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Samyang XP 10mm F3.5

The widest pro prime ever: does this lens truly deliver? Who's it for and is it any good? Let's find out!

Author: Thushara Verhoeven | Photo & image credits: © Samyang Optics, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography | Published on: 13 October 2020 | Last edited on: 4 February 2021


1. Introduction

My camera bag was ready for a much needed addition. So after months of anticipation and much deliberation I was finally in for something fresh in the form of a brand new super wide angle lens. To my inner photographer the general appeal of these lenses lies in the enormous field of view they're able to capture. I remember from past experiences that I specifically loved that feeling those final images gave me and I really wanted to thoroughly experience that again. But I also used and owned several super wide angle lenses from various brands in the past and... I sold them all. Why? Because the image quality they were producing simply weren't satisfying... I'm what you may describe as a 'lens junkie'. Always in search of the best of the best. I'm now in the privilieged position that cost isn't a particularly restricting factor anymore so this is my story of my quest for the ultimate super wide angle lens.

Every photographer remembers his or her first camera purchase. I know I do. I remember standing there in the camera store with my first freshly bought brand new camera looking at all those lenses and equipment, thinking: "Wow... this is going to be a costly business... Those big lenses look really, really cool and what are those lenses with that bulky glass?" Let's face it: we've all been there... A sales person will confirm that if you want the best of the best right away it's 'gonna cost ya', but a good sales person will also warn you that getting the best of the best equipment for a starting photographer isn't necessary at all, even if you have the budget. It's only logical not to spend a ton of money on equipment you don't know what to do with or how to operate properly yet.

As for a lot of people photography started out as a hobby for me around 15 years ago, but since 4 years it's become my fulltime job. This meant that the lenses I shot with in the beginning sure were nice back then but soon they weren't enough anymore. Their limitations became more obvious over the years and I needed better equipment for my work. So, it was time to upgrade. I started trading lenses, sold off old ones and bought new ones or second hand lenses with the money I got for the old ones, until I decided to sell off most them in January 2020 to finally take the leap to true pro grade glass. I had come to a point that I knew what I wanted and what I needed for my work to get the best out of my photography. Now it was a matter of payment so everything obsolete in my lens cabinet had to go in order to make way for the new glass.

For my new lens stock I would purely stick to lenses that I would actually use and I needed for my work. I always wanted a good super wide angle and I noticed that these lenses still strongly seem to appeal to me. So I decided to return to the world of super wide angle lenses once again, but this time on a pro grade level. However, in order to reel in a major catch like this I had to do some solid research first...

Samyang XP 10mm F3.5

Samyang XP 10mm F3.5

© Samyang Optics

A crash course: Lenses 101

Every lens capable of producing images from 35mm (full frame) and wider is considered to be a wide angle lens where everything below 24mm is considered super or ultra wide. The total field of view (measured in degrees: °) that an ultra wide angle is usually able to capture in a single frame is way greater than what the human eye can perceive. This extended field of view opens up all sorts of creative photography which makes them super intriguing in my opinion. They are mostly used in architecture and landscape photography and I so happen to love both.

When I bought my first semi professional camera back in 2017 I was presented with the choice of what brand I would be going to use for my photography. I then and there decided to go with Nikon (Nikon D7200) mainly based on the fact that there's a huge ecosystem of lenses in existence for the Nikon F camera mount. This meant that I would have a lot to choose from if I ever wanted to extend my lens arsenal in the future... And I surely did.

There is a broad spectrum of niche type lenses out there as well which are essentially specialised tools. For example, at the other end of the focal length spectrum there are the super long telephoto lenses. These lenses tend to be very expensive since they contain a lot of glass and hardware to make them focus fast and precise and the need to deliver tack sharp results under all circumstances at all distances and apertures. It's not an easy feat to pull off and established companies like Canon, Sony, Zeiss or Nikon (amongst others) have specialised in making astonishing well-built lenses for decades. Some of those companies are even over a century old and all of that knowledge and knowhow has accumulated to what they create and sell today. 

