Samyang AF 18mm f/2.8 FE – Tiny but Super Wide
For over 20 years, we used Nikon cameras, and one of our most beloved lenses was the Nikon 20mm f/2.8D lens. The lens was heavily used in our travels for many years until 2014, when the elements separated inside the lens, giving it a milky haze when used on our new Sony Alpha cameras. Unfortunately, the cost of repair was almost the same as a replacement lens. Although we already use the magnificent Sony FE 16-35 f/4 zoom lens, which already covered this focal length, we still wanted a light prime lens with an approximate 20mm focal length (keep in mind that there are 2 of us – therefore, if one of us is shooting with the 16-35 lens the other would only have the option of 24mm on the Sony 24-105mm lens or the Laowa 15mm lens. Alas, the lenses produced by most lens manufacturers until recently were either too large, too heavy or too expensive.
At the end of August 2019, Samyang announced the AF 18mm f/2.8 FE lens (for Sony Mounts) as an addition to their ‘Tiny’ series of AF lenses. The lens has been designed for Sony FE – Full Frame sensor cameras but can also be used on Sony APS-C cameras such as the a6xxx series. On an APS-C camera, the focal length would equate to 27mm making it a wide-angle lens but not an ultra-wide-angle lens.
But would it be a good lens? We already have the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE ‘Tiny but Mighty’ lens and absolutely love it, so would the 18mm be just as good?. Fortunately, a Samyang Ambassador here in Australia had acquired a pre-production copy and was quick to release a review of the lens on his YouTube channel. The lens looked great based on his pre-production copy of the lens, so we were keen to get our hands on one before a trip to Japan in November. Luckily, we received our copy 10 days prior to our departure, which gave us enough time to order and receive our *Urth UV 58mm filter. We always attach these to all our lenses.
* Click here or the banner below to receive a 15% discount on all URTH products just enter ‘widescenes‘ in the coupon code box at checkout.
The lens comes with a small case which gives it some added protection although we do not use it in the field as space in our camera bags is at a premium. It also comes with a plastic lens hood which we always attach to our lenses when using to give added protection to the front lens element. Check out the pictures below with the lens hood. The hood will extend the length by a couple of centimetres.
Above: The Sony A7Riii with the Samyang AF 18mm f2.8 FE attached without the lens hood.
Below is a short video about the lens –
Here are some of the key specifications of the lens. Other specs can be found on the Samyang website –
|Aperture Range||f/2.8 – f/22|
|Min. Focus Distance||0.25m (0.82ft)|
|Angle of View||Full Frame – 100.1º|
|APS-C – 76.2º|
We spent 3 solid weeks in Japan during Autumn with the lens and really pushed the AF 18mm f/2.8 FE hard on our Sony A7Riii cameras. To sum the lens up in one word would have to be OUTSTANDING. This lens is an absolute cracker!!! It is sharp as a tack from f/2.8 all the way to f/16. Softening of the image begins at f/22 due to diffraction. As the lens is so light it is a dream to use in low light and allows you to handhold at extremely low shutter speeds (using in-body SteadyShot). The angle of view is perfect for landscapes, travel and even street photography although for dedicated landscape shots we would still prefer to use our Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 or Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero Distortion lenses.
Below are some of the images we took in Japan with the Samyang AF 18mm f/2.8 FE lens. Hover over the image for a magnified view.
Above: Kyoto – Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 18mm f2.8 FE – Shot at f4 / 1 sec / ISO 200
Above: Koyasan – Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 18mm f2.8 FE – Shot at f4.5 / 1/320th / ISO 12800
Above: Kyoto – Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 18mm f2.8 FE – Shot at f11 / 15 sec / ISO 100
Above: Kanazawa – Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 18mm f2.8 FE – Shot at f2.8 / 1/30th / ISO 5000
THE FINAL WORD
This is a fantastic lens and worth every penny. If you love ultra-wide lenses that are light, sharp and inexpensive then this lens really is a no-brainer. The only negative with this lens is the lack of weatherproof sealing and the fighting over who gets to use it (Helen almost always wins)
The lens currently costs AUD$749 in Australia but with the links below, it is USD$329 at the time of writing this post.
RATED: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Where to buy?
If you are interested in purchasing this lens or any of the other 'Tiny' lenses then click on one of the links below.
Samyang AF 18mm f/2.8 FE - Tiny but Super Wide - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE - Tiny but Wide - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE - Masterpiece for Astrophotography - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE - Tiny but All-Around - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE - Tiny but Mighty - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8 FE - Tiny but Premium - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE - Tiny but Absolute - Adorama / Buy in Australia
Alternatively, if purchasing in Australia click on the banner below to visit Maxxum (Australian Distributor) and use the coupon code WSP10 to get a 10% discount off all products. *The discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers by the distributor.
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