Lens review

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

21 May 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • very good image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • excellent control of chromatic aberration,
  • moderate distortion,
  • slight coma,
  • decent astigmatism correction,
  • low vignetting in normal working mode,
  • the cheapest, fully-fledged T-S available on the market.


  • weak work against bright light,
  • unacceptable mechanics quality at this price point.

The Samyang company proved again that they employ very gifted optics specialists who, with a budget much lower than that of more renowned rivals, can offer a lot. That company have launched several lenses and I have to admit I haven’t encountered an optically weak device yet. Quite the opposite is true – most of them I described in superlatives.

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Mechanics is the problem of the Samyangs, though. It’s never been the best but if you test a lens costing 1000 or 1500 PLN, two or three times less expensive than its immediate rival and optically as good, some mechanical flaws can be forgiven and glossed over.

The Samyang 24 mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC could be called the first unpleasant surprise – its price soared to 2500 PLN but that increase didn’t result in a better build quality. In fact quite the opposite was true – there were several slip-ups like a faulty aperture and focus ring slacks which didn’t place that product in a favourable light.

That’s why I was so surprised by the announcement of the launch of the Samyang T-S 24 mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC. In T-S lenses the mechanics is crucial so I was worried Samyang designers have bitten off more than they could chew. A high price tag, reaching 4000 PLN, (by the way making it the most expensive Samyang instrument) made me hope, though, that the quality of the materials, used here, will be high and, as a result, the instrument would work as it should. Unfortunately our test showed that I was wrong. The sizes of the aperture and focus rings were badly chosen, there were slacks on the latter; uncomfortable blockade and operation dials for tilts and shifts and the accidental collapsing of tilting and shifting parts under their own weight made the work with this lens rather difficult. Of course it still functions and you can take photos with it, sometimes even exactly of the same quality as the photos taken with its over two times more expensive rivals. Still you must be aware that all the process will take a bit more time, a tad more nerves and might involve damaging tips of your fingers as well. Is it a price worth paying? Everybody has to answer such a question on their own. After all the difference in price between the Samyang and the Canon or the Nikkor is very significant; with so much saved money you can buy a wagonload of sticking plasters for your fingers. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people decided such an option was worth the consideration.