There are also a lot of companies out there that solely specialise in the creation of lenses instead of cameras. In the early days of the digital photo age companies like Tokina, Sigma, Tamron and Samyang were considered to be so-called third party lens makers. The lenses they created back in those days were considered to resasonably priced and the image quality they produced was usually decent enough but those lenses often couldn't achieve the quality and the sharp results of the A-grade lenses from the established brands.

Since a while these companies are seriously on the rise in the lens making industry. They already gained a solid name by being cheaper than the A-grade brands, but now they've gradually proven to be able to achieve and match premium quality. They're now even capable on more than one occasion of even surpassing it... The Korean brand Samyang is such a company that is now seriously in the process of doing just that. Their latest products are simply put: amazing.

They are creating genuinely professional lenses, capable of delivering stunning results. Samyang's products are in most cases still cheaper than their (in my case) Nikon counterparts. Granted, most of the time not by much since lens making is a costly endeavour, but there are numerous cases where 'third party' lenses are just as good (or even better) as their established brand's counterparts but a solid € 500~1.000 cheaper. That's definitly more bang for your... euro! This is also good for the competition because it forces the established brands to think harder to stay ahead. I personally think this keeps the lens market healthy and fresh.

Field of view: 15mm vs. 10mm (on DX / APS-C)

15mm (Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 G2)

15mm (Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 G2)

© TPJ Verhoeven Photography

There's wide and there's wider. These photos are taken months apart so please don't mind the weather but they demonstrate the difference in super wide angles quite well.

Researched: wide angle lenses

As I said before, I am highly interested in niche type lenses. It can't be extreme enough. If it's a perculiar or strange lens I just have to try it out myself to see what it does on my camera. And there are many of such lenses out there but among them they all greatly vary in purpose, build quality, sharpness, usability and so on.

In the world of wide angle lenses for the Nikon F mount there's also a distinguishable difference in quality between zoom lenses (like a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8) or what's called in professional terms a 'prime' lens. A prime lens almost always delivers superior photo quality on its respective focal lenght compared to its zoom lens counterpart. For example, a 14mm prime produces almost always better results than a photo from a 14-24mm zoom lens shot at 14mm. 

During my research period a lot of potential candidates popped up from which I used and owned quite a lot of them already in the past. It appears that super wide angle lenses are plentyful out there. So, what did I find?

- There's the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART lens. Great for astro photography but it's a heavy beast. Weighty and bulky this lens is capable of delivering some stunning results, but.... it's only 14mm. I want to go wider than that.

- There's the Sigma and Nikon 12-24mm f/4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 zoom lenses. All quite wide and all very good too in terms of quality but still not wide enough for my taste.

- Lens maker Tokina has created the 11-16mm and 11-20mm f/2.8 zoom lenses. The latter I used and owned for over a year before selling it off. Yes, it was a wonderfully small and lightweight lens. Certainly capable of delivering decent results. In terms of wideness it was very much okay, but unfortunately in terms of sharpness I was ready for something better.

- There's the Nikon and Tamron 10-24mm DX lenses. They're almost as wide as can be for rectilinear lenses, but they're also both zoom lenses, meaning they're also both suffering from being a comprise between user convenience and overall image quality. 

- And then finally there's the Sigma 8-16mm which's specs look promising on paper in terms of wideness. At 8mm this lens is 2 millimeters wider than the Samyang lens this review is about. 2 millimeters doesn't sound like much but on my crop sensor camera this makes quite a difference measured in the angle of view. However, there's a big "but".... because this Sigma lens is a zoom lens it's sadly not nearly as sharp as I want it to be. It also has a narrower widest aperture and to finish it off... it suffers from massive distortion. I've owned and used this lens in the past so I know this isn't the ultra wide angle lens for me.

