Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE Review

September 13, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE is a new ultra-wide-angle prime lens for full-frame Sony Alpha cameras. The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE is comprised of 14 elements in 10 groups including 3 aspherical glass elements and an iris diaphragm with seven rounded aperture blades. It’s the second ever Samyang lens to feature auto-focusing, incorporating a stepping motor for smooth and accurate autofocusing. On a full-frame camera body, the Samyang AF 14/2.8 FE lens offers an angle of view of 113.9 degrees, making it the widest rectilinear lens designed for Sony E-mount cameras. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm/0.656ft and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.20x. The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens retails for £599 in the UK and €699 in Europe.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at 505 grams and measuring 9.75cm in length, the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE is quite a big lens given its focal length. As seen in the photos below, it rather dwarves the full-frame Sony A7R II camera, especially as the lens hood cannot be removed.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens alongside a Sony A7R II

Build quality is excellent. The lens has a metal housing and a metal mount too. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass and aspherical lenses have been included to minimise aberration and unnecessary light dispersion. The focus ring is pleasingly wide and ridged for easier grip.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE Side of the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE Front of the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FERear of the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set on the camera body. Full-time manual focus override is not available, and there's no distance and/or depth of field scale either.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FESide of the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FESide of the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens

The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE ships with a soft drawstring bag and a large plastic petal-shaped lens hood. It doesn't accept filters due to the fixed lens hood.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FEThe Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens in-hand

Focal Range

At the 14mm focal length the angle of view is 113.9 degrees.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE14mm

Focusing

The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens has a wide focus ring. There are no hard stops at the ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A7R II that we tested it with.

We didn't experience too much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It has a pretty quiet focusing mechanism, too, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, were quite prevalent in our test shots, as shown in the examples below.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE
   
Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2.8, there is significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/8 virtually eliminates this.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FELight fall-off at 14mm

Macro

The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 20cm/0.656ft and a magnification reproduction ratio of 0.12x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FEClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE lens, Samyang employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

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