Home   Donate   New   Search   Gallery   How-To   Books   Links   Workshops   About   Contact

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 (FX)
aka Pro Optic, Rokinon, Bower (2009-)
© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

Please help KenRockwell..com

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Samyang 14mm f/2.8, Pro-Optic Nikon AI-s version (no filters, Korean, 18.7 oz./529g, about $400). enlarge. This one came from this link to it at Adorama, also specifically in Nikon, Canon EOS and Micro 4/3 mounts. It also comes branded as Bower, also specifically in Nikon, Canon EOS, Pentax/Samsung and Minolta Maxxum/Sony mounts. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use any of those or these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

 

October 2010      Nikon    Canon    LEICA    Pentax

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S Review (2007-)

Nikon 14mm f/2.8 AF-D Review (2000-)

Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II Review (2007-)

Canon 14mm f/2.8 L Review (1991-2007)

Canon FD 14mm f/2.8 (-1986; review coming)

Nikon 13mm f/5.6 Review (1976-1998)

Pentax SMC 15mm f/3.5 (1980s-1990s, review coming)

 

Great for

A functional ultra-ultra wide FX lens for less than one-quarter the price of a Nikon or Canon 14mm FX ultra-ultrawide lens.

This new 14mm lens sells for less than one-half the price of even a used Nikon or Canon 14mm lens!

 

Not for

Optically the worst 14mm FX lens sold today, but much better than nothing at all.

I wouldn't bother with this on a DX camera. I'd use any DX ultrawide lens, like the Tokina 11-16mm, instead.

 

Optics:
Ergonomics: (manual focus)
Usefulness:
Availability:
Overall:

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

Compatibility

adorama

 
B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Ritz Camera

I personally buy from Adorama, Amazon, Ritz, B&H, Calumet and J&R. I can't vouch for ads below.

 

This is a rectilinear ultra-ultrawide 14mm lens. It attempts to keep straight lines straight. It is not a fisheye lens, which would be much smaller and less expensive, but also curve everything into a ball.

For budget projects, this Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens works fine on film and FX. Samyang is a Korean maker of security camera lenses, much how Tamron does the same thing in Japan.

Compared critically to Nikon and Canon's 14mm lenses, this Samyang 14mm f/2.8 isn't very sharp, and has hellacious distortion, but for $400, it's the least expensive 14mm ultra-ultrawide lens ever made.

Unlike the Samyang 8mm f/3.5 fisheye and Samyang 85mm f/1.4 lenses, this 14mm lens' optics aren't very good. This 14mm lens is inexpensive, but it isn't a bargain as are the others.

The Samyang 8mm f/3.5 fisheye and Samyang 85mm f/1.4 have great optics, but each of the samples I used had mechanical sample defects. By comparison, this 14mm lens has great mechanics, but poor optics.

Forget this 14mm FX lens for DX; this lens sells at a premium to cover the large FX format; DX lenses do a better job for less money on DX than FX lenses.

 

Compatibility       intro     top

This lens comes in versions to fit many different cameras. I'm discussing the Nikon-mount version here; feel free to extrapolate accordingly for the other camera mounts.

Likewise, I'm using it on full-frame as designed. It's foolish to shoot this beast on smaller formats, for which DX and other lenses are far better suited.

This manual-focus Nikon-mount lens works great with most Nikon cameras, 35mm and digital. It has no CPU or electronic contacts to work with the meters of lesser AF and digital cameras.

It works flawlessly with every manual focus Nikon camera made since 1977. Because it lacks the meter coupling prong of Nikon's manual-focus lenses, you'll need to use stop-down metering with Nikon's 1959-1976 cameras, like the Nikon F of 1959 and early versions of the Nikon F2.

On the D3X, D3s, D3, D700, D300, D200, D2 and F6, use the "Non-CPU Lens Data" menu option to set 13 or 15mm and f/2.8 to get full color matrix metering, EXIF data and finder read-out of set aperture. (There is no 14mm seting in the Nikon menus.) It works great in aperture-preferred auto as well as manual exposure modes on these cameras.

It also provides Matrix metering on the FA, F4 and F6.

