Samyang are a South Korean company who make CCTV lenses plus a few camera lenses. These include a few mirror lenses and some converted telescope lenses. They have recently come out with an 8mm fisheye, an 85mm f1.4 and this lens, a 14mm f2.8. All are manual focus lenses that cover full frame.
One of the most attractive things about these lenses is their price. This lens is available on ebay, which seems to be the easiest way to get hold of them, for £300. This compares to Canons AF 14mm f2.8 which costs £1,900 or thereabouts.The Nikon AF version costs around £1100. So a substantial saving.
So what's it like? Well its heavy, big and very solidly made. It has an aperture ring, and a huge exposed bulbous lens element. Its not possible to use filters on this lens, and care is needed to make sure the element doesn't get damaged.
On the Canon 7D the lens scale is way out. The infinity mark is way beyond infinity. On a manual focus lens there's really no excuse for this. So unless you're prepared to do a lot of research and establish where infinity actually is, the lens markings are useless. This makes zone focusing out of the question.
In practice we used live view and the image magnifier to focus. As with many super wide angles this lens is difficult to focus at small apertures and we found ourselves on most occasions opening the lens up to f2.8, focusing and then stopping down again.
The results, in terms of sharpness, were impressive. However there's a considerable amount of barrel distortion, and if you want to use this lens for architecture then you'll have to make some post-shooting adjustments. We used the warp tool in Photoshop as a "quick fix" and it worked pretty well.
Image below is uncorrected so you can get an idea as to what its like.
The results are sharp and with surprisingly little CA. Using it on a cropped sensor avoids some softish edges on full frame, and personally we find this 22.5mm equivalent more useful than 14mm. Real wide-angle fans will love the full-frame possibilities though. Plus the wide maximum aperture of the lens enables some nice effects.
Overall its a useful lens if you can put up with the difficulties in using it. We bought it in a Nikon mount to use, via adapters, on m4/3 and our Canons. On all cameras it will be used mainly for video.
Bottom line is its certainly value for money, and way better in terms of image quality than you would imagine from the price.
D & A