Search for ultra-wide angle lens suggestions for APS-C Sony cameras and you’ll inevitably discover the Samyang 12mm F2.0 NCS CS. Reviewers and owners praise it for its image quality and affordable price, making it ideal for the aspiring astrophotographer.
What was lacking though from this great little lens was an autofocusing system. Samyang just fixed that with the introduction of the new AF 12mm F2 E. It weighs just 213 grams (without the lens cap and the hood) making it even lighter than its manual focus father.
As for image quality, Samyang says the new lens is based on the old one, which is fine by me. The only competition Samyang has (at least in the Sony realm) is the discontinued Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 and the Sony E 16mm f/2.8 + Sony VCL-ECU1/2 combo. Tests have shown the manual Samyang 12mm F2 beats the Zeiss when it comes to image quality. The Sony combo is so bad I shouldn’t have even mentioned it.
Which leaves us to the autofocus performance. So far there haven’t been any videos published, but I’m pretty sure Samyang will manage to offer something better than Zeiss did with the Touit.
The lens design couldn’t be any simpler. The focus ring seems grippy enough and underneath it all Samyang has bothered to add weather sealing.
There’s no info on price yet, but I imagine it will hover around the $400 mark. Which is great for an ultra-wide APS-C lens. By comparison, the newly announced Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 is priced at $829. Availability is also unknown, but the lens should be out just in time for Milky Way season.
Update: We now have a first review of the lens. Christopher Frost has put it through its paces and confirmed it will indeed have a $400 price tag