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Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Review

Dustin Abbott

October 1st, 2013

How wide can you go?  098 Rokinon

 

I am a Canon shooter.  I don’t see that changing any time soon.  Canon is renowned for its range of telephoto lenses that are considered to be the best.  Period.  The truth of the matter is that Canon has been on a roll with many of its recent lens releases, starting back with the 70-300L, the new 24-70mm f/2.8L II, the amazing 200-400mm f/4L IS + 1.4x, refreshes on several of the other super-teles (300mm f/2.8L II and 400mm f/2.8L II), and even a series of non-L primes that have been very well reviewed (24mm f/2.8 IS, 28mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, and 40mm f/2.8 Pancake).  Great, right?  It is, until you get to the other end of the equation – the wide angle…errr…angle.  This has become perhaps the greatest challenge for Canon shooters, because frankly all of the options come with certain liabilities.  My personal experience is that I have owned the Canon EF-S 10-22mm, a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 (both while shooting crop sensor bodies) and (currently) the EF 17-40L.  All of these are good lenses, by the way, but none blew my mind.  Another favorite is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, but despite its lofty price tag it has its own optical limitations.

Other current options are some 3rd party zooms from Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina, but none of them are considered superior to the options I’ve already presented.  That leads us to prime lenses, of which there are some excellent options, including some Zeiss lenses, the Canon tilt-shift lenses (a bit more specialized), and Canon’s own 14mm f/2.8L II.  If you can afford these, there are some great choices there, but most of these lenses start near the $2000 mark.  None of that is a problem if you are a professional landscape photographer or have a lot of paying architectural work (or, I guess, are just rich!), but for many people the high asking price of these lenses effectively removes them from the equation.  The vast majority of photographers simply don’t shoot extreme wide angle enough to prioritize that type of lens in their spending budget.  And, as I wrote in this opinion piece for PhotoNewsFlash, an UWA (Ultra Wide Angle) lens is almost never going to be someone’s sole or even primary lens.

For these reasons and others, one of the most compelling options that I have come across in the arena of UWA’s is the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Aspherical.  It has an extremely low price for its optical quality, and 14mm on a full frame body is EXTREMELY wide.   The field of view on a full frame body is a whopping 114°.  To give you a point of comparison, here is the difference between my 24mm Tamron (84°) 17mm Canon (104°) and the Rokinon at 14mm (114°).  The difference even between 14mm and 17mm is stunning.  I set up the tripod at a distance where the 24mm Tamron barely covered the bench.  Look at how different the angle of view is with each successive shot:

 

I recently shared this nightscape that I took with the Rokinon featured below, and one of the common questions I got was, “How many frames is this shot?”  The assumption was that I HAD to have taken multiple frames and stitched them together into a vertorama to get this much information in the frame.  When I responded that this was a single frame taken with the Rokinon, the immediate response was, “That is my next lens purchase.”  Yep, if you want go to wide, really wide, I think this Rokinon may just be your best choice, but it is not for everyone.  In this review I will do my best to be very frank about both the strengths and liabilities of this unique lens.

A small island under a sea of stars

By the Numbers

First, let’s take a quick look at the basic design of the lens.  I am reviewing a Rokinon branded lens, technically called the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Super Wide Angle.  I say Rokinon branded because the exact same lens is sold under a variety of brands, including Samyang, Bower, Vivitar, Pro Optic, Walimex…yeah, there’s a few!  The parent company here is Samyang, based in Korea, and in the past 10 years this company has put some serious pressure on several established lenses because of the combination of great optics and low price…with certain caveats.  We will address these more as we go, but you should know before we proceed that Samyang/Rokinon lenses to this point are always manual focus only lenses.  In fact, this lens has no electronics in it, not even to control aperture or to convey any kind of information to the camera.  Your camera will display a “f/00” where it typically shows aperture, and all focus and control of the aperture/iris are done manually.  That may be a deal breaker for you right there, but if you read on you may discover it is less of an issue than you think.  This is, of course, part of the reason why Rokinon has been able to undercut its competitors on price so much.

