Samyang has announced its latest Tiny Series lens, the Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE – an optic that it describes as a "masterpiece for astrophotography" thanks to a Custom Mode function that's optimized for shooting the stars. The lens will be sold under the Rokinon brand in North America, as usual, as the Rokinon 24mm F1.8 AF Compact.
The Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE's Custom Mode features a dedicated LED indicator for astrophotography, along with a Focus Hold button. This enables you to shift the focus to infinity with a touch of the button, by fine-tuning and saving the precise infinity focus value according to your camera (overcoming the variance in factory defaults between cameras).
• Read more: Best lenses for astrophotography
The LED will light up red if the focus value does not match, whereupon clicking the Focus Hold button will automatically move to your saved focus value and turn the LED green. "For astrophotography enthusiasts, this is an extremely useful function for those who need to spend long periods in darkness, with confidence that their lens is set at infinity," says Samyang.
Despite such advanced features, the lens is as compact as you'd expect of Samyang's Tiny Series. It weighs in at just 230g and is but 71mm in length (with a 58mm filter thread), making it an ideal companion for Sony's svelte mirrorless bodies.
The lens is constructed of 11 elements in 8 groups, with 7 special elements (2 Glass Aspherical (ASP), 2 Extra-low Distortion (ED) and 3 High-Refractive (HR)). It boasts 9 aperture blades for smooth circular bokeh when stopped down, with Samyang claiming that it achieves "stunning corner-to-corner resolution" even wide open. The STM motor promises to deliver quick, quiet autofocus.
While it has been designed with astrophotography in mind, the optic has a close focus distance of just 19cm – making it a versatile performer whether you're shooting street shots, landscapes or interiors.
The Samyang AF 24mm f/1.8 FE will be available in early May with a price tag of £459.99 (approximately AU$827.71). The Rokinon 24mm F1.8 AF Compact will sell for $549 from June.