Now these aren't of course the only wide angle lenses available for Nikon F today but I had to narrow it down based on all kinds of (to me) important qualities like 'widest field of view', 'biggest aperture', 'highest achievable image quality and sharpness' and so on.

Zoom lens: the compromise

Creating a lens in itself is a craft which involves centuries of knowledge and unbelievable skill so it's only logical and most convenient that there are some respectable companies out there who do this for us photographers. 

I do like my zoom lenses to be sharp on all distances but unfortunately their capability of producing sharp results always seem to boil down to a compromise. Zoom lenses requires more glass and moving parts which makes them bigger and heavier and therefore more expensive to a degree that's it's no longer funny for many hobbyists out there.

If you want a fast (wide aperture) lens to be able to shoot indoors or at night with as less noise in the final image as possible, it's even harder. These type of lenses are even harder to construct since the opening and the width of the lens barrel needs to be wider to let as much light in as possible, which in turn makes it even bigger since bigger and heavier (and pricier) glass elements need to be used.

Also, the zooming and focus mechanisms inside the lens to move all that glass around is adding weight and most of the time size to the lens as well. Not to mention the fact that they are more difficult to manufacture, because us photographers want our lenses to focus lightning fast, super silent and zooming has to be silky smooth. This all adds to the final costs of such lenses. Trying to bring weight and costs down to acceptable levels where as consumers we will still be able to use and afford such lenses, this often means: compromising. The sharpness in (for example) the corners will mostly suffer. I do believe it's possible for lens makers to create a lens that can do it all, but that lens would be unmountable and unusuable due to the enormous size, weight and it will be extremely costly.

They are out there but superb high quality pro grade manageable fast zoom lenses are really, really expensive. I am counting myself among the lucky ones because I happen to own three such lenses from Nikon and as you probably know they don't come cheap... but hey, a cheap lens often isn't a great lens because a great lens often isn't cheap. 

To make this long story short: my newest purchase wasn't going to be zoom lens.

Even wider: something fishy then?

There's one more feasable option to go crazy wide and that's fisheye lenses. Yes, some are indeed insanely wide. There's a Nikon lens from 1972, called the NIKKOR 6mm f/2.8 which ranges in price from $60K~$160K because it was extremely difficult to construct. It's also ridiculously heavy and totally impractical to use because it weighs a staggering 5.2kg. Nikon made only 600 of these just because they could prove they were able to, but this also meant that these lenses are rare and thus, incredibly expensive... but still: I was looking for wide and that lens has a an actual viewing angle of 220°, meaning, it can literally see behind itself(!)

Okay, let's get back to my quest: fish eye lenses might be fun to a lot people but they're not for me. I consider them to be just gimmicks. Okay... I might not give these type of lenses enough credit here, but in my opinion there's not much you can do with them for serious photography. The main issue with a fish eye lens is that straight lines don't stay straight as demonstrated in the image below. This is especially noticable when you move the subject away from the centre of the frame. Some people might like that kind of optical effect but I particularly don't. And yes, I did own and used a fisheye lens in the past (Samyang 8mm F/3.5 Nikon CSII) but after a week I quickly became bored with it and I returned it.

So, I am now on the hunt for an ultra wide rectilinear lens...

Fisy eye vs. rectilinear

Fish eye

Fish eye

© TPJ Verhoeven Photography

A rectinilear lens retains straight lines. A fish eye lens does not. Notice the difference?

There didn't seem to be that one perfect rectilinear lens that is sharp on all apertures, all focal lenghts and in case of a zoom lens, on all zoom lengths. In short: there isn't a holy grail of lenses. It always seems to be a compromise between all those things: sharpness, max. aperture, user convenience... 'Do you want excellence in this area? Okay, but that will automatically mean you'll lose some quality in another area...' It's hopeless. Luckily this makes for a great seach and research quest though. Not only for the lens making companies that try to achieve this, but also for us, the consumers. So I got my research on and I finally stumbled upon this particular lens.

