I thought I would do wee review of my new lens, the Samyang 8mm fisheye f2.8 Mark II for the Fujifilm x-series.
In brief; it’s magic, sharp, easy to use and beyond my humble expectations.
My recommendation is, if you fancy one, buy one……………………………..I’ll explain;
I wanted a fisheye lens primarily to create 360images, I can’t comment on this in relation to this lens as I have yet to purchase an appropriate rotator ring for this camera lens combination, but after playing about with this lens on holiday I thought I’d share.
I bought the Samyang because it was cheap and received compelling reviews. I have previously used the Nikon 10mm fisheye and have extensive experience using the Sigma 8mm on Nikon cameras, so these are my own bench marks.
I am not going to do a technical review as many can be found online already. So I’m going to be a little subjective and give you my humble opinion. I have read for many of the wee hours in the morning, others views on camera kit. Often I laugh at the expectations many reviewers have of modern cameras and equipment, which makes me sound old, so here is my opinion, albeit tarnished by my biases and preferences derived from starting out in a world before digital.
To start, this lens is simple, almost old school, it has no electronics so it doesn’t tell the camera what it is. For me, that’s not a problem I never had Exif data in the past and since I only have one lens that doesn’t talk to the camera I know where it came from.
Unlike the sigma it does not produce an attempt of a circular image. The sensor is filled corner to corner with a wonderfully, surprisingly sharp image even at f2.8. As would be expected it gets sharper towards the corners as the aperture is increased.
You’ll get distortion, but it’s the least of any fisheye I’ve seen and if used appropriately you can minimise it massively simply by keeping the lens and camera parallel to the ground and that’s you almost are half way there.
After capture processing is not difficult. I’ve read of many different ways but, I’ve been using Adobe CS2 and Lightroom5. If you’ve never used “warp tool” in Photoshop have a play about, it’s easy. The “lens corrections tool” in Lightroom5 doesn’t have a profile for the Samyang. I played about using the Sigma 8mm as my starting point, made some manual adjustments and got good results. Just remember that all that stretching and pulling will soften your image slightly when you zoom right in but if it’s what needs done, then do it, and don’t worry too much about the odd softening of pixels.
Alternatively, I like that unique effect you get with a fisheye and some of my photos look good without any messing about. The one thing I did notice is you can’t get quite as close as you can with the Sigma, minimum focus is 30cm but at f5.6 and focus set to 0.3, I took the lens into about 20 cm and it was acceptable, the joys of depth of field! A point of note is that the Sigma seems to allow you real close by comparison. Can’t remember the sigma minimum focussing difference, but on this count the Sigma appears better.
The Samyang fisheye does not need auto focus. Some believe no auto focus is a failing. Presumably some do not realise the depth of field offered by a fisheye. Perhaps I’m jaded because cameras didn’t have autofocus when I started. Most of the time I’ve set the focus at just over 1m and every shot has been sharp enough to make you think it’s a Fujifilm lens. I tried focus peaking but it just highlights everything so it seems a bit pointless. Truth be told just over 1m does for me. Having also shot some video using this lens on an Xpro1, the quality is phenomenal and no focus searching, it’s a giant Go Pro, maybe not take it underwater though.
This lens sits comfortably with my Fujifilm lenses in terms of image quality, build quality and size. No more massive camera bags, that’s one of the many reasons I love my Xpro1 & Xe2.
The Samyang is solid in my hand, feels sturdy and the focus ring and aperture are solid enough to stop the focus slipping or the aperture being nudged off. Real quality……………..
If I’m to be pedantic I don’t like the silver band around the lens but it obviously doesn’t affect the quality in any way.
At a fraction of the cost of both the Sigma and Nikon, the Samyang is a must buy.
I spent £239 and I think it is money well spent.
Please find below a couple of examples, taken using the Samyang 8mm f2.8 Mark II Fujifilm Xseries, images have only been resized for blog.