When I bought my second hand A7 mark II camera it came bundled with Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE lens. I was surprised how good it is. I noticed that there is also Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE lens available. Since 24mm is one of my favourite focal length and price was low I bought it. Samyang lenses are often way more cheaper than system and/or high end ones and many people say that recent Samyang lenses are very good optically. That makes them an excellent choice when your budget is tight. Is it all true? We will check it on 24mm lens today, but in two or three weeks (I hope) I’ll also test 35mm one.
Lens is very small and extremely light, only 91 grams without caps. This weight and size however has a price… You’ll see that in vignetting test, but first an interesting thing. The lens isn’t really 24mm one. I was surprised to see that it is wider! Probably around 22mm. See comparison with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm at 24mm and Tokina 24mm below (note: these are just test shots to show focal length differences, for real test charts see below). It is also interesting that frame centered on Samyang is shifted to the left on both Carl Zeiss and Tokina. Perhaps something weird goes on inside Samyang to get that additional 2mm?
Cramming 24mm lens in such small plastic body comes with compromises. There is a huge vignette at F2.8 which is still large but lighter on F4 and F5.6. At F8 it should be nearly gone but on the contrary, it is strong again and remains like that all the way to F22. Personally I’d rather like this lens to be a bit bigger and a bit heavier but with superb performance in all aspects. Unfortunately Samyang chose smaller size and weight over delivering near perfect lens. Too bad. Color rendition is nice but with slight green tint and a tiny bit low contrast.
Sharpness is excellent from wide open even in extreme corners (note: AF was used for chart shots). At F2.8 lens is little softer than stopped down, but still, sharpness is superb. Legacy lenses are no match to this one in this aspect. There is really small barrel distortion in center with small pincushion in corners. It can be easily fixed in camera when shooting JPG or in Sony RAW processing software when shooting RAW.
Except for vignetting issues this is absolutely awesome lens especially with price tag between 250 and 350 EUR for brand new lens (depends on country). If sharpness is most important thing for you than go ahead and buy it. However if you can live with soft corners on larger apertures I’d rather chose previously tested Panagor 24mm lens which in my opinion beats Samyang in everything except sharpness and is a lot cheaper. If you can put more money on the table, don’t mind loosing F2.8 light and prefer zooms over primes then Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F4 zoom is an excellent choice and also top performer. We will take a closer look on it (at 24mm) in next test.