The lens construction itself is anything but cheap.  The design, by nature, is probably dissimilar from any other lens in your bag.  The barrel of the lens is actually quite slim (approximately the circumference of the EF 50mm f/1.8), but it swells out to accommodate the large, bulbous front element.  Its lens cap, for example, is almost identical in circumference to my Tamron 24-70 VC lens which has an 82mm filter size.  The lens is still relatively compact overall, but when you pick it up you will probably be surprised by its heft.  It has a density that belies its dimensions due to a very sturdy construction of metal and higher end plastics.  It weighs in at 552 grams, which places it between the 17-40L (475 grams) and the 16-35L II (640 grams).  It comes in about a tenth of an inch shorter than the 17-40L.  Its overall dimensions compare quite closely with the Canon 14mm f/2.8L II, although it is roughly 100 grams lighter.   It feels substantial and far from “budget”.  The finish has a light “flecked” design and the focus ring is nicely wide and the rubber feels like quality.  It is nicely damped overall, although my copy has a point about midway through that has a bit of extra resistance.  I have not heard others report a similar issue. The aperture ring appears to be plastic, but moves well and has nice, definite clicks for each aperture position.  Only full stops are shown on the scale (from f/2.8 to f/22) but there are also clicks for half stops on the aperture ring.  I have no reservations at all about the build quality of the lens; I feel like it will serve well for a long period of time.  There is a distance scale between the focus and aperture rings.

Another aspect of the lens’ design must be discussed, and that is the bulbous front element.  It is curved, meaning that the first principle drawback of the lens is exposed:  it cannot take filters in a conventional way, and, in fact, any system of filters for a lens design like this will be an expensive workaround solution…and probably won’t cost a whole lot less than the lens itself.  I tried to just hold one of my square Cokin based filters (Cokin P system) in front of the frame and found that even without a filter holder the filter only covered about 70% of the frame. The lens design has a built in petal shaped hood (made of metal), which is important because it provides the only protection for that protruding front element.  You can’t put a UV filter over it like I do with all of my other lenses.  The upside to this design is that whatever minor glare blocking that is provided by the hood will actually be of benefit; with each of my other wide angle options I have almost never had the hood with me; they tend to be wide, shallow, and not provide a lot of protection from stray light.  I have considered them to be mostly a useless bother and have left the hood home in the box. I don’t know that the hood here actually shades the element any better, but at least it will be around while using the lens.  I think my chief concern long term with the lens would be keeping that element protected in the field.  It does come with a very deep (1 ½ inch/3.5cm) lens cap that slides over the outer hood assembly and locks in place in basically only one position.  The lens cap is effective, but that leads me to another minor frustration for field use:  I typically put the lens cap of the lens I am using in a pocket (pants or jacket) in the field, but the depth of this lens cap makes it a bit difficult to store.  It is less of an issue if you have a camera bag with you, but it certainly is NOT convenient to store if you don’t have something like that along.  A pants’ pocket is out of the question, and even a jacket pocket will be bulging with this puppy in it.

The lens mount is metal and is very sturdily constructed.  It does not claim weathersealing, but its very lack of electronics makes me personally less concerned about the effect of weather on it.  I have often shot with many of my vintage lenses in all kinds of weather without fear (or adverse effect) because of that very reason.  You will have to make your own judgment call on that one, but I don’t intend to allow a lack of weathersealing to affect my use of this lens at all. 

I shot for an extended period in persistent rain.

I shot for an extended period in persistent rain.

NO Electronics?

Unlike most all other modern lenses, there is no circuit board on the mount providing information to the camera body.  I have used legacy lenses on my modern camera bodies quite a bit, and so I am very familiar with the process of manually focusing and manually controlling aperture.  If you haven’t shot like this before, let me give you a rundown on how the process goes.  First, while there isn’t electronic communication, you don’t have to worry about metering.  Your camera will meter fine in all modes (even Auto mode), as it does not rely on a lens to provide that information.  You will, however, have to manually set your aperture.  This is, by the way, probably one of the best ways to actually learn the purpose of aperture settings.  My understanding grew significantly when I began to use manual lenses.  On modern lenses with automatic diaphragms you don’t actually see the iris open and close; aperture is just a number.  But as you click through the aperture settings on a manual lens you see the correlation between an aperture setting and the opening size of the iris.  As you begin to see how this affects shutter speed and depth of field while shooting you will probably learn a few things.  One minor issue is that lenses with an automatic aperture control actually always meter with the lens wide open (largest aperture) and then close down when the shutter is clicked.  The brightness in your viewfinder is whatever the maximum aperture of the lens is.  Because you are stopping down in advance with the Rokinon, the viewfinder will darken slightly with each aperture position.  There will be a marked difference between the viewfinder brightness at f/2.8 and f/22, but chances are for most typical aperture settings in the field you will hardly notice this (I certainly don’t).  Live View is not effected, because your camera will be metering for the light source already and this will be reflected on the LCD screen.  For most applications of this particular lens, however, you could set the aperture on f/5.6 and pretty much forget about it.  The lens is incredibly sharp at this aperture and the depth of field is huge.

