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12-02-2010, 10:36 AM   #1
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Samyang 14mm f/2.8 - Day and Night

Hey all,

Since you were all kind enough to help me choose a wide angle lens for shooting the stars, I thought I'd come back and share my impressions of the 14mm f/2.8 Samyang/Rokinon lens. I bought it from Cameta Camera the day before Thanksgiving so I'd have it for my trip to Pennsylvania.

It's a well-made lens. I don't feel like I'm holding something cheap. The lens cover is ENORMOUS to protect that large front element. Focusing is easy enough with the Pentax focus-assist feature, and because it's such a wide angle lens, area of focus is large anyway. I love the hard-stop at infinity, which makes it a whole lot easier when you're fumbling around in the dark.

In traveling to PA, I kept up my picture-a-day project... I only took my Pentax K-x with me and left my Leica cameras at home. On Friday I took this shot near my uncles house



I love the way ultra wide lenses tend to capture dynamic skies, and not to far from my aunts house where we were staying, I came across this scene. We were looking for a good place to shoot the stars later that night and I would have loved to use this area, but it was semi-private property and the owners weren't home to ask.



That night, the skies were too cloudy to try to shoot...
So the next night we went down to a friend of my Aunt's house. It was in a great area... elevated and isolated... and very very dark! Little did I know (and have found out since) that some areas of PA are considered the darkest in the country and GREAT for stargazing and astrophotography!





I very happy with these for a first-attempt, but I've still got a lot to learn.

These did require quite a bit of post-processing... especially levels to get the skies dark against the stars. I've seen photos like this straight out of the camera and that's my goal, to get better shots to start off with. I'm not sure if my problem was still a little light polution, settings, noise or what... though I will say, the K-x help up well at ISO 3200.

Being that I live in NY, finding dark skies to keep practicing is a bit difficult... but I will be getting a stargazer pass (that allows me into state parks at night) and trying more in the future!

The 14mm f/2.8 Samyang was the PERFECT lens for this!

12-02-2010, 10:55 AM   #2
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wow nice pictures, I really love the skies on the second one, and the star shots are excellent for first attempts
only one issue
now you've added to my lba problem (even though I have a DA14 2.8) I like the idea of the infinity stop and true manual focus feel (i hate manual on the DA)
I'd have top go a fair distance to escape light pollution as well probably 3-4 hours north of the city to really escape it
12-02-2010, 10:59 AM   #3
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Hi Amy and welcome! I have to say that while I like all the shots posted that third photo is wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

NaCl(keep practicing and keep posting!)H2O
12-02-2010, 11:08 AM   #4
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great shots you have here!

seems that this Samyang is a very nice lens to have in the arsenal

12-02-2010, 11:33 AM   #5
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great shots all,

with respect to playing with levels to darken the skies, I actually find the darkest skies are under clouds with no light pollution from the earth (possibly in the area you were) under star lit skies it is never actrually all that dark. I would not feel too bad about playing with levels.

Have you hada chance to pixel peep on ultra wide shots to look at CA, and have you played at all with structures to see the amount of barrel distortion.

I am seriously considering this lens, and also the vivitar, which appears different (at 13mm as opposed to 14) so any examples of distortion would be greatly appreciated.

Ideally I would love to see a side by side of the two, but i doubt that will happen. Even B&H declined to post sample shots.
12-02-2010, 11:45 AM   #6
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hi Lowell
there is a review on lenstip a european site who also sell them (they gave the original non UMC version a bad review but the revised model comes out better

Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC review - Introduction - Lenstip.com
12-02-2010, 11:52 AM   #7
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they also have some quite large sample pics, though all comparisons are with nikon (at least it's a change from canon comparisons)
I'd love to see side by side comparisons with my DA
12-02-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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The Vivitar is probably the same lens, just labeled differently for some stupid reason.

12-02-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by brkl Quote
The Vivitar is probably the same lens, just labeled differently for some stupid reason.
I am not so sure. The specifications are also quite different, the Bower/Samyang/pro-optic 14mmF2.8 is listed as 14mm with 14/12 elements/groups. The vivitar is listed as 13mm with 16/13 elements / groups.

B&H, who carry both lenses insist they are different, which begs the questions what is the difference in reality, and who makes the vivitar?
12-02-2010, 12:09 PM   #10
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vivitar / samyang are kinda loose with the description of focal length
the 7/8 fisheye is probably closer to the 10 from sigma
but all of them so far seem to be phenomenal values (I'm saving for the 85 right now, and will likely go after the 8 as well, the 14 can wait seeing as i have the DA14)
12-02-2010, 12:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
vivitar / samyang are kinda loose with the description of focal length
the 7/8 fisheye is probably closer to the 10 from sigma
but all of them so far seem to be phenomenal values (I'm saving for the 85 right now, and will likely go after the 8 as well, the 14 can wait seeing as i have the DA14)
I have both the fisheye and the 85, and love them both.

The 85 is quite sharp even at big apertures, and the viewfinder is so bright at F1.4 you need sunglasses,

the fisheye is a lot of fun, and has very good behavior when looking into the sun, which is almost impossible not to do, considering 180 degree FOV. CA is limited to about 1-2 pixels at the edges of the frame. I was able to get true purple fringing with a big purple band around a bright spot, by shooting the window in the top of a stone cathedral at noon, while exposing for the dark interior of the dome. only about 14EV difference so I am not worried.

The biggest issue I have with the fisheye is keeping my body parts out of the photo. I typically have my little pinkie in the field of virew, along with (occasionally) my feet.
12-02-2010, 12:34 PM   #12
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Hi Amy, nice to see you away from RFF. Thanks for the review.
12-02-2010, 01:52 PM   #13
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Thanks all..

Barrel distortion on this lens is of the mustache type and is pretty noticeable in architecture... but PTLens has a profile that will fix it right up. With these shots, I didn't notice it, so I didn't bother.

CA seems really well controlled... but that isn't something I'm on the look for all the typically anyway. It certainly didn't stand out as a problem. And it's sharp wide open (which was the point, since the night stuff has to be shoot wide open).

I have zero complaints! It is great bang for the buck!
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