Mike Kobal

January 6, 2013

Central Park with the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED

d800e_14mm_nite_120412_1336
Nikon D800E, Rokinon 14mm 2.8, exposure 10 seconds, f5.6, ISO200

Once in a while I get the urge to shoot something completely different. I am a big fan of extreme wide angle shots, however, most of my assignments require high speed standard and short to medium telephoto lenses. I rented the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 for a few jobs in 2012 and was absolutely blown away by the images it produced. I couldn’t justify buying one since I don’t have much use for it. Instead, I ended up getting the bargain priced Ronikon 14mm 2.8 in Nikon mount. How good is this lens?
find out after the break

d800e_14mm_nite_120412_1351
Nikon D800E, Rokinon 14mm 2.8, exposure 0.8 seconds, f5.6, ISO400

The performance of this lens is definitely up there, it can hang with the best, if you don’t mind manual focus, and since depth of field is already insane wide open, mf should not be a problem.

d800e_14mm_nite_120412_1361
Nikon D800E, Rokinon 14mm 2.8, exposure 2.5 seconds, f5.6, ISO320

However, the lens is not without flaws. First thing I noticed was that it focused way beyond infinity when focus was set to the infinity mark and the shots where unusable. I found the true infinity mark to be at just under 2 meters. Once I adjusted focusing accordingly, it produced stunning results. Its main strength is an extremely high resolution across the image field. This lens is already sharp at 2.8, although the files exhibit a mild glow, which is gone after stopping it down to 3.5. CA is there but I doesn’t consider it a problem, since it can be easily corrected in post.
The biggest drawback might be the huge bulk-like front element which can cause flare problems and there is no cheap way to attach filters, the only filter holder I am aware of is the Lee kit SW150, which ironically costs almost as much as the lens. The biggest weakness of this bargain-wonder-lens is the high amount of difficult to correct barrel distortion.

d800e_14mm_nite_120412_1341
Nikon D800E, Rokinon 14mm 2.8, exposure 20seconds, f5.6, ISO100

The mechanical quality of this lens is very high. Most of the main body is made of metal and the focusing ring has just the right amount of resistance, which makes it a joy to use. I ended up with the chipped version which allows the lens to communicate the aperture setting to the camera and shows focus confirmation in the viewfinder, which I found ineffective for landscape shooting because of the infinity problem, however, it does work for close focusing. Despite those flaws the lens is a fantastic value. I just wish I had bought it earlier. You can save a few bucks by getting the non chipped version. It is also worth noting that the Rokinon is small and light compared to the Nikon 14-24mm, the Rokinon weighs in at 1.21 lb (552 g) whereas the Nikkor 14-24mm comes in at at hefty 2.13 lb (969 g). For me this certainly is an issue, especially when traveling.

d800e_14mm_nite_120412_1364
Nikon D800E, Rokinon 14mm 2.8, exposure 10 seconds, f8, ISO320

This full frame lens is available in most mounts and I can only highly recommend it, especially if you own full frame Canon, Sony or Nikon.

You can get the lens from Adorama in Nikon mount, Sony mount or Canon mount. Adorama also has a deal on a non chipped Pro-Optic 14mm (same thing different name, also branded as Samyang, Bower, Vivitar)
Or you can get the lens from BH in Nikon mount, Sony mount or Canon mount.

Lens is constructed with two ED lens elements, one hybrid aspherical lens element and one glass aspherical lens element
Focal Length: 14 mm
Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
Minimum Aperture: f/22
Camera Mount Type: Nikon, Canon EF, Sony Alpha, Pentax.
Format Compatibility : Full Frame and anything smaller
Angle of View: 115.7°
APS-C Picture Angle: 89.9°
Minimum Focus Distance 0.9′ (27.43 cm)
Groups/Elements 10/14
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.43 x 3.78″ (87 x 96.1 mm)
Weight 1.21 lb (552 g)


B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio















If you find this article inspiring, please consider helping me maintaining this blog by purchasing your gear through my product links to Adorama and B&H and Ebay. It will cost you nothing and allows me to keep adding! Or consider making a direct donation using PayPal, thank you!





Filed under: City Life,Gear Reviews,Street Photography — mike.kobal @ 7:09 pm

8 Comments »

  1. love the first shot, mike, did you use live focus or did you just guess the distance?

    Comment by neil — January 7, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

  2. thanks Neil, just set focus to the 2m mark.

    Comment by mike.kobal — January 8, 2013 @ 11:32 am

  3. Mike:

    Have you tried this lens on your X-E1. I know it would only yield 21mm 35mm equiv., but it would be intersting — as the Fuji 14mm is much more.

    Thx, John

    Comment by John Blumenfeld — January 14, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

  4. Hi John, yes and I have also tried the Tokina 11-16mm, both produce great results, I am waiting to try the Fuji once it becomes available.
    My impressions so far: The Rokinon 14mm is fantastic on full frame, truly the poor man’s 14-24mm substitute with no practical penalties, except lack of AF and about 10% less resolution.
    Small and well balanced on my D800E, huge and heavy on the X-E1.
    If weight and size isn’t an issue, I really like the 11-16mm Tokina, I have it in Nikon mount and use it regularly on my Sony FS100 and I have tried it on the Fuji.
    It produces great results with very little distortion (much less distortion then the Rokinon 14mm) hope this helps.

    Comment by mike.kobal — January 14, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

  5. Great shots, thanks for posting them. Coincidentally, I just ordered the 14mm from B&H, should be waiting for me when I get home tonight. Definitely looking forward to giving it a work-out.

    Comment by Brent — January 15, 2013 @ 11:09 am

  6. thanks Brent, I think you will really like this lens.

    Comment by mike.kobal — January 15, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  7. Hi Mike, thanks for your great review! I’m very interested in this lens, I have been delaying forever the purchase of a UWA lens and this lens seems to be what I need. I’m only worried about one thing: how to correct distortion when the sea or buildings are in the picture? Do you have any easy recipe to correct it? I have Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 4.
    Thanks a lot!

    Comment by Jose Rocha — December 6, 2013 @ 8:45 am

  8. Hi Jose, you got me there, it is a real pita to correct that mustache distortion, sorry no easy way to do it, frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it for architecture unless you don’t mind spending time in post, nature absolutely.

    Comment by mike.kobal — December 6, 2013 @ 10:27 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

©Mike Kobal 2014