That last point helps address one of the other principle concerns about the lens – manual focus.  For many applications I feel that the best approach is to just to prefocus the lens.  Just think about your distance from your subject, and unless you are trying to shoot something up close, setting the focus ring at somewhere right before the 2 meter/7 foot mark means that pretty much everything from a couple of feet out to infinity will be in focus.  It is when you are trying to use the lens wide open (f/2.8) and trying to focus on a subject ten feet or less away that focus becomes a challenge.  In this sense, the lens is more challenging than any manual focus lens I have used before.  Your magnification of your subject is so low that it always feels like you are far away, meaning that it is hard to visually confirm focus through the viewfinder.  Live view focusing works much better for this type of shooting because you can increase magnification and fine tune focus.

I personally feel that the best way to use this lens for most applications is to familiarize yourself with its use and then primarily prefocus.  Before serious use in the field, I would first put it on a tripod, start Live View on your camera, and starting from minimum focus work your way out and see at what point things come in focus in relation to the distance scale.  I say this in part because quite a few users (myself included) have found that infinity focus actually comes sooner than the distance scale indicates.  I don’t know that I would always trust the distance scale and its distances in the real world.  But if you become familiar with approximately when things come in focus on your copy, it becomes very easy to replicate that in the field.  Even after only a couple of weeks of use I have essentially a 100% keeper rate in terms of focus.  If my subject is anywhere from five feet out to infinity, I just set the distance scale on my copy roughly just short of the 2 meter marking and never worry about it.  Everything will be in focus.  If I am using the lens to focus on something closer than that, I use Live View to fine tune focusing.

I really miss not having EXIF data.  I often look for/sort images by the lens I took them with or some other piece of data in Lightroom, and there will be nothing to distinguish shots taken with the Rokinon.  Shots simply show up as “Unknown Lens”.  It will report ISO and shutter speed (both internal to the camera body), but nothing about aperture or focal length.

I should note that there is a version of the Nikon mount (AE) that comes with a focus confirm chip that will light up the selected focus point in the viewfinder when focus is achieved and will also report EXIF information (like the aperture, etc…)  Some have reported success adding an inexpensive focus chip off Ebay that accomplishes something similar.  They simply superglue the chip onto the mount at the appropriate spot to make contact with the body’s electronic contact points.  Whether or not this is worth it will be up to you.

Through the Mist

Optical Excellence

It is here that we get to the good stuff.  The review to this point may seem like this lens is more trouble than it is worth, but that is far from being true for me.  Rokinon states this lens’ optical design is 14 elements in 12 groups, including 2 Aspherical elements and 2 ED (extra low dispersion glass – to reduce chromatic aberrations.)  However they put it together, the end result is AWESOME!  This lens resolves more detail than any wide angle that I have seen.  I am not a chart tester, but if you are interested I would recommend you compare the Samyang results in resolution to that of the Canon 17-40L and the Canon 16-35L II at Photozone.  The Samyang/Rokinon just destroys them, particularly in the corners.  And that is the primary reason that many landscape photographers are frustrated with those lenses; they just aren’t all that sharp in the corners, and that is often more important on this type of lens than, say, a wide aperture prime.  The lens even displays a higher resolution at equivalent apertures than the Canon 14mm f/2.8 II, a lens that costs $2500 (the Rokinon typically costs less than $400).  On a practical, field level, I can tell that it is just amazing to zoom into a huge scene full of detail to a pixel level and find individual leaves in sharp definition.  It will leave you wishing that you could share your images in as large a format as possible so people could see all of that goodness.

