Lens review

Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye

30 December 2014
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between fisheye lenses designed for full frame. It is clear that the tested Samyang is an instrument the most optically complex, physically the biggest and the heaviest in this group.

In the photo below the Samyang 2.8/12 is positioned next to another diagonal fisheye designed for full frame – the Zenitar 2.8/16.

Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye - Build quality

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The tested lens starts with a metal mount, surrounding a rear element, 20 mm in diameter, positioned on the same level as the mount and set in black plastics. It moves but its movement range is very small, almost imperceptible.

Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye - Build quality

The first part of the proper body is a narrow, immobile ring behind which you can find an aperture ring, 8 mm wide. That ring is a joy to use – comfortable and well-damped. It also must be mentioned that the Canon mount version of the lens doesn’t feature any contacts which might allow the lens to communicate with the camera body and you - to control the aperture from the camera. The aperture value can be changed every 0.5 EV step and the EXIF file of a photo includes neither the focal length of the lens nor aperture value. The contacts are available in the Nikon F mount version and then the aperture can be changed using the camera controls every 0.3 EV step.

Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye - Build quality

The next part is a narrow, immobile ring with a red stripe above which you can see the name and the parameters of the lens and depth of field markings by f/8.0, f/5.6, f/4.0 and f/2.8 apertures. Further on there is a manual focus ring. It is relatively wide (28 mm) and rubber ribbing, very pleasant to the touch, takes most of it. Under the ribs you find a distance scale expressed in feet and meters. The ring works evenly but, in our opinion, it has too much slack. Running through the whole scale takes a turn through an angle of about 120 degrees. It is a decent value, allowing you very precise settings especially with such a short focal length and a deep depth of field.

Behind the manual focus ring the lens turns smoothly into a huge, removable, petal-type hood. It surrounds a front element with an impressive diameter of 65 mm. You cannot attach any filters here - a standard when it comes to fisheye lenses.

Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye - Build quality

The optical construction of the tested lens consists of 12 elements positioned in 8 groups. There are three low dispersion ED glass elements and two aspherical ones among them. The Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye is the third device of that producer (along with the 10 mm f/2.8 and the 12 mm f/2.0) with a nanocrystal anti-reflective NCS layer used with the UMC coatings. Inside there is also an aperture with seven diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22.

Buyers get both caps and a soft pouch in the box.

Samyang 12 mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye - Build quality