Lens review

Samyang 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS

21 August 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The Samyang 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS doesn’t have any direct rivals among reflex camera lenses designed to work with APS-C sensors. If you look at mirrorless devices you can find such constructions as the Olympus 2/12 or the Samsung 2.4/16 and the Sony 2.8/16. The problem is that the Olympus is supposed to work well with small Micro 4/3 sensors and the Samsung and the Sony are noticeably slower ‘pancake’ devices. That’s why the tested lens has to be compared to full frame 24-25 mm constructions which get the same angle of view as the Samyang on APS-C/DX. The following chart will make such a comparison easier. You might have expected the Samyang 2/16, a lens designed for a smaller sensor, to be physically smaller and lighter than full frame 2/24 instruments. In reality it is the other way round – the Samyang is here one of bigger and heavier constructions which, additionally, makes you use filters with the biggest diameter - that of 77 mm.

In the photo below the tested lens is positioned between two Tokinas, the 11-16 mm f/2.8 II and the 12-28 mm f/4.0.

Samyang 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS - Build quality

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The tested lens starts with a metal mount, surrounding contacts and a rear element, 21 mm in diameter. The element is immobile and situated at the same level as the mount when set at infinity. It hides slightly inside the barrel while you pass to the minimum focus distance.

The first element of the proper casing of the lens is an aperture ring. It moves every 0.5 EV step. Due to the contacts you can also control the aperture from the menu level of a camera with 0.3 EV step.

You have to mention here that the contacts, which make the communication with a body and aperture control from the camera level possible, are not featured in the current Canon mount version of this lens. In that case the aperture can be changed only every 0.5 EV step and in EXIF there is no indication of the focal length or aperture values used.

Samyang 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS - Build quality

The next element is a narrow, immobile ring where you can find the name and the parameters of the lens and depth of field values by f/22, f/16, f/8 and f/4, along with unmarked values by f/11 and f/5.6. Further on there is a manual focus ring. It is very wide (41 mm) and mostly covered by comfortable, rubber ribbing under which there is a distance scale expressed in feet and metres. The ring is well-damped and it moves evenly at longer scales; however a small slack at the very beginning can be a bit of a problem. After you reverse the direction of the movement the first degrees of the turn don’t change of the position of elements. Only after a while the ring ‘catches up’ and starts setting the focus properly. Running through the whole scale takes a turn through 160 degrees – it is a huge value, worth a good manual device and allowing you very precise settings.

The last element on the body of the lens is an immobile, smooth ring with a hood mount at the end. The front element is 47 mm in diameter, a bit convex and movable. It is surrounded by a filter thread, 77 mm in diameter.

Samyang 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS - Build quality

When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with as many as 13 elements positioned in 11 groups – much more than in case of all other full frame 2/24 constructions we’ve tested before. Additionally the producer used one ED element with a very low dispersion ratio, an aspherical one, made of optic glass, and one aspherical hybrid as well. The elements are covered by a multi-layered and anti -reflection UMC coating which is supposed to ensure very good light transmission. Inside the construction you can also find a circular aperture with eight diaphragm blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22.

Buyers get both caps, a petal-type lens hood and a soft pouch for the lens in the box.

Samyang 16 mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS - Build quality