If you look beyond sharpness alone the lens continues to impress.  Color rendition is excellent.  Natural yet rich, without an oversaturated false look.  Microcontrast is also excellent, which further enhances the apparent sharpness of the lens.  Images come out looking stunning!  I am considered a skilled post processor, and most the images in this review have been processed in some way.  That being said, here is an image that is completely untouched to show just how good images can look straight out of camera:

102 No Processing

It is also worth noting that a typical shortcoming for a wide angle lens is chromatic aberrations.  The lens design also shines here, as chromatic aberrations barely register in chart testing and are simply nonexistent in field use.  This is very important considering that this is a lens that will often be used in areas of high contrast.  The optical design strongly deserves praise here.  This more than 100% crop from a spot high up on the previous image shows both the excellent sharpness and complete lack of chromatic fringing around the branches.

 103 Detail

Another area of strength is the lens resistance to flare.  I like to shoot into the sun, and some lenses just fair better than others.  Some reviewers have complained about the lens’ lack of flare resistance, but I simply haven’t seen this AT ALL.  I have found the lens very resistant to flare.  I have seen very little ghosting, and contrast holds up very well.  In fact, the difference between having the sun in the frame or just outside of it seems to make little difference to contrast, as seen in this series of shots. All of these shots have been left unedited to show the full effect of shooting into the sun at different times of day and in different lighting conditions.  In each shot the sun is either in the frame or just outside of it.

I have purposefully shot into the sun a lot, and have nothing to complain about in this regard.  At most I have seen one small ghosting object that so far has been painless to remove in post – far different than my 17-40L.  A slight veil can be seen on the bottom left in the second shot of this series.  If you move the camera a bit you can completely eliminate this effect (move the effect out of frame), but I like it in some instances for the artistic value.

Distortion and Vignetting

It is here that the reign of terror comes to an end.  The Rokinon has its share of distortion – over 5% barrel distortion which means that it has significantly more than the Canon zooms (around 3.5% at their widest focal length) and is nearly three times worse than the Canon 14mm f/2.8 II’s 1.73%.  To further complicate things, the distortion is a fairly complex one, commonly referred to as a “mustache style” because of its shape.  The means that there are better choices for architecture out there.  For many applications, though, a simple preset in Lightroom or Photoshop (I downloaded one through Adobe Lens Profiler) will correct the vast majority of this.  Here is what a good ol’ brick wall shot looks like before/after the application of that preset (I have made no other changes).  A helpful reader provided a link to a great profile that is labeled for a Nikon D600 but works a treat for full frame Canon cameras too.

 If you look closely, it still isn’t perfect after applying this profile.  There are better ways to correct the distortion, but for most of my applications that is good enough.  There are times, of course, that distortion has artistic value.  Here are a couple of cases in point.

Vignetting is also fairly heavy, although once again a profile corrects this very easily in post.  I haven’t actually noticed this a lot for field use, but I do automatically apply the preset on import into Lightroom so I don’t really see it much.  Be aware that it is there, however, particularly wide open.  I will shoot this lens most often at f/5.6, and it is no longer really a field issue by that aperture.

If there is a silver lining here, it is that due to the extremely wide field of view it is fairly easy to leave enough room with, say, an architectural type shot, to be able to correct distortion in post.  You typically lose some of your edges when correcting distortion, but the angle of view is so wide that this probably won’t present an issue most of the time.  I will say that I have not found either of these issues to be a deal breaker with the kind of photography I typically do, but I would not recommend this lens to someone whose primary interest is architectural work.  I definitely do not recommend it to someone who wants to shoot interiors for real estate – the loss of time spent correcting distortion would quickly make you wish you had paid for the right tool for the job – a tilt-shift lens.

Close Focus?  Kind Of…

The good news is that the lens can focus down to about .9 feet/.28m.  Also encouraging is that the lens is nicely sharp at/near minimum focus distance.  But let’s not kid ourselves; it would be hard to find a lens less well suited to macro type photography.  Its maximum magnification barely registers on the charts.  In fact, you will be shocked at how distant your subject still appears in the viewfinder.  Rokinon hypes the close focusing ability a bit in their literature (even on the box), but the usefulness of that close of focus is diminished by the very nature of the lens.  This shot shows the extremely low magnification of my subject (the center leaves) at that very close focus (less than a foot).  The upside is shown in the crop; as always, resolution is great!

 096 Maximum Mag

Yeah, it’s hard to believe that this is “macro mode”.  If you zoom into the image, the detail is great (as seen in the wide open crop below), but the lack of magnification renders this pretty moot.  This just isn’t the lens for close focus kind of work.