In the arena of rectilinear ultra wide angle lenses the few that are pro grade and capable of crazy sharp results all the time and in all conditions, are in fact a small bunch. That thins out the herd and truly seperates the wheat from the chaff. All my research eventually pointed to this lens: the Samyang XP 10mm F3.5.

Getting ahead of the conclusion I can tell you that this lens is a true gem. At the very end of this article I have posted my photo galleries containing images that I shot during the test period to underline the point why I think this is the lens for me.


2. And here it is: the Samyang XP 10mm F3.5

Unboxing newly purchased items is always great fun and always feels like Christmas.

The slideshow below contains my first impressions of the lens and its accompanying accessoires. It can be paused, forwarded and put in full screen mode to get a closer look.

10 photos - Unboxing

(01/10) Packaging looks nice. Wait until you see what's inside...

(01/10) Packaging looks nice. Wait until you see what's inside...

© TPJ Verhoeven Photography

BUILD QUALITY

While unboxing I immediately notice the compact size of this lens. (photo #10 in the slide show). It feels very solid in the hand without being displeasingly heavy. It's also feels quite cold since it has a full metal metal body, which is predominantly a pro grade feature opposed to cheaper lenses which are often equipped with plastic lens barrels. It's a very well-built lens indeed and it feels immediately like money well spent. When using a tripod I also notice that the lens is really well-balanced on the camera.


LENS HOOD

The petal shaped lens hood does a good job of holding the metal lens cap sturdy in place protecting the front element when I move the camera around and with the cap off the lens hood does a fair job of keeping out stray light.


FILTERS

No screw-on filters can be used because it has a protubing front element which rules out the use of those kind of filters. There are options out there but they are often pricy. I personally don't miss the option of filters but if you're a screw-on filter fan, you are out of luck.


FOCUSSING

I haven't mentioned it yet in this review but this is a manual focus (MF) lens. Focussing has to be done by hand, meaning... by me. And that scared me at first to be honest. I occasionally shoot in MF mode but not that often so I practiced it straight away. Making use of the hyperfocal disance technique makes a huge difference here. Basically this technique implies that if you use a narrow enough aperture (say, f/10~f/20. Don't go narrower, because: diffraction) the distance where to focus can be calculated using app. I use PhotoPills (Android, iPhone). The main advantage is this: when you now set the focus manually to half the calculated distance, everything in the frame, measured from the camera's sensor to infinity will be sharp. It's a basic method of achieving the largest dept of field. In fact if you use a tripod, which is advisable in landscape photography, you don't have to refocus every time because you now know that if you set it up like that on that particular distance, it'll always deliver tack sharp results. 


BOKEH

There's no apparent practical need for bokeh with a wide angle lens. Yes, with a widest aperture of f/3.5 this lens is certainly capable of producing bokeh but it's not very common for wide angle lenses. I personally often shoot on far narrower apertures which automatically means less or no bokeh. Another downside is that if you do want bokeh you have to get extremely upclose to your subject. Essentially right on top and that's not convenient for both your subject and you as a photographer. Especially since you're putting your lens in serious risk of damaging the front element. My advice: don't try that with an € 1.149 lens unless you know what you're doing. Just for the fun of it I did in fact shoot a photo on the slightly wider aperture of f/5 just to experience that it is indeed possible to achieve background softness with this lens. (Photo of flower, below this text).

HANDLING

Since zoom and AF mechanisms are lacking the only moveable part on this lens is the focus ring. It is pleasingly sturdy and silky smooth to operate.


HANDLING: LENS CAP

The lens cap needs to be placed carefully back onto the lens when you're done using it. Since it's pretty wide you want to refrain from using excessive force to put it in place. Be gentle. It'll be gentle to you in return by correctly protecting the fragile glass of the front element.


