Samyang 12mm F2.0 for APS-C

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The ultra widea angle Samyang 12mm F2.0 lens is available for various mirrorles cameras, that is Canon M, Fuji X, Sony E (18mm FF equivalent) and Micro 43 mounts (24mm FF equivalent). It is available under various brand names, Samyang, Rokinon and Walimex Pro being the most popular ones.

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The lens is fairly light and compact, especially given its light gathering capabilities. This makes it quite portable – it really pays off just to keep it in your bag in case a great landscape shot comes up.

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It is a fully manual lens with focusing ring (none of the focus by wire nonsese), with focusing scale on the ring helping you to achieve what you need. It has clear markings of where infinity is (you can go beyond it so don’t simply turn the focus ring all the way).

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Samyang 123mm F2.0 has aperture ring on the lens (for Fujifilm people this will not be anything special), which unfortunately does not transmit the data to the camera, so the only way you will know what F stop you’re on is by looking at the actual lens. The data about aperture will also not be embedded in RAW files. That said, light metering will work well so you can easily shoot in Aperture Priority mode and get proper exposure.

DSC07218-HDR.jpgIt is built out of metal and high quality plastic and comes with a 67mm filter diameter.

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The lens is sharp and has supprisingly little distortion in the corners, especially given how wide the angle of view is.  The minimum focus distance is 0.2m, so you can get really close to your subject and with F2.0 even get some background blur.

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The focusing is fully manual, but with wide angles it really does not pose much problems in practice. If there’s enough light you can simply set the aperture to F8, set the focus at 1 meter and simply shoot away and get everything in focus. If you’re shooting landscape, you can get everything sharp with aperture as low as F4 is you set your focus distance right. The higher apertures really only come in handy if you need a landscape with something really close to the camera in frame. (Even at F8 the hyperfocal near limit is still 0,5m, at F16 it’s 0,23m which is almost as close as the near focus limit)

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The lens is also great for night photography, given how much it can open. Again, with a sturdy focus ring, if your goal is to shoot the stars you can just set it to infinity and don’t tough it again throughout the night.

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There is really nothing bad to say about this lens, it remains sharp throughout its aperture range (you can see some diffraction creeping in at F16), its built leaves nothing to wish for and its size perfectly matches the compact APS-C mirrorless form factor. For around €300 it is great value.

northern lights over mountains in icelandwild birds on a frozen river

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