I use a macro lens a lot for product shots for blogs, social media content and just for fun. Samyang recently sent me their f2.8 100mm macro lens to try out, in the review you will find images taken with this lens on both Canon full frame and Sony aps-c cameras, you will also find some Astrophotography samples.
Firstly, here is some information straight from the Samyang Lens Global Website
Macro Telephoto Manual Focus Lens
Samyang Optics 100mm F2.8 ED UMC MACRO is a macro telephoto manual focus lens designed for full frame sensor sizes. The maximum close-up magnification is 1:1. This macro lens with vivid color and soft out-focusing is the best lens for close-up images of flower and insects. It also can be used as a 100mm telephoto lens for landscapes and portraits.
Samyang 100mm F2.8 ED UMC MACRO has a low F number of F2.8. You may control the lens precisely when shooting under various exposure environment including relatively dark or too bright situations.
This lens features 15 lenses in 12 groups especially including a high refractive lens (HR) and extra low dispersion lens (ED) to minimize color aberration and unnecessary light dispersion in order to offer high resolution throughout the image. Ultra Multi Coating (UMC) of Samyang Optics is used to optimize the light penetration and minimizes flare and ghost. With such optical construction, it has 0.307m of minimum focal length to film subjects in a very near distance.
There are 9 aperture blades designed to be almost as a full circle when aperture is closed which expresses starlike ray clearly and beautifully. The frame of the lens is compact and solid since it is made of high-strength aluminum alloy so you can create trustworthy images. Also, detachable petal-shaped lens hood minimizes flare and ghost by sheltering lens from unnecessary lights.
Available for 9 camera mounts: Canon EOS, Nikon AE, Pentax K, Sony ∝, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, MFT.
|SPECIFICATIONS||1:2.8 100mm ED UMC MACRO|
|APERTURE RANGE||F2.8 ~ 32|
|15 ELEMENTS IN 12 GROUPS|
|ANGLE OF VIEW||35mm||24.8˚||24.8˚||24.8˚||24.8˚||–||–||–||24.8˚||–|
|FUNCTION||A / S / M / P mode (NIKON AE)|
For more information please visit www.samyanglensglobal.com
The lens is a solid lens, it is heavier than my Canon 100mm f2.8 but is around the same length, it is typical Samyang build, quality plastic but solid, those that own Samyang lenses will find it’s build familiar. The manual aperture has a positive click at each third of a stop from wide open at f2.8 to stopped down at f32. The manual focus ring is smooth and feels kind of dampened. The metal lens mount provides a nice solid connection to the camera body. The lens comes with a lens hood, cloth bag, front lens cap and rear lens cap, I like Samyang’s centre pinch lens caps , the 67mm filter thread is larger than the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro at 58mm, not a problem as filters are easily available at 67mm, it is just an observation from owning Canons equivelant. Really there’s nothing to criticise about build quality, how the lens looks or how it feels.
The Samyang f2.8 100mm macro is a fully manual lens manual aperture, manual focus, no communication on Canon, although looking at specs it may have some communication on Nikon bodies, the lens is available in 9 different mounts as listed in the above specs. Being a fully manual lens in my opinion is really not a problem for a macro lens, I have always manual focussed my Canon. Although I will say when stopping down the lens to small apertures it makes focus difficult at times, I find with this lens I will focus while at f2.8 so I can see clearly, then stop down aperture and change shutter to the appropriate settings for good exposure to take the shot. Not a problem when using this on my Sony a6500 as what you se in what you get on mirrorless cameras. The lens feels fine and balanced on the canon 6d. Something else worth mentioning is this lens is a true 1:1 macro lens.
I am going to start this off with a direct comparison with the Canon 100mm f2.8, same camera, same camera position, settings, lighting etc taken seconds apart.
Left is the Samyang f2.8 100mm macro right is Canons 100mm f2.8 Macro, note the difference in colour, the Samyang is warmer both were shot under the same lighting and white balance.
Above a larger image from the Samyang f2.8 100mm macro lens.
Above a closer look at the image shot with the Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro
In the two images above you can see that the Samyang f2.8 100mm macro takes images that are warmer in colour than the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro, image quality there just isn’t much in it, but the Samyang does look a tiny bit sharper, not sure you can see that around the E and H a very tough call as focus is also slightly different, make your own mind up, maybe I will put some high res images up over on Flickr or similar in time.
Here are some more images from the Canon 6d, Samyang f2.8 100mm combination.
Adapted to Sony
I also tested the Samyang f2.8 100mm f2.8 on my a6500 via a viltrox adapter, as already discussed the lens works well on a mirrorless camera, mirrorless cameras have a lot of great manual focus assist features and the what you see is what you get, a live view is really useful when using a fully manual lens.
Here are a few images from the Sony a6500 and Samyang f2.8 100mm macro combination
I couldn’t over look how this lens would perform for Astro photography so I took it out mounted it on my Skywatcher Star Adventurer to ensure no trailing, all the following three images are shot wide open at f2.8 100mm, iso3200, 30seconds no post processing just conversion to Jpeg, followed by some 200% crops. Yes 200% crops so you can really get a good look.
Full image taken with the Samyang f2.8 100mm macro lens, f2.8, 30 sec, iso3200 (tracked images)
A 200% centre crop from the above full image
Top left corner from full image 200% crop
Top right corner of full image 200% crop
Bottom left corner from full images 200% crop
Bottom right corner of full images 200% crop
As you can see in the 200% crops we can see a bit of coma, of course we are looking at it very critically zoomed in at 200% but it does give a good indication of how things look. In the full images things look pretty good but there is some obvious coma in some large stars especially towards the corners. These are also taken wide open, I would expect performance to improve at f4, will do testing of this next time I am out.
As a true 1:1 macro lens there really isn’t much to fault, colour is warm. but I think that’s neither a plus or a minus against the lens, some will like the warmness in their shots as I do, others won’t like it. Image quality is great and I believe it is as good if not slightly better than the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens I have been using for years in that regard, It is a solid option for macro. For astro photography there is a bit of coma wide open, so there is more testing to be done there for other apertures. Other uses will likely be portraits, I didn’t test the Samyang 100 f2.8 Macro for that purpose but I have no doubt it would be suitable.
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