Tim Coleman finds out if the optical quality of the manual-focus Samyang 24mm f/1.4 lens can match comparable own-brand versions costing two-thirds more. Read the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC lens review...
Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC review – Introduction
Samyang has long been a minor player in the UK lens market, but with supply improving, new releases extending the company’s range and each model available in most of the popular lens mounts, Samyang may just find itself emerging from the shadows. When we tested the company’s 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC lens (see AP 27 August 2011), it received a five-star rating. Since then, the company has announced several new models, including cine-based optics and more fixed-focal-length wideangle lenses, including the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC lens on test here.
What appealed to us about Samyang’s 35mm f/1.4 was its high build quality, good handling and excellent optical performance, and at a first glance we have no reason to expect anything different from the new 24mm f/1.4 lens. Another important factor with the new lens is its price, as the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 is available for around one-third the cost of own-brand lenses. With the Nikon and Canon own-brand equivalent versions having a street price of around £1,500, the £500 Samyang 24mm f/1.4 lens is a bit of a steal.
There is a key difference between the Samyang and own-brand models in that the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 is manual-focus only. However, for those who can do without autofocus, a Samyang lens is worth serious consideration. The new lens is a particularly appealing model in the range because this focal length is used mainly for landscapes, for which autofocus can be less important. Throughout this test, we have used both the Canon and Nikon-mount versions of the lens.