Samyang 8mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye CS II A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 5   
reviewer#16296 date: Jul-6-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Various fisheye converters, Accura 12mm fisheye, Sigma 8-16mm
price paid:150 (USD, new)
positive:Cheap, sharp, only a single flare spot, lower-distorting projection, removable hood for FF, can be circular and >180 degrees using focal reducer on FF
negative:Low-quality hood mount, unusual projection, Nikon mount is loose fit on E adapters
comment:My lens is the Opteka-branded version which is labeled 6.5mm CS but is apparently the Samyang 8mm CS II. I purchased it in Nikon F mount so I could use it with a F->FD adapter on my E-mount FD adapters and Lens Turbo. I use it primarily on a NEX-7 and A7II.

First, the bad. The hood is removable, but it has a terrible mount. Putting mine on correctly vignettes in two corners; mounting it twisted slightly past the stop produces no vignetting on APS-C... so the stop is not quite in the right place. Similarly, the Nikon F mount is metal and solid, but sits a little loose on my adapters, which is noted as a common problem; I had to shim it with a piece of Scotch tape. The focus, which barely moves anything, works fine but feels a tad rough -- and the focus movement is so small that a slightly thin adapter can significantly shift the focus range. There is also a minor issue in transforming the fisheye projection, with minor distortion remaining if the most common fisheye projection formula is assumed.

Fortunately, everything else is good or great. The image sharpness is ok wide open on 24MP APS-C, and gets great a few stops down. CA is remarkably well controlled, although there is sometimes severe PF. Colors are not as pumped as for some ultrawides, but are solid and natural-looking. The lens does a bit more than the 28.2mm image circle needed for APS-C, and removing the hood gives a clipped circle on FF with close to 190 degrees -- great for stitching 3-shot 360. Removing the hood and mounting on a Lens Turbo (LT) focal reducer gives an unclipped usable 184-188 degree circle on my A7II, with precise coverage varying a bit depending on focus and aperture. Blue fringing at the edge of the circle is less than most fisheyes, but still present. The lens will flare, but generally as one moderate-sized bright spot, nothing annoyingly complex nor contrast reducing.

The projection used actually appears less distorted than a typical fisheye with the same angular coverage, which means that raw rectangular fisheye images don't look as odd, and the lens is more versatile. However, that doesn't really help with full circular images using an LT and FF body... which look less distorted than you'd expect, and hence don't quite have the impact of typical circular fisheye images. Of course, the view angle is covered, so the projection could be transformed in post to a more typical fisheye one if desired. Incidentally, transforming the fisheye images into rectilinear works fairly well, but ultrawides are ultra-touchy about composition, and it's hard to estimate what de-fishing will do with sufficient precision. Still, my widest rectilinear lens is 8mm on APS-C, and undistorting this lens view can go a lot wider than that while still giving good IQ.
reviewer#12141 date: Feb-18-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Rokinon 10mm f/2.8
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-f/4 Contemporary
price paid:$220 USD
positive:Excellent IQ f/5.6-f/11
Usuable images wide open
Great colors
Solid build
Good flare control
Inexpensive
negative:Relatively slow f/3.5
A stop between f/3.5 and f/5.6 would be nice
comment:One of my favorite lenses. Stop down to f/5.6, set focus to infinity and it basically covers everything.
reviewer#12060 date: Dec-13-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6
Bower screw on fish eye attachment.
price paid:£250
positive:Very sharp, excellent control of distortion, excellent control of flair. No hot spot when using for infrared.
negative:Focus not accurately set up in factory
comment:My focus scale was not accurately set up. There are several web sits and descriptions of how you roll back the rubber focus ring grip and losen off 3 screws with a jewellers screw driver. I set up my A65 with a tape measure and focus peaking. With the electronic viewfinder you cannot confirm focus in very low light settings eg attempts at phtogrhing Milky Way, therefore an accurate focus scale is important. Build quality is very good would have given it a 5 if focus scale had been accurate.
reviewer#11620 date: Jan-18-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tokina 11-16 at-x pro
A dozen longer lenses...
price paid:under $300
positive:Excellent lens overall ignoring the bargain price. Only A mount lens with nearly stereographic projection - round objects remain nearly round. Removable hood for about 90% full frame coverage.
negative:Small nits only: manual focus, not quite full frame but much better coverage than a circle. Lens hood is only protection for the glass. Don't loose the lens hood or the special lens cap!
comment:Great for large interior spaces, busy downtown streets and just for fun anywhete. The unique projection (87% stereographic) makes this lens a real standout as you get super wide without over distorting the scene. Porportions are largly maintained but still have that curved look that can be so interesting.

Build quality is very good using a metal mount and qualiy plastic. The lens is small and light.

I find I use it more than I originally thought I would. Took it to India and used it 10% of the time (compared to tokina 11-16 and 28-70 which got a lot more use).

This version has a removable hood making it full frame compatable. You would then have to crop it square or round - as you wish.

Colors are nice and is as sharp as many name brand fisheyes but never as sharp as a decent 70-200 zoom. It doesn't matter as the viewers interest is in inspecting the overall image generated.

I think its so well priced for the performance that it almost a must have.

update 2017-10 need to seriously crop on a99 ff.
reviewer#11440 date: Nov-5-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Samyang 8/2.8 E-Mount
Samyang 8/3.5 V1
Peleng 8/3.5
price paid:300 €
positive:-Sharp from corner to corner @ F8
-@F8 and set to infinity, eveything is sharp from 1m onwards --> "fastest AF in the world"
-Price
-Removable hood
-Best distortion I've seen on an fisheye
negative:-Sometimes purple flares with strong highlights in pictures
-doesn't cover FF
-IQ could be better wide open
comment:There's no reason to upgrade if you already own the first version.
reviews found: 5   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 5
  • sharpness: 4.70
  • color: 4.40
  • build: 4.20
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 4.60
  • overall: 4.58

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