Lens review

Samyang T-S 24 mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC

21 May 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

10. Focusing

The Samyang T-S 24 mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC is a manual device so a manual focus ring is its crucial part – it should be big, comfortable, properly damped and providing a great settings accuracy.

As you see in the photo below the dimensions of the Samyang’s ring are impressive. When it comes to its other properties, though, the situation is not so rosy.

Samyang T-S 24 mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC - Focusing

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First of all the work of the ring is uneven, with a bigger resistance in the middle and noticeably slacker on both ends. As a result if you set the focus in a range from 1 meter to infinity – where the slacks are the biggest – you can often accidentally change the required parameters. The aperture ring is much narrower and positioned closely to the focus ring so it often happened that while I wanted to change the aperture value I moved by accident the focus ring as well, ruining the carefully chosen settings. It’s a serious slip-up which, in such a lens sold at such a price point, shouldn’t have happened.

The working range of the ring is also a bit too narrow for a manual lens. Running through the whole distance scale takes a turn through just 90 degrees – it’s a value typical rather for autofocus devices, not manual “primes”. It’s worth reminding here that the Samyang 24 mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC, also a manual device, offered a 150 degree angle and the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 25 mm f/2.0 ZE – that of 115 degrees. The layout of the scale is also a problem. The 1 meter- infinity range is operated by moving the ring through about 10 degrees. The rest, 80 degrees, is used for the range from 0.2 to 1 meter. The rival T-S lenses of Canon and Nikon don’t offer anything better but it’s worth noticing that between 1 m and infinity the Samyang doesn’t have any other intermediate marking whereas some rivals still managed to fit the values of 2 or 3 meters.

The situation is saved by a large depth of field, provided by the tested lens. Even at the maximum relative aperture you don’t have to feel limited because if you set the focus at less than 6 meters you deal with a focus area stretching from 2.8 meters to infinity. By f/5.6 the situation is even better – here it’s enough to set the focus at 3.5 meters to enjoy a depth of field stretching from 1.7 meters to infinity.

It is also worth mentioning that a small depth of field scale, positioned above the manual focus ring, helps with setting the focus.