109 Close Focus Crop

Bokeh quality is also not much of a priority with this type of lens, but, as you can see from this shot, it actually is fairly decent.  There won’t be a tremendous amount of situations where this will be a consideration, though.  This just isn’t that kind of lens.

095 Roki Bokeh

Nightscape King

The Rokinon has one more trick up its sleeve, and for certain photographers, it is a big one.  Non photographers look at the word “coma” a little differently than photographers, but even most photographers don’t consider coma very much in their lens purchases.  That is unless you like to shoot longer exposures at night.  Coma refers to an optical aberration that result in points of light (like stars) becoming irregularly shaped.  It can make them look more like flying saucers or even grow tails.  It really degrades the look of a nightscape image, and those that are serious about shooting these types of scenes are very picky about this.  It is for this reason above all that many very serious/professional photographers have chosen to add this lens to their kit.  This is an issue even for Canon’s 14mm, and so many have chosen the Samyang/Rokinon over it.  The combination of a huge angle of view, amazing sharpness, and extremely low coma makes this lens one of the most compelling choices for nightscapes out there.  Night skies just appear so crisp and detailed.  This is a type of photography that I hadn’t done much before, but I must confess that since getting my feet wet I feel strongly compelled to keep at it!

Pros and Cons

As you can probably tell by this point, this lens is not for everyone.  It has some severe limitations and drawbacks.  So why am I planning on replacing my 17-40L (a perfectly competent lens) with one of these lenses?  Two words:  Image Quality.  The amount of detail in the frame simply blows away my Canon.  It is almost surreal to zoom into an image and see so much detail there.  But is this the lens for you?  Only you can answer that question, but here is a list of strengths and weaknesses to help:

Strengths

·         The lens is wide.  Really wide.  You probably will be able to fit whatever you need to into the frame.

·         The lens is sharp.  Seriously sharp.  Few if any in this class can match it.

·         Incredibly low price compared to competition.

·         Chromatic aberrations very low

·         Very resistant to flare

·         Excellent color rendition

·         Excellent microcontrast

·         Very low coma – great for nightscapes

·         Robust build quality

 

Weaknesses:

·         Manual Focus

·         No electronic coupling, so manual aperture control and no EXIF data (except on certain Nikon mounts).

·         Heavy, mustache shaped distortion.  (Means that this probably isn’t a top choice for videographers.) 

·         No use of conventional filters.

·         Moderately heavy vignetting

·         Lens cap not easy to store in the field.

·         Lens distance scale not always accurate.

Yeah, it’s a long list on either side.  I personally find that the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses for my style of photography, but that may not be true for yours.  I do believe that most users will find the lack of electronics less inconvenient than what they anticipate, but this may be a deal breaker for some.  I would encourage those who primarily shoot architecture to look elsewhere, but if you are interested in landscape or general photography, this lens will probably work just fine.

Conclusion

I have found that using this lens really stretches my creativity.  It produces pictures that are very unique, and the response to every picture I’ve shared from this lens has been very strong.  Ironically, I find that I keep shooting this stunning landscape lens in a portrait orientation, because I love the way that I can emphasize something unique in the foreground while retaining great detail throughout the remainder of the scene.  This has been a perfect companion in autumn this year because the angle of view standing at the base of a tree/trees and looking up is so compelling.  Put simply, I have just had a lot of fun shooting with this lens.  So, despite its shortcomings, I plan on adding one to my bag.  When I need to use filters for long exposures, I will simply use my Tamron 24-70mm VC, which is fairly wide on my full frame bodies.  But when I want to go really wide or really creative, this will be my choice.  It may be one of the best “fun for the money” choices out there.

In interest of full disclosure:  the review copy of this lens was provided to me by Amplis Foto, the Canadian distributor of Rokinon products.  I have received no form of compensation or coercion in this review, and, as always, I have striven to be as accurate and unbiased as I can.  I was excited to review this lens and requested the lens myself; having reviewed it, I am still excited about it and will be purchasing a copy for myself.

Great News!  I can now offer a 5% discount on all purchases at Amplis Foto, Canada’s Leading Photographic Supplier.  Please enter discount code: AMPLIS52014 in your cart.  It is good for everything in your cart, and is stackable with other coupons, too!  It will take 5% off your entire order! If you want to go directly to this Rokinon, click here:  Proceeds go towards keeping this site going and providing you with new reviews!

