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Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Lens Review

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Lens Review - This manual focus wide angle lens, offers a fast f/1.4 maximum aperture for a budget price of around 480, Gary Wolstenholme reviews.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC
Price : £480
Rating :
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC

This lens is available to fit many different types of cameras, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Four Thirds SLRs as well as Samsung NX mirrorless cameras. Nikon users have a choice between the basic model, which has no electronic coupling and the AE model, that has electronic contacts for transferring exposure information to the camera. In this review we will be putting the AE Nikon version through its paces.

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Handling and features

Although £480 isn't a small amount of money for many, this price is still around a third of what manufacturers ask for their own 24mm f/1.4 lenses. Even though this is a budget lens, the build quality is very good. High quality plastics with a lightly textured finish have been used for much of the lens barrel, with a metallic red ring placed just after the aperture ring, denoting this is one of Samyang's premium lenses. The lens has a decent weight to it, but isn't overly heavy and it balances perfectly on the Nikon D700 used for testing.

The smooth manual focusing ring is a pleasure to use, with damping that is neither too stiff, not too light. Those who shoot video on a DSLR and tend to use manual focus anyway, may find this lens ideal due to its excellent manual focusing action and ability to isolate a subject through shallow depth of field. Closest focus is 25cm, 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 lenses with longer focal lengths. 77mm filters can be used with this lens and as focusing is performed internally, the lens doesn't change length, and the filter thread does not rotate, which makes it ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters.

A metering chip with electronic contacts is included on the version tested, so matrix metering is supported on all Nikon cameras. The lens has to be set at f/22 to operate normally on modern Nikon cameras, but no lock is provided to hold the aperture in this position. No such issues should be encountered with the basic version, as no metering information is transferred to the camera.

A useful and clear hyperfocal distance scale is included, but there is no hard stop included for infinity focus, probably due to the use of low dispersion glass in the optical design. A lightweight plastic hood is provided with the lens, which fits snugly on the provided bayonet fitting. Unfortunately the rotation of the bayonet fitting is in the same direction as the lens needs to be turned to remove it from Nikon cameras, which often results in the hood coming loose when changing lenses.

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Performance

At f/1.4, this lens will not win any awards for sharpness, but the fairly good centre sharpness should be just decent enough for small sizes on the web, or even video work. Stopping the aperture down improves sharpness dramatically, with good sharpness being achieved in the centre by f/2 and excellent centre clarity at f/2.8. Sharpness towards the edges of the frame lags behind somewhat, only reaching good levels at f/2.8, but still improves as the lens is stopped down. Peak sharpness across the frame is achieved between f/5.6 ad f/8, where the clarity produced approaches outstanding levels across the frame.

Resolution at 24mm
Resolution at 24mm
 

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 Nikon D700 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are kept under control, remaining under half a pixel width in size at all but the fastest and slowest apertures. These low levels of fringing should pose few issues in the field.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is very strong. The corners are three stops darker than the image centre at f/1.4 and visually uniform illumination isn't achieved until the aperture is stopped down to f/8 or beyond.

Chromatic aberration at 24mm
Chromatic aberration at 24mm
 

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 a Nikon D700 using Imatest.

Imatest detected 2.03% barrel distortion, which is a relatively mild amount for a wide aperture lens like this, but may still become visible in images with straight lines close to the edges. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so should be relatively straightforward to correct in image editing software afterwards.

The multi coatings applied to this lens seem quite effective, suppressing flare and keeping contrast levels reasonable. Strong point sources of light shining into the lens will cause a loss of contrast and plenty of ghosting, but only in extreme examples of this kind of lighting.

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Sample Photos


Value for Money

With a price of only £480, this lens should represent excellent value for those who wish to experiment with fast aperture prime lenses, and especially those shooting video with an SLR, who may rely on manual focusing anyway.

Sigma offer a 24mm f/1.8, which can be picked up for the slightly lower price of around £350. This lens may have a slightly slower maximum aperture, but it also has autofocus.

24mm f/1.4 lenses from Canon and Nikon generally cost between £1250 and £1550, but will also offer superior performance at maximum aperture as well as weather sealed build and autofocus.

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Verdict

For the price, this Samyang 24mm f/1.4 offers a decent, budget introduction to fast aperture lenses. Although the sharpness delivered at f/1.4 may not be up to that delivered my manufacturer’s own lenses, it may still be usable for some applications, and it certainly costs a lot less too.

 
  The Samyang 24mm f/1.4 lens is a decent, budget introduction to fast aperture lenses.

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Pros

Very good value for the price
Excellent sharpness when stopped down
Good build
Good sharpness in the centre stopped down to f/2 or beyond

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Cons

A little soft at f/1.4
Pronounced falloff at f/1.4

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC Specifications

ManufacturerSamyang
General
Lens Mounts
  • Nikon AF
  • Pentax KAF
  • Sony A
  • Canon EOS
  • Sony Alpha
  • Minolta AF
  • Olympus 4/3rds
  • Pentax K SMC-F
  • Canon EF
  • Samsung NX
Lens
Focal Length24mm
Angle of View84
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalent24mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus25cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades8
Elements13
Groups12
Box Contents
Box ContentsFront and rear Lens caps, soft lens bag.
Dimensions
Weight670g
Height97mm

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Comments


Tord 1 Sweden
4 Nov 2012 10:46PM
A really nice lens, I have had it just for a short time, but it works just as well on my V1, as on the D600!

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