Samyang 24mm F1.4 ED AS UMC A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 2   
reviewer#11497 date: Nov-23-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 20-40 f/2.8-3.5
Tokina 20-35 f/2.8
Sony 16-50 f/2.8 (APS-C)
price paid:$559 (USD)
positive:Even sharpness across the frame
OK at 1.4, great by 4
Smooth build and great focus ring
No major weaknesses
negative:Rear element extends beyond the mount
Relatively pricey (for a Samyang)
This is another solid performer from Samyang, doing something no other lens for Sony’s a-mount does: Provide f/1.4 at 24mm. (Sigma does f/1.8, and the Sony/Zeiss does f/2.) At f/1.4, the image is obviously softer than it is stopped-down (and focus—even for a 24mm lens—is critical; much easier to do with an EVF and focus peaking/magnification than using an OVF with a regular screen), but—once you nail focus—the image is not bad anywhere in the (full-frame) frame, even wide-open. (One of the real pluses of this lens is that is seems to have a reasonable flat-field, meaning the corners are [at least on my copy] not much worse than the center.) By f/2.8, everything is better, and by f/4 or f/5.6, it is pretty darn good all around. (Works well as a 35mm lens (full-frame equivalent) on an APS-C sensor, such as my a77.) Distortion is pretty good for this-wide an angle lens, and it was easy to create a lens profile for Adobe that generally takes care of the distortion that is there. [I gave it a "4" rating, although I wish there was an option for 4.5; no 24mm lens will be distortion-free.] (Unlike most Adobe profiles I’ve made, this profile was made it only at f/5.6, as the body has no idea what aperture is being used, so the vignetting differences between f-stops can’t be automatically corrected by the Adobe software.) [There is a small amount of chromatic aberration, that can be removed automatically, and a small amount of purple defringing that can be removed manually—but both of these are really minor, minor, minor, even before correction. Most of the time, I suspect I won’t bother trying to correct for it.] And the focus scale seems right-on the money (not my experience, unfortunately, with the otherwise impressive Samyang 14mm f/2.8, which I earlier reviewed). Build is (basically) solid.
It, of course, is manual everything. You get nothing but a (very nice) focusing ring and a small aperture ring, with half-stop indents (except between f/1.4 and f/2 and (irrelevant to me) between f/16 and f/22. I actually find the manual focus not particularly bothersome for my style photography, and—as noted above—with focus peaking (if your camera has it, it is really easy to focus—at least when you manually have the aperture ring at f/1.4). (I’d love to have, like the Samyang version for Nikon, a way to “couple” the aperture with the camera—but, for the most part, I can work around this, particularly in an EVF finder.) [I probably will “chip” the lens so it then will (a) provide the “green” in-focus symbol on my a850 (w/o focus peaking), (b) tell the IBIS on both my a850 and a77 the correct focal length, and (c) provide EXIF data that it is, indeed, a 24mm f/1.4 lens (although the actual f-stop used won’t be known). These are all, in my view, “nice” but not “necessary,” even if you are using an OVF such as on the a900 or a850.]
Dislikes? A couple. Like the 14mm f/2.8, the rear element (at least when focused at infinity) sticks out beyond the mount. That means: (1) don’t place the lens, facing up, on your desktop without a rear cover and (2) don’t forget (1)! And it is, at least relative to other Samyang lenses, rather pricy. The 85mm f/1.4 (a great lens) can be found for half the price. The 35mm f/1.4 (also a great lens) and the 14mm f/2.8 (an amazing lens for a full-frame lens of this wide-angle) can be found for less than two-thirds the price. In short: This isn’t a “budget” lens in the same way other Samyang lenses generally are—although that is partially mitigated by the fact that it is 24mm and f/1.4. [A Nikon that has the same 24m f/1.4 specs is more than three times as much—albeit, it auto focuses and couples with the aperture. More relevantly, perhaps, the Sony/Zeiss is “only” two to two-and-a-half times the price of the Samyang, and it (at the expense of one f-stop) comes with auto focus [SSM] and aperture coupling. It probably makes the Samyang a “good” but not “outstanding” deal for the alpha-mount. It turns on your tolerance for manual focus, and setting the aperture on the lens—although the exposure will be fine in “A” mode if you do that. I don’t have the Sony/Zeiss, but it seems (from on-line reviews) sharpness is more or less a toss-up—the Sony/Zeiss is somewhat sharper in the center wide open; the Samyang is sharper in the corners.]
Looking at the on-line reviews, I realize that they are a mixed-bag. I tend to fall in line with the review—pretty consistent image quality across the frame, OK (perhaps even better given the design issues with a 24mm f/1.4 full-frame lens) wide open, better by f/2.8, and pretty darn impressive by f/4 or f/5.6.
reviewer#11265 date: Jul-24-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50mm f2.8
Sony E 16mm f2.8
price paid:$445 USD (new)
positive:Fast and wide!
Very sharp wide open
Attractive flare
Good build quality
Great focal length on APS-C and film
Good distortion control (for the aperture)
Incredible MFD (1:4)
No direct rival on Sony
Price is insane!
negative:No electronic contacts (SSS does not work)
Cheap lens cap
Focus could be more dampened
No direct stop on infinity
Some copies have been said to have decentering, check your copy!
comment:I plan on testing this with film once I get a split prism for my Maxxum 9000, I will update the review then. This review is based on using it on an a77, which the peaking and zoom make this lens very usable. If you have used MF lenses on a nex then you will have no problems here. This would be harder on an OVF camera, and I had to order a screen for my 9000 as it was too difficult to get critical sharpness without one.

