Samyang 8mm f/2.8 “Fish Eye” Lens

Did you ever want to take a picture of someone without actually pointing the camera at them?  Well, with the 180 degree FOV of the Samyang 8mm, you can do just that!

For the price, you really can not say anything negative about this lens.  Everything that I have read about it, is positive.

The lens has no automatic features, meaning there is no AF and no image stabilisation built in.  Though, with this lens, all you need to do is use the zone system and focus it out to a few meters at lets say f/5.6 and you will get sharp focus from 2 meters out to infinity.  Sweet!

I have really been itching to get this lens, but I am on the fence right now.  I would hate to spend the money and then get bored of that “fish eye” look in my photos.  Yes, you can correct it to a certain extent, but I believe that the corners and edges to become un-sharp.  It is possible to crop out the corners and edges, but then you loose that ultra wide angle feel and then there is no real point in owning this type of lens.

However, if applied in the right way, you are able to get some really interesting photos with it, especially in big, open spaces indoors.  I have also seen some very well done landscape photos done with this lens.  In the end, it just means thinking about your shot a bit more in order to reduce the “fish eye” distortion by composing slightly differently.

From what I have read, the lens is well made and has a metal mount.  Plus one for Samyang!  The lens hood is built in and for good reason.  There is so much curve in the front element that you would not want to walk around with this lens without one.

In case no one knew, Samyang is the primary manufacturer of this lens.  You will find other brands, such as Rokinon & Bower.  The lenses branded Rokinon and Bower are a Samyang lens, but re-branded.  Funny enough, they are all different prices.  The Samyang goes for $299.00 on B&H.

Here are the specs:

35mm equivalent: 12mm

Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22

AOV: 180 degrees

Optics: 8 groups, 10 elements

Minimum focus distance: 0.30m

Weight: 217gr

This lens is not for everyone and many people have ended up selling it after only mild use.  Some folks just can not get use to the “fish eye” look or don’t have a real purpose for such a wide angle lens.  This is something you really have to consider before laying out three hundred dollars.

At this point in time, I am more on the side of the fence where I would buy it.  Though, since the 10mm was officially announced, I am going to hold off.


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