The year 2020 is for sure a breaking point for the photography industry as the market got filled with mirrorless cameras from major brands and with them, many lenses were developed specifically for these systems.
Canon is one example. We now have the first EOS R system, a promise that will be the point of the spear for the years to come for this brand. Not only we saw the arrival of their first two mirrorless cameras – the Canon EOS R and EOS RP – but also a line of supreme objectives for the RF mount. No one can deny the quality of these glasses, becoming some of the best glasses nowadays. In the same way, it’s hard to ignore how expensive they are, getting at the top of the prices. Taking into consideration the previous asseveration, third-party manufacturers are also developing alternative options for the consumer with more affordable prices.
Samyang is a South Korean manufacturer of camera lenses with over 40 years of experience. They have characterized for producing budget-friendly manual focus objectives with great quality and more recently, becoming an alternative to consider when purchasing autofocus objectives. This year, they produced some of the first manual focus lenses for the RF mount and they become the first manufacturers to offer an autofocus objective for the new Canon’s mirrorless cameras which are also, the widest lens available for this system: the Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 RF.
The construction of this objective impresses with its quality. In a first impression, it looks very similar to the EF version for Canon DSLRs. The weight is a reasonable 484g that accommodates very well with the Eos R body without appearing cumbersome or too bulky. The lens cap has two clips that place it securely, a little detail that is highly appreciated. When removing it, the lens reveals a fixed petal lens hood around a glass with a semi-spherical element. This means that the objective possesses extra protection while minimizing light glares. However, and because of that, filter threads and holders are not possible to be mounted in the front. This is a pity for landscape photographers who would want to take advantage of the ultra-wide-angle to capture broader sceneries. As a compensation, the back of the lens has a rear filter holder that serves as a slot for gelatin filters.
The exterior of the lens is minimalistic and visually appealing. It only has one control ring for focusing. This is electronic in operation and very, very smooth. Focusing is down to 0.2m with a maximum magnification of 0.12x and 9.5cm long. This is helpful in enabling us to get in very close to foreground subjects, taking full advantage of the ultra-wide field of view and its potential for dramatic viewpoints. Again, it looks and functions very similar to its brother for the EF mount. It will be very interesting if Samyang decides to include a control ring like those ones found in Canon’s lenses in order to take full advantage of adaptability with the camera body.
There is also just one switch, marked AF/MF and self-explanatory. This switch is quite firm to operate and quite recessed and small, so there is no way that it will be operated by accident. As a great plus, the lens is weather-sealed, so we can continue shooting if conditions deteriorate. The drawback is that it lacks an image stabilizer. It could be assumed that it won’t be a problem due to its lightweight for handholding, but if Samyang decides to add this feature to their objectives like other third-party manufacturers, they will become for sure some of the favorites by consumers.
Optical construction is 14 elements in 10 groups. There are 3 Aspherical, 1 HR (High Refractive Index) and 2 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) elements, 7 blades to the diaphragm and Samyang’s UMC (Ultra Multi Coating). Images that were taken with this lens prove minimum distortion with a non-common broader perspective of 113.9 degrees.
A 14mm lens is a magnificent optic to use, making it possible to include the whole of vast interiors and exterior architecture and to capture sweeping vistas in the landscape. It is also fair to mention that an ultra-wide-angle lens is not a common objective and the photographer needs to learn how to take advantage of its capabilities. Since these lenses exaggerate the size of foreground objects relative to the background, they are best used in close proximity to the primary subject. The point is to highlight the subject, making it appear proportionally larger than its surroundings or the background. With practice and creativity, a 14mm could become an essential tool for photographers.
The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 RF lens behaves faultlessly, focuses truthfully without hunting, and with minimum distortion. For sure, it can help us to find a whole new perspective on everything that surrounds us.
About the Author
Manuel Delgado is an award-winning photographer with a specialization in travel and documentary photography. Manuel has photographed more than 50 countries telling a new story with each visit. You can find out more about Manuel on his website and follow him on Facebook or Instagram.
Editor’s note: Manuel Delgado is a Samyang brand ambassador.