Home Lenses Review – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF for Canon R Mount

Review – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF for Canon R Mount

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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.

Samyang’s world-first AF lens for the EOS R mount, the AF 14mm F2.8 RF

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?

Built
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.

Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF paired with EOS R
Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF paired with EOS R

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.

Rear drop-in filter format on the Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF

Performance
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.

Photo 1: Indoor shoot F2.8 1/160 ISO800 – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF
Photo 2: 100% crop – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF

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.

Photo 3: F2.8 at 1/100 ISO 800 – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF
Photo 4: 100% crop – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF

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.

Photo 5: F7.1 at 1/800 ISO 200 – Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF
Photo 6: Top left 100% from photo 5
Photo 7: Bottom right 100% from photo 5

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.

Picture 8: Minimum focusing range is 0.2m or 200mm and it is about 70mm from the front lens.
Picture 9: 1/125 F2.8 ISO320 using the Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF lens
Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF lens Side view

PRO & CONS
Turn Ons
Price
Focusing speed
Weather-sealed
Good build

Turn Offs
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.

The Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 RF is available now for RM2,999. If you are interested, please visit your distributor DSC World Sdn Bhd for more details.

Specification

ModelAF 14mm F2.8 RF
Focal Length14mm
Maximum ApertureF2.8
Angle of View113.9˚ on full-frame
Optical Construction14 Elements in 10 groups
Minimum Object Distance0.20m
Maximum Magnification Ratiox 0.12
Filter Size– (rear drop-in type)
Maximum DiameterΦ86mm
Length95.3mm
Weight484g
Aperture Blades7
Minimum ApertureF22
CoatingUMC
Compatible MountsCanon RF Mount
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build
Performance
Image Quality
Value
Editor | Arthur Chen
Editor, Photographer, Video Director & Producer and avid Traveller. The media industry has been my playground for a long time and is getting more exciting by the days.