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Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS MFT Lens Review

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS MFT Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS lens in Micro Four Thirds mount.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS MFT
Price : BUY NOW£330
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samyang 12mm F2 0 NCS CS MFT Lens (6)

This 12mm wide angle lens is available to fit a wide range of mirrorless system cameras, including Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Micro Four Thirds, and Sony E mount compatible cameras. On a Micro Four Thirds camera, as tested here, it offers an angle of view equivalent to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera. This wide angle, coupled with the fast f/2 maximum aperture and low price of £330, should make it a very interesting lens for many. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Handling and Features

Samyang 12mm F2 0 NCS CS MFT Lens (9)

The build quality of this lens is excellent. It feels very solid, despite weighing only 245g. The lens mount is metal and the lens is also compact for a lens with a bright f/2 maximum aperture. This makes the lens a perfect companion for more compact Micro Four Thirds bodies and it balances well with the Panasonic Lumix GX7 used for testing. 

Samyang 12mm F2 0 NCS CS MFT Lens (5)

Aperture control and focusing are both completely manual, as the lens has no electronic interface with the camera. The aperture ring is divided into half stop intervals, and clicks firmly into place for each. The focusing ring is well damped, and smooth to operate, which makes focusing a pleasure. Focus distances from infinity to the closest focus distance of 20cm are marked on the ring, but no hyperfocal scale is provided.

Taking images of anything over a metre or two away is straightforward, as the lens can simply be left set to infinity. For closer distances it is recommended to use the magnification or focus peaking features of your camera to ensure sharp focus.

Samyang 12mm F2 0 NCS CS MFT Lens (7)
 

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Performance

Sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame from maximum aperture, and clarity towards the edges falls a shade short of good levels. Stopping down improves sharpness across the frame, with peak sharpness being reached in the centre between f/2.8 and f/4, with clarity towards the edges catching up to excellent levels at f/5.6.
 


 

 
12mm MTF
12mm MTF

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 Panasonic Lumix GX7 using Imatest.

 

For a fast, wide-angle lens, chromatic aberrations are very well controlled. Fringing barely exceeds one pixel width, and only does when stopped down to f/16 or beyond. This low level of fringing should pose few issues, even in large prints and harsh crops from the edges of the frame.


 
12mm CA
12mm CA

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 Panasonic Lumix GX7 using Imatest.

 

Distortion is fairly typical for a fast aperture wide angle prime lens, with 1.2% barrel distortion present, which is only a mild amount, but it still may become noticeable, especially in images with straight lines parallel to the image edges.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is reasonable for a lens with a fast f/2 maximum aperture. At f/2 the corners are 1.64stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/4 or beyond.

A little contrast is lost when shooting into the light at maximum aperture, but on the whole control of flare is good with this lens. A petal shaped hood is supplied with the lens, which does a good job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS MFT Sample Photos

Value For Money

Priced at around £330, this lens is very reasonably priced for a wide angle with a fast f/2 maximum aperture.

The closest equivalent in Micro Four Thirds fit is the Olympus 12mm f/2 lens, which costs around £500. This lens does sport autofocus though, so may be worth the extra £170 to some.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Verdict

Overall, this is an excellent optic that produces images with excellent sharpness, low distortion and low CA. Also, what makes this lens especially interesting is the low price of around £330, which is £170 less than the closest equivalent.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre from maximum aperture
Very good build quality
Compact
Low CA
Good value

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Cons

Lack of autofocus may put some people off (although it really shouldn’t)

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Samyang 12mm f/2.0 is an excellent optic that produces images with excellent sharpness.


Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS MFT Specifications

ManufacturerSamyang
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length12mm
Angle of View98.9
Max Aperturef/2
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size67mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent24mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus20cm
Construction
Blades6
Elements12
Groups10
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight245g
Height59mm

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Comments


3 Dec 2014 12:37AM
Thanks for reviewing this lens, have been interested in it for a while and it sounds like a good performer.

Would be interested to see if it performs as well on an APS-C sensor as I would guess that m43 uses the 'best' central part of the image circle?

For me this lens is more interesting on APS-C like Sony or Fuji as it gives an ultra wide fov (18mm equivalent in ff/35mm film terms) whereas the 24mm fov is a more common wide angle and a few m43 zoom lenses offer this already.

Would love to see a m43 prime lens between 7 and 9mm and f.28 or faster for a reasonable price. MF is fine with me especially if it brings cots down(I already own the excellent 7.5mm fisheye) - but the only real advantage of this Samyang 12mm is the f2.0 aperture. I am sure the Panasonic 12-32 is near enough as good at 12mm and offers autofocus too plus it costs slightly less.

Am almost tempted to pick up this lens in Fuji or Sony mount and a cheap used Nex or Fuji XA-1 to mount it on, as the wider fov combined with f2.0 makes it more interesting than the m43 version. Don't really want to buy (yet another) camera though!

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You can watch two video tests with the Samyang Rokinon 12mm F/2.0 MFT.
http://vimeo.com/111931493
http://vimeo.com/111886761
Enjoy,
4 Dec 2014 1:57PM
@mellowmark, check out Jordan Steele's and Ian Norman's review of this lens on the Sony Alpha APS-C sensor cameras. They are equally as impressed! When I add the Panasonic GH4 to my Micro Four Thirds system, I'm definitely going to also add this great wide angle prime lens. Samyang/Rokinon also make a cine version of this lens with clickless aperture and geared focus!

http://admiringlight.com/blog/review-rokinon-samyang-12mm-f2-0-ncs-cs-sony-e-mount/

http://petapixel.com/2014/06/04/review-rokinon-12mm-f2-0-great-option-astrophotogs-budget/
17 Dec 2014 4:01PM
I've got this lens on a Sony NEX6, I posted some examples over at DP review in the summer for people that were interested in the lens there:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3706847

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