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Samyang AF 12mm F2 X Review


Introduction

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X (also known as the Rokinon AF 12mm F2 X in the USA) is an ultra-wide-angle prime lens for the Fujifilm X-series range of APS-C mirrorless cameras.

This weather-sealed 12mm F2 lens offers an angle-of-view range similar to that of an 18mm optic in a 35mm full-frame system. 

The optical formula is comprised of 12 elements arranged in 10 groups, including 1 hybrid-aspherical, 1 aspherical and 3 extra-low dispersion elements.

There’s also a close-focus point of 20cm (0.66ft) and 0.09x maximum magnification, iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, high-speed auto-focusing achieved via a Linear Stepping Motor and an advanced version of the company’s UMC coating to help minimise lens flare and ghosting.

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X lens is made in Korea. It is available to buy now priced at £399 / $499 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X is a compact ultra-wide-angle lens, especially when compared to the other alternative lenses in the X-series line-up, like the XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS WR and the XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR zooms.

It measures 59.2mm / 2.3in in length and weighs in at 212g / 7.5oz. It is a little on the bulbous side, though, with the maximum diameter measuring 70.0mm.

As you can see in the product pictures, it complements a small Fujifilm camera like the X-S10 pretty well, even with the supplied lens hood attached. It doesn’t feel at all front-heavy and is a good match for the body in terms of its build quality.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X lens boasts a metal mount, high-grade plastic barrel and it accepts 62mm filters via plastic threads on the front of the lens.

Somewhat surprisingly given the modest asking price, this lens also boasts a weather-resistant structure to support shooting in more inclement conditions. Samyang state that “there is also weather sealing and rear protective glass to protect the lens from light rain, snow, and dust.”

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X has a plastic lens barrel with just a single control, the generously sized motor-assisted focusing ring, which is smooth in action without being too loose, and has a micro-patterned rubber grip band.

Manual focusing is possible by selecting it on the camera body or full-time manual focus override is also possible when in AF mode.

As the the focus ring is not mechanically coupled, there are no hard stops at either end of the 20cm-infinity range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 62mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Unlike the majority of Fujifilm X-series lenses, the Samyang AF 12mm F2 X does not have a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel.

The lens also doesn’t feature built-in optical image stabilisation, relying instead on the camera body’s stabilisation system.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X lens utilises a linear AF motor that produces almost silent, smooth and snappy auto-focusing, making it well-suited to shooting both stills and video.

When it comes to auto-focusing, it proved to be a satisfyingly quick performer on the Fujifilm X-S10 camera that we tested it with. We didn’t experience very much”hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

In line with previous Samyang lenses that we’ve reviewed, the AF 12mm F2 X commendably ships with front and rear lens caps, a petal-shaped lens hood and a good quality case included in the box.

The hood simply twists through 45 degrees and then locks into place, with the one on our review sample proving to be reassuringly tight when in the locked position.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Focal Range

The 12mm focal length provides an angle of view of 99.1°.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not really apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Vignetting

With the Samyang AF 12mm F2 X lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2, there is obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Distortion

Commendably the Samyang AF 12mm F2 X exhibits virtually no barrel distortion in either the JPEG or RAW files.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Sunstars and Flare

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X is capable of producing quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/22, as shown below, although it is a little prone to flare when shooting directly into the sun.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Macro

The Samyang AF 12mm F2 X is not a macro lens, offering a maximum magnification of 0.09x, but it does provide a usefully close minimum focusing distance of 0.20m / 0.66ft. The following examples demonstrate just how close you can get to your subject.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

In the AF 12mm F2 X lens, Samyang have employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in quite appealing bokeh for what is after all an ultra-wide-angle lens.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several examples below for your perusal, all shot wide-open at f/2.

Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X
Samyang AF 12mm F2 X

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Samyang AF 12mm F2 X lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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