One of the quieter announcements from Samyang last month (whose lenses are marketed around the world under the Rokinon, Bower, Walimex and other brand names) was an update to their 8mm fisheye lens for mirrorless cameras. I’ve owned the original 8mm f/2.8 fisheye for Fuji X mount for around a year, and I reviewed it last year. Despite the understated announcement, version II of the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye is not a minor revision of the lens, but a completely new optical design with the same specs. The new lens has one more element, but also features two aspherical elements and three extra-low-dispersion elements, compared to the one aspherical and two ED elements in the original design.
Well, today I received a copy of this new version of the 8mm f/2.8, and it is apparent immediately that the lens has been updated. The new version is slightly longer and heavier (though still quite small), while sporting a more modern looking manual focus ring. The focus ring is very well damped and the aperture ring features nice solid click stops every half stop. Looking at the rear of each lens shows you that this wasn’t a minor optical update. The rear element on the Version II lens is significantly larger than the original.
I’ve only had a chance to put a handful of images through the new lens so far, but at first blush, it appears to be slightly sharper than the first version, producing very crisp images into the corners stopped down a bit. Chromatic aberration is quite low. I haven’t had a chance to see if the new design resists flare any better than the old one. The new design still has the relatively long minimum focus distance of 0.3m, but otherwise, they seem to have addressed the few minor issues with the original. One minor note is that the original version is very, very slightly wider than the new Version II (we’re talking about maybe 1 degree….you’d only ever notice it in direct comparison on a tripod).
I’ll be writing a full review of this new fisheye in the coming weeks. The Samyang (Rokinon) 8mm f/2.8 fisheye is available for APS-C mirrorless cameras in Fuji X-mount, Sony E-mount, Canon M-mount and Samsung NX-mount for $349.
Here are a few images from around town today:
12 thoughts on “First Impressions: Rokinon (Samyang) 8mm Fisheye Version II”
Do you have a part number for this lens in E mount? Neither Samyang, or Rokinon list this lens on their WEB sites – the nearest lens with the new glass specs is an E mount cine lens set up for follow focus and street priced at $399. It sounds like you have the non cine version of this lens.
The part number for the E mount version is: RK8MBK28-E. You can get it on B&H here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1039940-REG/rokinon_rk8mbk28_e_8mm_f_2_8_umc_fish_eye.html
At the Samyang site: http://www.syopt.com/en/camera/photo-lenses-8mm-F2.8-Fish-eye-Lens.php
Closest I came was the cine version – which costs an extra $50 for click less aperture and toothed focus and aperture controls. Had no luck at the UK Samyang site, or the Rokinon site.
Comparing MTF of the old version:
vs new version MTF found at
at F2.8 I would expect additional 5-10 lines/mm resolution all the way from the center to roughly 10mm from the center in the focal plane for a new lens, and some drop below the parameters of the old in 10-14mm range.
Also I would expect that starting from F4.0 similar advantage of the new lens would spread all the way to the corners. In practical terms, that probably would translate to some improved micro contrast all the field.
Just my 2 cents after looking at MTF at 30 lines/mm of both lenses, hope to read your detailed review soon.
After using the new version for some time (about 100 shots), the following preliminary observations:
1. Even at F/2.8 it is pretty usable, and provides a nice resolution in the central part to about 75% of the image.
2. At F/8, and F/11 the resolution, and contrast are pretty much uniform all the way to the corners.
3. At F/16 the quality drops a bit roughly on the level between F/4, and F/5.6.
Overall very good impression from this lens.
I can obtain the old version for 80 euro less than the new II version, what would you choose? Favor the newer version significantly?
I was in similar situation, and decided to take a new version, no regrets so far.
I am considering now the Samyang 8mm, perhaps the new version! It seems like a quite versatile lens!
Do you reckon it will be a good catch for some occasional night sky shots and star trails? as wide as it is should have a great fov!
i just bought the version II of this for A6000…did u just set focusing to infinity and use aperture mode? i am new to manual focusing and this lens. thks.
For most shooting I set it to just beyond 1m, which at moderate alertures will cover most everything from fairly near to infinity.