EXPOSURE

When shooting handheld I found the results often a bit overexposed when shooting in Auto ISO compared to my Sigma and Nikon lenses. Thankfully post-processing-wise that's better than having to brighten an underexposed image, since this will introduce unwanted noise in the photo, but still. It also could have been just me. I didn't find it too disturbing and I didn't have too hard a time to work around it. I was even able to turn it into an advantage during the test period and since I do a lot of HDR and bracketing (combing multiple exposures in Lightroom into one HDR image) this wasn't actually a big issue.


SHARPNESS

The overall sharpness is simply amazing. I mainly used apertures of f/7.1 and above. Wide open sharpness becomes a challenge in the corners for any lens but even at f/3.5 at least the centre sharpness is stunning with close objects in the corners still being decently sharp. At the apertures that I used it performed admirably. Everything from centre to corner is tack sharp. I don't own a full frame camera as of right now, but on my Nikon D500 body (which is a crop sensor camera) the entire frame is razor sharp. It is very likely (and frankly to be expected) that this lens is of course capable of the same level of sharpness on a full frame body and/or high megapixel camera. Samyang claims this lens is very suitable for extremely high resolution cameras and I have no reason to doubt that claim.


DOF

The depth of field is quite small at f/3.5 but since this is a 10mm prime which is mostly being used with narrower apertures this isn't a problem. The background softness you're getting out of it with this narrow depth of field isn't displeasing or too distracting.


AT NIGHT

When photgraphing at night from my Sirui tripod shutter speeds as long as 30s~120s aren't uncommon. When shooting at f/13 for example, I use a remote trigger to avoid camera shake which works like a charm and the lens and camera together produce solid, noise free results.


HDR

I usually shoot 5~9 differently exposed photos of a scene and combine those into one single shot at home in Lightroom. I often try out the same when engaging in nighttime photography. HDR offers the possibility of adding more dynamic range to your images (the ratio between the maximum and minimum measurable light intensities - white and black, respectively). This becomes apparent in sunlit scenes and bright lit scenes at night where there are big differences between the lit and unlit parts of the frame. The HDR images composed of shots with this lens are definitely to my satiscation and great to work with in post-processing.


DURABILITY

That's something you can't really tell after only a week of using it. It does feel like it can take a hit but only time will tell. Judging by the look and feel I'd dare to say that it might go on for quite a few years. Samyang even extends the warranty to five years free of charge after purchasing, if you register the lens online on their website.


WEATHER SEALING

In the week that I rented this lens it rained a lot. Samyang and all sales websites state that this lens is not weather sealed. I didn't try it out since it was a rental, but it felt like it can take at least some light splashy rain to a certain degree. I don't think I dare shoot in heavy storms like I do with my Nikon f/2.8E lenses, but who knows. Maybe I find myself caught off guard by a rain storm one day and hopefully I won't experience any problems at all, but for now: let's not tempt the gods. I trust in the manufacturer's given specs and try to avoid watery surroundings.


LENS MOUNT

Me being a Nikon shooter isn't an issue because this lens is also available for the Canon EF mount. I tested it on the Nikon APS-C flagship model, the Nikon D500. It's designed with the Full Frame high resolution cameras in mind (like the D800, D800e, D810 or D780), but it's fully functional on crop sensor cameras, delivering stunning results there as well.


3. Real world lens characteristic tests

Below you will find images that underline all kinds of characteristics of this lens.

A bit of bokeh on the side

A flower: I am trying to demonstrate bokeh here. To clarify a bit: I sat almost on top of it... Not comfortable...

A flower: I am trying to demonstrate bokeh here. To clarify a bit: I sat almost on top of it... Not comfortable...

ISO100, 10mm, f/5, 1/100s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

Straight lines stay straight (1)

The Netherlands truly is the flattest country on the planet. Just look at it

The Netherlands truly is the flattest country on the planet. Just look at it

ISO360, 10mm, f/14, 1/3200s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

Straight lines are straight (2)

Lines on a brick wall converging on the horizon

Street lights aren't your wide angle's best friend...

