Handling and features
This manual focus wide angle lens for APS-C format cameras, offers a fast f/2 maximum aperture for a budget launch price of around £419.
This lens is available to fit many different types of camera with an APS-C or smaller sensor, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Samsung NX, Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds SLRs. When used with an APS-C sensor camera, this lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 24mm lens used on a 35mm camera. In this review we will be taking a close look at the Canon version. A version for Nikon cameras with a metering chip to support open-aperture, matrix metering as also available for a launch price of around £459.
Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS Handling and features
Even though this lens is keenly priced for its specification, the build quality is very good. Lightly textured high quality plastics have been used for much of the lens barrel, with a metallic red ring placed just after the aperture ring, which is a feature of Samyang's premium lenses. The lens isn't massively heavy and it balances very well with the Canon EOS 600D
used for testing.
The manual focusing ring is smooth to operate and is a pleasure to use as a result, with just the right amount of damping to make fine adjustments easy to apply. This lens' excellent manual focusing action and wide aperture will make this lens ideal for those who shoot video with their DSLRs. Closest focus is 20cm, which should be ideal for shooting in cramped environments or even for the occasional close up, where the wide angle will allow more of your subject's surroundings to be included than is possible with longer focal length lenses. Focusing is performed by moving the rear group of elements, so the length of the lens doesn't change and the filter thread does not rotate, which should make this lens perfect for use with graduated and polarising filters.
No electronic coupling with the camera is provided, so metering needs to be performed via the stop down method. No hyperfocal scale has been marked on the lens either, unlike other similar Samyang lenses, so a separate hyperfocal calculator may be necessary for those who like to shoot using this method.
A lightweight plastic hood is provided with the lens, which fits via a bayonet fitting. The fitting is quite loose on the lens supplied for testing and the hood often came off when the lens was removed from a bag for shooting.
Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS Performance
At f/2, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already excellent, with good clarity being achieved towards the edges of the frame at this aperture. Stopping down the aperture improves sharpness across the frame, with clarity in the centre of the frame peaking with outstanding levels at f/4 and clarity approaching excellent levels towards the edges of the frame at f/8.
Resolution at 16mm
How to read our charts
The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.
The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.
For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 600D using Imatest.
Chromatic aberrations are kept well under control, remaining under half a pixel width in size at all apertures. These low levels of fringing should be barely visible in images, even with high contrast areas towards the edges of the frame.
Chromatic aberration at 16mm
How to read our charts
Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.
Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc. to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.
For this review, the lens was tested on Canon EOS 600D using Imatest.
Falloff of illumination towards the corners is well controlled for a wide angle lens with a fast maximum aperture. At f/2 the corners are only 1.6 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.
Imatest detected 2.41% barrel distortion, which is a reasonably mild amount for a wide aperture lens with a fast maximum aperture, but may still become visible in images with straight lines close to the edges of the frame. Corrections should be relatively straightforward to apply in image editing software afterwards as the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame.
Flare is not an issue, in all but the harshest lighting conditions and contrast is retained well when shooting into the light. Strong point sources of light shining into the lens will cause a loss of contrast, but only in extreme cases.
Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS Sample Photos
Value for Money
This lens is pretty unique in what it offers for most camera systems, but even so given the performance it offers, the price of £419 seems very reasonable indeed. Nikon users will find the version with a metering chip much easier to use than the standard stop down metering version, so the slight premium of £40 is well worth the extra.
Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS Verdict
Those looking for wide aperture lenses for the APS-C or smaller format camera need not continue looking at full frame lenses, that generally cost and weigh more now this lens is available. Although some photographers may find manual focusing off putting, spending a little time practising and getting used to how the lens behaves will pay dividends in the long run. This is especially true when considering how little this lens costs for what you get.
Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS Pros
Very good value for money
Excellent sharpness in the centre from maximum aperture
Very good sharpness towards the edges stopped down to f/4 or beyond
Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS Cons
No hyperfocal scale
Petal shaped hood is a little loose
VALUE FOR MONEY
Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS Specifications
- Canon EF
- Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
- Olympus Micro Four Thirds
- Sony A
- Pentax K
- Samsung NX
- Sony E Mount
- Fujifilm X Mount
|Angle of View||79.5° - 83.1°|
|35mm equivalent||No Data|
|Box Contents||No Data|
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