SAMYANG XP 14mm F2.4 – Lens Review
Samyang have been extremely busy these past months with multiple new lens releases their latest being the new Full frame compatible 14mm f2.4 XP (also usable on crop bodies). I’ve been testing this lens for a few weeks now and have to say impressed.
The Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP lens is part of Samyang’s new line of premium lenses designed for todays high megapixel cameras with resolving power to suit 50 megapixel photo and 8k video. It is consisted of 18 glass lenses in 14 groups including 14 including four special optics, two aspherical lenses, one hybrid aspherical lens, two extra low distortion lenses and one high refractive lens. This produces minimal aberrations, enhanced clarity and edge to edge sharpness. The lens body itself is made of aluminium alloy.
The lens is Manual focus, minimum focussing distance is .28m, it has 9 aperture blades, Aperture range is f2.4 – f22 and will come in Canon EF (available now) and Nikon mount available soon.
Initial thoughts on opening the box.
Wow! In all seriousness this is a nice looking lens, smooth modern lines, clean minimal design and built extremely well. It’s clear this lens is intended for the higher end of the market.
Samyang have gone away from the manual aperture found on most of their lenses opting for in camera control of aperture. This really helps create those smooth, sleak lines. The lens hood is built in and not removable, it protects the large front element.
Even the lens cap design has had a makeover in comparison to other Samyang caps, high end equipment always looks great in all black.
Left Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP lens. Right Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens.
In use the Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP is a dream to use. The focus ring is smooth and feels dampened (think old school lenses) the focus ring has a smooth grippy rubber grip. Aperture control from the camera body is fantastic although I really like a manual aperture ring for time-lapse. Note – on Canon cameras the wide open aperture will be indicated as f2.5 although the aperture is truly at f2.4, this is due to the camera system. Although the lens is manual focus you do get focus confirmation, fantastic and works well.
Similar to Samyang’s own 14mm f2.8 lens and a lot of other ultra wide angle lenses the 14mm f2.4 XP does not have a filter thread. To use filters you will need a 3rd party filter adapter and large filters, being a lens that has yet to be fully released to the market I’m not sure if there are filter adapters available yet.
Sales Historic Swing Bridge taken with the Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP lens.
Samyang have gone to a lot of effort to make a beautiful looking lens but hows it perform? The Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP is really in another league when compared to previous Samyang wide-angle lens. Resolution and sharpness edge to edge really is impressive, actually this is the sharpest lens I own, sharper than my L series glass. For a 14mm lens distortion is also well controlled.
Lets see some examples all taken with a Canon 6d full frame camera,
The above image is of a wall covered in foliage close to my home taken at f5.6 to show edge to edge sharpness, the next couple of images are 100% crops from each corner and the centre of the frame.
Above- top left corner 100% crop.
Above – Top right corner 100% crop.
Above – 100% crop, centre of frame.
Above – bottom left corner 100% crop.
Above – bottom right corner 100% crop.
Above – Straight out of camera, lines are pretty straight, distortion well controlled for such a wide lens.
Above – Edited image with slight distortion correction.
Above – straight lines are pretty straight although distortion is present, this is pretty good for a 14mm.
As you can see the lens captures an incredible amount of detail and holds up extremely well at the edges where a lot of wide angle lenses fail. Straight lines are pretty straight, theres no problem shooting horizons with this lens.
Samyang’s 14mm f2.8 lens is an extremely popular astrophotography lens used by amateurs and pros alike and has gained a fantastic reputation for great performance especially when it comes to coma, extremely important when it come to shooing the stars, the 14mm f2.8 outperforms a lot of much more expensive lenses in this area. Needless to say I was really excited when Samyang announced to 14mm f2.4 xp lens given astro is what I enjoy to shoot the most, how does it perform?
Absolutely no disappointment here, I can see it being hugely popular. The coma control is extremely good at f2.4, there is no coma, even in the corners its impressively controlled. The resolution already spoken about helps pull out plenty of details in the stars and foreground.
Flare is well controlled when pointing directly at the moon. F2.4 allows a lot of light in and there is a clear advantage over an f2.8 lens. Depth of field is huge, even at f2.4 you can have close subjects and the stars acceptably in focus. The infinity mark on the lens is very accurate, I know this was a bit of an issue with some of the f2.8 lenses, but I still think you can get little more out of the lens using live view and the zoom function. There is a little vignetting at wide apertures but in real use its not overly noticeable. My only disappointment is the Milky-way core has disapeared from view here in Australia and I will have to wait a few months before I can shoot it with this lens.
Un-edited f2.4, 20sec, Iso3200
100% crop of the top right hand corner of the above image. f2.4, 20sec, Iso3200.
f2.4, 20sec, iso800. Flare is non existent shooting directly at the moon, foreground detail is impressive. The lens allows for for close subjects all the way to infinity to be acceptably sharp.
Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP Vs Samyang 14mm f2.8
As you can see the Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP is a fantastic performer at night. But a really popular question has been how does it stack up against Samyang’s own 14mm f2.8 so I decided to do some head to head comparisons both at f2.8, make sure you read the descriptions.
Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP lens. Straight out of camera, f2.8, 20sec, iso3200
Samyang 14mm f2.8 Straight out of camera. f2.8, 20sec, iso 3200
Note the field of view between each lens is different despite being the exact same shot. The 14mm f2.8 shows a little more due to it being slightly “fishy” having more distortion. It also lets a little less light in comparison to the 14mm f2.4 XP.
Top left hand corner crop f2.8, 20sec, iso3200 Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP
Top left hand corner crop f2.8, 20sec, iso 3200 Samyang 14mm f2.8
The 14mm f2.8 is pretty good at night and has gained an excellent reputation as an astro lens but the corner crops really show the exceptional performance of the 14mm f2.4 XP lens. Sharpness, detail, lack of edge distortion and coma is really impressive, it really leaves the 14mm f2.8 in its dust!
Centre crop f2.8, 20sec, iso 3200 Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP
Centre crop f2.8, 20sec, iso3200. Samyang 14mm f2.8
The centre crop for each lens shows again how much more detail the 14mm f2.4 XP lens can capture and how much sharper it is.
Samyang 14mm f2.4 with slight editing to bring out the stars.
Samyang 14mm f2.8 with slight editing.
The two above images are the same images as the unedited shots above just with slight post processing you can again see the extra detail, more stars and sharpness the 14mm f2.4 XP captures. Interestingly the 14mm f2.4 XP image looks cleaner? I Believe this is because it has captured slightly more light than the 14mm f2.8 in the initial exposure probably due to lens construction.
The Samyang 14mm f2.4 is a super impressive lens, super sharp and capable of capturing incredible detail. Samyang have set out to produce something exceptional and I believe they have, for landscape its going to capture every little detail with minimal distortion for such a wide lens. It’s performance at night I was really pleased with and think it will be right at the top as far as lenses suitable for capturing the stars, it really does do a great job I honestly can’t wait for “milky way season” here in Oz. The only “faults” I can see are slight vignetting at wide apertures, a tiny bit of distortion but hardly faults being such a wide and fast lens, I’m just looking for faults here.
Build quality is fantastic, a really big step up over other Samyang lenses, not that they are bad but this lens is aimed at the higher end of the market and they have done a great job. RRP here in Australia will be $1399. The Canon mount is available now, Nikon mount available soon.
This is going to be a popular lens!