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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 RF Review

John Riley reviews the new Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 RF lens for full-frame Canon EOS RF mount mirrorless cameras.


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Samyang Af 14mm F2,8RF Front Oblique View


Samyang have always produced excellent, interesting lenses, many of them filling gaps in the ranges of the camera manufacturers. We now have here a first for the Canon EOS R system of mirrorless cameras; the first AF lens from a third party manufacturer. Not only that, but also the widest lens available for that system. There is already a Samyang manual focus version of this lens, so it will be interesting to see if the extra cost of the AF is justified and whether or not the performance, in general, is up to the mark of the other lenses in an already fine range. So we start our journey of discovery, using the Canon EOS RP 26MP full-frame mirrorless body.

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Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 RF Handling and Features

Samyang Af 14mm F2,8RF On Canon RP
 

The first impression is of a fairly bulky lens, much wider than the MF version, no doubt to accommodate the linear STM motor. Nonetheless, the weight is a reasonable 484g and the lens sits comfortably on the RP body without looking over large or cumbersome. There is a large plastic lens cap that clips into place securely. Removing this reveals a fixed petal lens hood and a huge front element that just about fills all available space at the front of the lens. There is clearly no room for a filter thread, but if we skip to the back of the lens for a moment we find that there is a slot for gelatin filters.

There is one control ring only, the manual focus ring. This is electronic in operation and very, very smooth. Focusing is down to 0.2m, or 0.66 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.12x. This is helpful in enabling us to get in very close to foreground subjects, taking full advantage of the ultra-wide field of view and its potential for dramatic viewpoints.

There is also just one switch, marked AF/MF and self-explanatory. This switch is quite firm to operate and quite recessed and small, so there is no way that it will be operated by accident. Some may find it slightly fiddly. It is fair to say that the overall appearance and feel gives a strong impression that this is a very nicely made piece of kit. It also has a much slicker and more modern look than some other Samyang lenses.

The lens is weather-sealed, so we can continue shooting as the weather deteriorates, always a bonus.
Samyang Af 14mm F2,8RF Top View

Optical construction is 14 elements in 10 groups. There are 3 Aspherical, 1 HR (High Refractive Index) and 2 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) elements, 7 blades to the diaphragm and Samyang's UMC (Ultra Multi Coating). This is very similar to the MF version of the lens, but not quite identical. The MF lens has only 6 blades and does not focus quite as close as this new lens. There is not much in it, but it does highlight that we should not assume that what holds for one lens will be the same for another similar one.

A 14mm lens is a glorious optic to use, making it possible to include the whole of vast interiors and exterior architecture, and to capture sweeping vistas in the landscape. Of course we do need to think about the foreground and avoid leaving large empty areas. Foreground interest is often critical in the use of ultra-wide lenses. It is also possible to push the accepted boundaries, and tackle any subject, even portraits and sport, but in the case of portraits, the subject may not find the results flattering.

The Samyang 14mm lens behaves impeccably, focuses accurately and without hunting and can help us to find a whole new view on the world around us.
Samyang Af 14mm F2,8RF Rear Oblique View


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