Samyang 16mm F2.0 ED AS UMC CS A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#17335 date: Aug-14-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sigma 10-20 F4-5.6 EX DC
Sigma AF 24 F2.8 II
Minolta AF 24 F2.8
Sony AF 28 F2.8
Sony DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM
Sony DT 35 F1.8 SAM
Sony DT 16-105
price paid:177 USD (used)
positive:Large, buttery smooth, long-throw focus control
Even extreme corners quite sharp from f/4 to f/8
Low, simple barrel distortion
Internal focusing
Non-rotating filter threads
Over-sized 77 mm filter
Awkwardly large plastic hood
Narrow, plastic, clicky aperture ring
No ROM chip
No aperture connection to body
Very few distances marked
Font on scales is very small.
ft/m used where in/mm would be more appropriate (3 ft and 1 m are the last markings before infinity.)
comment:Rokinon 16M-S 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS made in Korea. A very new looking example. "MADE IN KOREA"

This rather hefty, large lens is the APS-C equivalent of a standard wide angle 24 mm f/3 lens--fairly fast and fairly wide. It is simply enormous sitting next to the Minolta AF 24 F2.8. It is nearly the size and weight of the Minolta AF 28-135, but it is better balanced than that lens on my A58. It really illustrates a problem with SLRs--short focal length lenses have to be quite large regardless of sensor size. Meanwhile the 16mm f/2.8 E-mount lens is tiny. At least this lens isn't that much larger than the Sony DT 16-105 zoom, and it certainly can take better images than that lens.

At close focus its angle of view is between the short ends of the Sony DT 16-105 and Sony DT 18-55 view--much narrower than the 16 mm end of the Sony DT 16-105. While many zoom lenses cover this focal length none seem to be close in optical performance to this lens. The smaller Sigma 10-20 F4-5.6 has less distortion, but the corners are never as sharp as those of the Rokinon wide-open.

Color rendition is noticeably warmer than the Sony DT 16-105.

CA is very well controlled similar to the 35 f/1.8. Evidently a modern optical design, despite the lack of electronics. Very similar sharpness characteristics to the 35 f/1.8 too. Definitely sharper and more consistent across the frame than the Sigma 24 f/2.8 not to mention the Sony AF 28 f/2.8.

The lack of Steady Shot and AF confirmation are both unfortunate. The AF zooms is much easier to use to get decent wide shots even using their much harder to use manual controls. Samyang has electronics in their Nikon mount version of this lens including aperture control. The Pentax version of this lens also has auto aperture control, but for whatever reason this version has neither. It is certainly possible to add a ROM to it. The A-mount version at least is currently the cheapest version currently selling for $329 new on Amazon.

The lens hood and 77 mm filter diameter are ridiculous though it is a fairly common size for large lenses. The front glass element is only 47 mm--noticeably smaller than the one on the 16-105 and a 62 mm filter and hood should have been more than adequate and much more discrete. Samyang seems to have reused this hood and body size from their full frame 24 f/1.4 and 35 f/1.4 lenses probably so the cine versions can be swapped for each other in a focus-follow setup.

The smaller, lighter Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 or the DT 16-xx zooms perform well enough especially when Steady Shot is used.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 4
  • sharpness: 4.75
  • color: 4.75
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.75
  • overall: 4.55 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania