Review: Samyang AF 24mm 1.8 FE

Introduction

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Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF on Sony A7rII

The earlier Samyang lenses didn’t really impress me: dinky casing, lack of controls and severe issues with sample variation. This Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF was the first of a new generation of Samyang AF lenses though: customizable switch, focus hold button, rubber gasket and vastly improved materials. Did they finally hit the mark? Let’s find out in this review!

Sample Image

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/2.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/5.0
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

Most of the sample images in this review can be found in full resolution here.

Specifications

The Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF has the following specifications:

    • Diameter: 65 mm
    • Field of view: 83.7° (diagonally)
    • Length: 72 mm
    • Weight: 227g (without hood and caps)
    • Filter Diameter: 58 mm
    • Number of Aperture Blades: 9 (mostly straight)
    • Elements/Groups: 11/8

    • Close Focusing Distance: 0.19 m
    • Maximum Magnification: 1:4.4 (measured)
    • Mount: Sony E

buy from Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com for $399 (affiliate links)

Disclosure

The Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF was kindly provided free of charge by our reader Wladimir P. from Hamburg for reviewing purposes, thanks a lot!

Handling/Build Quality

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Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF

In terms of build quality the Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF is a huge step up from the Samyang 18mm 2.8 AF I previously reviewed.

The by-wire focus ring has a nice resistance and turns 180° from the minimum focus distance of 0.19 m to infinity. It is also a bit more responsive compared to the 18mm 2.8 AF but you can still sometimes notice the “steps”.

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customizable switch and button

This 24mm 1.8 also feature a customizable switch and a lens button. When setting the switch to M2 you can use the focus ring to change the aperture. With the Samyang lens station this switch can be reprogrammed though and turned into an AF/MF switch (which would be my preferred choice).

The improvements don’t stop here: the material of the casing feels way nicer than that of the earlier Samyang AF lenses. It is slightly structured and matte, so doesn’t attract fingerprints as easily.

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Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF with hood attached on Sony A7rII

This is also true for the lens hood, which is made of slightly thicker plastic now. It can still be attached reversed to take up less space.

Being an AF lens the Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF of course features electronic contacts to communicate with the camera.

I wasn’t happy at all with the build quality of the earlier Samyang AF lenses – dinky and cheap were the terms I used – but this Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF marks a great improvement over those earlier lenses. Even a rubber gasket has been added at the bayonet.

AF performance

I am not shooting sports or fast moving animals/humans so if you want to know if the lens is fast enough for this or how it compares to other lenses in this segment you may have to look for a different review with a more detailed assessment of this aspect.

In everyday use I found the AF to be perfectly usable and also nearly silent.

Vignetting

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f/1.82.7 EV
f/2.8-f/161.9 EV

These are very interesting vignetting figures, at f/1.8 I measured 2.7 EV corner shading which improves to 1.9 EV at f/2.8 and stopping down further yields no additional benefit. Not only this behaviour but also these values are very similar to those of the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM and are generally in line for what is to be expected from a fast yet compact wide angle lens.

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Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF

It is recommended to have a look at this article first to get an idea how this brightness graph works.

Sharpness

infinity (42mp Sony A7rII)

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Sony ArII | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/11

The center looks very good from f/1.8, but already the midframe area benefits from stopping down a bit. This is also true for the corners that show good contrast at wider apertures, but some finer details are lost until stopping down to f/4.0 to f/8.0.

The infinity performance at f/1.8 is not at as good as that of more expensive high end lenses like the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM at their maximum aperture, but this also was not to be expected.

I wouldn’t mind using the Samyang at f/1.8 if needed and if you can stop down to f/2.8 to f/4.0 this leads to visible improvements, bringing the performance to very good levels across the whole frame.

portrait distance 0.9 m (42mp Sony A7rII)

For portraiture it isn’t so important how flat the field is, it is more interesting to see what the sharpness is like when focused at different parts of the frame to take field curvature out of the equation.

positions of crops in the frame

We will be looking at 100% crops from the 42mp Sony A7rII.

f/1.8 <—> f/2.8

 

The Samyang 50mm 1.2 XP was a bit of a disappointment in this category, but the 24mm 1.8 shows the performance I expect of a complex modern lens.

This is good news if you are interested in using this lens for environmental portraits. I usually place faces or other detailed objects off-center for this, so a good performance in the midframe area is important to me here..

close 0.19 m, 1:4.4 (42mp Sony A7rII)


100% crops from center, A7rII, refocused for every shot.

A maximum magnification of almost 1:4 is pretty good for a fast 24mm lens (and even better than what the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM offers) but if you want really crisp results it might be a good idea to stop down to f/2.8 here.

Flare resistance

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Sony ArII | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/6.3
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Sony ArII | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/6.3

No matter whether with or without the lens hood I found the performance to be surprisingly good in this category.
There is a small red ghost that can appear and will turn into a rainbow/crescent artefact depending on the position of the strong light source in the frame, but this is about the worst that can happen and with slight reframing it was often possible to get rid of this completely.

Coma

Correcting Coma properly is something that seems to be pretty high on Samyang’s list of design criteria. There is some Coma visible at f/1.8 but I wouldn’t call it obstrusive and I don’t think it would be in your way taking nice astrophotography pictures. A good performance for a lens with these parameters.


100% crops from extreme corner, Sony A7rII, focus on center

Distortion

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/5.6

The distortion pattern of the Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF is noticeably wavy which is easily visible with straight lines running through the picture. As of the time I am writing this review (February 2023) there is surprisingly no Lightroom/CameraRAW correction profile available which is unfortunate for my workflow.
When you are only shooting Jpeg there is an embedded-in-the-lens profile available for correcting this though.
If you don’t want to wait for Adobe’s profile you can also make one yourself.

Bokeh

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

A fast 24mm lens allows for some interesting shots that can give a pretty cool impression of depth thanks to the combination of a wide angle view with some background bokeh – if used right.
If used wrong you will easily run into distorted objects and big noses though.

Close Distance

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7rII | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

In close focus scenarios you can create very blurry backgrounds and the quality of the bokeh is also pretty good, similar to the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM actually and a clear step up from the older DSLR designs like the Nikon AF-S 24mm 1.4G.
The problem here is that one is often tempted to get even closer forgetting the issues that may cause.
The glass in the third picture already shows questionable perspective distortion even though it is still close to the center of the frame and my cat looks like she has T-Rex arms.

Mid Distance

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

Mid distances are where I think fast 24mm lenses really shine for creating environmental portraits: while the backgrounds are blurred enough to create the illusion of depth they still give enough context to tell a story.
Also here the quality of the bokeh hardly leaves something to be desired.

Long distance

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

At longer focus distances the subject separation simply isn’t that strong anymore and with objects like cars the perspective distortion easily leads to unnatural proportions. This is why I personally prefer having a fast 28mm or even better 35mm over a 24mm for these tasks.

But if you are looking for a fast 24mm lens, the Samyang 24mm 1.8 won’t disappoint in this category.

Sunstars

Regular readers already know that an even number of aperture blades leads to distinct sunstars whereas this 24mm 1.8 is using 9 aperture blades.
Still, some lenses with 9 aperture blades produce pleasing to look at sunstars with an even length of equidistantly spaced rays, e.g the Sony FE 20mm 1.8G or the Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G (have a look at this article for further reference).

Unfortunately this is not the case here. The rays are frayed and have uneven lengths, something I personally find unappealing and also a sign of not so tight manufacturing tolerances for the aperture diaphragm.

Full pictures, Sony A7III

I haven’t seen a Samyang lens with nice sunstar rendering yet, so I guess this is simply not something they deem important.

Chromatic aberration

lateral

The lens contains a correction profile for lateral CA which is automatically applied even to Raw files in Lightroom/CameraRAW so you will not be spotting any.

longitudinal

Sony A7rII | Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8 | MFD

The Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF is not free of longitudinal CA at wider apertures as in high contrast scenes you can encounter green and magenta outlining in the out of focus areas.

Sony A7rII | Samyang FE 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

When looking very closely also purple fringing can be an issue:

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Sony ArII | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8 | 100% crop

The performance is average for a 24mm f/1.8 lens and a little worse compared to the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM.

Alternatives

All the alternatives are covered in our Guide to 20-28mm wide angle lenses for E-mount, so I will only talk about the most obvious ones in detail here.

Sigma C 24mm 2.0 DG DN:
If nice build quality is important to you the Sigma lens might be what you are looking for. I didn’t use this Sigma lens myself yet, from information I gathered online from trustful sources I expect better infinity sharpness at wider apertures and a bit higher vignetting. Unfortunately this Sigma lens also shows a high and wavy distortion pattern.
buy from Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com for $639 (affiliate links)

Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM:
This is easily the best 24mm lens money can buy (in 2023) and you need a lot more money to buy it than the Samyang lens reviewed here. What do you get for spending one grand more? Better sharpness – especially at wider apertures, 2/3rds of a stop faster maximum aperture, better build quality (aperture ring), less distortion and nicer sunstars.
I honestly don’t think most of these things will be visible in a lot of pictures so you are not giving up that much going for the Samyang lens here (the Sony is also almost double the weight at 445g vs 230g), but there are still reasons why the Sony is more expensive and some of you may care about those.
buy from amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de for $1398 (affiliate links)

Conclusion

good

  • sharpness (mostly)
  • pleasing bokeh
  • flare resistance
  • coma correction
  • handling (customizable controls)
  • size/weight
  • price
average

  • CA correction
  • build quality
not good

  • strong vignetting at f/1.8
  • wavy distortion

Seeing the Samyang 18mm 2.8 AF and this 24mm 1.8 AF side by side you notice that Samyang improved a lot in a matter of just a few years. Personally I used to avoid their AF lenses in the past because of their cheap feel and especially their lack of controls. So this Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF is the first Samyang AF lens I had in my hands that feels like a decently made lens and comparable to the basic Sony non-G or the Tamron E-mount lenses.

Samyang’s approach to selling lenses is still to offer AF lenses that are lighter and at the same time cheaper than those of the competition. So don’t expect materials matching the quality of the Sony GM or late Sigma lenses and don’t expect the by-wire focus ring to feel as nice and be as responsive either.

That being said – as is already obvious from the table above – not many corners have been cut when it comes to the optical performance of this lens. Sharpness is generally good, yes some of the more expensive lenses are sharper, but it easily hits my “more than good enough” treshold, especially on the 24mp cameras.
Good coma correction and flare resistance in combination with nice appealing bokeh are making this a very capable allround lens that can be used for a wide variety of applications from landscape photography over astrophotography to environmental portraiture.

The list of negative aspects is a short one. Vignetting is high, especially at the maximum aperture, but at the same time it is not worse than the competitors, so we shouldn’t complain too much here. The wavy distortion bothers me more, as there is no correction profile for Lightroom available yet, but I guess it will be added soon and it still wouldn’t be a dealbreaker as it is possible to create your own.

The owner of this lens told me this is his second sample as the first one showed noticeably worse performance. So if you want one, buy it from a shop with decent return policy so you can check it for proper centering first. If you get a good sample of this lens though, I am pretty sure you will be very happy with it, as it is a well rounded lens with very good price/performance ratio.

buy from Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com for $399 (affiliate links)

Sample Images

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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/8.0
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
24 1.8 af fe samyang review a7rii a7rv a7riv 42mp 61mp contrast resolution sharpness bokeh
Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
24 1.8 af fe samyang review a7rii a7rv a7riv 42mp 61mp contrast resolution sharpness bokeh
Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
24 1.8 af fe samyang review a7rii a7rv a7riv 42mp 61mp contrast resolution sharpness bokeh
Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/5.6
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/3.2
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/3.2
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/2.8
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Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
24 1.8 af fe samyang review a7rii a7rv a7riv 42mp 61mp contrast resolution sharpness bokeh
Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8
24 1.8 af fe samyang review a7rii a7rv a7riv 42mp 61mp contrast resolution sharpness bokeh
Sony A7III | Samyang 24mm 1.8 AF | f/1.8

Most of the sample images in this review can be found in full resolution here.

Further Reading

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My name is Bastian and I am your expert here when it comes to ultra wide angle lenses, super fast portrait lenses (ranging from a 50mm f/0.95 to a 200mm f/1.8) and I also have reviewed way too many 35mm lenses. Don't ask me anything about macro or wildlife shooting though.

21 thoughts on “Review: Samyang AF 24mm 1.8 FE”

  1. Great review as usual, with lovely sample photos, and the lens looks to be a solid little performer. Thanks!
    For the kind of work I do, I certainly wouldn’t bother with the extra cost and weight of the Sony lens.

  2. The lens also automatically focuses to infinity when you hold the focus hold button while turning the camera on. Pretty helpful for astro IMO

  3. Apparently sample variation strikes again: my sample seems to have sharper corners at wide apertues. The extreme corners get very good from f/2.0, more or less similar to your results at f/4.0.
    Also, Capture One reads the in-lens distortion, etc., correction data, so no waiting for a profile…

    1. Intresting, latest ACR also reads built in lens profile, only for chromatic abberation. Distortion and vignetting remains uncorrected.

  4. Is this part of the dinky oh I’m sorry…Tiny lens series from Samyang? I have the dinky…I apologize again…Tiny 45mm and 35mm from the dinky….there I go again …TINY…tiny lens series from Samyang. I find the optics to be quite good on my A7RIII for the price and dinkiness….sorry tiny size they are.

  5. I am using this lens with pleasure. No complains by now. I bought it because 24mm is often wide enough for me and astrophotography is a pleasure.

  6. V-AF version is basically cyberpunk version of this lens… with doubled price tag. Though I’m kinda curious about those cyberpunk features.
    Samyang released 35-150 2-2.8 last friday and the pre-order ended in 3 minutes. I know the Tamron counterpart hype and this one is even cheaper, reselling it will surely make profit. There are test samples in some shops, and I might try it on some day, perhaps buy it if QC is alright.
    I think Samyang became quite viable option, not just for its price-performance ratio.

  7. I’m impressed with the new Sony 24mm f2.8 and wt is only 162g. I often like the look of f2.8 bokeh, even when larger apertures are available.

  8. The 24/1.8 lens is two years old nowadays and behind the current crop of 2nd Generation lenses incl. the 135/1.8, 50/1.4 II, 35-150/2-2.8 etc.

    The new VAF24 T1.9 is by some aspects a 2nd generation 24/1.8.

  9. Thank you for this helpful review. It goes into deep with a lens that almost everybody can afford without breaking the bank. In real life more people will buy lenses of this segment than the very expensive GMs. If I try to imagine my photographic friends only the professionals would buy the GM. And in my own respect I have the Sony GM 24mm f1,4 but I still use alternatives like the Tamron 24mm or some vintage lenses like the Canon FD 24mm.

  10. I don’t know what light source you were shooting to get that bland sunstars with this lens. I really like the sunstars from this lens and even won a photo contest with a sunstar image from it.

    1. There is also sample variation when it comes to the aperture diaphragm, it is possible there are samples of this lens out there that produce nicer Sunstars.

  11. Stop down 1/3 stop from F1.8 to F2 and get rid of that little distracting bokeh outlining! You can’t miss it

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