This is the first third-party RF autofocus lens made for Canon’s EOS R system by Samyang with an ultra-wide-angle fixed lens, the AF 14mm F2.8 RF. We bring you the first-hand review.
The R Mount by Canon EOS has been around for more than a year with the EOS R and EOS RP bodies leading the pack. Like any new camera mount systems, it takes time to build up the lenses family. Since its launch, the native RF lens family has ten members to date and most of it is pretty steep in prices. The good news is, third-party lens maker such as Samyang has seen riding the wave to be the first to introduce its first autofocus lens alternative for EOS R users. Let us take a closer look at this AF 14mm F2.8 RF and will it live up to expectations?
Once it is out of the box, the lens weighs just right, not too heavy and not too plasticky. It is about 485gram. When it is mounted on the EOS R body, the balance is good, not front-heavy. The lens cap is the cup type with release lock design, probably due to the lens’s sphere surface, it locks firmly onto the lens barrel to protect the sphere surface. Although the front is a sphere surface, it looks almost flat.
The design is neat, you can only see a focus ring and the MF/AF switch. There is no control ring – which is the signature of RF lens for additional customise control for the camera. This omission of the control ring will make this lens less RF-like and the user who is used to the native RF lens will find it a little lost without it, which we think it is a little let down.
This lens is constructed with weather seal structure, so when it is used with EOS R, you can use it with peace of mind in dust and moist conditions. If you need filters to compose your shots, the filter holder is designed at the back, the drop in rear type.
We took the lens to Bangkok to attend the Photo Fair and did some indoor shoot. The lighting indoor was a little tricky, for this, we set a higher ISO for most of our shots. There are plenty of opportunities to use the 14mm as the most event ground’s space are limited. Most of the time, we need to get very close to the subject, especially to get the showgirls into the shot. The photos below are the uncropped version and the following is the 100% cropped. We used the Eye detection autofocus function from the camera and the result is pretty impressive. The focus is fast and spots on.
The above photo 2 and below photo 4 was a 100% cropped out from the main corresponding photos, the model was placed in the centre and there is no visible distortion.
When we took the lens outdoor, and close down the aperture to check if there are any visible fringing and chromatic aberration, well, to our surprise, it was very well controlled – almost non-visible. You can check the 100% cropped in picture 6 and 7. This two 100 % cropped photos are also on the extreme sides of the shot and we can see some distortion happening where images have been stretched a little more towards the sides. If you are using this lens, make sure you compose your shots to avoid these distortions. The sharpness and details on the sides are still retained.
Minimum close up of this camera is 200mm or about 70mm from the lens’ glass front, that’s how close you can go. If you compose it creatively, you can produce some dramatic wide-angle close-up shots. The below photo is an illustration of how close it can go (picture 8) and the result of using the wide-open F2.8 aperture (picture 9), even the background subject which seems close to the main subject, this lens could still give you some dramatic wide bokeh effect. The creativity is yours to apply.
PRO & CONS
No function ring
Some distortion close to both left and right sides
Should you buy this lens?
Since Canon does not have an RF 14mm fixed wide-angle lens just yet, you may give this lens a try with its decent quality and impressive autofocus speed and sharpness. The price is the real deal-breaker at this point and there will not be a native RF 14mm lens anytime yet. It’s a pity about the omission of the control ring but it’s really not a big deal as most of us are still not too dependant on it, yet.
|Model||AF 14mm F2.8 RF|
|Angle of View||113.9˚ on full-frame|
|Optical Construction||14 Elements in 10 groups|
|Minimum Object Distance||0.20m|
|Maximum Magnification Ratio||x 0.12|
|Filter Size||– (rear drop-in type)|
|Compatible Mounts||Canon RF Mount|