12mm, or 14mm - wide prime question

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Peter108, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Peter108

    Peter108 FujiXspot Rookie

    Jun 27, 2017
    Hi folks.

    I'm really enjoying using primes on the Fuji system and currently the widest i have is 23mm. I don't shoot wide that often but when i do... I really need it. I want wider than 18mm and can't afford the 16 f1.4. The Samyang 12mm F2 seems good value - but it's manual focus- not so bad on such a wide lens but still. Then there is the native 14mm f 2.8. Twice as much £ but it looks pretty good by all accounts...

    I shoot wide in landscape/forest/Urbex

    Any thoughts?
  2. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley FujiXspot All-Pro

    May 2, 2016
    I used to own the 14mm. IQ is excellent, among the best of any lens I've used. I eventually sold it, but the only thing keeping me from buying another is that it's not weather sealed. It also has a reputation of having an aperture ring that is easy to nudge out of place, and the one on mine was certainly that way, but beyond that, it is a very good lens.
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  3. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    For the price of a new 14mm, you can get a used 16mm.
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  4. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hood River, OR
    I also used to own the 14, and I've now owned the Rokinon (aka Samyang) 12 f2 for about 3 years. Thoughts, should they be of any use:

    XF 14 f2.8: Optically you'll never complain. But then it's an XF lens, so you knew that. The AF speed is pretty good from what I recall, but hell, for landscape / urbex, who cares? The focal length is indeed wide, but not wide enough to get a true 90 degree field of view, which matters (to me) when shooting interiors... standing in a corner, you can't QUITE get the whole room in. But it's wide enough to distort faces badly in the corners or when they're super close, so when shooting around people you have to be careful not to get heads / faces outside the center area and step back a little. Wide lenses do strange things to shots (which can be used for good, or evil), and I always felt like this lens wasn't quiiiite wide enough to REALLY do those things when I wanted to, and I just never clicked with it somehow. It was my only wide lens for over a year (next widest was the 35) so I had plenty of chances, and just couldn't bond with it.

    Samples I took with it...

    Wide open
    16054001606_c35e96dd9a_b. KBRX1644 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    15739468037_9204a90b2b_b. KBRX0564 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    f7.1. Zoom in on the scarf to the left. Crisp as hell.
    15020900934_98bd990846_b. KBRX7989 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    Rokinon 12 f2:

    This lens benefits (fairly or unfairly – you decide) from Underdog status. It’s a little over $300 new around here, usually $200 used in good shape. So your expectations start off pretty low, which is an easy bar to clear… When you spend $25 on an old Minolta 50mm f1.7 at the flea market and it’s surprisingly crisp at f2.8, you say “cool! Money well spent.” But a month or two later, honestly, you don’t think about what you paid for a lens. Once the reverse sticker shock euphoria wore off for me, I realized there’s not really a catch with this lens. “Yeah but it’s manual focus” is supposed to be the "gotcha," but in practice, I never miss it. At f2 it’s a little soft – and I mean a LITTLE, not “like film lenses from the 70s,” just a little soft, and with a good stop or two falloff at the corners. If you’re shooting in daylight, though, you just peg it at f4 or 5.6, focus a little back from infinity (the focal distances are marked on the barrel, but you’ll quickly do it just by feel), and everything is crisp, everywhere. Things I came to love about it:

    - True 90 degree field of view means getting the whole room in, or the entire waterfall you’re standing right in front of.
    - Smallish, lightish, and yet f2 on tap = it sneaks into your bag for indoor / evening events.
    - Nicely damped focus and aperture rings. It moves a tiny bit in the body mount, but it doesn’t affect pictures.
    - Perfect combination of crisp details and a few charming flaws, like the way it flares when pointed right at the sun. People spend hours trying to get that in post, and if you don’t want it … don’t aim at the sun without a hood on!
    - Not much saggital coma to speak of + f2 = star shots! The XF16 is soooo good in every other regard, but is prone to coma, which was a no-go for me.
    - 12mm is wide enough to do neat stuff with. Tree branches, clouds, foreground elements in landscape photos, things that CAN be allowed to get all bendy start to really draw interest into the shot, without going fisheye. Leading lines are your friend with this lens.
    - Bokeh! No seriously, it focuses really close, and the bokeh is smoother than a baby’s butt.

    In summary, it’s been a wonderful companion, and I’ve gotten so much good work done with it. I thought it would a specialty toy, but it’s a workhorse.

    Some shots with it:

    21789658915_8cb6121649_b. KBRX4893 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    37624887871_0fa26e490a_b. KBRX0078P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    the flare
    36970379503_3bb10d1a1a_b. KBRX0403 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    36791349280_1a82fd14fc_b. KBRX7498 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    obligatory star shot
    30352605953_03d66ba485_b. KBRX5065 by gordopuggy, on Flickr
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  5. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley FujiXspot All-Pro

    May 2, 2016
    Stop that! It's still Cyber Week. :D
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  6. Peter108

    Peter108 FujiXspot Rookie

    Jun 27, 2017
    Thanks for sharing your experience - its helpful and Know what you mean about "clicking" or bonding with a lens... it's a shame it is hard to tell until you have one!
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  7. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hood River, OR
    Very true. Some I thought were going to be a no-brainer, and then just couldn't get good work out of them. Some, like the Rokinon 12 and the XC 50-230, I thought "well I'll need this once in awhile" and then couldn't put them down. The mystery is part of the fun, I guess.
  8. Jon Erdmann

    Jon Erdmann New to FujiXspot

    Dec 11, 2017
    Greetings. when I wanted to see the quality of the Rokinon/Samyang lens, I rented an 8mm fisheye from a LensRental. I loved the crisp results for shooting the night sky, as well as landscapes. I did have to do lens correction in LR to get images to where I liked them. So I then debated between a 10mm f/2.8 and the 12mm f/2.0 The 12mm f/2.0 won out as it is still a 18mm FF equivalent., but doing landscapes and night photography I wanted a WA lens that was great for the job. I haven't tried other Rokinon/Samyang lenses yet, the manual focus doesn't bother me. Maybe I will get the 10-24mm f/4 and try it out, sample photos look awesome.
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