The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5000 and below) and cheaper film cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you'll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hotshoe adapter to meter manually.

 

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Samyang 14mm f/2.8. enlarge.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

 

Optics            top

14 elements in 10 groups.

One of these elements is a glass aspherical, and another is a hybrid (half-plastic) aspherical.

Samyang also claims ED and high-refraction glass.

Internal focus.

Multicoated.

 

Diaphragm            top

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 at f/5.6. enlarge.

6 straight blades.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Aperture Ring            top

Yes.

Plastic.

Half-stop clicks, except between f/16 and f/22.

 

Close Focus            top

11 inches (0.92 feet).

0.28 meters.

 

Angle of View        top

115.7° on FX and 35mm.

93.9° on small-format DX, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung.

89.9° on small-format Canon 1.6x.

76.24° on small-format Micro 4/3.

 

Focal Length        top

14mm.

On a small-format DX camera, this lens sees an angle-of-view similar to what a 21mm lens would see on a full-frame camera.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?            top

Yes.

 

Focus Scale            top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale            top

No!

Dadblast it, instead of the scale, Samyang chose to put advertising there!

 

Infra-Red Focus Index            top

No.

 

Filter Thread            top

None!

No gel filter slot, either.

 

Caps            top

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 with factory caps. enlarge.

The front cap is a plastic thing, identical in design to the front cap of the Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II. It clips onto the inside of the larger front petals.

It only goes on two ways; you'll have to rotate it a bit if you don't have it square.

The rear cap is a copy of the Nikon rear cap.

 

Size            top

Samyang specifies 87.0mm (3.425 inches) diameter.

Samyang also specifies:

Length
Millimeters
Inches
Nikon
93.6mm
3.685"
Canon
96.1mm
3.783"
Pentax
94.6mm
3.724"
Sony/Maxxum
95.6mm
3.764"
4/3
101.4mm
3.992"
Samsung NX
117.1mm
4.610"

 

Weight            top

18.665 oz. (529.2g), measured, Nikon version.

Samyang specifies:

 
Grams
Ounces
Nikon
530g
18.7 oz.
Canon
552g
19.5 oz.
Pentax
530g
18.7 oz.
Sony/Maxxum
534g
18.8 oz.
4/3
560g
19.8 oz.
Samsung
573g
20.2 oz.

 

Case            top

Silly fake velvet pouch, included.

A big sock works better.

 

Made in            top

Korea.

 

Packaging            top

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Box, ProOptic 14mm f/2.8. enlarge.

Single-wall cardboard box.

Glossy printing.

Two thin, hard white molded plastic inner holders.

The lens is in an clear plastic bag, and the paperwork and pouch sit on top inside the box.

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

Focus    Distortion   Ergonomics   Falloff    Filters    

Color Fringes    Mechanics    Sharpness   Sunstars

 

Focus      performance     top

Manual focus is perfect. The focus ring glides with just one fingertip.

It is geared rather slowly; it's far more precise than necessary.

The D3, D3X, D3s, D700, F4, F5, F6 and most professional AF cameras have three very precise electronic manual focus indicators, with which this lens works perfectly.

Lesser digital cameras, like the D300s and down, usually have just one "OK" focus dot, which is not as precise as two arrows and a dot.

 

Distortion      performance     top

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 has loads of weird-looking and complex distortion.

It will not correct with simple tools like Photoshop's lens distortion filter, and I hope DxO doesn't waste their time making modules for this lens when DxO's time would be far better spent making modules for other Canon and Nikon 14mm lenses with other full-frame cameras.

Distortion, Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Distortion at 1 meter, Samyang 14mm f/2.8.

It would have looked less bad if I had been able to align the camera more carefully, but you get the idea. There is a huge bulge in the center.

Heaven help you if you use this on anything other than full-frame, in which case the bloated center will result in even stronger barrel distortion in DX.

 

Ergonomics      performance     top

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8's ergonomics are great!

Focus flips with a fingertip. It is manual-focus only.

The big plastic front keeps your fingers out of the lens.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)          performance     top

Falloff on FX is strong at f/2.8, and goes away as stopped down.

