Some people have asked I put a little write up on this lens as it's starting to get a bit of a following as a great value for money bit of kit.
In short, it's brilliant! but as most things does have some drawbacks.
I sifted through the pages of google hunting for a lens for star photography as this was something I'd started to really get into,
not star trails but nice crisp shots of the stars. The main contender that came out was the Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 (Sorry Canon people i'm talking from a Nikon user's point of view)
this lens from all I read was what I should be using if I want the best but this didn't gel well with me as I already own a Nikon 16-35mm and it takes filters and covers that range, so I wanted to go a different path.
Anyway the Samyang 14mm kept coming up and the more I read on, the more the lens sounded perfect for night photography and my needs.
I pulled the trigger from OZ digital online and it arrived 2 days later.
Now if you are planning on getting one of these some of them have been known to be soft so make sure you test yours, if so send it back.
This guy here does a nice little write up, related more to star photography.
This guy here does a good write up on his experience with getting a soft lens and having to get another, in the end it all worked out, have a read.
That's enough blabbing on, Let me show you why i'm completely blown away by this $400 14mm 2.8 lens.
In terms of sharpness and clarity I dare say it's putting my 16-35mm to shame and that's not just with night photography,
i'm talking about shooting landscape on sunset or during the day. Now I have no proof of this other than my perception of the photos i'm taking but i'm amazed.
These are 2 night shots I took on the first day I received it. The moon was very bright so the stars didn't come out as well but it still gave me an idea of the sharpness and the lack of coma compared to my 16-35mm and from what I've read a lot less coma than a lot of high end lens's 3-4 times the cost.
Jindalee Stars by Scott Jon Photography, on Flickr
Mindarie Rocks Night by Scott Jon Photography, on Flickr
So that was my first night with the lens and my initial thoughts were ok this isn't bad, in saying that check out this photo before I downloaded the Adobe cs6 len's distortion profile.
This is straight off the camera no editing.
Jindalee Distortion Samyang 14mm by Scott Jon Photography, on Flickr
This lens gets bad mustache distortion, sometimes it's ok but most of the time you will need to load your profile and correct it, now this is a slight pain in the ass but honestly with the software available it really isn't too much of an issue for me anyway, Remembering this a $400 FX lens.
While we're on the subject of negative things, this lens is manual focus, now depends on how you view this, for me this isn't a negative as i'm normally manually focusing in all my shots, it's also manual aperture on non Nikon mounts.
If you are a Nikon owner like me you just switch to F22 and you are able to control aperture on camera via M and A modes (i'm not sure if you can get chipped version for other cameras, I haven't found one yet)
So I managed to get out a couple more times this week, but these times I thought ok lets really test this lens and go shoot some sunsets that i'd normally shoot with my Nikon 16-35mm.
Initially I thought ok i'll humour myself for a little while then when I want to take some serious shots of the sunset i'll attach the 16-35.
Well holly bat balls batman......Once I tuned in the focus I was really in shock, this thing can hold it's own during the light hours as well.
Here are a couple of shots I've taken during sundown, These are all taken at F11 with varying shutter speeds and ISO 100. Tried to show a range of colour and things in focus.
Jindalee Stairs by Scott Jon Photography, on Flickr
watermarked-Jindalee Sunset4 by Scott Jon Photography, on Flickr
Jindalee Sunset Wood by Scott Jon Photography, on Flickr
I had to keep zooming in on live view not convinced it was going to be sharp enough but once I got home and blew them up I was surprised, I mean really surprised.
Now this is all just my own perception but I can honestly say this lens rocks for the price.
I haven't even scratched the surface yet but if it can keep on producing the sharpness and colour i'm seeing in my daylight and sundown shots it may even replace my 16-35mm, ok ok wait haha let's not get too carried away....
This lens is a great deal for anyone looking for a budget wide angle for star shooting or even landscape, at $400 it's a steal I think
Just make sure you have the lens profile and beware of lens flare, otherwise I think this is a superb lens, I give it :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
Excuse my poor write up skills but hey I can lift heavy things
This lens does come under different labels, Rokinon and Bower are some of the others