Lens flare: NOT the lens's fault but mine. Wide angle lenses are prone to that. Sadly I didn't take that fully into account that night (learning curve)

Lens flare: NOT the lens's fault but mine. Wide angle lenses are prone to that. Sadly I didn't take that fully into account that night (learning curve)

ISO250, 10mm, f/6.3, 2.5s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

Symmetrical scene, straight lines (1)

Polish War Memorial, Lovensdijkstraat, Breda, The Netherlands

Polish War Memorial, Lovensdijkstraat, Breda, The Netherlands

ISO 400, 10mm, f/5.6, 5s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

Asymmetrical scene but straight lines (1)

Pathé cinema, Breda, The Netherlands

Pathé cinema, Breda, The Netherlands

ISO320, 10mm, f/10, 1.3s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

Asymmetrical scene but straight lines (2)

Urban scape, Backer & Rueb factory, Breda, The Netherlands

Urban scape, Backer & Rueb factory, Breda, The Netherlands

ISO280, 10mm, f/14, 1/2000s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

Symmetrical scene, straight lines (2)

City Hall (Stadskantoor), Breda, The Netherlands

City Hall (Stadskantoor), Breda, The Netherlands

ISO320, 10mm, f/10, 1.3s, © TPJ Verhoeven Photography

4. The Final Verdict

Now I will state my findings from my own personal experience with this lens during the rental period from 5 until 11 October 2020. I will also tell you what I liked and what I didn't like.

Who's it for?

If you're into shooting panoramas, interior design, real-estate or if you love to shoot skyscrapers, church's interiors, urbex, spectacular landscapes or big buildings: I can imagine this might be the lens for you. Simply because the 130° field of view allows you to capture a lot in one single frame. This lens is also very suitable for photography in tight spaces (i.e. real-estate, interior design).

All 10mms of it provide you with such a large field of view that you'll be able to capture images that can't be captured with any other lens. You don't have to step back much to be able to fill the entire frame. You will be fully enabled to use these characteristcs to your creative advantage.

It's also lightweight. So for me personally there's not much reason to not bring it along with me everywhere I go, because it simply will fit in my camera bag somewhere. 

LowerPro Flipside 400 AW II backpack fully packed

20201016_204317

Here's my LowePro Flipside 400 AW II camera backpack. There's a Nikon D500 body + Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E (attached to the body), a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL (left), a Sigma 14-24m f/2.8 ART (top right) and the new Samyang XP 10mm F3.5 (mid right). It all fits in there and there's even room to spare!

And who's it not for?

Wide angle lenses aren't particularly suitable for people/portraits or far away subjects (birds, sports, etc). Things that appear outside the centre of the frame will become more elongated towards the edge of the frame. Taking people's portraits upclose won't be flattering. Ofcourse this lens is still a lens so you can capture in fact everything with it if you want to. However, the question should be really whether you should.

Things that are in the direct foreground are magnified were at the same time things farther away will appear even more pushed to the background. This is a prime characteristic of wide angle lenses and if you learn and know how to use this to your advantage, the outcome can be pretty creative. Then it can even become a benefit to your photography skill set. When properly executed the results will make your images quite unique and truly stand out from all else.

My likes and dislikes

Both what I liked and disliked about this lens are actually mostly things that are typical perks that go for all wide angle lenses. Spoiler alert: the dislike list is quite short so let's start with that first.

What I disliked about the lens...

- FLARE - The fact that at night super wide angle lenses are way more prone to flare (especially from LED street lights) than regular focal length lenses. But.. that's not a disadvantage that can be contributed to the lens or the company at all. That's my own fault since I knew this, but I didn't take it into account as well as I should have on the first night I took it out for a spin. Things already went a whole lot better the second night out. Lesson 1 in Night TIme Photography: "Stay away from strong light sources as much as possible when doing long exposure shots." Check!

