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[av_one_full first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”] [av_image src=’http://localhost:8888/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Dubai_balcony-1300×430.jpg’ attachment=’4826′ attachment_size=’featured’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=’yes’ font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’] Samyang 12mm f2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye Lens Review
[/av_image] [av_heading tag=’h2′ padding=’10’ heading=’This review is a practical review of how the lens is performing in real life. ‘ color=” style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=’subheading_below’ subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”] This is not about the numbers but about real life use of this lens.
[/av_heading] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”] I was looking for a good fisheye lens to accommodate a wider field of view than I could do with my Nikon 16-35 f4.0 lens.
Particularly because I wanted my cockpit shots to include more.
There a a few fish eye lenses out there, but almost all are made for crop sensor (DX) cameras.
When used on a FX – full frame camera, you get a black circle around the image or you have to use the camera in DX mode.
As I didn’t want this I started my search for a good fx eye.
After reading all the technical data, I decided to get the Samyang 12mm f2.8 ED AS.

I’ve used the lens for several months now, on my Nikon D610.
And I’m very happy with how the lens performs. I use it in a wide variety of conditions. High contrast, night and bright daylight.

When to use this lens

Most people buy a fish eye lens and use it only a few times, before it will never get out of their bag again. That’s a real shame.

I must say I really enjoy using a fish eye lens for all sorts of photography.
Use it in tight spaces, showcasing the whole room or cockpit in my case.
Use it in architecture to show off as much as possible in an artistic way. Embrace the distortion.
Use it to take a close up of an object ( like a car) and include the surroundings.
Use it for Astro photography to capture the maximum field of view.

Be creative with it and you will have lots of fun!

Field of view

The 12 mm will give you 180 Degrees field of view on a FX camera.


The lens is manual focus only – as all fish eyes are.
Focusing is actually quite simple.
The big focus ring lets you focus with ease and very precise.
Especially when stopping down the lens to f8 or f11, the focusing is quite easy because you have a enormous depth of field.

Stopping the lens down to f2.8 it gets a bit more tricky, especially when you have nearby subjects you want to be in focus.
Through the viewfinder it is hard to focus accurately. The index markings on the lens it self help to get you into the ballpark but fine tuning can be done best using live view.
Zoom in on your subject using life view and focus.


As said I use it on my Nikon D610 body.
The lens has a manual aperture ring but you can set that to the red marking ( f22) on the lens and set the aperture through the body.
When I first received the lens this wasn’t completely clear to me.
When you don’t put the lens in a aperture of f22 you will get a “fEE” warning on your body.
So set the manual aperture ring to the red f22 markings and leave it there.


Center sharpness is really good, even when opening up the aperture.
It gets softer in the far corners
Also when opening up the aperture (f2.8) and  in combination with long exposures the image tends to be a bit soft on the edges.
This is nothing to worry about though, center sharpens remains very good.
On normal apertures ( f8-11) the lens sharpness is really good.


The distortion of this lens is quite nice.
You will get a nice curved horizon, which is easily corrected in post production (if you wish).
If you place the horizon in the center of the frame, it wil be almost straight.
This is one of the things I like about this lens.

Sample images

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Personally I really like this lens.
In tight places it gives you the extra reach which is needed. A aperture of f 2.8 is very welcome at night, making it a nice lens for Astro photography as well.
As said before the distortion can be easily corrected in post production when a natural image is required. Sharpness is really good across the whole range, decreasing a bit in the far corners.
It is a great lens to have in your bag! It completes my kit (16-35 / 70-200).
I can really recommend it.
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Author Martijn.Kort

Fine art photographer focusing on architecture and cityscapes as well as capturing unique moments from the cockpit. Writing about photography techniques and sharing reviews. Ambassador for both ZEISS Netherlands and Nisi Filters. If you like my work, consider following me on Instagram!

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