FOR MY AMERICAN READERS:  I now have a relationship in place with B&H, one of the best photography retailers on the planet.  I would appreciate if you could clink on the link below to buy this lens at a great price from them – and they have a cash back program that will save you more!  There are many mount choices here, so click through and find the right one for you!

Rokinon 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens For Canon

The Big Gallery

Click on the image below to begin a large slideshow of images that I have personally taken with this lens over the past several weeks.

 

53 thoughts on “Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Review

  1. Mario says:

    Hi, is really nice review! I wanted to ask what is your opinion of the Rokinon mounted on a not full frame camera -I have the 600d-.
    Thanks!

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Hi Mario. I have only briefly used the the Rokinon on a crop sensor body (I only have the EOS M for a crop sensor), and it is a mixed bag. For the positive: that amazing sharpness is still there, and 14mm roughly = 24mm on a FF body, so it is still a very appealing focal length. The downside, of course, is that 14mm is not overly wide on a crop sensor, so you do lose the extremely wide angle of view.

  2. Mark Molker says:

    Greetings!
    Thank you for your great Rokinon 14mm review!
    You convinced me to purchase that lens (currently in transit from Amazon)!
    All the Best
    Mark

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Enjoy the lens, Mark. It is a fabulous value and I am sure you will enjoy it!

  3. Wilfred says:

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of yiur site is excellent, let alone the content!

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Wilfred, thank you very much. This site has been live for about a year now. I have an excellent web designer who not only designed the site according to my specifications but has continued to work with me to more fully develop the site. I have had to learn a lot of things on the fly, but it is getting easier 🙂 I’ve had about 100K visits this first year, which is pretty exciting.

  4. Larry says:

    Thank you for every other great post. Where else may just anyone get that kind of
    info in such an ideal manner of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for such info.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thank you, Larry. Glad to help out!

  5. Elijah says:

    You can certainly see your skills within the work you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers such
    as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    Always go after your heart.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thanks, Elijah. I’ll do my best 🙂

  6. Sherman says:

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    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thank you, Sherman. I’ll take a look at your website when I get a chance.

      Dustin

  7. David says:

    Hi :

    I enjoyed your review and I have a question ?

    I was wondering why nothing on flickr came up, no EXIF, haha…

    My question is how does this lens perform in say like a stadium lit condition at night on either f/4 or f/2.8 ?

    you say stopped down to f/5.6 and never worry about detail

    i am going to shoot some MLB ballparks this summer at night and was wanting to know if I should go with this lens or the nikon 16-35 f/4 VR=IS
    and yes i'm shooting Nikon, a D600 exactly.

    I'm currently using my Tokina 17-35 f/4 and really like it but i'm always looking for better quality with selling my house…hahahahaha

    Thanks,
    David

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      David, I do cover that in the review, but the Rokinon does not have any kind of electrical connection to the camera body, so no EXIF data is recorded. Since posting the review I have actually added a chip to my lens so that (after programing) it does add the focal length and a fixed aperture (f/5.6 is what mine is set at) to the camera to record for EXIF data. The shutter speed, ISO, etc… are already there because those things are camera specific, not from the lens.

      The lens is sharp from wide open. I would say that without question the Rokinon will outresolve the Tokina (although I had a Tokina while using crop [12-24mm f/4] that I was quite fond of). The resolving power of the Rokinon is excellent save the extreme corners. You will also find a very noticeable difference in field of view from 14 to 17mm. It doesn’t sound like much, but wait until you look at the field of view side by side!!

  8. Marc says:

    Hi Dustin,

    Fantastic report!
    Amazing your objectivity for what is called to be a low priced lens!
    I was thinking about an UWA from Canon (I own the 6D) or Sigma and Tokina, but reconsidering the whole after reading your article, now I tend toward the Samyang/Tokinon.

    But Dustin, before buying it, can you tell me what -in your point of view- is the best "hyper focal point". Is that aperture f5.6 or more?

    Thanks very much.

    Marc (Belgium)

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Marc,

      Thanks for the nice feedback. Yes, I really like the lens at f/5.6. Great sharpness and already a very, very deep depth of field from just a meter in front of the camera to infinity when focused to the right spot. I will also stop down to f/11 when I want a more defined sunburst when shooting into the sun. Enjoy!

      Dustin

  9. Excellent review! I am adding this lens to my kit for sure. Great images by the way.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Jason – thanks for the great feedback! I know you will enjoy the lens. It has a bit of learning curve, but has great rewards!

