Photography News issue 24

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Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

Tests

Samyang 100mm f/2.8 EDUMCMACRO £349

Specs

Price

£349

Format Full- frame, APS-C, Micro Four Thirds Mount Canon EOS, Canon EOS M, Fujifilm X, Nikon, Olympus MFT, Olympus Four Thirds, Panasonic, Pentax K, Sony Alpha, Sony E, Samsung NX Construction 15 elements in 12 groups Special lens elements One High Refractive and one Extra Low Dispersion glass element Coatings UMC Ultra Multi Coating Filter size 67mm Aperture range F/2.8-32 Diaphragm 9 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus

Unlike many telephoto zooms and compact cameras that claim a macro function, the Samyang 100mm f/2.8 offers a ‘true’ 1:1 reproduction ratio at its closest focusing distance, so what you’re shooting is reproduced at life- size on the sensor. While you’ll find dedicated macro lenses in a variety of focal lengths, at 100mm this one is good for subjects that require distance, like wildlife or where composition is restricted. The fast f/2.8 aperture lets in a lot of light, allowing both hand-holding in low-light situations and also very shallow depth-of-field, and combined with the 100mm focal length it can also be used for portraits and telephoto landscape shots. Available in 11 different fittings, the lens becomes longer on sensors with a crop factor, so you could have anything from a 150mm equivalent on a Nikon DX DSLR, to 200mm on a Micro Four Thirds camera. We tested a Nikon-fit version on a D800 body and the pair proved very well balanced. The 100mm macro is by no means light, at 705g, but it weighs less than the Sigma and Nikon 105mm macro lenses. It complemented the camera body and didn’t feel front heavy, but on smaller, light bodies this will be less of a case. The Nikon version is actually the lightest of the 11 fits (the heaviest is the FujifilmXmount at 770g), but the lens is beautifully put together, with a smooth, mottled plastic finish to the barrel, and feels solid. The aperture ring turns at half-stop increments, but the Nikon version offers autoexposure when the ring is set to f/32. Like others in the Samyang range, the lens is manual focus only, and ordinarily that might seem like an issue, but for macro photography, manual focusing is often preferred. The lens is a joy to shoot with.

Focusing in live-view mode, and using a magnified view of the subject on screen, the 100mm f/2.8’s large focusing ring offers excellent control. It’s well weighted and its finely grooved surface provides plenty of grip. The minimum focus distance is just over 30cm, and that’s where the largest reproduction ratio is found (it drops to 1:8 when focused around infinity), and to go from one end to the other, takes a half turn. The Samyang 100mm f/2.8 macro usesHRand extra lowdispersion (ED) glass along with Ultra Multi Coating (UMC) to improve image quality and give a sharper image, as free as possible from ghosting and fringing. To test this we shot a macro subject in Raw and throughout the aperture range, with sharpness compared at the centre and edges of the frame. Results were good with some very nice details reproduced, and when focusing at the closest setting, to produce a true macro image, the best performance at both the centre and edgeswas between f/5.6 and f/8. Wide open details were still good, just not as crisp. Beyond f/11, sharpness dropped off in both areas as the effects of diffraction kick in, but pictures are still usable even at the top range. The lens displays little distortion and vignetting was well controlled (best results again were at f/5.6-f/8). No fringing was noticed. KS

Yes, manual only Minimum focus 30.7cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 1:1 life-size Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood included Weather-sealed No Dimensions (lxd) 120.6x72.5mm Weight 705g Contact intro2020.co.uk

How it rates Verdict

This is a well-built lens that handles very nicely, and it’s backed up with very good image quality at all but the very extremes of the aperture range. Manual focus only, its large focusing makes it a pleasure to use for macro work, but it’s a little pricey considering there’s no image stabilisation or autofocus.

Features Fast, constant aperture, but no image stabilisation or autofocus

20/25

Performance Very good image sharpness and very few optical defects

22/25

Handling Well-weighted focus ring control allows precise manual changes

24/25

Results were good with some very nice details reproduced…

Value for money Good quality, but pricey compared to rivals with AF and stabilisation

17/25

Overall A good lens that won’t disappoint macro enthusiasts

83/100

Pros Image quality and handling Cons No AF, no stabilisation, pricey

F/4

F/5.6

Full-frame

F/8

F/11

F/16

F/32

The images To test the Samyang 100mm f/2.8’s optical quality we set up a simple still life and framed up the camera’s position locked off on a tripod. These images were taken at the closest focusing distance which produced a 1:1 reproduction ratio. Comparisons were taken from the centre and from the edge to assess sharpness at different apertures.

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