Since mirrorless is still so early in its development, it’s rare that I get the opportunity to review a second version of the same lens. That’s the case today, however, as I take a look at the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye II. The second version of this fisheye lens for mirrorless cameras is not a minor revision, at least not with regards to the lens design. The lens has a completely new optical design to go with its slightly revised exterior. I reviewed version I of this lens last year, and again the reviewed version of this lens falls under the Rokinon brand name. Samyang also produces this lens under other brands such as Walimex and Bower. So is it worth it to go for the second version of this tiny wide gem?
If you’re not familiar with my reviews, I review from a real world shooting perspective. You won’t find lens charts or resolution numbers here. There are plenty of other sites that cover those. I review products on how they act for me as a photographic tool in real-world shooting.
Around the Lens – Construction
The 8mm Fisheye II has a similar construction to the first version of the lens, though it appears that Samyang has upgraded things a bit as well. The lens is constructed of metal and high quality plastics, and this new version feels a bit more robust than the original model. The lens is tightly assembled and very solid.
It’s also gained about a half an inch of length due to the new optical design. The lens hood, which scratched if you looked at it wrong with the first version, appears to have a bit more hardness this time around. While scuffs from the lens cap can and do still occur, they happen far less frequently. My version II fisheye looks better after a month or two of shooting than my original version did after the first 3 days.
Above the metal mounting base sits the aperture ring, which is operable in 1/2 stop increments and is solid and features firm clicking detents. There is little chance of accidentally moving the aperture ring. The focus ring has been redesigned and has gone to a more pleasing ribbed design instead of the scalloped ring present on the first version. The focus ring is also very well damped. For quick focusing, indeed it may be a little too stiff, but I believe that is likely by design, as a lens this wide is often set to the hyperfocal distance and left there for most shooting, so the stiff focus ring makes sure that focus stays where you set it.
The 8mm fisheye II is still a small lens, despite having grown a bit. It is barely larger than the diameter of the Fuji X-Mount, and is about 2.5 inches in length. As I mentioned earlier, the lack off autofocus is not really an issue with a fisheye lens, as you can generally set it to about 0.8m and f/8 and shoot to your heart’s content.
One thing Samyang did not update when revising the lens is the relatively long minimum focus distance, which limits the close-up ability of the lens. Still, given the cost of this lens, I’m not complaining.
10 thoughts on “Review: Rokinon (Samyang) 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye II (Fujifilm X-Mount)”
Many thanks for the very nice review and the beautiful photos provided to complement it with some sample shots!
It is still not clear to me though why on the Samyang website the 8mm version II is not listed in the products page. There’s also no mention about it anywhere on the manufacturer website.
Different story for Rokinon, since their official website clearly list both lenses (version I and II) in the products page dedicated to the X mount lenses. Could it be that this version II is not available in all markets? Luckily, the Walimex website (which is the German rebrand for Samyang lenses) also shows the 8mm v. II as available. But I really don’t get the lack of information about this lens revision on the Samyang website… unless it’s just me who did not search properly! Many thanks again for your review!
Thanks for your review.
I have a few questions.
Have you ever compared this lens to the Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye ?
This lens ( 8mm F3.5 ) has a construction of 10 elements in 7 groups with one aspherical lens.
while the 8mm F2.8 UMC has a construction of 11 lenses in 8 groups with two aspherical lenses.
So, I think they are NOT the same lens and not only when it comes to the maximum aperture but also , I think in image terms.
I know that one is specifically made for use on aps-c and the other can be used also on a FF but I think the differeces don’t stop there.
I am asking this because the two lenses ONLY share the focal length ( if at all because that 8mm F3.5 seems to be available under different brandnames with the focal length of 6,5mm , 7mm and 8mm !!!) but have a different construction and I would venture as far as to say that they probably give very different results in terms of image.
I would be very interested to see a direct comparison of these two lenses on a Fujifilm camera.
Which brings me to another question (I have asked this also elsewhere on this site but no one seems to know).
Does anyone know if the Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye exist in a Fujifilm X version?
According to this Samyang site it does
and the diagram here, from that site, mentions even its weight (different and heavier from others so it is not a simple mistake in saying that it exists)
Yet by asking Samyang UK first they suggested me to use the 8mm 2,8 ( but my question was not that one!) and then told me that it might be available only on special order ( but this information is nowhere to be found anywhere in writing on their site).
Fact is that this lens ( 8mm 3,5 is not available ANYWHERE off the shelf and the Samyang site is the only place which mentions its existence )
I am VERY puzzled.
Thanks for your attention.
Another question. How do you compare an 8mm fisheye ( when de-fisheyed) to the image obtained from the 10-24mm Fujifilm zoom at its 10mm focal length?
You can find at http://samyang.taobao.com
I’ll buy mine from them, but I live in China, not sure how would be for overseas orders, better you ask some chinese friend to help you out 😉
Milandro I come from 2020 and can say the future not good for you folk back in 2014.
Did you ever find out more on the difference because I have a choice to buy either down here in New Zealand .
Found your comment thanks to this excellent site.
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Thank you very much for the review. Very informative. I have just received my sample today and am wondering what aperture were used for the sample photos and rather if they’ve been sharpened. Especially the one 2nd one and the 5th one. Thank you in advance for your info.
Thank you very much for the great review. I bought the lens but I am having trouble focusing it on the Xe2. Is there a way to magnify the focus point (like on the em5) on the Xe2?
Would be nice to compare this with the Canon EF-M as it is a larger sensor
It’s not a larger sensor. The E-FM sensor is actually slightly smaller than the Fuji X sensor (1.6x crop vs 1.5x on the Fuji). Not that the minuscule difference really matters much.