Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens Test & Review
I recently purchased a Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC lens mainly for use in astrophotography due to the wide angle & wide aperture. It was purchased for a Sony A7, making it ideal for night shots. If you own a Sony, you will notice that there are not a lot of lenses available for both mounts so finding this one, especially at a price is a bargain. I have also read many reviews in the past about this lens not being up to the job as it emits decentering problems and softness in the corners, more on that later.
Below you will find some images taken with the lens. Just for info, I exchanged the original lens I purchased as I felt it was too soft on the corners. When the second one arrived, I tested it out and was an improvement. It still gave problems though, and that is something I will explain a little later.
When the Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens arrived it was very well packaged and also had protective linings inside to prevent it from getting damaged during delivery. It also came with a convenient pouch which can be used to store the lens; however, I am using this to store my Formatt Hitech filter holder as it fits right without having to remove the 105mm polarising filter. It also came with the usual paperwork such as instructions and a quality control certificate. For a lens manufactured in Asia, the English is excellent and easy to follow.
Fitting the Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens is pretty straightforward, it does not have any free play when securely attached to the camera. The lens is also manual, this being manual focus & manual aperture. If this has put you off already then do not purchase it, I can live with using manual settings while others prefer auto.
The operation of the Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens is pretty smooth. I had no problem focusing while gaining infinity but it does take some getting used to. Setting aperture is easy enough, precisely the same as setting focus except it clicks as you change the blades width and will stay there until you turn it again. Now, the part where you get soft focus, yes it does suffer from a weak focus, and this is where you need to set up the shot right. If you are shooting at a low level or not pointing it straight, then it will get distorted in the corners, this is where the old saying ‘it’s not the camera, it’s the person behind the camera’ comes into effect. It does take some getting used to until you get it right.
Processing the images from a Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens is difficult. The lens suffers from moustache distortion in the middle which is expected for a lens with such a broad angle. This, however, can be easily fixed in Photoshop or Lightroom using the provided lens correction profile in Camera Raw. Those programs are not my preferred choice of software, but i can live with it. The images below have had the moustache distortion corrected.
The images below are a mix of the two lenses I received:
More Test Shots
Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens – Summing Up
So, I have taken the Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens out for a few shots, have had the original exchanged and tested another… what do I think of it? I like it. It took me a lot of umming and aaahing, but I guess I will stick with it. It also takes practice to use this lens; you need to work out what angle you need to get a perfect shot with no distortion or funny corners. Focusing was comfortable enough but again take practice, and as mentioned already, if it is not right, your images will suffer.
For the price (£275 at the time of writing) you cannot get any other lens like this unless you are willing to dish out over one thousand pounds for a brand name. Stick with it, try to get used to it, find out how to aim correctly and focus correctly too. If you are still getting problems with your Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens then return it.
If you would like to see more images taken with this lens, please read about my trip to Bosherston at Night.
All images ©Chris Ball. Copyright to the photos will remain with the photographer (Chris Ball), and therefore any reproduction without permission would be an infringement of copyright. If you wish to use any images for publication or use, you should first obtain permission from me before using my work.