When we wrote our post about lenses that indie filmmakers could afford, a reader wanted to draw our attention to Samyang Optics. Samyang is a Korean lens manufacturer that started with optical equipment, such as security and closed circuit TV cameras. Now they’ve dove into photographic lenses that offer high performance glass at a low cost, and they’re getting everyone paying close attention.
The Samyang 50mm Cine lens offers very impressive optical quality. While it does introduce the most heavy distortion of all lenses tested it is the sharpest of them all and has only slight chromatic abberation and little vignetting when used wide open. One thing that really makes this lens Cine (optically) is that it can truly be used shooting wide open at T1.5, with very minor optical degradation. Unexpected! – Sebastian Wöber, Cinema 5D
Samyang has a rather impressive range of cinematic, DSLR, and micro four-thirds mirrorless lenses. With focal lengths going from 7.5mm T3.8 – 12mm T2.2 primes, 35mm f/1.4 EF lenses for Canon platforms, and even a compact 300mm f/6.3 mft lens. They even have a gorgeous 50mm T1.5 Cine UMC lens (aka, “Nifty Fifty”).
But for me, the most buttery is their 85mm f 1.4 which offers a very pleasingly cool skin tone and wonderful depth of field and bokeh. And those are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a list of Samyang lenses and prices according to DPReview:
- Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT – $259
- Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye Sony E (NEX) EF mount – $243-449
- Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye – Canon EF-S, EF-M, Micro Four-Thirds, Nikon F(DX) Sony Alpha, E NEX – $239
- Samyang 10mm 1:2.8 ED AS NCS CS – Canon EF-S, EF-M, Micro Four-Thirds, Nikon F(DX) Sony Alpha, E NEX – $379-555
- Samyang 12mm 1:2.0 NCS CS – Canon EF-M, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E (NEX) – $328-499
- Samyang 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC Aspherical – Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Four Thirds, Sony Alpha, Sony E (NEX) – $450-550
- Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS – Canon EF-M, Canon EF-S, Four Thirds, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon F (DX), Sony Alpha, Sony E (NEX) – $249-500
- Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC – Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Four Thirds, Sony Alpha, Sony E (NEX) – $419-599
- Samyang 35mm F1.4 AS UMC – Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Four Thirds, Sony Alpha, Sony E (NEX) – $370-426
- Samyang 85mm F1.4 Aspherical IF – Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Four Thirds, Sony Alpha, Sony E (NEX) – $259-400
- Samyang T-S 24mm 1:3.5 ED AS UMC – Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sony Alpha, Sony E (NEX) – $759 – $829
That’s a heck of a lineup, most of primes and not a single one is over $850. And the fisheyes don’t really have a lot of distortion that you have come to expect from such ultra wide angle primes. Quite the contrary is you see the image to the left, which is absolutely gorgeous as it captures the dynamic range of a cavernous train station that has shadows and bright sunlight streaming in from the skylights above.
If you check the videos below, you can see that the Samyang lenses, with a few attached to a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, deliver a ton of bang for the buck:
So there are plenty of low cost lenses out there which offer some gorgeous images with very little distortion for the money. Are they perfect? Well, no. But you can get that low cost shooters will get the most out of them! For more information, visit Samyang Optics’ site, and on Facebook.