Lens review

Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

20 April 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The tested lens’s resolution measurement (in the sense of MTF50 function values) was based on the strength of RAW files from a Nikon D3x. The measurement errors were really small and ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 lpmm. We made use of our new test charts with the increased number of measurement areas so the pictures from the full frame Nikon D3x allowed us to determine the lens’s resolution in the frame centre, at the frame edge of an APS-C/DX sensor (1.5x multiplier) and at the edge of the full frame as well. Our results are presented on a graph below.

Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC - Image resolution

To tell you the truth when I look at the results of the improved Samyang I open my eyes wide with amazement. I don’t remember any other wide-angle lens reaching such high MTFs on the D3x or the D200. The Samyang, even wide open, has a very high MTF50 value, reaching 44 lpmm; by f/4.0-5.6 it achieves almost record-breaking results, amounting to 46-47 lpmm. It’s worth reminding here that the best and the most expensive lenses, tested on the D200, had results at the level of 47-48 lpmm but you must remember that the D200 sensor is able to produce results by 1-2 lpmm higher than the D3x sensor. The new Samyang fares simply sensationally in the frame centre! Its results are significantly higher than those of the Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8, so praised by us, set at 14 mm!

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The same situation can be noticed at the edge of an APS-C/DX sensor. Even at the maximum relative aperture the picture is very sharp. The Nikkor 14-24 mm had to be stopped down by 1EV in order to reach the decency level. The Samyang doesn’t have any problems with it at f/2.8 and near f/5.6 it reaches 40 lpmm - a very high level for a wide angle lens!

At the edge of the full frame we also notice a radical improvement, compared to its predecessor. The older version barely exceeded the level of 20 lpmm when wide open and the value of 30 lpmm was unattainable even after significant stopping down. In the new version the decency level is reached by and large at the maximum aperture. On stopping down the lens doesn’t stupefy us when it comes to its resolution result but it is certainly good, allowing to reach satisfactory results for most of uses.

Honestly, I’ve never expected I might sing the praises of a low-end lens produced in Korea. As you see, though, an excellent image quality is not just a privilege of expensive devices produced in Japan or Germany.

At the end let’s just have a glance at our test chart crops, taken from JPEG files saved along with RAW files. The first two show the frame centre by f/2.8 and f/5.6 and the last one – the very corner of the full frame by f/2.8. Impressive!

Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC - Image resolution

Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC - Image resolution