  10. John Wright says:

    Have you ever come across a good filter solution? For the use I have in mind, I would like to be able to use a polarizer. Of course, I'd like to keep that as small as possible. I wonder if one could trim the larger petals, use an extra lens cap with the center cut out (or some other ring that fits), epoxy a filter adapter (86mm?) to that ring, and have enough width on 4" filters like Lee or Cokin Z-pro.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Samyang has just announced a filter holder for this lens at a better price than any other I have seen: http://samyang-europe.com/index.php/new-products/samyang-filter-holder-sfh-14

  11. Jim Babbage says:

    Thanks so much for this review! I just received this lens from Amazon and while I was confident in my choice, it's great to see others having such great results.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      It is an excellent lens at a truly exceptional value. Enjoy!

  12. Kevin says:

    Excellent review. Thank Dustin!

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thank you very much, Kevin. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Hi, Dustin,
    Very well made review. I had the Samyang 8mm EF mount and it was a joy to use. Excellent optics and great resistance to flare. Beautiful colors. I'm interestes in an ultra-wide angle lens for my Fuji X-Pro1. When I had the Canon 60D, the Samyang size was not a problem, but now… I don't know. I am curious about how much wide this can be, or should I wait for the future Samyang 10mm F2.8? And I don't find any alternatives, in this price range, for an ultra-wide MF lens. People say that this 14mm is the weakest in sharpness among Samyang lenses. Is that true?

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      There apparently was an early optical formula that was less sharp, but the current Samyang 14mm is incredibly sharp. It is considered as sharp as the $2500 Canon 14mm f/2.8LII. I love the lens. Is the Fuji a crop sensor? 14mm is VERY wide on a FF body, and on a Canon crop sensor (1.6x) it is the equivalent of 24mm. This is one of the very best value lenses available.

  14. Tory says:

    This post provides clear idea for the new visitors of blogging, that actually how to do running a blog.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thank you

  15. Nimai says:

    Dustin, first off, amazing pictures! You are a big inspiration for me in shooting landscapes! Second, many thanks for this very thorough and honest review. I have read tons of reviews on numerous lenses and this is easily one of the best and most accurate I've read.

    Not only have you convinced me to buy the 6D which is my primary camera now, but I now have this. Some history: I have a 17-40 myself and find the corners very soft so I picked up this guy for $275 @ Buydig and find it incredibly sharp corner-to-corner. It's a keeper for sure.

    For correcting 95% of all the distortion/vignetting, this is by far the best profile I've found online (works for all full frame cameras): http://www.svenstork.com/2013/10/02/rokinon-14mm-lightroom-lens-profile/

    Also, In case people didn't know, Samyang struck a deal with Cokin, who are now producing filters for this lens! See here: http://www.samyang-europe.com/index.php/new-products/samyang-filter-holder-sfh-14

    Thanks Dustin, I absolutely love wide scenes with great color, depth, and sharpness, and this lens delivers.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thanks for the great feedback. I too am excited about the filter holder as it will offer even more flexibility for the lens and isn’t incredibly overpriced.

  16. Dustin Abbott says:

    Thanks for the great feedback. I too am excited about the filter holder as it will offer even more flexibility for the lens and isn’t incredibly overpriced.

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  18. Elma says:

    Whats up are using WordPress for your site platform? I'm new to the
    blog world but I'm trying to get started and set up my own.
    Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      This is a WordPress platform. You don’t have to have coding knowledge, per se, but having access to someone who does know some helps if you want to do much customizing. Best of luck to you.

  19. JD Warren says:

    Hi,
    I'm interested in dark sky night photography (i.e. stars, milky way etc.) and see some of your night sky examples looking good. I have been using a Sigma EXDG 20mm lens (manual focus) on my Canon 5D Mark III set at aperture f/1.8 with shutter set between 5-10 seconds, & ISO 1000 to get some good looking milky way shots but now tempted to purchase and try this 14mm lens at aperture f/2.8 for an even wider night sky shot.

    Were you at f/2.8 for night sky and what shutter speed & ISO did you end up selecting when sky was darkest?

    Thanks!!

