Late last year we received the (than) new Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS lens (in the U.S. you will sometimes find it under the Rokinon brand) – currently the fastest wide lens on the market for APS-C size sensor cameras.
Samyang 16mm f/2.0 – good build quality
The combination of a wide lens wide a wide aperture is not a very common one. On the market you can find the old Sigma 20mm f/1.8 – but this is a full frame lens (and most of its reviews have not been flattering to say the least). If you were looking for a wider angle you can get something like the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 – wider but not as fast.
Nice focus ring – Samyang 16mm f/2.0
So the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS is certainly a unique lens, but how it actually performs in real life?
Before we start talking about image quality we wanted to say a few words on build quality. Samyang’s lenses are all manual (so far at least) and the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 is no exception – this allows the company to create a lens with very good tolerance (something that would be more difficult with an AF lens). The focus ring is smooth and large and has a very nice feel – the aperture ring is small but we didn’t really use it with our D7100).
Metal mount – Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS
In terms of image quality – this lens definitely delivers on its promise of good image quality wide open (no real reason to buy this lens otherwise). It might be slightly softer on the edges but its is still petty sharp and very impressive even when not taking into account its low price (we were not totally surprised as the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 which we tested a while back was one of the sharpest lenses we ever used – but this lens is certainly more unique).
Some images we shot with the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS @D7100 – click to enlarge
We did find some minor things like a bit of chromatic aberration (CA) – see image below – but its pretty easy to fix and we didn’t feel that it reduced the sharpness of the lens in any considerable way.
Image from the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS @Nikon D7100 – 100% crop
Almost no barrel distortion – Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS @Nikon D7100
Some vignette – Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS @Nikon D7100
What we liked about the lens:
- Very sharp – even wide open.
- High build quality.
- The best combination of fast-wide lens on the market (for APS-C cameras).
- No prominent barrel distortion (despite being fairly wide).
- Not expensive.
What we didn’t like as much:
- Some CA (not extremely common but we did run into it as some points).
- No clear mark for where to connect the lens to the camera (usually a white dot – you can mark it yourself).
- Manual focus only (a drawback only if you are not used to it).
You can get the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS for just under $480 on B&H.
A few more images we shot with the lens
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