Today I was browsing Reddit and I found an interesting post:”What’s your photography-related purchase that you regret the most?”.
A lot of people mentioned camera bags, then some filters and accessories. Others mentioned whole system swaps that they regreted dearly.
Well, my mention went to the Samyang 14mm f2.8.
The lens itself has nothing wrong, it’s actually a great lens! Ultra wide, fast aperture, good optics, great price…what’s not to like?
Well, the point for me is that I bought that lens only for nightsky photography. Last year I had a few night of clear sky in my area, and the 50mm f1.8 STM was just not wide enough, and also has terrible coma performance. So I bought the Samyang, knowing that I’d never use it for landscape shots (no filters and one fixed focal length for which it can be difficult to always find a good shot composition), and architecture for me is a no-go as well (terrible distortion).
When I used it in Kaohsiung I was very happy about it:
The 14mm focal length creates very unique images, especially when shot upclose, and the color reproduction is fantastic.
So what was my problem with this lens, and why did I regret buying it?
I never had the chance to use for what I bought it for. Not a single night of clear sky in nearly one year, and to add insult to the injury the single time I could clearly see the stars was during a full moon, which makes Milky Way photography impossible.
Then something happened. Typhoon Nepartak.
We’re scheduled to be hit by that typhoon tomorrow, and today we started to experience some wind. I decided to go to Carrefour to buy some extra beers because there’s a good change we’ll be stuck at home for 24/36 hours. I was on the way back around 8.30, when I noticed an unusal amount of stars in the sky. There were some clouds here and there, but the air felt fairly clean, not filled with humidity and haze. As soon as I arrived home I opened Stellarium (amazing software) to check if my feelings were right, and indeed the Milky Way was right above my head. I couldn’t clearly see it with my naked eye, but I was sure there was something unusual up there behind the stars.
I picked up my 6D, swapped it the Samyang lens, installe dit on the tripod, set it for a standard Iso 1600/f2.8/20 seconds exposure and run to the roof.
I was able to take pictures for 30 minutes before clouds approaching from the sea started to cover the Milky Way. When I reviewed my very first image and clearly managed to see the Milky Way I just couldn’t believe. When I went to Taiping Mountain last year in Winter the sky was fairly clear during the night, but the Milky Way hidden behind a nearly full moon and I only manaed to take pictures of the opposite (kinda boring) side of the sky.
In my picture, the really bright dot in the center, leaning toward the top-left corner, is Vega, one of the brightest stars in our sky.
Unfortunately che “coolest looking” part of the Milky Way was a no go for me, covered by come clouds that were reflecting the light pollution from the city. In that area there were also Mars and Saturn, how cool is that?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve always dreamt about taking my own picture of the Milky Way. The image that I got is far from being perfect, it’s missing a huge chunk of our galaxy core, it has light pollution and I’m sure that with experience I’ll be able to process this kind of images much better. But no matter what, I’ve had a blast and I’m really glad that I finally managed to get one. I have more than 20 images on my hard disk, they all look mostly similar, but eventually I’ll process them one by one, it’s good exercise.
Closing line: I’m sorry Samyang, you knew what was right.