Review Samyang XP 10mm F/3.5

The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 is a very unusual lens. It is one of the most wide-angle lenses in the world. It is also quite free of distortion, and the image quality is good enough for the latest 35 mm cameras with 50 megapixels or more. If you like the effect of a wide angle or if you want to photograph interiors and bring them into view as much as possible, then this is an ideal lens. The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 is available in a Canon EF mount. And that means you can also use it on Sony cameras, for example.

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PROS

  • Huge field of view
  • Great image quality
  • Good build quality
  • Little distortion
  • Good manual focus
  • Fairly compact
  • Reasonable price

    CONS

  • No autofocus
  • No depth of field scale
  • No filter threads

Everything perfectly in frame with the Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5.

A lens for Canon SLR cameras with a field of view of 130 degrees almost without distortion. That must be the dream of many interior and landscape photographers! They can wake up now, because there is such a lens: the De Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5. This is an ideal lens to capture almost everything you see at once without the exaggerated barrel distortion of a fisheye lens. You do get a strong perspective effect due to the large field of view, as a result of which objects on the edges of the image are somewhat stretched and lines start to bend if you do not keep the camera level. You can make this effect stronger or weaker by carefully choosing your position and keeping the camera straight or not.

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It is a fairly compact and light lens. There are two other manual focus lenses with the same field of view: the Laowa 10-18 mm zoom and the Voigtlander 10 mm f/5.6. Both are only for Sony cameras and are significantly less bright. Canon has its own Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L, and there is also the Irix 11 mm f/4. Also, nice lenses, but an 11mm is just not 10mm. And with ultra-wide angles, one millimeter does make a difference. And compared to the Canon zoom, the Samyang XP 10 mm F/3.5 is much lighter, smaller and cheaper. Samyang has designed the lens for 50-megapixel and 8K video cameras. This places high demands on sharpness, color errors and distortion. That is why Samyang has released this lens in the XP (XPert) series.

BUILD AND autofocus

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The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 is a lens in the XP series. That stands for Xpert. That is the highest line of lenses without autofocus from Samyang. The finish and build quality are at a high level. The lens is largely made of metal, with a nice, wide focusing ring with nice, rough rubber on it. That focus ring has a fairly long stroke for a wide angle, allowing you to focus accurately. The lens has a distance scale in feet and meters. The lens has 7 elements in 7 groups. That doesn’t seem like very many, but 3 of them are aspherical lens elements, 1 is a lens element with a high refractive index, and 3 others are extra-low dispersion lens elements. The aperture consists of 7 blades. That can cause sun stars with 14 points at small apertures. The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 has – of course – no option for using screw filters, and, as far as we know, no manufacturer has a filter holder that works well on the Samyang. The fixed lens hood is effective, but also ensures that filters are positioned far forward. A filter holder may then screen off part of the image. The shortest setting distance is 0.26 meters. You can’t do macro photography with that, but you can create blurry, broad backgrounds if your subject is very close.

VIGNETTING, FLARE AND DISTORTION

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The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 clearly suffers from vignetting at full aperture. We often like a bit of it, but in many cases 1.8 stops at full aperture is just a bit too much to not correct. Stopping down reduces the vignetting slightly but does not eliminate it completely. Even at f/8, it’s slightly more than a stop. That’s a lot less than the 1.8 stops that you get at full aperture, but still (just) visible. The standard jpeg profile that we use ensures an increase in contrast, and that leads to an increase in vignetting in the jpeg files. With many lenses, the vignetting is immediately removed when creating the jpegs. That does not happen with this Samyang, but it is of course only a small effort to do it afterwards. The best thing to do is to use the RAW files for that.

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Flare is something that this lens has little trouble with, despite the huge field of view. If you stop down to f/11 or f/16, you can get sun stars, almost without light spots or loss of contrast. At f/11, those are still quite small. Chromatic aberration is also very minimal, and that is unusual for a super-wide angle.

The distortion is also not automatically removed in the camera for the Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5. At about 2% barrel-shaped, that distortion is quite small for an extreme wide angle anyway, and you see it more when you work at short distances. At large distances, it even seems to be slightly less than the 2%. The bit of distortion there is pretty even, so that you can eliminate it well in post-processing if needed.

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IMAGE QUALITY

At full aperture, the center sharpness is already good, the middle zone is also fine, but there is a clear gradient in sharpness to the corners. The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 is therefore quite bright for a 10 mm, and the gradient in sharpness is not surprising. If you want the corners to be really sharp, you have to stop down to f/5.6 or f/8. Those are also apertures where the depth of field becomes so large that you can set the lens to the hyperfocal point.

Samyang XP 10mm F/3.5 SAMPLE IMAGES

Curious about the performance of the Samyang XP 10 mm F/3.5 in practice? Click on the button below and visit our renewed web gallery with sample images. The images can be downloaded in full resolution to be viewed at 100%.

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Conclusion

The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 is not only unusual, but also very good.

The Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5 is not only unusual, but also very good. Designing a lens with such an extreme field of view is not easy. And certainly not to make it as sharp and free of distortion as this Samyang XP 10 mm f/3.5. If you like architecture or interior photography or grand landscapes, then this is a very nice addition to your other lenses. The extreme field of view quickly creates exciting perspective effect that can give your shots something extra, and you can make small areas look very spacious with the 10 mm.

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