The brand new Samyang 24mm F/1.8 AF FE
A small but powerful tool for all kinds of photographers.
The new Samyang 24mm f/1.8 is the newest addition to the tiny series. It is a small but powerful tool for all kinds of photographers. It is funny because it is designed for landscape and astrophotography, but since the skies are pretty light-polluted in the Netherlands, I noticed that I used this lens more for Landscape, City, and Street photography. Also for a day-to-day kit, this lens is a powerful tool. For taking some candid shots of family gatherings and outdoor activities. Since it is such a small lens with a wide focal length, you have a lot of possibilities, even if it is too wide in some situations, you can just crop in a bit.
Aperture: F/1.8 - F22
Weather sealing: Yes
Mount: Sony FE
Filter size: 58mm
Minimum focus distance: 0.19m that is really short, and that's good!
Special feature: Astro-Focus Mode and LED index
"The new tiny lens is designed for landscape and astrophotography photographers. Thanks to its compact size and light weight with minimized coma and short minimum focusing distance, you can enjoy photography day and night. This lens provides outstanding corner-to-corner image quality from maximum F1.8 aperture and smooth and natural-looking bokeh. The new features of Focus Hold Button and LED indicator maximize the usability for capturing the night sky." - Samyang
As a product designer, I can really appreciate this design. The matte black plastic looks and feels premium. That in combination with the red ring makes it aesthetically pleasing. Samyang added weather sealing to this lens. I didn’t do any weather testing with this lens. But since the build is better than the 75mm f/1.8, which didn’t disappoint me in some very rainy situations, I assume you use this lens on pretty rainy days and at the beach with no problems.
Astro mode - Infinity focus mode
A nice addition to this model is the infinity focus mode. There is a button on the side of the lens which, if you press it, your lens will automatically focus to infinity. This is really useful if you are out at night and can’t find a light point to focus the lens on. Or in any other situation where you just want to have a quick tool to focus to infinity.
I have also heard that you can set this focusing distance to a specific value. This would be a super powerful tool for landscape photographers. You could set this to a hyperfocal distance for a specific F stop that you personally use a lot. This way you can easily get the biggest focus plane in your landscape shots. I would use this for sure!
I am constantly surprised by the sharpness of the tiny but mighty series. Even in the corners, this lens is sharp. At f/1.8 the lens is just a bit softer. But that is highly regular for any lens.
A wide aperture is always nice to have. But in this case, it is also really powerful and useful. I used this a lot during city photography and street photography. For landscape, I tend to stick to an f-stop around f/8 or f/16. I did use it to get some blue hour and sunrise shots out of the hand instead of using a tripod. This made me way more productive and I came back home with a lot more shots than usual. Same for street photography. Of course, f/1.8 is super useful for astrophotography as it gives you an entire stop extra comparing to f/2.8
Really quiet and smooth. I also own the 14mm FE 2.8 and notice that the 24mm is almost completely silent. This could be really useful for videography, interview, or other audio recordings.
The fact that it is a prime lens pushes my creativity.
One of the only bad things about this lens, for me, is that I really like the possibility to zoom. Definitely where I am on a job, and I need to be able to capture moments quickly. So I wouldn't use this lens for any situation where I need to be quick and take a lot of different types of photographs like on a fashion shoot or for example a wedding.
For landscape, the fact that I couldn’t zoom, actually made me way more creative and it really pushed my creative boundaries. Where I would usually switch to my 14mm wide-angle, I now took a panorama, or walked back further, or find another solution. For zooming in I just cropped the shots. But this really showed me how versatile this lens actually is. I came away with really nice-looking panoramas, which are so different from what I would get with my 14mm lens. The 24mm always looks good, it is just a useful focal length, but also the cropped shots look surprisingly good. The sharpness of this lens and the 24mp of the Sony A7III help with this of course.
Lensflare and Sunstar
These are the only two things that I didn't love about the lens. The flare seems a bit sharp and contrasty while the Sunstar looks a little soft to me. I didn't spend a lot of time testing these two features so I am sure that I could get it a little bit better after spending some time on it but I have definitely seen better.
Enoug talk! Let's view some pictures!
24mm is not the most usual focal length for portrait photography but I was able to capture some interesting portraits. I shot most of these in very low-light situations to also test the wide aperture and the results are good!
All these portraits are shot at F/1.8, about 1/100s, and different ISO values.
a 24mm wide-angle lens is a well-known and often used focal length for landscapes. That is why this lens does very well in this category. Not having the option to zoom in or out, forced me to take another approach to capture a scene. Which pushed my creativity. I ended up with unique pictures of a location I've visited countless times.
My opinion about this lens in this category is basically the same as for landscape photography. Where I would normally get a 14mm wide-angle to get more in the frame, I now took either a panorama, found a new perspective, or just left certain objects out of the frame and focussed on others. Sometimes it is good to be limited and challenged.
The fact that the Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE is so small, makes it a really nice and discreet setup for street photography. Also, the wide aperture makes it easier to get some faster shutter speeds in low-light situations.