Panasonic Gh4

Mar 212014


No reviews or test charts of the Samyang 10mm, so this is just your typical bullshit article  (I got nothing else to write about). The lens looks pretty and is shipping late March.

Samyang has a cult following. They make lenses branded as Rokinon, Bower, Pro Optic, and Bell & Howell. I am sure I am forgetting a brand but whatever. If you get any of the above lens flavors, it’s the same lens with a different name. I’d say the most popular lens Samyang makes right now is the 14mm f2.8. It is very sharp (if you get a good copy, it is about the sharpest lens at 14mm you will find!) and relatively cheap (sub $300).

Samyang is a great brand if you don’t need auto focus or don’t mind poor quality control. If you shoot stills, getting a Samyang lens could be a bit extreme because for the most part Samyang lenses are fully manual. This means you won’t even be able to use focus confirmation if you shoot on a Canon DSLR. Not a big deal if you shoot video. Also there is a fair amount of variation in lens quality compared to Canon or Nikon. You might get a bad copy of the lens and need to send it back. Aside from that Samyangs are awesome because they are cheap, sharp and excellent for video.

The Tokina 11-16mm

Well, this is the king of sub $500 wide angle lenses for video shooters. If all you care about is photography then you buy a Canon 10mm-22mm. If all you care about is video, then you buy a Tokina 11-16mm or a 14mm prime. If you want amazing value, low light performance and something that can shoot stills and video, it’s hard to go wrong with a Tokina 11-16. I was able to snag a copy of the Tokina 11-16mm DX II for under $4o0, and since I shoot stills it was an easy choice between the Tokina and the 14mm Samyang given the ~$100 price difference.

Samyang 10mm vs Tokina 11-16

Wide angle and super wide angle shots can flat out look awesome… or awful. The difference between 10mm and 11mm is substantial. I have never shot anything with my Tokina 11-16mm and thought to my self “that is too wide”. I always feel that I can use 10mm or 9mm (on a crop sensor).  When you go super wide, stuff just starts to look fictionally magical. It’s definitely a focal range for having “fun”.

So 10mm is a great focal length. Is it worth shelling out $500+ for that 1mm? No way! If you own a Tokina 11-16, just live with the fact that 11mm is as wide as you can go. For video, 11mm is #$%^ing wide, unless you need a Terry Gilliam look, in which case a fish eye lens might actually work better (you can tame the spherical perspective in post).

How will the Samyang 10mm handle vignetting, chromatic aberration (CA) and barrel distortion?
  • Vignetting: It’s usually pretty harsh on Samyangs. I think there will be a fair amount of vignetting on the 10mm.
  • Chromatic Aberration: Samyang has amazing CA control. Possibly some of the best CA control in existence at this low price range. This is where the Tokina 11-16 lags – it has a good amount of chromatic aberration (easy to fix for photos, time consuming for videos).  Is the CA so noticeable that I feel I need to fix it? No.
  • Barrel Distortion: The Samyang 14mm barrel distortion is very strong. Easy to fix for stills, and video (but you will end up cropping your footage a bit).

It’s a Bit Too Expensive For Me

It goes without saying  that the Tokina 11-16 is priced lower, has better quality control, and is more versatile (it should be able to do everything the Samyang 10mm can aside from the 10mm focal length). So for me, the Samyang 10mm f/2.8 is way overpriced and too redundant. If I owned a Samyang 14mm, and no other wide angle lenses, I would defiantly buy the 10mm. Chances are it will be sharp as hell, and focusing is easy at 10mm. But I would wait for the price to fall. Samyang lenses usually depreciate a bunch over the first two years of their life span. Unless this is the sharpest wide angle lens on the planet (it could be, no joke), $500+ for an all manual wide angle lens that is not built like a tank is a bit too much for my blood.

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