Review Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

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The Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE is specially designed for the Sony A7 camera series with a full-frame sensor and E-mount. This is, after the Samyang 50mm AF f/1.4, the second Samyang lens with autofocus. The lens design is specially developed for the best performance at the short distance between the back glass element of the lens and the sensor of the mirrorless Sony system cameras. The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC is currently the ultra-wide angle lens with the biggest field of view for the Sony FE mount. The 14-mm Samyang has a considerably larger field of view than the 18 mm of a Zeiss Batis. Relative to a 24mm or 28mm lens, it is a world of difference. As far as brightness is concerned, the Samyang at f/2.8 gives nothing up to the Zeiss Batis 18mm. It is also much more favorably priced. That makes you very curious about the image quality and the AF speed of this Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC.

AF 14mm 45degree

EVERYTHING IN FRAME: Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE

Samyang is a relative newcomer in the area of lenses, and they recently started making autofocus lenses. There are currently two. And those are both for the Sony E-mount. They are a bright 50mm f/1.4 and this Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE. Both lenses fill a gap in the lens selection for Sony cameras. Samyang makes a 14mm f/2.8 with manual focus in the FE version. But that is really an SLR version with an adapter added on. The lens is therefore much larger than the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE. And it does not have autofocus, nor an electronic coupling. For autofocus, Sony users were previously referred for a 14mm to SLR lenses with a smart adapter. The Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is a much less expensive and more compact solution. The 67mm filter diameter is notably modest for a 14mm ultra-wide angle. The minimalistic, sleek design and the metal housing are high quality.

List price: € 725.00 incl. VAT

The new Samyang 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC has been for sale since September 2016. This lens can be used on both Full-Frame Sony E-mount and the APS-C format Sony mirrorless E-mount cameras. Even on a camera with an APS-C crop-sensor, you are still left with an impressive field of view that corresponds with a 21mm lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor.
The Samyang importer for Benelux, Transcontinenta, offers an extended guarantee of 5 years for Samyang lenses in Benelux. This lets you extend the standard guarantee from 2 years to 5 years! To take advantage of this, you must remember to register within 4 weeks after purchase, online via transcontinenta.nl/garantie.

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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC @ Sony A7R mk2,50 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec

BUILD

AF 14mm Mount

The Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is beautifully built, with a modern design and a broad focus ring with fine ribs that you can easily feel and that provide good grip. The red ring on the lens gives it a bit of extra cachet. It is just a shame that Sony makes the mount ring for the FE-mounts orange, since that clashes with practically all the colors that lens manufacturers use, from this red ring to the blue rings on the Zeiss Loxias. The lens is a bit lighter and sleeker than the manual 14mm f/2.8 from Samyang. It is also about the same length if you don’t count the adapter that you need for the manual version. For the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE, you of course do not need an adapter, so that it fits much better with the Sony cameras. The lens is not terribly small, but it is more compact than practically all other lenses that you can get in this focal length. The manual version has 6 aperture lamellae; the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE has 7. That does not make much difference for the bokeh, since with a 14mm you do not get really soft backgrounds. But it does make a difference for the “sun stars” that you get when you take pictures at f/11 or f/16 with the sun in frame. With a six-blade aperture, you only get 6 rays. With a 7-bladed aperture, you get 14. The construction of the 14mm is outstanding. Solid and completely free of play. The length does not change while focusing. Due to the convex front lens, it is not possible to use screw-on filters. There are manufacturers that build special adapters for these kinds of wide-angle lenses, so that you can use flat slide-on filters. The lens hood is attached to the lens and cannot be removed. Be careful with the lens cap, since buying a replacement will not be cheap.

Autofocus

There is nothing bad to say about the autofocus: it works well, it works fast, and it works silently. That is reasonably remarkable for a manufacturer that until almost exclusively made lenses with which you could only focus manually and that often lacked any electronic coupling with the camera. The Samyang does what is expected of it without problems. The focusing is done entirely internally, so the lens does not change length. Autofocus is no unnecessary luxury on a super-wide angle. Landscape photographers can do without it, but you can also you a 14mm extremely well for documentary photography. With a super-wide angle you can really get caught up in the action. And then autofocus is indispensable for capturing the right moment. With the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE, you can get really close as well, up to 0.20m. And then the focal depth at full aperture is still very small, even though it is a 14mm. Autofocus even works well for close-ups.

Specifications
Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:14-okt
length x diameter:98 /
filter size:-
Weight:505
Lens hood:+

IMAGE STABILIZATION

The lens has no image stabilization. Of course, we almost want to say, what full-frame 14mm does? But the Sony A7 cameras of the second generation and the new Sony A9 do have it in the body. The cameras know, thanks to the electronic coupling, the focal length they are working with and thus provide the right image stabilization. This means you can also shoot by hand with longer shutter times.

