The Wide World in a Wide Angle:
A few weeks ago, I received the MF 14mm F2.8 MK2 from Samyang. I’d like to share my experiences of this new version of the MF 14mm F2.8 over the last few weeks.
First and foremost, this is not my first Samyang lens. I've been using Samyang MF 24mm F3.5 Tilt/Shift lens and I’m really fell in love with this amazing lens, now I became a big fan of Samyang.
The build quality is amazing, made with metal, and very well finished. Some people believe third party lenses are not good, but Samyang’s MF 14mm F2.8 MK2 looks neat and pleasant to hold in hand. The focus ring is comfortable. You may need to try several times, in the beginning, to make focus from 0.28m to infinity, but things go much faster when you’re used to it. I also like this lens’s look and colors as a Nikon camera user, because it looks a little bit old-school with the black and gold. It would be the new trend these days. Good to know, the MF 14mm MK2 Nikon F mount lens features an electronic chip, allows you to control the aperture from the body and see the EXIF data on your Lightroom, however, keep in mind to close your aperture at F22. The whole lens feels very solid, and the build quality and details are great, especially when considering the price. It could be the good option on the market!
There are two big novelties on this Mark2 lens. The first one is the “Focus Lock” in front of the lens, which can be very useful for night photography or astrophotography. The second one is the “De-click”, which allows infinitely fine adjustment between F-stops. By rotating the silver ring from 'Click' to 'Free', you can adjust the aperture smoothly and precisely, and the exactly right amount of light is captured. Videographers should be delighted for this option allowing a soft and unmarked light transition.
During my first try with this ultra-wide-angle in the heart of Tokyo city, I noticed that it is easy to handle. The precision of the focusing ring is well balanced and I directly thought that it’d be great for taking pictures requiring more precision.
Using a 14mm for landscapes or urban photography is a pleasant exercise, especially for capturing portions close to the ground in horizontal format, which enables fairly creative framing and compositions, quickly and simply. On a full frame camera it’s so wide that you might be surprised to see your shadow or even your feet in the frame.
Moreover, using a fixed focal lens
gives a real photography feeling.
It’s easy to zoom in or zoom out when using a zoom lens, but sometimes it can take away the pleasure of composing the image. But on a fixed focal lens, you have to move backwards and forwards to compose better images, and it enhances the pleasure of photographing! Also, the 2.8 aperture allows you to create better night street photography. The chromatic aberrations are slightly present at a wide aperture but will strongly disappear if close your diaphragm.
This is the perfect dream lens for Landscapes!
At f / 2.8, images are relatively well-defined over the entire field photographed. The center of the image is a bit sharper, but the difference with the edges is rather minimal.
The vignetting is well marked, mainly on the left and right parts of the field. However, it can be easily corrected on post-processing software like Lightroom or Photoshop (and most other).
At f / 4, the change in image quality is subtle, but very real nonetheless. The vignetting is much less marked than at f / 2.8, but there is still dark, vertical areas on the left and right side of the field. Chromatic aberrations become very difficult to observe, or even negligible. From f/5.6 to f/11 the lens gives its best on image quality and you will be blown away by the image quality.
Also, keep in mind that this 14mm F2.8 remains an ultra-wide-angle, not a fisheye. The distortion often appears on these kinds of lenses, but it’s very easy to correct in post-production.
In conclusion, this lens definitely became one of the main lenses in my backpack, and I bring this on all my trips or workshops. The image quality is amazing and allows you to do many kinds of photography such as landscape, urbanscape, real estate, astrophotography and even more. It makes this lens very versatile. It can be used on the architecture shot or the city shot, and would be a dream lens for Astrophotography. Here are some sample pictures, hoping to show you the quality of this Samyang MF 14mm F2.8 MK2, and the beauty of Japan as well!
By Nicolas Wauters