samyang and I think they have done a great job, it is sharp, able to show a lot of detail, distortion is well controlled, It performs really well at night with almost no coma and the auto focus is very quick and accurate, personally I think this will be a great addition to Samyang’s lens line up, possibly their new best seller.
Is it a good upgrade for those currently using the manual focus 14mm f2.8 lens? Absolutely! It is higher performing, better built, has Auto focus and some weather sealing. It really is going to be a great 14mm option for Canon users.
Price in Australia will be approximately $1099
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Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 lens review here
Samyang XP 85mm f1.2 lens review here
Samyang 20mm f1.8 lens review here
Basic Night Sky Photography tutorial here
Focus on the stars, obtaining sharp focus tutorial here
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