OPTICAL PERFORMANCE

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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC @ Sony A7R mk2,50 ISO, f/8.0, 1/20 sec

The Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is a newly designed wide-angle and not simply an autofocus version of the completely mechanical 14mm f/2.8. The performance is generally good. The center sharpness is already quite good at f/2.8, but the corners are not yet really great then. Stopping down results in an increase in the sharpness. Both the center and the corners get better, but the increase is the largest in the corners. The lens is at its best at f/8. Then it is sharp from corner to corner. At f/11, it drops off again, particularly in the center. For landscape photography and architecture, f/8.0 is the aperture you will want to work with. The full aperture is great for documentary work. Then a part of the picture will be blurred anyway, because of the limited focal depth. You only have to ensure that your main subject does not end up in the corner. The lens is only not that well suited for photographers who are looking for a lens that is sharp from corner to corner at f/2.8. For specialized work like astrophotography, the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is not so good. The lens also has some distortion and vignetting that are not corrected by Sony cameras. It is not much, and it is easy to get rid of in post-editing. The measurement for distortion did not come in at higher than 1%, and that is not a lot, certainly not for a super-wide angle. We were able to measure chromatic aberrations in the lab, but in practice shots we were pleasantly surprised. The lens is not very sensitive to backlighting, thanks to the good coatings.

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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC @ Sony A7R mk2,50 ISO, f/6.3, 1/160 sec

The Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is a newly designed wide-angle and not simply an autofocus version of the completely mechanical 14mm f/2.8. The performance is generally good. The center sharpness is already quite good at f/2.8, but the corners are not yet really great then. Stopping down results in an increase in the sharpness. Both the center and the corners get better, but the increase is the largest in the corners. The lens is at its best at f/8. Then it is sharp from corner to corner. At f/11, it drops off again, particularly in the center. For landscape photography and architecture, f/8.0 is the aperture you will want to work with. The full aperture is great for documentary work. Then a part of the picture will be blurred anyway, because of the limited focal depth. You only have to ensure that your main subject does not end up in the corner. The lens is only not that well suited for photographers who are looking for a lens that is sharp from corner to corner at f/2.8. For specialized work like astrophotography, the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is not so good. The lens also has some distortion and vignetting that are not corrected by Sony cameras. It is not much, and it is easy to get rid of in post-editing. The measurement for distortion did not come in at higher than 1%, and that is not a lot, certainly not for a super-wide angle. We were able to measure chromatic aberrations in the lab, but in practice shots we were pleasantly surprised. The lens is not very sensitive to backlighting, thanks to the good coatings.

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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC @ Sony A7R mk2,50 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400 sec

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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC @ Sony A7R mk2,50 ISO, f/2.8, 1/320 sec

ConclusiON: REVIEW OF Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".



Focal Length
mm @ FF
Total score
Resolution
lat. C.A.
Vignetting
Distortion
AF accur.
AF speed

 
14
14
7.6
7.5
8.7
8.1
6.6

Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you use lens correction profiles in Photoshop or Lightroom for converting RAW files, then the RAW scores for distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration are even better.


14
14
7.7
8.2
9.2
5.5
5.5

PROS

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Extremely broad field of view
  • AF
  • Specially designed for Sony FE
  • Attractively priced

CONS

  • Corners a bit soft at full aperture
  • No screw-on filters possible
  • No automatic correction in the camera
  • No built-in IS (given the IBIS in the A7R2, not a problem for us)

Samyang delivers optically top-class lenses, now with AF.

The Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE is the fixed-focal length lens with – at the moment – the biggest field of view for Sony FE-cameras with autofocus. And it is also reasonably affordable. Samyang deserves a lot of praise for those two things alone. Samyang is the first ‘strange brand’ manufacturer that has started making autofocus lenses for the full-frame Sony cameras with E-mount. And fortunately, they also make, aside from the obvious 50mm, a 14mm. And they do that for a price that is much lower than anything else currently available in ultra-wide angle for Sony. The Zeiss Batis 18mm delivers higher image quality than this Samyang, but you pay a great deal more for it. And as soon as you stop down a couple of stops, the difference becomes hardly visible. The zoom lenses from Sony are less wide-angle (16-35mm) or less bright (12-24mm f/4), and they all cost more than twice as much as the Samyang. The combination of reasonable image quality and a sharp price makes this Samyang an outstanding choice for photographers who are able to make use of its strengths.

Jan Paul Mioulet
Author: Jan Paul MiouletWebsite: https://www.mioulet.nl/
Jan Paul Mioulet is zelfstandig fotograaf sinds 1994. Hij heeft zich beziggehouden met veel vormen van fotografie, van portret tot sport, van bruidsfotografie tot reclamewerk. Inmiddels is hij al bijna vijftien jaar gespecialiseerd in architectuurfotografie. Hij is een van de oprichters van DAPh, de Dutch Architectural Photographers, een collectief van een aantal van de beste Nederlandse architectuurfotografen. Van 2010 tot 2014 was hij hoofdredacteur van PF, Professionele Fotografie, het magazine voor de Nederlandse en Vlaamse vakfotograaf. Naast zijn fotografie schrijft hij voor PF en CameraStuffReview over techniek en allerlei bijzondere wetenswaardigheden rondom fotografie en camera’s.

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