Jun 18, 2014

Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS

Introduction

In April, 2014, the Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS made its debut as a premium ultra-wide angle DSLR lens with some of Samyang's latest optical technologies, including the Nano Coating System.  This lens is rectilinear, which means it can deliver an extremely wide field of view without introducing exaggerated "fisheye" distortion. 

You can purchase the Samyang 10mm in a variety of lens mounts, including Canon (EOS & M), Nikon (F), Sony (A & E), Pentax (K), Fuji (X) and even Micro Four-Thirds. In this review, we will be evaluating the Pentax K-mount version, which covers the APS-C (1.5x crop) image circle.

Samyang 10mmThe Samyang 10mm lens barrel

The Samyang 10mm is the widest non-fisheye prime lens currently available for Pentax. With a diagonal field of view of 109.5°, this lens is the perfect tool for photographing real-estate, car/boat interiors, cityscapes, and panoramic landscapes.  This field of view is among the widest available for any DSLR system if we leave out fisheye lenses.

Depending on where you live, you may also find re-branded versions of this lens being sold under the Vivitar, Rokinon, and Bower generic brands, among others.  These re-brands are optically and mechanically identical to the Samyang lens, though prices may differ.

10mm PanoramaA panorama taken with the Pentax K-5 IIs and Samyang 10mm F2.8 (cropped, click for full size)

In recent years, Samyang (a lens manufacturer based in South Korea) has been placing a strong emphasis on image quality on top of its traditional focus on value.  Samyang prime lenses can save you hundreds over comparable Pentax or Sigma lenses while still delivering professional-grade image quality.  The only major trade-off is the loss of autofocus, but Samyang lenses still offer full auto-exposure support (the "A" aperture setting), just like modern Pentax lenses.  At a launch price of $529, the Samyang 10mm is considerably cheaper than the Pentax 14mm F2.8 ($949) or Pentax 12-24mm F4 ($899).  Pentax currently doesn't offer any rectilinear lenses wider than 12mm, so if you want to go wider, you're limited to third-party zooms such as the Sigma 10-20mm, the Tamron 10-24mm, or a second-hand Sigma 8-16mm in addition to the Samyang 10mm.

Samyang 10mm on a Pentax K-5 IIsThe Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS mounted on a Pentax K-5 IIs DSLR

With Samyang's commitment to quality in mind, our expectations of the 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS are high.  Can this lens deliver such a wide field of view without making compromises terms of sharpness and aberrations?  Does it trump comparable ultra-wide zooms?  Read on to find out!


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