Samyang F/2.8 IF ED UMC
Filter Size: n/a
For a short time, before full frame dSLRs and DX format
ultra wide lenses, 14mm lenses were the holy grail for getting anything
wide on an APS-C sized sensor. They had a history of being
expensive, with Nikon's offering coming in at $1,900 and Canon's
tipping the $2,000 scale. Sigma was the "cheap" option around $1,000.
But things have changed. 10-20mm DX zooms have been around a while and
see too much use for my taste. I'm not a ultra-wide angle fan for
kayaking, although they can have their moments. And there is a cheap
By now you're probably wondering why I own a 14mm lens for
a full frame camera. It's not for kayaking. I bought the Samyang
14mm f/2.8 for taking pictures of stars. I love stars and the milky
way. Unfortunately Nikon's lens lineup has a long history of coma
used wide open. Coma is a lens defect which results in points of light
appearing in the image not as points but as discs with comet-like
tails. This generally happens corners of the frame.
Here is an extreme example of coma.
Note the massive bit of it in the top left.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 58mm f1.4 @ 10" f/1.4 ISO 6400
Wider is better when
shooting stars, and after doing a lot of research I found that all fast
ultra wide lenses, even Nikons newest $2,000 14-24mm
have coma wide open. Then I wandered upon the Samyang 14mm
f/2.8. Samyang, Rokinon, Vivitar, Bower, the lens goes under many names
but is made by the new Korean lens maker Samyang. It's an oddity in the
modern age, a manual focus lens with quality optics at a very moderate
price of $380. On top of the price, the lens far and away has the least
coma of any 14mm I've found. Hardly any, even wide open. It's also
quite sharp wide open. It does have ED glass, and like ED Nikkors, it
focuses past infinity which is a bit of a shame for night work.
Slight coma in the corner, but not distracting.
D700, Samyang 14mm f/2.8 @ 20" f/2.8 ISO 6400
The construction of the lens is good, a mix of metal and plastic
falling somewhere between Nikon's new all plastic lenses and their
venerable AI-S lenses.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 vs the 70-300VR
The front element is massive and can't take filters, which is a shame.
The lens hood protects it well and stays in place.