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Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Lens Review

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC fisheye NEX and NX lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye
Price : £270
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye

This 8mm fisheye lens provides a diagonal field of view of 180 degrees on an APS-C mirrorless camera, sports a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture and is available for around £270 for Sony NEX and Samsung NX cameras in a black or silver finish.

As there is no electronic coupling between this lens and the camera, metering is performed by stopping down the aperture and focusing is performed manually. As fisheye lenses provide extensive depth of field, this shouldn't put you off, especially if the low price is taken into consideration.

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Handling and features

The build quality of this 8mm fisheye lens from Samyang is excellent. It feels very well put together and is very lightweight at ony 217g. The lens mount is metal and the lens is also quite compact. The lens balances very well on the Sony NEX 3 used for testing as a result.

Focusing and control over the aperture are both manual, as the lens has no electronic contact with the camera. Half stop intervals have been used to divide the aperture range, giving plenty of control for exposure. The focusing ring is extremely well damped. In fact it is so well damped, it can be quite stiff to move through the range. Focus distances from infinity to the closest focus distance of 30cm are marked on the ring, but no hyperfocal scale is provided.

Taking images of anything over two to three metres away is simple, as the lens can simply be left set on or close to infinity. For closer distances it is recommended to use the magnification feature of your camera to ensure sharp images, especially at wide apertures.

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Performance

As is often true of the performance of fisheye lenses, sharpness in the centre of the frame is very high from maximum aperture. In fact this lens delivers outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame between f/2.8 and f/8. Clarity towards the edges of the frame is good at f/2.8, but rises to excellent levels as the lens is stopped down to between f/5.6 and f/8.

Resolution at 8mm  

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 Sony NEX-3 using Imatest.

The achilles heel of fisheye lenses is often the level of chromatic fringing produced along high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame. Although this lens displays quite high levels of CA towards the edges, with fringing approaching 1.5 pixel widths at f/2.8 and f/22, this is still a reasonable level, as many fisheye optics display much higher levels of fringing. Still it may pay to be aware of this, especially if you intend to produce very large prints.

Chromatic aberration at 8mm  

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 Sony NEX-3 using Imatest.

Distortion is typical of a fisheye lens with straight lines near the edges of the frame curving wildly. However, this lens produces images with stereographic projection, which results in more natural looking images than typically found with fisheye lenses that produce images with equal-area projection. Objects placed near the edges of the frame appear far less compressed than those taken with a lens that produces equal-area or orthographic projection.

Due to the extreme angle of view, formal testing of how illumination falls off towards the corners isn't possible. In use, at f/2.8 and f/4 a slight, but gradual falloff in brightness can be seen appearing towards the corners, but this appears visually even by f/5.6

Flare and loss of contrast when shooting with bright light sources in the frame are both well controlled. A little flare and loss of contrast may be seen with a bright source of light in the frame when shooting at wide apertures, but this is reduced as the lens is stopped down.

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Sample Photos


Value for Money

As neither Samsung or Sony currently produce a fisheye lens of any description, the only choices available for owners of these cameras are from third-party manufacturers. Being priced at around £270, this lens is quite inexpensive, especially considering the performance it delivers.

The Madoka 180 7.3mm circular fisheye lens is currently the only other fisheye lens available for Sony NEX cameras. This lens is a completely different prospect, as it projects a circular image in the centre of the frame and costs around £200.

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Verdict

The exceptionally low price of £270 for the performance this lens delivers makes this lens a simple choice for those in the market for a fisheye lens for their Sony NEX, or Samsung NX cameras. Even though there is little or no competition, the excellent sharpness delivered from maximum aperture, great build and compact size mean there is little to deter prospective buyers from this lens.

 
  The Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC fisheye lens has excellent sharpness at the maximum aperture and is inexpensive.

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Pros

Excellent sharpness from maximum aperture
Very good build quality
Compact and lightweight
Inexpensive
Stereographic projection

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Cons

Stiff manual focus ring
Although acceptable, CA levels may pose problem in very large prints if left uncorrected

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fisheye Specifications

ManufacturerSamyang
General
Lens Mounts
  • Samsung NX
  • Sony E Mount
Lens
Focal Length8mm
Angle of View180
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalent12mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus30cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
BladesNo Data
Elements10
Groups12
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight217g
Height55.8mm

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