Samyang is one of the lens manufacturers that offers affordable lenses with top notch quality. I have personally owned 3 Samyang lenses and I never regret it, in fact I recommend them. So far, they have never let me down. The Samyang 14mm is an ultra wide angle lens, if you haven’t tried an such focal length, it can be overwhelming to use. This super wide angle can easily introduce distortions, but once you get the hang of it, you will not get enough of it! I love ultra wide angle lenses, I never go to any shoot without it. I started photography shooting landscapes and architecture, so when I discovered the world of wide angle lenses; I was hooked! They are super fun to use and really offers a unique view and you can use their distortions to your advantage.
This particular lens is a manual focusing lens.. Fortunately, wide angle lens isn’t that complicated to get into focus. Usually, I go set my aperture at f8 or higher and move the focus ring to infinity and then back it up a notch, that usually does the job. For this lens, I’m pairing it with my trusty Nikon D810.
The Samyang XP series is their prime lens and they are not playing around here. Once I opened and held the actual lens in my hand, I was like wow! Is this a Samyang lens or a premium Zeiss lens? I mean, Samyang lenses have top notch build quality but the finishings are not as premium, but that changes with the XP lenses. This is like their equivalent of the Sigma’s Art Lenses. Really good job here by Samyang, everything looks and feels premium, especially for the price. You can check the price here.
Like any Samyang lens it is built well and feels robust. I have no doubt that this thing can survive a zombie apocalypse. The materials used are nice to touch and high quality. I have used some Zeiss Touit lenses before and they remind me of this lens. This might sound weird, but I feel that the this XP 14mm f2.4 slightly edges the Zeiss because the rubber used is less of a dust magnet. I remember, a few hours using the Zeiss Touit lenses and the rubber parts looks like a bunch of cats had a party around it. Not the case for this lens, the rubber parts doesn’t attract too much dust or linens and can easily be cleaned.
The XP lens is not a heavy lens, but there’s a good heft to it, just enough to make it feel robust. The focusing knob is nicely weighted, not too heavy nor too light, which is perfect. Since this is probably the most used part of the lens being a manual lens, that is a really good thing to have.
Performance and User Experience
Samyang is not new to 14mm, in fact they have been making 14mm for a long time, the 14mm f2.8 ED UMC lens is a popular lens lens mainly because of the performance at a very good price point. I have used that lens and was really impressed by it. So I’m really looking forward on using this lens. Samyang promises a lot of things about this lens and you know what, the XP 14mm f2.4 lens delivers!
This lens shows no weird distortions or color cast. The central sharpness is good from 2.4 until f22 and that is quite exceptional, but what blew me away is the edge to edge sharpness. It is sharp at wide open at f2.4, where other lens double the price range sometimes struggle at 2.4 and it is sharp again until f22. I’m using it with the D810 which is a 36 megapixel camera and the lens is resolving all those 36 megapixels, this lens is worthy to be called a premium lens.
According to Samyang, this lens can resolve up to 50 megapixels and 8K in video, and after using this lens, I believe them. Speaking of video, I think this will be a really good video lens, since it is not so heavy and a fast 2.4 aperture which is good in low light hand held or gimbal situation.
The Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 is a really good lens and if you are looking for an ultra wide angle lens, you should really have a look at this lens. Please note that even though this is a Premium lens from Samyang, it doesn’t have an auto-focus (AF) capabilities. However, being a 14mm lens, focusing isn’t really tricky since everything is pretty much in focus already especially in higher aperture. Also note most of the cameras these days offer manual focusing aids, in my D810, it shows a digital zoom view in the live view so you can see if its focused or not. In other cameras they offer focus peaking which really helps a lot. There’s some electronic connectors in the lens mount, which lets you adjust the aperture through the camera, at least in the Nikon mount version I used, you have to check for your camera mount’s version. The EXIF shows the complete data, including the aperture and the focal length. Those full manual Samyang lenses doesn’t really do that, since there are no electronic connectors like this lens.
As mentioned before, Samyang says this lens is meant to resolve up to 50 megapixels or 8k video resolution and if you are using a high megapixel camera, this is quite an important feature to have. Not all lens can resolve such resolution, so it is important to check such feature if you are using a high megapixel camera such as Nikon D850, Canon 5DSR or Sony A7R.
I believe that this is an excellent lens for landscape, architecture, astrophotography and even videography. The 14mm gives a very unique sweeping view and it can take your photography to a new level. If you can’t afford those branded lens, this is a very promising alternative. If you have a high resolution camera, then this might be for you.
Got my lens from BHM Store, they are the distributor of Samyang lens here in UAE.
Here are some sample shots I took with the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4, they have been edited and color graded using Photoshop CC.