Sharpness: This lens delivers. Wide open at 1.4 on my a77 it delivers great results across the frame (could be different on FF). Like, quite good results that actually impressed me. You could use this lens for landscapes at 1.4 and have no problems. It gets sharper when stopped down, and delivers well from 1.4-2.8. I think it is sharper toward infinity than it is close-up, but performance is still great. at 1.4 it relies more on your manual focusing abilities than anything. If you are good at manual focusing this lens delivers all you could want in this focal length. the 0.5 point off is for the worse performance close up, otherwise it is a solid 5.

Color: I have no qualms with the color, it seems neutral enough to me. Colors and contrast wide open seem great, I have no problems with them so I assume the lens is great in this regard.

Build: Overall the lens is built very well, with a nice construction of plastic and metal. It is built quite strong, and I'm sure it will withstand most situations. Plastic lets the lens be light, a worthy trade off in my opinion. The focus should be more dampened, it turns just a bit too easily which makes it a little more difficult to nail focus wide open, just takes a bit more rocking back and forth than say a Canon FD 50mm. The lens cap sucks and should be replaced, it has literally fallen off when bumped up against things. I also wish this lens had an electronic contact for SSS on sony bodies! If they can do it on Nikon they should be able to here (get on it Sony or Rokinon, this needs to happen)! If it had a chip I would give it a 4.5 overall. 0.5 points are lost because of the cap (easy fix) and the dampening not being as solid as my old FD lenses.

Distortion: The distortion has been rated at about a 1% barrel. That's good when compared to Nikon and Canon 24mm 1.4's, but not as good as when compared to my 16-50mm @24mm or 16mm lenses (or probably other 24mm primes for sony). For its class it is good, but overall could be better. Gets a 4 overall, shouldn't be a problem in most cases but if you need less the zeiss 24mm minolta 24mm 2.8 should be better.

Flare control: Flare control is better than the Samyang 35mm 1.4, which was already good. The built in hood will help control flare. I don't find the flare bad at all and quite like it, but it isn't as resistant as I have heard sony kit lenses are. I'll post some pictures and let you decide, but to me it is a 4.

Conclusion: This is an excellent lens overall. I have no qualms with the performance overall, and if you need a fast wide angle lens then look no further. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a lens that can provide a good isolation and a wide focal length. That is a tall order for APS-C cameras, and this lens does well in this regard. If you have no need for the larger aperture, then I wouldn't consider this lens, as that is the biggest advantage over other primes of this focal length.

However low light performance is something to be noted. Since this lens has no electronic contacts it is not able to use SSS properly, due to not registering the correct focal length. It makes too many corrections, or not enough. Either way I was not able to get a steady shot with anything slower than 1/40 shutter speed. So if you are taking photos of landscapes in low light, the Zeiss 24mm f2 will get you a sharper low light shot theoretically, as it is hand-holdable at less than 1/40 while this lens is not. For tripod shots this lens wins, as well as for isolation.

Update 3/18/15
After using this lens for a while on the a7r and a850, I can say results remain pretty consistent with the APS-C samples. I have updated distortion as it is quite minimal on fullframe, and easily correctable. The flare control is not as good on FF as it is on APS-C, there are blobs that are visible now due to the wider FoV. I would say flare is a 5 on APS-C (looking back it is seriously resistant for the speed of the lens), and a 4 on FF. It isn't perfect, but has a unique look that I like. Sharpness is quite good out to the corners, and by f5.6 the lens is very sharp corner to corner, and much better than any other 24mm equivalent that I've used was able to get at any aperture setting! This is a very special lens, and I highly recommend it, FF really makes this lens shine.
reviews found: 2   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 2
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.50
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.50

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