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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Samyang 8mm F/3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fish Eye

For several years now Samyang have been making some very decent manual focus lenses that boast image quality to rival OEM brands at a fraction of the cost. The lenses obviously lack autofocusing but otherwise have proven to be impressive in terms of image and build quality.
The lenses have been sold under numerous brand names such as Rokinon/Vivitar/Polar/Bower/Opteka/Falcon as well as Samyang.
This review will concentrate on is the Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fish-eye, I purchased this lens after hearing almost unanimous praise being heaped upon it so the question is does it live up to the hype?

Build quality and finish:

The lens is very well made overall, there's a lot of metal and all surfaces have that nice textured effect which feels more tactile and looks better than plain smooth plastic and paint. The lens has a nice damped focus ring and the aperture ring clicks satisfyingly just like the old days, the lens is very much from the old school when it comes to build quality and that is definitely a plus point. The only niggle I had was that the finish on the edge of the built in lens hood was slightly rough which was at odds with the rest of the lens but overall it looks and feels solid, reliable and dependable.

Image quality:

The image quality is fantastic overall, centre resolution is great from wide open and at f/5.6-f/11 the edges are very sharp too especially for a fisheye lens. The lens gives nice punchy contrasty images with good colour saturation which I have come to expect from Samyang as even their less glamorous 80's lenses always give nice colour as does the 18-28mm zoom from the 90's. Flare resistance is pretty good even with the sun in the frame sometimes and is noticeably better than some of this lenses rivals.
The elements inside the lens appear to be perfectly centred with images showing consistent sharpness across the frame.
The only true weakness of this lens for me is chromatic aberration which can become very noticeable towards the edges of the image however I must say it seems to be very easy to correct with software, Capture One for example does a pretty much perfect job of removing it with just one click which was a great relief as it is the only real law with this lens.
Overall the image quality is impressive and the lens definitely punches above it's weight and even exceeds the quality of some of it's rivals in terms of edge sharpness and flare resistance.


I think the lens is fantastic, the image quality is superb, especially for a lens of it's type. The build quality and handling are also impressive especially for the price! The only two real drawbacks can be overcome almost completely, firstly the chromatic aberration can be combated very successfully in software and secondly the lack of autofocus is almost a non issue! When the lens is set to f/5.6 or smaller the extremely wide focal length means that hyperfocal focusing will ensure everything from a few feet to infinity is in focus, just set the focus ring to 2m and for most scenes you'll never have to touch it again!
I fully recommend this lens!

This lens was tested on a Canon EOS 60D


gazsus said... Best Blogger Tips

It's good to see yet another positive review of this lens. I've wanted a fisheye for a while and this one seems to tick all the boxes.
I've tried a second-hand Sigma 16mm but it broke within a week, I guess I should save a bit extra and get this Samyang instead.

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