One or the other may have noticed: 2017 i became a Samyang Passionate. Now i was allowed to participate in a beta test for the new Samyang lens AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF with autofocus. (Note: this review ist also available in german)
SAMYANG’s first auto-focus lens for Canon cameras
I already own the manual, “old” 14mm lens , which is with me in my my photo bag for landscape and astrophotography.
Even at weddings, I used the manual focus 14mm lens regularly in the 2017 wedding season (group pictures, opening dance, location pictures, etc.). But most of the time I used the 14mm lens for astrophotography.
An ultra wide angle lens with autofocus promises more comfortable handling in landscape photography or at weddings for me. I think that’s great!
Although there are already a couple of years between both versions, I would like to consider both lenses in a direct comparison.
But before I do that, I’d like to share my impressions of the new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14mm EF !
Haptics and features of the Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF
The new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF has been completely redesigned on the in- and outside and now comes in a simple and clear design. Compared to its predecessor, it is wider, but lighter.
Front and rear covers are also new and look more valuable than their predecessor. All in all a very good upgrade!
The lens fits perfectly with my Canon cameras. No wobbling or rattling. The cool thing is that the lens mount is also provided with a water-repellent rubber coating!
Aperture settings are made electronically via the camera in the range of f/2.8 to f/22 and the lenses settings are also available in the EXIF information in the finished image. That was not the case in the old version. So this is a great upgrade!
Optical performance of the Samyang AF 2.8 / 14mm EF
Let´s look at the most important thing of a lens – the optical performance:
First of all – I’m no „Pixelpeeper“ and I can not and do not want to test lenses like they do in the lab. I won´t take photos of adjustment charts or anything like that. To me it is important that a lens can be used well in real situations, deliver sharp images and is reliable.
I can already anticipate that the Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF has really excelled and is an amazing lens!
One more word about the pictures you see here: No distortion correction was done during RAW development.
I remember well when I first put the Samyang AF 2.8 / 14mm EF to my Canon 6D and looked through the viewfinder. I had a real WOW effect, because at first glance, I saw no barrel at all.
And yes … in direct comparison to the old version is a huge difference! People who are familiar with the old Samyang 14mm 2.8 ED AS IF UMC, will be amazed with the minimal distorsion oft he new lens!
Anyway- if you photograph tile patterns, you will see a very slight distortion, but in my opinion, it really is no big deal. I think you don´t even have to clear it in post-processing at all. That really blew me away!
The last few years have done quite a bit on the lens market in terms of sharpness. Samyangs prime lenses are always known to deliver sharp images even when shooting at wide apertures! Therefore it was almost no surprise that the new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF does an extremely good job in terms of sharpness.
I noticed that especially when photographing the Milky Way. Because of the great sharpness even at f/2.8 it was extremely easy to focus stars correctly via LiveView!
Outside in “classic” landscape photography, I was able to achieve really good results with the lens.
I found that the Samyang AF 2.8 / 14mm EF is very usable at f/2.8 and is way sharper than its predecessor! At f/4 the lens gets another boost in sharpness and remains until f/11 on a top level!
As all lenses with extremely short focal lengths, you will find less sharpness in the corners. I think Samyang has done a good job with the AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF and I never felt the slightly less sharpness at the edges disturbing in any way. Again, I think, it is a clear difference to old version and a huge step forward!
[singlestroke_side_background image=”4896″][/singlestroke_side_background] I have photographed a row of different apertures that you look best in full size (small blurs on the branches or on the ground are caused by the wind, since it was very stormy when it tested the lens). Even at aperture 4, landscapes are so sharp that apart from the reduced vignetting I see no difference. And even on my 5D Mark IV the Samyang AF 14mm 2.8 EF delivers sharp images wide- open!
The part i was most curious about, because all my Samyang lenses have no autofocus and the new 14mm is the first auto-focus lens for Canon cameras from Samyang.
The autofocus of the Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF does a really good job. It is quiet and fast, works in both LiveView and classic phase detection AF. On my cameras (Canon 70D, 6D and the 5D Mark IV), the AF has worked perfectly.
However, I had to fine tune the AF on my 6D and on my 5D Mark IV, so that I had perfect results (but I usually do that with my lenses anyway).
Photographing the Milky Way with the 14mm 2.8 AF
Phew, what shall i say – I simply don´t want to photograph the Milky Way with my old Samyang 14mm 2.8 ED AS IF UMC anymore ?
I´m so in love with the new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF ?
Unfortunately the test period was a bit late for really impressive photos of the Milky Way (October / November). And in general in Germany it is not quite as easy to produce impressive Milky Way shots, as you can do in the more southern countries.
Nevertheless, I was able to get some nice pictures of the Milky Way with the new 14mm in late autumn. And it really was awesome working with this lens! With the old 14mm lens, it’s much harder to focus the stars correctly in the Liveview, because the stars in the 10x LiveView have always been a bit blurry.
With the new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14 mm EF things are very different: thanks to the excellent sharpness at f/2.8, I immediately see if I have properly focused the stars in the 10x live view and can start immediately with shooting.
After focussing the stars with the new Samyang lens I knew I had a new favorite lens for Milky Way photography. Furthermore, temperature changes seem to have less effect on the set focus distance than on the old lens. At least I did not even have to refocus during a one-hour session. But that is my purely subjective feeling and temperatures didn´t vary that much
Conclusions to the Samyang AF 14mm 2.8 EF
- Very good optical performance, razor-sharp from aperture 4
- really good sharpness at f/2.8
- Lightweight lens – perfect for hiking tours!
- Splashproof and dustproof
- Fast, quiet, and precise autofocus
- Has displaced my old 14mm from the camera bag ?
The new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14mm EF convinced me completely. It’s a solid improvement to the old 14mm and has a reliable, fast autofocus that hits the focussed object perfectly after some finetuning. In addition to the low distortion I was particularly impressed by the sharpness and the low weight. I am happy about every single gram less on my photo equipment, espacially on trips or at a wedding day.
The lens is just perfect for landscape and MilkyWay photography. It is definitely worth a recommendation and now has a permanent place in my photo bag!
Incidentally, I found out that the Samyang filter holder for the old 14mm 2.8 fits perfectly on the new Samyang AF 2.8 / 14mm EF (filter size 165mm). ?
Samyang gave me a lens in BETA-State for this test. I didn´t recieve any money for this review!