Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC review
October 27, 2012
Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC
Price as Reviewed:£480.00
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...
Build and handling
The 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC is a full-frame lens that many people would use primarily for landscapes. When used with an APS-C camera, the focal length of the lens is approximately 35mm and the maximum aperture around f/2, which also makes it a good choice for reportage and environmental portraits. I used the lens with the Nikon D600, which features both the APS-C and full-frame format, and it is easy to switch between the two to achieve the 24mm and 36mm focal lengths.
There are a number of similarities between the Samyang 24mm and 35mm lenses. In fact, to the naked eye they look like the same lens, except that each focal length is indicated on the barrel and the 35mm version is physically longer. The build quality of the new lens is very high and reassuringly weighty. It is also a similar size to own-brand versions, although it is a little lighter thanks no doubt to the lack of parts required for autofocus.
With no autofocus, the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 relies on intuitive control of manual focusing for ease to use. Thankfully, the lens barrel is dominated by the ridged focus ring, which is dampened beautifully for a smooth rotation. Focus distances are clearly marked around the middle of the lens barrel, and with these reference points it is possible to ready the lens near the focus point as you bring the camera to the eye and then make any minor adjustments.
A very shallow depth of field is possible with the maximum apertures available, but even at f/4 close-range subjects taken using the full-frame format have a narrow margin for error, and it is undeniably tricky to achieve an accurate focus. Time is required over images in order to get the focusing right. For most scenes, bracketing the focus is helpful to increase the likelihood of an accurate focus. The minimum focus distance is 0.25m, and like many wideangle lenses the Samyang’s thread takes 77mm filters.
There is no marker on the lens barrel to line up the lens when attaching it to the lens mount, which is disappointing. The f/22 marker on the rear of the barrel is in the correct place on the Nikon version, so this needs to be remembered when mounting the lens, while a red dot on the rear metal lens mount is used on the Canon version.
- Filter size: 77mm
- Construction: 13 elements in 12 groups including 4 low-dispersion elements
- Diaphragm Blades: 8
- Weight: 680g
- Max diameter x length: 97x83mm
- Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax KAF, Sony Alpha, Samsung NX, four thirds
- Minimum focusing distance: 0.25m
- Min Aperture: f/1.4
- Max Aperture: f/22
- RRP: Varies according to fit. Street Price £480 for all fits except £500 for Canon and £520 for Nikon fit (prices taken from www.ukdigital.co.uk)
- Focal Length: 24mm