This is exactly what I expected, the same as the Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II and even better than the Nikon 14mm f/2.8 AF-D.

I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.

 

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 falloff on FX and film at infinity, no correction.

f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6
f/8

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, Use with      performance     top

Forget it.

There is no way to attach a filter to the front, and not even a gel filter slot on the read.

Your bet bet would be to try to tape a gel to the rear, and hope it doesn't dislodge and jam your shutter.

Good luck; for filters, the Nikon and Canon 14mm lenses all provide a rear gel slot.

 

Lateral Color Fringes      performance     top

I can't see any on a Nikon D3, which corrects them.

 

Mechanics      performance     top

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Rear, Samyang 14mm f/2.8. enlarge.

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is built of both plastic and metal. it uses plastic where it should. like the front petals, which are more resistant to chipping and banging than if they were metal, and uses metal for the focus ring. Nice!

 

Front Barrel (ahead of focus ring)

Plastic.

Printed markings.

 

Filter Threads

NONE.

 

Focus Ring

Metal, rubber covered.

Engraved markings.

 

Focus Helicoids

Feels like brass: smooth and silky with no play.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale

NONE.

 

Internals

Seem like metal and plastic.

 

Aperture Ring

Plastic.

Engraved markings filled with paint.

 

Mount

Some sort of metal.

Doesn't slide-in as nicely as a real NIKKOR lens; it feels grubby.

 

Identity

Printed on barrel just behind the focus ring.

 

Serial Number

Not found.

 

Ass-Gasket (dust seal at mount)

No.

 

Noises When Shaken

None, the most solid lens I've shaken!

 

Made in

Korea.

 

Sharpness      performance     top

Warning 1: Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens.

Warning 2: Lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers.

If you count your pixels, count this lens out. Even Nikon and Canon's most expensive current 14mm lenses are their softest lenses, and this Samyang is even softer.

With these caveats, the 14mm f/2.8 is possibly the softest non-toy lens I've ever tested.

It is very blurry in sides and corners at f/2.8, and improves to merely soft at f/11.

Stop it down when you can, and the results are fine for the photographer who prefers not to spend over four figures, even used, for a name-brand 14mm lens.

I have read reports on something called the "Internet" where others have had much better results. If true, this is due to sample variation. Just as my sample of the Samyang 8mm f/3.5 fisheye had its focus out of adjustment, and my sample of the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 had a sticky diaphragm that leads to occasional gross overexposure, it may be the luck of the draw that gave me a soft 14mm lens. This is what we get when we go trolling for the least expensive product, so be careful. Unlike men and LEICA lenses, every cheap lens is created differently.

 

Sunstars      performance     top

With its straight 6-bladed diaphragm, this 14mm f/2.8 should make 6-pointed sunstars on bright points of light.

This should be the same as both of Canon's EF 14mm lenses.

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Recommendations

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is a manual-focus-only lens.

In the hands of a creative photographer, it can create eye-catching images.

If you're a pixel-counter, skip this lens and get a real Nikon or Canon 14mm, but if you're a student on a budget, heck, I would have bought one of these back when I was a student, if they had made these back then. (hint: Nikon's and Canon's 14mm lenses aren't exactly that sharp in the corners, either, but stil much better than this Samyang.)

If you're on a budget and demand an ultra-sharp ultra-wide lens, look instead at Nikon's 18mm f/3.5 AI-s, which sells used for about the same price, uses filters, and is smaller and lighter. For half this price, look at either the Nikon 20mm f/3.5 AI-s or Nikon 20mm f/4 AI.

This lens is sold under many names like ProOptic, Rokinon and Bower. It is the same lens, so buy whichever costs less. I've found the ProOptic brand, as sold at Adorama and shown here, is the least expensive.

 

More Information      top

Samyang's Technical Data

Samyang's Technical Data (PDF).

Samyang, Korea.

 

Help me help you         top

I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links to Adorama, Amazon, eBay, Ritz, Calumet and J&R and when you get anything. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. eBay is always a gamble, but all the other places always have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!

Thanks for reading!

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

Home   Donate   New   Search   Gallery   How-To   Books   Links   Workshops   About   Contact