I was lucky enough to have a play with the Samyang 18mm F2.8 FE. Samyang’s eighth autofocus lens for the Sony E-mount system and wow is their range growing at a fast pace. This not only gives much more choice to the photographer who is invested in the Sony system but is an affordable alternative compared to some of the other offerings that are currently on the market.
To give you a quick rundown of the lens has a very simple design with the focus ring the only adjustable feature on the lens itself. The electronic contacts serve to communicate with the camera like autofocus, exif data and stabilisaton. No weather seals on it but one thing that I really love about is that it's just so light weighing at 145 grams to be exact. This makes it a great travel companion.
Speaking of travel companions, I’ve paired this primarily with the Sony a7 III and what a combo this is. Combining the fast autofocus, great image quality, low light performance from the camera plus a wide angle perspective which would be great for landscapes and scenic shots it enabled me to carry this camera with ease. I was able to focus more on the shot instead of thinking about how to pack my gear and how to carry it.
These days I consider myself more of a travel photographer. I love experiencing new cultures, enjoying new sites, pushing myself outside of my bubble to gain new perspectives, how people live and of course enjoy the food that they have to offer. I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of traveling these days from venturing out to mainly Asia like Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan (my favourite country) and more and venturing out to different parts in Australia like Perth in Western Australia.
WhiIe the 18mm f2.8 is a lens that is more on the cheap side it doesn't that it can't produce good looking images. Thanks to its F2.8 aperture it is capable of shooting in low light conditions or to help blur out the background from my subject in focus. Ideally, I'd love a lens that is even wider in aperture but this is of course a tradeoff when it comes down to portability. Despite this shortcoming, I can still get good bokeh in photos and combined with a full frame sensor from the A7 III, I can easily achieve this. With lens I'm also able to capture images where like landscapes and cityscapes but also places where I find myself in tight spaces.
For video, this might be a good lens that you may want to consider for vlogging. I did use it for that purpose while I was in Perth and it was wide enough to not only fit myself into frame but everything else. While there is no zoom, I found it sufficient for what I needed it for and didn't need to worry about myself not being in the frame because it is so wide. It did struggle a tiny bit when it was in low light conditions but that is a challenge even more expensive lenses have a hard time with but of course in well lit situations, it wasn't a huge problem. I did also attach it to my gimbal for some lightweight filming which came in handy, giving a good cinematic look and to give credit to the lenses' size and weight, my Ronin-SC was able to handle it just fine.
All in all, I am liking what this lens has to offer and without a doubt due to its price, portability and capability to deliver when it comes to photographing landscapes, architecture and a varied amount of other applications it can be used for, this will certainly be in the hands of many photographers who own Sony mirrorless cameras.
Feel free to take a look at my first look video on the Samyang 18mm F2.8 AF FE lens on the following link: https://youtu.be/6Im8VNoiQBA