- RENTAL - The fact that I couldn't play longer with it. I only rented it for 6 days after which I had to send it back to Transcontinenta. I didn't like that... but since I didn't like sending it back at all, I decided to buy it immediately after sending it back. Because it so happens that the post office is very near my camera store (Kamera-Express Breda) and my camera store already knew that I wanted this lens badly.

...and what I liked

HANDLING - The overall handling is superb.

MF - Manual focussing was extremely easy to get used to. When combined with the use of the hyperfocal distance technique everything becomes so much simpler. There's no need to refocus at all if you do it correctly.

COLOURS & TONES - The colours & tones straight out of the camera (unedited RAWs) are great. 

SHARPNESS - The centre and corner sharpness at narrower apertures is extremely good. Starting at f/3.5 in the corners things very quickly improve and from f/5.6 and up the corners are tack sharp too.

DISTORTION - OR better: the (almost) complete lack of it. Samyang displays and advertises with this characteristic widely in all their public statements and... it's true! They pulled off a major achievement on this part because it's such a hard thing to do, but they did it. Big compliment to Samyang.

SIZE - The tiny package. I put the lens in my camera bag (Lowerpro Flipside 400 AW II) together with 4(!) other lenses (a Nikon 24-70 and 70-200mm which are both quite big and Sigma 14-24mm) and I still got room to spare. It's a lens that will fit any camera bag with great ease and even if it doesn't, you will be able to fit it in a largish coat pocket. There's no reason to leave it on the shelf when heading out.

EXPOSURE - The slight overexposure. I noticed it immediately while on Auto ISO after taking the first few shots. I decided to leave it that way and started to work with this, since a slightly overexposed photo can be brought down to acceptable levels without introducing noise in the post-process as opposed to a dark photo brightened up.


In my opinion

COSTS - First and foremost let's consider costs, because if you're a hobbyist this is not a cheap lens and the price can be hard to justify. In my opinion it is a professional tool which comes with a price tag of € 1.149. Being a professional I'd say in that case it's certainly a justified price. However, if you're looking for a lens that better suits your budget: there's plenty of options out there too. However, if it's worth this price to you and you are willing to pay for it, I can assure you this Samyang gem is not going to disappoint you anytime soon. So if you're a (semi)professional), a super wide angle lens enthousiast or even a hobbiyst and you want it as badly as I did, you certainly will be set for life. In that case this is definitely a piece of kit you want and it will most definitely be money well spent.

HEALTH ASPECT - This lens allows and also forces me to be highly creative. Since this is a prime lens I have to 'zoom with my feet'. Meaning that if something doesn't fits in the frame I have to walk either towards or away from it to make it fit. (So... in a certain way prime lenses are better for our health, since your step counter will go up!) I found myself moving about way more to get the subject perfectly in the frame. You have to squat too if you are shooting from a low angle because this certainly adds excitement to the final image. I noticed that I enjoyed the additional health aspect of this lens.

CREATIVITY - Then there's the obvious fact that a 10mm lens captures way more in a single frame than what the human eye is able to perceive. This characteristic forced me to look way more closely at lines in my frame. With a lens like this you have to really plan ahead and try out different angles before settling on the final image. Also, if you tilt the camera upwards, the subject appears to start leaning backwards. Symmetrical scenes can be captured to the utmost precision and getting low to the ground provides a whole new perspective on things since the foreground elements will be drawing immediate attention. I made quite a lot of use of all these aforementioned techniques.

LASTLY - I always have fun while I am out shooting images and photographing with such a lens is just a treat. All in all I can really say that I truly enjoyed this entire Samyang XP 10mm F3.5 experience. So much even that I purchased it on the very same day the renting period ended.

The rental experience

KAMERA-EXPRESS BREDA - After my desk research I went to my camera store to find out if they could have it brought in since the lens wasn't in stock. They immediately sent an e-mail to Samyang Benelux. During the rental period they already messaged me back that the lens was waiting for me. Great service.

