Samyang 8mm T3.8 Asph IF MC Fisheye CS VDSLR Review

Samyang 8mm T3.8 Asph IF MC Fisheye CS VDSLR Handling and features

The build quality of this 8mm fisheye lens from Samyang is very good indeed. High quality plastics have been used for much of the lens barrel and the lens mount is metal. It balances well on the Nikon D300 used for testing, although due to the unique design, stills photographers may want to consider the standard non-video optimised design of this lens. The stepless aperture is easily adjusted accidentally, which may result in wayward exposures.

Focusing and control over the aperture are both manual, as the lens has no electronic contact with the camera. Strangely the aperture ring has no click stops to provide fluid control over exposure if recording video in changing light conditions. Also it is marked in T-stops denoting the light transmission of the lens, rather than F-stops, which denote the physical size of the aperture in relation to the focal length of the lens. Although the maximum aperture is f/3.5, this translates to T/3.8, as some light is lost through the lens. If using a Nikon DSLR that supports metering with manual lenses, it is possible to input f/3.5 as the maximum aperture into the camera and any aperture adjustments will read out on the camera's display, as a Nikon AI coupling ridge is provided on the aperture ring.

Focus distances and light transmission values are marked on the left hand side of the lens, rather than the top, which should make it easier to read when mounted on a tripod or brace for recording video. The geared texture of the focus and aperture rings can be a little rough on your fingers, but they still provide a secure grip and the focusing and aperture rings are adequately damped.

Taking images of anything over two to three metres away is simple, as the lens can simply be left set on close to infinity. For closer distances it is recommended to use the electronic focus confirmation feature of your DSLR, or a dedicated focusing screen for manual focus lenses if taking still using the viewfinder. If recording video, viewing a magnified section of the frame will ensure accurate focusing.
Samyang 8mm T3.8 Diagonal Fisheye

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