Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE – Tiny but Wide
The 24mm focal length has always been a massively popular focal length. It is classed as a wide-angle, anything wider is classed as an ultra-wide-angle. For many years the Swiss Army Knife of camera lenses for a photographer has been the 24-70 which has been extremely popular as it represented a wide-angle and semi telephoto all-in-one lens. This focal range makes it ideal for landscape, street, general, and travel photography.
Since our beginnings in photography in the mid-’80s, we have always owned a lens with the 24-70 focal range, albeit, only in the confines of a zoom lens. We have also owned both a Nikon 20mm f2.8 and a Minolta 28mm f/2.8 at various times but never a 24mm prime lens.
We love to shoot wide (thus the name WideScenes Photography), so much so, that we spent over 20 years shooting with the magnificent Fuji G617 Panoramic film camera that yielded superb 6cm x 17cm panoramic images. These days, our everyday bag will usually consist of a collection of wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses including the Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar, Samyang 12mm f/2.8 Fisheye, Sony 16-35 f/4, Samyang AF 18mm f2.8 FE, Laowa 15mm f/2, and we both have a Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens. So as you can see, we have most wide-angle focal lengths covered. So would we want another one? Read on…
As Travel Photographers we have always tended to favour zoom lenses for their flexibility, and generally, we are happy to use the slower f/4 versions to save on weight, size, and cost compared to the f/2.8 version. Our workhorse for most of our travel work is the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 lens, however, as much as we love this lens it is a fairly big and heavy lens, that is not always ideal for handheld shots in a low-light situation as it is not a fast lens (f/4).
We love the ‘Tiny’ series of lenses that Samyang has produced for the Sony E mount cameras. For those that don’t want to go ultra-wide with the Samyang AF 18mm f/2.8 FE lens but still want a tiny, light, sharp, and inexpensive lens then the Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE could be the next best thing. Let’s see how it performs.
The Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE, also known as the “Tiny but Wide” in their lineup of tiny lenses, is designed for Sony E-Mount cameras only. The lens can also be used on APS-C (crop sensor) cameras such as the Sony a6000 series which will give the equivalent of a 36mm focal length. If you own a crop sensor Sony camera and want the very popular 35mm focal length that many photographers love, then this may be the lens to consider. Keep in mind though, this is no longer technically classed as a wide-angle lens.
The lens comes with a small shock-proof zippered case which gives it some added protection although we do not use these in the field as space in our camera bags is at a premium. It also comes with a plastic lens hood and has a 49mm* filter thread.
* We recommend the use of Urth filters. Click on the banner below to get a great price on all their products.
Above: Sony A7Riii with the Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens attached (including lens hood)
The lens is a minute 37mm (1.46in) in length, which is only 4mm longer than the superb AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens, and weighs in at 120g/4.23oz. A bit heavier than the 35mm but lighter than the 18mm, but you really wouldn’t notice it. The lens has no OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) in the lens however you can use the camera’s IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization).
Like all the lenses in their “Tiny” series, the weight of these lenses make it so easy to handhold slow shutter speeds making it ideal for low light scenarios. The size is also a key factor for street and travel photography as the lens is not too “in your face” and as a result allows you to discretely capture more shots. The lens has an aperture range of f/2.8 up to f/22. Not as fast as some other lenses which offer you f/1.4 but as mentioned above these lenses come with a price – size, weight, and cost.
The lens performs admirably from f/2.8 all the way up to f/11. Beyond f/11 the lens starts softening from the effects of diffraction. At f/2.8, this lens is amazingly sharp in the centre, however, in the corners, there is a slight loss of sharpness but really only negligible. Stop down to f/4 and there is an improvement but once you are at f/5.6 there is uniform sharpness across the whole frame. We cannot comment on the results when used on an APS-C sensor camera as we no longer own an APS-C camera, however, please watch the video below to see the results.
The lens suffers from vignetting (dark corners) to different degrees at all apertures on a Full Frame camera, however, this is immediately corrected when applying the lens profile in post-processing or automatically in-camera if activated in the Menu. The darker corners reduce gradually as you stop down from f2.8.
