PRODUCT REVIEW

MF 14mm F2.8 Z

The great ultra-wide z-mount lens that thankfully doesn’t require an external adapter Chris Dalton 2019-04-24
Samyang Lens Reviews - Chris Dalton

MF 14mm F2.8 Z



Build Quality

Upon first inspection, the ultra wide angle lens is a very solid build, fashioned primarily from metal. Overall it has a fairly reasonable weight due to its metal construction and is larger than I expected - due to the in-built Nikon Z-mount adapter fixed to the rear. The 14mm lens has a bulbous front glass with fixed plastic petal hood and sturdy cap that mechanically clips onto the hood for secure protection.

The rubber focus ring is laid into the metal lens, is pleasing to the touch, and very smooth to manipulate. The smallest focus adjustments can be made simply with the slightest of controlled turns.
Bevelled notches in the metal aperture ring allow for quick and easy changes of aperture from f2.8 up to f22.

The lens build as a whole is built to last, and looks attractive - especially alongside the Nikon Z body of a similar colour style and functional aesthetic.


Image Quality

Focusing

The key issue for me before trying out this lens was the manual focus and how well it would work. Having only ever owned auto-focus lenses I was intrigued as to how my shooting style would adapt, and how the Nikon Z6 would cope. In general I was honestly very impressed.



The key benefit of using a Nikon Z6 or Z7 mirrorless body with a manual lens is in its focus peaking system. Combined with the MF 14mm I can easily tell which areas of the scene are in focus and which are not. As a cityscape photographer who likes to use depth in my shots where possible, this proves an invaluable tool, especially close to the lens where it’ll focus to 28cm. Focus peaking here allows me to quickly and clearly check where the true focus of the lens is. If it isn’t initially clear on the screen or electronic viewfinder, then I can zoom in using the side buttons and make minor smooth rotations of the aperture ring to find the perfect focus. 

When out shooting there were some occasions where the focus was incorrect, but I’d largely put those errors down to the impatience of someone who has relied on autofocus lenses. Taking a photo with this lens requires more time at each scene to ensure it is correctly focused, but on the whole the Nikon Z6/Z7 and Samyang MF 14mm proves to be a great combination - especially when using focus peaking.

Picture Quality

The images are very sharp in the central region, providing crisp details when zoomed in. There is some reduction in sharpness when moving towards the corners however, but its not a significant issue. Distortion is also present across the corners/sides as you might expect with such a wide angle lens in this price bracket. However, that can be corrected somewhat in post-production as can the noticeable vignetting towards the edges at lower apertures. Despite this, and for the large part I am very satisfied with the quality of images taken.


 

 

Utilising the higher apertures and in the right environmental conditions, the lens gives a clean 6-pointed lens flare. In my opinion it looks great and provides a slick look for night time photography especially. Low light photography works very well with the lens, and the f2.8 aperture is very useful for astro photography or nighttime cityscape work.

Nikon Z6 Compatibility 

Using the Nikon Z6 with this lens generally works well. However, there is limited talking between the lens and body. The Z6 doesn’t recognise the aperture or focal length in camera and those details are not shown in the exif data. There is also no in-lens stabilisation, but the low-light capabilities and stabilization performance of the Z6 (or Z7) outweigh that issue for me. 


Conclusion

Bearing in mind the target price range and comparable lenses in the market I am very impressed with the Samyang MF 14mm F2.8. It is a great ultra-wide z-mount lens that thankfully doesn’t require an external adapter (I’ve already forgotten mine a few times when out shooting!). Perfect manual focusing is simple to achieve, particularly with the focus peaking capabilities of the Nikon Z series cameras. Whilst there are some issues with vignetting, distortion and exif data, the image quality is excellent. The lens is well built and hard-wearing for many environments, and will certainly be a staple in my current camera bag.







Chris Dalton  
@chrisjdalton  





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