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Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE Review

John Riley reviews the Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE full-frame auto-focus lens for Sony E mount cameras.


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Samyang Af 24mm F2,8 Fe Front Oblique View

There was a time when the only negative point about Samyang's excellent lens range was that all were manual focus. No longer is this so. Already we have the very fine 50mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2.8 and 14mm f/2.8 AF lenses for full frame Sony FE mount. There is even an AF 14mm f/2.8 EF in Canon mount. Now the new Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE for Sony full frame mirrorless cameras has arrived, the widest offering yet. This is a truly classic focal length, so let's see how it performs using the new Sony A7 III 24MP mirrorless body.
 

Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE Handling and Features

Samyang Af 24mm F2,8 Fe With Hood On Sony A7III

Our tour of this diminutive (just 93g without hood or caps) pancake lens is likely to be very short indeed. There is very little of it, although it fits in well with the A7 III body to make a very compact and light package. The bayonet lens hood is of necessity very shallow, and unlikely to make much of a difference to many shots. Nonetheless, it will help in taking any knocks and any lens hood is better than no lens hood for suppressing flare. Otherwise, we rely on Samyang's UMC coating. The hood can be reversed for storage, but there is little point as it hardly takes up any significant room even in the active position. Within the bayonet for the hood we find a standard 49mm filter thread.

There is a very smooth electronic manual focus ring and this can be used in MF mode or in the DMF mode where MF can be used to actively over-ride AF. These functions are activated in the camera menus. Focusing is down to 0.24m, or 0.79 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.13x. Apart from the lens name engraved on the barrel, that is it. Small primes such as this could still benefit the user by having a distance and depth of field scale, enabling easy setting of hyperfocal distance, but sadly no room has been found to provide these. The upside is likely to be a more compact and more sophisticated optical construction is possible, along of course with AF.

Optical construction is 7 elements in 7 groups, quite conventional on the face of it, but in fact this lens has the hidden secret of 3 Aspheric and 2 HR (High refractive index) elements, making it rather more sophisticated. This is clearly reflected in the performance, as we shall see.

Samyang Af 24mm F2,8 Fe Vertical View

In use, the lens handles beautifully and totally reliably, snapping into focus without delay and with no sign of indecision. It feels very good indeed when used with the A7 III. It is especially suited to street photography, landscape and architectural shots. Groups can be effectively shot, but single portraits need a little care to avoid exaggerating the features. Some classic lenses have also had snapshot settings indicated, enabling a fixed focus approach to say street photography, but that is not possible here without the appropriate scales on the lens for distance and depth of field. There are plenty of compensations for this and of course plenty of alternative techniques to employ.
Samyang Af 24mm F2,8 Fe Rear Oblique View


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Comments


11 Jun 2018 9:33AM
is the continuous AF silent in video with A7S ? We need a test with CDAF bodies
11 Jun 2018 12:06PM
is the AF silent in video with A7III? 35mm F2.8 was pretty loud.
11 Jun 2018 1:11PM
Hi, as a A7 III user I would highly appreciate some more information on how the AF-C performance is in comparison to native Sony lenses. Thank you very much in advance!
11 Jun 2018 1:48PM
Thanks for the review, but did you forget the vignetting? The samples show a pretty hefty vignetting, which is visible even at f/8, but you don't even mention it.
11 Jun 2018 4:40PM
I can specifically answer the question regarding vignetting. This is something that's quite common with ultra-wide lenses and not necessarily much of a negative point. Very often an image can benefit from some corner darkening, and it's a darkroom technique that was at one time very widely used. However, it is a lens defect and shows up in areas of blue sky particularly. Compact lenses are particularly prone to vignetting, As regards AF noise I would say it's, subjectively, very quiet but there were no comparable lenses in my possession at the time to compare it directly. Always a good idea to try out in a shop if possible to check specific requirements.
Xeon 1
21 Jun 2018 5:36PM
How does this lense compare to the sony 28mmf2 IQ wise? Also, how should both MtF charts be compared?
21 Jun 2018 6:33PM
It depends upon the resolution of the cameras used. Two 24MP cameras could be compared directly, but if the resolutions vary then we need to look at how the lens resolves compared to the theoretical maximum. Thus the terms used such as "excellent", "very good" and so on form a comparison guide from lens to lens. Not perfect, but as we can't use one definitive camera body for all lenses, especially as cameras evolve, then the best way we can express the standard of an optic. Hope that helps!
Xeon 1
21 Jun 2018 8:26PM
Thank you for the clarificarion, but why are the values different in both reviews?
Which lense produces sharper images S28f2 or the Samyang?
Thank you!
21 Jun 2018 11:19PM
The Sony review is an older one which does not quote actual figures. The descriptions, such as "excellent" are as close as possible describing old vs new but the difference in cameras doesn't help either. I would download some images from the reviews and put them through your usual routine, adding sharpening as you see fit, and then you should be able to judge how they compare. Of course these are only one sample of each lens, so no test result is absolute, but it should yield some useful information that can show the characteristics of a particular lens.
How is it that Ephotozine's results and Lenstip's results are so wildly different? I don't know which to believe.
4 Feb 2019 3:31PM
Well, I reported what I found and I'm sure the other reviewer reported what was found as well. Different cameras were used, different lens samples were used, so some variation is entirely possible. On the basis of the sample I received we get the results as reported in my review. Unfortunately it would not be feasible to test half a dozen samples of every lens, which is probably the only way to spot sample variation. Hope that helps!
It would be really great to see the results on sensors with smaller pixel pitch!
- Is the lens sharp enough across the frame for large prints from the A7R2/3 ?
- Is it sharp enough for the 24mp Aps-c bodies? How does the AF work with those cameras? It would make an excellent small lens for street photography on the A6xxx bodies...

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