XP 10mm F3.5
Samyang XP 10mm F3.5 provides the photographer a new perspective which differs significantly from fisheye lenses and other ultra-wide angle lenses
Wong Chap Him Timmy
Samyang XP 10mm F3.5 review article
XP 10mm F3.5 is one of the WOW lenses I have ever seen and ever used – super ultra-wide angle with focal length of 10mm and aperture of f/3.5. Speaking of daily use, aperture of f/3.5 is good enough for normal use and sometimes handheld during night time and most importantly, its size. This XP 10mm F3.5 is light and compact while you compare with XP 14mm. The lens cap is made of metal and not plastic, this gives a real premium feel to user, nonetheless, this metallic lens cap fits well with the material and colour used for the lens main body. In this review I will list out some pros and cons I found out while using this lens in field and hopefully you may find the review useful while evaluating the lens.
Figure 1: The size of the meniscus lens.
The meniscus lens is relatively huge and it is not so well protected by the in-built lens hood due to its size and focal length. This limits the application – it’s hard to use it in rain, in snow, and even sunshine or any other bright light sources. Rain and snow leaves droplets on the front element, normally this is very disturbing unless you are doing some creative shots with this effect. Sunshine and light sources may cause flares and ghosting and to avoid it you need to play around with the composition and also the angle.
Whenever there is a new ultra-wide angle lenses announce to market, people always ask about the distortion of the lens, yet, they always confuse with barrel distortion and perspective distortion and these two distortion are totally different. In barrel distortion, image magnification decreases with distance from the optical axis meaning that straight lines bulge outwards at the center, as in a barrel. Normally ultra-wide angle lenses tend to have barrel distortion, depends on the quality and make of the lenses. Whereas, perspective distortion is a warping or transformation of an object and its surrounding area that differs significantly from what the object would look like with a normal focal length, due to the relative scale of nearby and distant features.
Figure 2: Source: Photography on the Net
Figure 3: Lines are straight.
Figure 4: Perspective distortion is caused by the relative scale of nearby and distant features.
The only way to avoid perspective distortion without fixing the distortion in post processing is to compose your photograph carefully. Make sure the camera is properly levelled and ensure all straight lines look straight by using the grid function on the display. Moreover, make sure the building looks symmetric in the display and not distorted to one side. With all these checked, your image should look nice and neat. In addition, this is how to test the barrel distortion of the lens. Results from XP 10mm F3.5 are extraordinary and superb, lines are straight and the sense of space will definitely surprise you. Most importantly, you need to know what genre to go for – it is not ideal to use such a wide angle lens for portrait photography due to the perspective distortion caused by the characteristic of the lens. This lens is particularly good in architecture and landscape photography.
Figure 5: A good example when composing the photo. Make sure all lines are straight and the shape is symmetric.
Figure 6: A bad example of composing an interior photo with the camera is slightly tilted upward.
Figure 7: A bad example of significant perspective distortion.
Utilize the advantage of the lens and create spatial images, especially architecture and interior designs.
Figure 8: Highlights the spatial spiral staircase.
Figure 9: Straight lines are straight without any barrel distortion.
Vignetting is always an issue for lenses and this can only be removed by either stopping down, or, by post processing. Vignetting at corners is visible at f/3.5 and I would recommend stopping down to decrease the defect caused by vignetting and also to have a sharper image. As suggested this lens is more ideal for architecture and cityscape photography, f number is always large to obtain a better depth of field, so vignetting does not really cause a huge problem.
Figure 10: Vignetting at the corners.
In conclusion, Samyang XP 10mm F3.5 provides the photographer a new perspective which differs significantly from fisheye lenses and other ultra-wide angle lenses and most importantly, other 10mm lenses on the market have smaller f number. Personally I really love this lens and I create photos which are so much different to others simply because I do not have to step back to frame the entire object inside the photo. I sincerely hope this review has clearly listed points and information for evaluation. Thank you.