This lens’s firmware has been updated several times since its release so make sure when purchasing that it has the latest version installed (usually, if bought from a retailer, the lens will have the latest firmware). If not, take it back to the retailer and ask for it to be updated. The latest version at the time of writing is Version 5 which has improved the AF-C (Auto Focus Continuous) function. If you are buying secondhand or another update is introduced in the future you will need to purchase the Samyang Lens Station to update the firmware (these cost around AUD$90)
Below is a great video. Click on the image to view on YouTube.
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: 0.24m (0.79ft)
Filter Size: 49mm
Mount: Sony E
Angle of View: Full Frame – 82.1º, APS-C – 60.0º
The lens was kindly lent to us by Maxxum (Australian distributors) for this review. Unfortunately, we received the lens during the COVID-19 Pandemic which limited us in the use of the lens.
Based on the tests we were able to conduct we have concluded that this is a fantastic lens on Full Frame sensor cameras such as the Sony A7/A9 camera series. The lens has significant vignetting at f/2.8 which continues as you stop down, however, it is quickly corrected when the lens profile is applied in post-processing. The corners at f/2.8 are soft but this is to be expected on a lens like this but it vastly improves once the lens is stopped down to f/4. The lens has optimum sharpness at the f/8-f/11 range and, as with most lenses, suffers from diffraction from f/16 and onwards. Unfortunately, as with all the “Tiny” lenses by Samyang with the exception of the AF 24mm f/1.8 FE and AF 35mm f1.8 FE, we are disappointed by the lack of weather sealing. Is that a deal-breaker? – not in the least, it just means a little more care needs to be taken when using in the field. There is also no OIS (that’s the case for any of the “Tiny” lenses”), however, Steadyshot can easily be achieved in-camera. Read our conclusion at the bottom of this post.
Below are some of the test images we have taken with the Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE lens without the lens hood. All images have had the lens profile applied in Adobe Lightroom.
Above: Shot at f2.8 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The before and after shows the vignetting before and after the lens profile has been added.
Above: Shot at f2.8 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is sharp in the centre however a little soft in the corners. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: Shot at f4 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is sharp in the centre and the corners are now much sharper. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: Shot at f5.6 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is sharp in the centre and the corners are now even slightly sharper. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: Shot at f8 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is now sharp from corner to corner. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: Shot at f11 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is still sharp from corner to corner. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: Shot at f16 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is now softening as a result of diffraction. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: Shot at f22 on a Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens. The image is even softer as a result of diffraction. Hover over the image for a closer look.
Above: The Strand Arcade in Sydney, Australia
Sony A7Riii + Samyang AF 24mm f2.8 FE lens
24mm – f/8 – 1.3sec – ISO100
THE FINAL WORD
Once again, Samyang has produced a fantastic lens. It may not be the sharpest of the “Tiny” range of lenses, however, for the price, weight, and size, it is a fantastic lens. Would we purchase this lens? Probably not, but only because we are adequately covered for this focal length with our Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (backup lens), Sony FE 16-35 f/4 and Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 lenses. We do, however, recommend this lens based on its price, weight, size, and sharpness.
UPDATE: Since writing this post (during lockdown) we ended up buying the lens at a price that was too good to pass up. We have used it many times in real-world shooting and are delighted with the results. The lens is so light that we now use our Peak Design Cuff wrist strap when using the lens rather than our Peak Design Slide straps.
The lens currently costs between AUD$500-$600 in Australia. Click here to buy directly from the Australian distributor and use the code ‘WSP10‘ to receive a 10% discount. To purchase at Adorama it is currently priced at USD$219 at the time of writing this post. For more links see the ‘Where to buy?’ section below.
Since writing this post, Samyang has also released the more expensive AF 24mm f1.8 FE version of this lens. The lens is targeting those that are interested in Astrophotography.
UPDATE: In late 2023 Samyang discontinued the production of this lens. You may still find it at some retailers and distributors, but eventually will only be available as a second-hand lens. We’re not surprised at this as there is probably more interest in the newer AF 24mm f1.8 FE lens.
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.
Other equipment mentioned in this post can be purchased at the following links –
Sony A7Riii Mirrorless Camera – Buy here at Adorama / Buy in Australia
Sony FE 16-35 f/4 – Buy here at Adorama / Buy in Australia
Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 – Buy here at Adorama / Buy in Australia
Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 – Buy here at Adorama / Buy in Australia
Samyang 12mm f/2.8 Fisheye – Buy here at Adorama / Buy in Australia
Please Note: We may receive commissions when you click links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews or recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice.