Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC

Costing considerably less than other tilt & shift lenses, the new Samyang T-S 24mm boasts an impressive set of features and excellent build quality. But how will it perform when put through our tests?

Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC

Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC

The brand new Samyang 24mm with tilt & shift functionality is a full-frame, wide-angle lens that will soon be available to buy with a Canon, Nikon, Sony or Pentax mount. The lens, which Samyang rates as the most advanced glass in its whole lens catalogue, contains 16 elements arranged in 11 groups, and has an aperture range of f/3.5-f/22. At £949, Samyang’s 24mm T-S f/3.5 full-frame lens is significantly cheaper than 24mm tilt & shift lenses from both Canon and Nikon. Weighing in at 680g, it is also slightly lighter than the Canon and Nikon equivalents, but it certainly feels very robust and well-built. All-metal construction, a comfortable grip and a smooth tilt & shift movement make the Samyang a pleasure to use and give it a high-quality feel.

As expected for a lens of this type, the Samyang only has manual focus, though its lack of electronic aperture control is one thing that makes it inferior to more expensive tilt & shift lenses. That said, it wouldn’t put us off this lens because we would only be using it for carefully composed shots from a tripod and therefore would always expect to have plenty of time to alter the aperture manually.

The Samyang’s focal plane (tilt) can be adjusted by +/-8.5 degrees, and the optical axis (shift) by +/-12mm. The tilt & shift section can also be rotated by 90 degrees (in 30-degree intervals), as can the mount itself. This makes it a really versatile lens for controlling all types of perspective. When we were shooting buidlings it was easy to get all the converging vertical lines upright. It was also very easy to use the tilt function to adjust selective focus and achieve the miniature effect associated with tilt & shift.

In the studio, the lens showed some barrel distortion and chromatic aberration, especially at f/3.5. The lens’ sweet spot falls around f/8, where it is reasonably sharp in both the centre and at the edges, and where chromatic aberration is at a minimum. At f/22 and f/3.5 there is a visible reduction in image quality. Out in the field, extreme highlights tended to bleed into the shadows slightly, and the bokeh in the out-of-focus highlights could be better.

Overall, this is a really well constructed lens for the money, and handles very well. It would be very useful in the kit bag of architectural or landscape photographers.


This review was first published in the July 2013 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.