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      I’ve shot at f/2.8 and f/4, primarily. The excellent sharpness of the Rokinon allows for very tight star points, giving nightscapes a very crisp look. I typically shot for 15-20 second exposure. I will often shoot in the ISO 1600 range. The Rokinon is my favorite lens for night work because the coma is so well controlled.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Brian, thanks a lot for the tip. I’ve updated it now.

  20. Winnie says:

    Dear Sir ,
    As this is a cry for help , I shan't compliment you on your skills ; you write very well . your prose is pleasant & complex , and your knowledge on all photographic things is no less than impressive , but you already know this
    I have bought – eBay – one Samyang 14 mm /etc UMC from a reputable company in South Korea . The resulting tests show no sahrp area/region in the frame whatsoever .
    I think I knew a thing or two about lenses , having all my life worked either with Leica or Rolleiflex , or indeed Linhof , but this one baffles me
    I was wondering if you may care to throw an eye on them pics and hopefully enlighten me .
    I do appologize for my attempt to imposing on your time, but from all I've seen on the web your review is by far the best & most complex
    Thank You ,

    viorel bucur , M.A. Ph.D
    I do not have any account on flickr , facebook & the like

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Viorel, I can only guess that you have a lens with misaligned elements. The Samyang 14mm is not a difficult lens to get very sharp results from, and the depth of field is so deep that typically SOMETHING is in focus. The one potential user issue you could have is focusing to infinity – the lens will often focus past infinity, leaving nothing in focus. Back off from infinity focus a bit and see if that helps solve your problem, or focus on something closer than infinity. If that doesn’t solve your problem, I would either exchange the lens (if possible) or send it in for service.

  21. Nadia says:

    Hey, great review! You got me hooked up on getting this lens. But to be sure, I have to ask, does it make a difference wether it's called Rokinon 14mm or Samyang 14mm? Since I haven't been able to find the Rokinon in my country yet.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      That’s right, Nadia. Rokinon rebrands Samyang glass, so if you can get a Samyang 14mm you have gotten the same lens.

  22. Scott Hooper says:

    Fantastic review! Thanks so much for taking the time. I've just bought one of these and feel like I already know the tips and tricks to make it work for me. I'm actually going to use this lens for real estate photography. I was encouraged pre-purchase by this post: http://markusjaaskelainen.com.au/my-first-real-estate-photography-job-with-samyang-14mmf2-8-ed-as-if-umc-lens/. I'm taking on board your comments though. Love your gallery; some very nice shots in there.

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      Thanks, Scott. The DXO profile definitely does the best job of correcting that distortion. It remains an excellent budget option. Enjoy!

  23. Jim says:

    Great review. I am using a canon FF with the 17-40 for RE photography. It is fine but I wish it is shaper and wider. Do you think the 14 can replace the 17-40 for my use? And how would I or-set the aperture to f8 and pre-focus it to get everything in focus? Thanks, J

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      That’s exactly what I did. Unless you want f/8, f/5.6 is an even sharper aperture. Just use Live View and determine where infinity focus is. The newer versions of the lens even come with a focus confirm chip to help.

  24. STEVEN GRUEBER says:

    Dustin: You might consider updating this review to include (1) Rokinon now has a Canon EF version with EXIF data and focus confirm chip, and (2) Both DxO Optics and PTLens have distortion correction modules for the moustache-shaped curvature.

  25. Georgi says:

    Hello, amazing review! I just bought a 6D and I am thinking of buying this lens. I will be using it mostly for event/party photography in small and tight clubs. Before I went full frame I used 600D and Tokina 11-16, do you think it will be difficult to focus with this lens ? I use flash so I guess I won't be needing f2.8, i will be using f4/f5.6 but still…

    1. Dustin Abbott says:

      It’s not hard to focus once you gain experience, as the extreme focal length means that a lot is in focus all the time. The lens does have a fair bit of distortion, though, so you will have to be careful with people at the edges of the frame. Another great choice for what you are looking at shooting is the Tamron 15-30 VC. It gives you autofocus, some zoom flexibility, and an image stabilizer. It’s quite a bit bigger and is more expensive, though. I moved the Rokinon for the Tamron and have been very happy.

  26. yogesh says:

    I have a Canon 60d.
    For videography, which lens is better?
    Rokinon 14mm or Sigma 17-50mm 2.8.

  27. revabbott says:

    Yogesh, I would say neither. If you are going to buy a good lens for doing video, try something with stabilization. Maybe the Canon 35mm f/2 IS or the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC would be better choices.

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