Samyang 14mm f/2.8 (FX)
Samyang 14mm f/2.8, Pro-Optic Nikon AI-s version (no filters, Korean, 18.7 oz./529g, about $400). enlarge. This one came from this link to it at Adorama, also specifically in Nikon, Canon EOS and Micro 4/3 mounts. It also comes branded as Bower, also specifically in Nikon, Canon EOS, Pentax/Samsung and Minolta Maxxum/Sony mounts. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use any of those or these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S Review (2007-)
Nikon 14mm f/2.8 AF-D Review (2000-)
Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II Review (2007-)
Canon 14mm f/2.8 L Review (1991-2007)
Canon FD 14mm f/2.8 (-1986; review coming)
Nikon 13mm f/5.6 Review (1976-1998)
Pentax SMC 15mm f/3.5 (1980s-1990s, review coming)
A functional ultra-ultra wide FX lens for less than one-quarter the price of a Nikon or Canon 14mm FX ultra-ultrawide lens.
This new 14mm lens sells for less than one-half the price of even a used Nikon or Canon 14mm lens!
Optically the worst 14mm FX lens sold today, but much better than nothing at all.
This is a rectilinear ultra-ultrawide 14mm lens. It attempts to keep straight lines straight. It is not a fisheye lens, which would be much smaller and less expensive, but also curve everything into a ball.
For budget projects, this Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens works fine on film and FX. Samyang is a Korean maker of security camera lenses, much how Tamron does the same thing in Japan.
Compared critically to Nikon and Canon's 14mm lenses, this Samyang 14mm f/2.8 isn't very sharp, and has hellacious distortion, but for $400, it's the least expensive 14mm ultra-ultrawide lens ever made.
The Samyang 8mm f/3.5 fisheye and Samyang 85mm f/1.4 have great optics, but each of the samples I used had mechanical sample defects. By comparison, this 14mm lens has great mechanics, but poor optics.
Forget this 14mm FX lens for DX; this lens sells at a premium to cover the large FX format; DX lenses do a better job for less money on DX than FX lenses.
This lens comes in versions to fit many different cameras. I'm discussing the Nikon-mount version here; feel free to extrapolate accordingly for the other camera mounts.
Likewise, I'm using it on full-frame as designed. It's foolish to shoot this beast on smaller formats, for which DX and other lenses are far better suited.
This manual-focus Nikon-mount lens works great with most Nikon cameras, 35mm and digital. It has no CPU or electronic contacts to work with the meters of lesser AF and digital cameras.
It works flawlessly with every manual focus Nikon camera made since 1977. Because it lacks the meter coupling prong of Nikon's manual-focus lenses, you'll need to use stop-down metering with Nikon's 1959-1976 cameras, like the Nikon F of 1959 and early versions of the Nikon F2.
On the D3X, D3s, D3, D700, D300, D200, D2 and F6, use the "Non-CPU Lens Data" menu option to set 13 or 15mm and f/2.8 to get full color matrix metering, EXIF data and finder read-out of set aperture. (There is no 14mm seting in the Nikon menus.) It works great in aperture-preferred auto as well as manual exposure modes on these cameras.
The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5000 and below) and cheaper film cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you'll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hotshoe adapter to meter manually.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8. enlarge.
14 elements in 10 groups.
One of these elements is a glass aspherical, and another is a hybrid (half-plastic) aspherical.
Samyang also claims ED and high-refraction glass.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 at f/5.6. enlarge.
6 straight blades.
Stops down to f/22.
Aperture Ring top
Half-stop clicks, except between f/16 and f/22.
Close Focus top
11 inches (0.92 feet).
Angle of View top
115.7° on FX and 35mm.
93.9° on small-format DX, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung.
89.9° on small-format Canon 1.6x.
76.24° on small-format Micro 4/3.
Focal Length top
On a small-format DX camera, this lens sees an angle-of-view similar to what a 21mm lens would see on a full-frame camera.
Hard Infinity Focus Stop? top
Focus Scale top
Depth-of-Field Scale top
Dadblast it, instead of the scale, Samyang chose to put advertising there!
Infra-Red Focus Index top
Filter Thread top
No gel filter slot, either.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 with factory caps. enlarge.
The front cap is a plastic thing, identical in design to the front cap of the Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II. It clips onto the inside of the larger front petals.
It only goes on two ways; you'll have to rotate it a bit if you don't have it square.
The rear cap is a copy of the Nikon rear cap.
Samyang specifies 87.0mm (3.425 inches) diameter.
