Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye
Posted 09 June 2011 - 17:57
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Posted 28 November 2011 - 16:50
Acquired this specifically for a couple of projects where I need 180 degrees worth of FOV, but so far it's seen more use than I expected initially. This is the first version of the lens, without a chip. Optically they should be the same. Lens was used on a D7000.
Short, stubby and with a bulbous front element. Weighs in at just under 400 grams according to my scale. Barrel made out of metal with a slightly rough finish. The finish is very similar to the one of modern Nikons plastic barrels. Large, smooth and rubberized focus ring. Plastic aperture ring (no worse or better than Ai-s Nikons). The small, permanently fixed petal shaped lens hood is made of plastic too (can quite easily be removed/modded for FX use).
Overall a well-built lens very much similar to typical to the metal 1980s MF Nikon lenses of which I own a few. I would judge outer construction to be just very slightly "worse" than the Cosina Voigtländers and Zeisses of today which are my personal favorites.
One small niggle. The lens cap is a bit tricky to click on and also feels somewhat flimsy, but it seems to do the job and don't pop off.
Being a fisheye, stuff gets roundish, as is to be expected. Lacking serious experience with other fisheye-offerings from Sigma or Nikon I cannot really compare amount of distortions, but it is less extreme than I thought it would be. I look into defishing this lens with the Fisheye Hemi and PTlens plugins in this thread.
Sharpness wide open isn't the greatest, at least not in combination with my body, it is more than usable in the center portion of the frame, but the edges are poor. Be that down to field curvature phenomenons or something else I do not know. Stopped down to F/5.6 or 8 things improves drastically and gives good to excellent sharpness all over the frame. Corners are much more pleasant to behold than typical rectilinear wide-angles, being less smeary and stretched and my personal preferences are starting to change from preferring rectilinear to fisheye due to this for extreme wide-angle lenses. So what if stuff is bent, at least it's sharp
Lateral chromatic aberration is present, particularly in the edges at wider apertures, the common magneta/green variety and typically around 3 to 4 pixels wide. Considerable, but corrects quite well using Photoshop or similar digital trickery. The Samyang is likely not the best performer if it's class in this department.
Purple fringing do also occur but seems quite well controlled and I do not find it a major issue so far.
This lens offers good to exceptional optical performance and sturdy build quality at an incredible price point. If your are looking for a lens in this class the Samyang should be high up on your list, simply because you can get 3-4 of them for the price of one of the competing offerings and it appears to be their peer optically.
"I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this years fashions."
- Lillian Hellman
Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:02
The lens seems to be available with many different brands. Mine is Branded "Bell & Howell" - I bought it because i really wanted to finally try a real fish eye and in the sales info it looked like it could image a rectangular "spread" rather than a "globe interior" view (on my DX).
My profile picture was shot through this lens - the image is completely untouched other than getting rid of the bits that exceeded the upload limit and the cropping action of the post.
A hidden benefit was that it got me shooting manually - bit of an inverse feature but because the lens has no chip, the camera (D90) can't meter off it and of course focus is DIY. Shooting a couple of test shots to establish exposure is all it takes, with such a wide angle; low shutter speeds hand held don't limit things so middling f stops normally available.
The biggest challenge is keeping my feet out of the composition
The non fish-eye applications i use it for are "candid" shots. People don't know they are in the shot and of course squeezing everything in. I was instead a cave temple with only enough light to stop tourists crashing into the walls and i could capture the stonework images and freezes there quite easily and with post exposure manipulation could revisit the work again.
In LR i can exploit the lens even more for these "non fisheye" shots. I tell LR the lens is a 12mm (8mm over corrects - i guess this is because LR thinks in FX and applies X1.5?) and it automatically rolls out the image like wallpaper. Is like going from a globe to a flat map. I am new here but will try a post a before and after image to show what i mean.
Hope this is useful. Reading the threads on "chipping" makes me wonder.......
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