PROBEERSERVICE.NL & TRANSCONTINENTA - Since the only lens available on the Dutch Probeerservice website was a Canon EF version, I contacted Samyang Benelux myself too to notify them of my interest in their product. Distributor Transcontinenta replied the very same day that they added the lens to their website and I rented it right away.

Before, during and after the entire renting period, the communication with Transcontinenta was swift, warm and informal and they were very helpful when the delivery service messed up by delivering the package almost a day late. I asked them what to do and they replied it wasn't a problem at all to postpone the return of the lens at the end of the period by a day. Great service.

After the rental period I bought the lens and notified Transcontinenta by sending them the photos I had taken with the lens and the invoice in order to claim the rental payment. They replied that they want to add some of my photos taken with the lens during my testing period to the offical lens's Flickr account. I also notified them of my plans for this particular article and they expressed immediate interest. Hence, they will be linking to it from their website as well. Great stuff. Thanks, guys! I am a truly happy and very satisfied customer.

In summation

During the rental period I took just slightly under 3.000 photos with this lens (mainly due to the fact that shooting 7/9 shots HDRs produces a multitude of photos). When looking back at this entire undertaking, the contact with the different companies and foremost of course Samyang's product and the results it produces... for me in my work as a professional I can only conclude that this whole thing was great from start to finish.

I am now the proud owner of a pro grade Samyang lens and a customer who underwent a very nice, professional renting and buying experience. The lenghts both the supplier and the camera store went through to keep me posted and informed about everything that happened along the way still feels like a warm bath. Of course every company who sells products should be doing it for everybody all the time but the undeniable fact is that not every company does. I tip my hat to them because Samyang's truly earned the praise for sure.

The product itself is as stunning as the photos it produces. Of course a lens is an extension of my camera and therefore of myself and my creativity as a photographer, but this particular lens opens up a whole new world. It's a magnificent addition to my professional camera bag, allowing me to be even more creative in my work and work flow. If you're out there researching ultra wide angle lenses for Nikon F: 10/10 would recommend this amazing Samyang XP 10mm F3.5 to everyone. ∎


5. Photos galleries

And now it's time for the photos. All photos in these galleries are taken by me with the Nikon D500 and the Samyang XP 10mm F3.5. The nighttime images are all long exposure shots which (for the most part) have been converted to black and white in Lightroom during post-processing. because I simply like black and white (personal choice).

To maximize your viewing experience be sure to watch all photos preferrably on a big screen and in full screen mode to experience the full potential of the capabilities of this lens. EXIF-data is provided for all photos in all galleries (look for it in the menu on the left while viewing each photo).

Please keep in mind that I had this lens for only six days when I shot these series so go easy on me. I learned a lot in this short period about the do's and don'ts from wide angle lenses and I still have to learn a whole lot more!

107 photos - daytime photography, colour during golden hour

97 photos - nighttime photography, colour,

26 photos - nighttime photography, black & white

58 photos - daytime photography, (mainly) black & white

21 photos - nighttime photography, black & white


LEGAL NOTIFICATION - Unrightfull usage of any materials from this website is a federal offense and punishable by law - Downloading my photos and posting them online is allowed as long as you credit me as the photographer by tagging TPJ Verhoeven Photography on socials or referring to me in any (future) public articles. All text and photos are copywrite protected by international law and nothing is to be used in any commercial way without my explicit permission. If you want to use material commercially or in case you want to publish something publicly, please contact me.

DISCLAIMER - No rights can be derived from any statements in this article. This is by no means a technical or professional review nor is it to be interpreted as factual research. In this article I am not stating a professional opinion. I just happen to be a professional stating his opinion as a consumer. Note that I wrote this article because I wanted to, not because I was paid to and I did so in my own free time. And, yes, I am a professional photographer but, no, I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this article in any way. Essentially I am just expressing my opinion as any consumer about a product and an experience.


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