Samyang also specifies:
18.665 oz. (529.2g), measured, Nikon version.
Silly fake velvet pouch, included.
A big sock works better.
Made in top
Box, ProOptic 14mm f/2.8. enlarge.
Single-wall cardboard box.
Two thin, hard white molded plastic inner holders.
The lens is in an clear plastic bag, and the paperwork and pouch sit on top inside the box.
Manual focus is perfect. The focus ring glides with just one fingertip.
It is geared rather slowly; it's far more precise than necessary.
Lesser digital cameras, like the D300s and down, usually have just one "OK" focus dot, which is not as precise as two arrows and a dot.
The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 has loads of weird-looking and complex distortion.
It will not correct with simple tools like Photoshop's lens distortion filter, and I hope DxO doesn't waste their time making modules for this lens when DxO's time would be far better spent making modules for other Canon and Nikon 14mm lenses with other full-frame cameras.
Distortion at 1 meter, Samyang 14mm f/2.8.
It would have looked less bad if I had been able to align the camera more carefully, but you get the idea. There is a huge bulge in the center.
Heaven help you if you use this on anything other than full-frame, in which case the bloated center will result in even stronger barrel distortion in DX.
The Samyang 14mm f/2.8's ergonomics are great!
Focus flips with a fingertip. It is manual-focus only.
The big plastic front keeps your fingers out of the lens.
Falloff on FX is strong at f/2.8, and goes away as stopped down.
I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.
There is no way to attach a filter to the front, and not even a gel filter slot on the read.
Your bet bet would be to try to tape a gel to the rear, and hope it doesn't dislodge and jam your shutter.
Good luck; for filters, the Nikon and Canon 14mm lenses all provide a rear gel slot.
I can't see any on a Nikon D3, which corrects them.
Rear, Samyang 14mm f/2.8. enlarge.
The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is built of both plastic and metal. it uses plastic where it should. like the front petals, which are more resistant to chipping and banging than if they were metal, and uses metal for the focus ring. Nice!
Front Barrel (ahead of focus ring)
Metal, rubber covered.
Feels like brass: smooth and silky with no play.
Seem like metal and plastic.
Engraved markings filled with paint.
Some sort of metal.
Doesn't slide-in as nicely as a real NIKKOR lens; it feels grubby.
Printed on barrel just behind the focus ring.
Ass-Gasket (dust seal at mount)
Noises When Shaken
None, the most solid lens I've shaken!
If you count your pixels, count this lens out. Even Nikon and Canon's most expensive current 14mm lenses are their softest lenses, and this Samyang is even softer.
With these caveats, the 14mm f/2.8 is possibly the softest non-toy lens I've ever tested.
It is very blurry in sides and corners at f/2.8, and improves to merely soft at f/11.
Stop it down when you can, and the results are fine for the photographer who prefers not to spend over four figures, even used, for a name-brand 14mm lens.
I have read reports on something called the "Internet" where others have had much better results. If true, this is due to sample variation. Just as my sample of the Samyang 8mm f/3.5 fisheye had its focus out of adjustment, and my sample of the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 had a sticky diaphragm that leads to occasional gross overexposure, it may be the luck of the draw that gave me a soft 14mm lens. This is what we get when we go trolling for the least expensive product, so be careful. Unlike men and LEICA lenses, every cheap lens is created differently.
With its straight 6-bladed diaphragm, this 14mm f/2.8 should make 6-pointed sunstars on bright points of light.
This should be the same as both of Canon's EF 14mm lenses.
The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is a manual-focus-only lens.
In the hands of a creative photographer, it can create eye-catching images.
If you're a pixel-counter, skip this lens and get a real Nikon or Canon 14mm, but if you're a student on a budget, heck, I would have bought one of these back when I was a student, if they had made these back then. (hint: Nikon's and Canon's 14mm lenses aren't exactly that sharp in the corners, either, but stil much better than this Samyang.)
If you're on a budget and demand an ultra-sharp ultra-wide lens, look instead at Nikon's 18mm f/3.5 AI-s, which sells used for about the same price, uses filters, and is smaller and lighter. For half this price, look at either the Nikon 20mm f/3.5 AI-s or Nikon 20mm f/4 AI.
This lens is sold under many names like ProOptic, Rokinon and Bower. It is the same lens, so buy whichever costs less. I've found the ProOptic brand, as sold at Adorama and shown here, is the least expensive.
More Information top
Samyang's Technical Data (PDF).
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