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Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE Review

John Riley reviews the new Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE lens for Sony E-Mount cameras, compact and lightweight, find out how this wide-angle full-frame lens performs.


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Samyang AF 24mm F1,8FE Front Oblique View

Samyang now have an impressive range of AF lenses for Sony mirrrorless cameras. Here we have the latest one - the full frame Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE. This joins the other compact f/1.8 lenses of 35mm, 45mm and 75mm lenses. The new 24mm is especially targeted at, but of course not exclusively for, landscape and astrophotography. In common with the other lenses in the set, the 24mm is compact, light and also weather sealed, ready for the outdoors. Let's take the Sony Alpha A7R III 42MP body and run the new lens through its paces and see what it can do.

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Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE Handling and Features

Samyang AF 24mm F1,8FE On Sony A7RIII

The lens is devoid of any unnecessary embellishment, offering a compact and light optic that weighs in at just 230g. There is a provided petal lenshood that bayonets cleanly into place and shows no tendency to become dislodged. Within the bayonet fit for the hood is a standard 58mm filter thread, usefully the same size at the previously tested Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8. lens. 24mm and 75mm could be a very viable lens set for a wide variety of subjects. The lens is an excellent match for the Sony A7R III and other bodies.

Starting our tour of the rest of the lens, there are very few controls. The reasonably wide control ring is electronic, and therefore as smooth as we would expect. Its function is controlled by the custom switch, adjusting focus in Mode 1 (when focus mode is set to DMF for manual tweaks in AF or, of course, MF) and aperture in Mode 2. The aperture and STM motor for AF are virtually silent in operation. Focusing is down to 0.19m or 0.62 feet, giving a maximum magnification of 0.21x.

There is also a focus lock button provided and an LED that provides confirmation that infinity focus is achieved when doing astrophotography. This gives useful confirmation in the dark whilst not interfering with the exposure itself. To use this function, the custom button is held whilst the camera is switched on, the LED lights red while the lens is moved to infinity and then turns green when infinity focus is achieved. This happens very quickly and is a sure way of ensuring that astrophotography images are shot at infinity. The button can also be assigned to other focus distances or functions if desired, from within the camera menus.

The quality of the metal mount is excellent and the lens mounts smoothly and securely onto the camera. There is no rotational play when the lens is in position.
Samyang AF 24mm F1,8FE With Hood On Sony A7RIII

Optical construction is 11 elements in 8 groups, including 2 Aspherical, 3 HR (High Refractive Index) and 2 ED (Extra Low Dispersion).The diaphragm comprises 9 rounded blades for optimum bokeh. Finally, Samyang's well established UMC coating technology ensures resistance to flare. Weather sealing ensures that the lens can be happily used outdoors in more challenging weather conditions, defined by Samyang as resistance to dust, light rain and snow.

A 24mm lens is a highly versatile focal length, now approaching into the realm of the ultra-wide but being more versatile and easier to handle. Although the primary motivation for this lens is astrophotography and landscape, 24mm is equally suitable for street/reportage, architecture and interiors. Close ups are facilitated by the relatively close focus. This new lens also joins a small but growing sub-group of Samyang full frame lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras, also including 35mm, 45mm and 75mm, all with maximum apertures of f/1.8. This is a compelling selection that covers a vast area of possibilities.

It is also worth mentioning that the lens can be mounted on Sony APS-C “crop format” mirrorless cameras, where it has a “35mm format equivalent” of 36mm. Although it is a bit out of proportion in terms of size it is not excessively so and would be usable without unbalancing the smaller cameras.

In summary, a very satisfactory lens in terms of handling and functions, a real pleasure to use; light and compact as well. Now let's look at the performance and see if that lives up to its promise.
Samyang AF 24mm F1,8FE Rear Oblique View


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