Rokinon 85mm f1.4 Telephoto

Discussion in 'Fujifilm Cameras' started by fmw, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ROK stands for Republic of Korea. So it isn't hard to figure out where the Rokinon lenses got their name since, after all, they are made in South Korea. I have tested two of them. I had a 14mm f2.8 that proved to be too large and heavy for my tastes since it was designed for a full frame DSLR. It was finally replaced with the lovely Fujifilm 14mm f2.8 which is designed for APS-C format.

    I recently received the 85 f1.4 to see if it might assuage my desire for a fast telephoto. Here are some comments and images:

    rok85.jpg rok85front.jpg

    This is a manual focus lens with no electronic connection to the camera. That means manual focus only and either manual or aperture priority metering. Rokinon does provide some "chipped" models for some camera bodies but I am not aware of any for the Fuji X system. Unlike the sturdy 7 artisans fisheye lens I tested earlier, this lens is made of plastic. The finish looks exactly like that on the plastic Nikkor lenses. It has a large rubberized focus ring and an aperture ring that runs from f1.4 wide open to the minimum aperture of f22. It includes a bayonet style plastic lens hood.

    The Rokinon 85 is available for most popular camera brands and has a full frame image circle. It becomes the equivalent of a medium telephoto APS-C and MFT formats. It is not a small lens and looks almost out of place when attached to my X-E2 camera body but it isn't terribly heavy and one must pay a price for having a fast telephoto.

    Rokinon and similar lenses under other OEM brands have a reputation for good optics if not the best build quality. The 85 f1.4 is no exception. I found it to be acceptable at f1.4, quite good at f2 and sharp as new razor blade by f2.8 in the corners. I didn't encounter any meaningful issues completely stopped down. If you want shallow or deep depth of field, the lens will handle it competently. Focusing is smooth.

    Here is a shot of some late blooming flowers followed by a 100% crop of the lower left corner of the frame. This shot was hand held at f8. As you can see, the corners are quite sharp.

    rokflowersfull.jpg
    rok85flowers.jpg
    The lens sells new for around $270. I don't need to tell you that a camera brand 85 f1.4 will cost around 4 times that much. So if you can work without autofocus and all the metering modes, this lens will make great images without draining your bank account. I may very keep this one. Happy shooting.


     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have steered clear of the "very inexpensive" lenses. 25 some years ago when I first started buying my own equipment I bought some inexpensive Promasters. And still regret buying them. Back then didn't have the internet to research what was good and bad.

    The Korean lenses seem to be hit or miss. Very decent optics for the price if you get one on a good build day. I would imagine there's probably more decent lenses than clunkers. Just the reviews with clunkers get more hits.

    They are now making AF lenses for Sony mounts. I would expect them to bring out Nikon and Canon mounts as well.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Rokinon has been making a steady good name for themselves in optical quality from what I can see. I've not used any but the general opinion seems to be that they are a decent choice optically; their main weakness is the whole electronic side.

    Be nice if they could improve on that; would be good to see another rise up to join Sigma, Tamron and others.
     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm no longer a pro and simply don't need pro equipment. If I can get a good image with a flimsy lens, that's fine for me. It is the image I care about. And unlike the pro days, I don't have to get an image. There will always be another one worth capturing.

    I did get a defective cheap lens once. It had the Meike brand and there was no way to get a sharp image with it. I simply returned it. The next cheap lens was a Rokinon 14mm. It performed quite well. I didn't like it because it was big and heavy. It was a full frame lens. I simply sold it on Amazon and replaced it with a Fuji 14.

    The next cheap lens turned out to be a jewel. It is the 7 artisans 7.5mm fisheye. Well built and optically competent. By well built I mean metal barrel and brass helicoid. It walks all over the plastic Nikkor lenses in terms of build quality. I intend to buy more lenses from this brand when they become distributed in the U.S. I reviewed it in this forum. It lives in my camera bag.

    This 85mm is the fourth. It is perfectly competent optically as you can see and is built about like a plastic Nikkor and even has an aperture ring. I don't suggest it is built as well as most camera brand lenses but it is built well enough for my post-pro photography. I bought it in like new condition for $173 with shipping. So my experience hasn't been all that bad. I got one bad lens. The Samyang makes a 14 APS-C for Fuji so I could have bought that one and been perfectly happy. I just happened to find a great deal on the Fuji 14.

    I had a Tamron 70-300 zoom for Nikon. Not a good lens and certainly nowhere near the image quality of these cheap prime lenses. I remember how bad the Nikkor 43-86 zoom was. Neither of these were expensive lenses either but they did carry major brand names.

    What you do give up with these cheap prime lenses is autofocus and electronic aperture control. If that's a deal breaker then you shouldn't buy them. But if you can work without all the modern conveniences, they will make comparable images.
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That could be true. I don't know. I have never bought one of these cheap prime lenses that had electronics.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    This lens has strictly human-powered aperture control, right? Meaning the iris in the lens stays stopped down to say, f/8, if the aperture ring is set to f/8, right?

    I have read that this lens is pretty sharp and crisp.
     
  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I seriously considered the Rokinon, but went with the Pentax HD/DA 70 mm Ltd, f/2.4. Found a gently used one just under $300. Even though I gave up a little focal length and f stop, I'm still happy as it is one sweet lens.
     
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  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Right. It is a preset lens. My camera has no optical finder so it isn't an issue at all. If you use an optical finder and are used to having the lens wide open for viewing, then you will have to open this one manually.

    The Rokinons are certainly good performers optically. I think the images above point that out. Gary A has at least one of the Rokinons. He has posted sharp images from his fisheye in the B&W forum.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
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  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A great little lens. Certainly more practical than the Rokinon in terms of size and weight. And you have electronics. It would be a super choice adapted for Fuji if it had an aperture ring.
     
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  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    It's one of the most used in the bag now. It's only marginally less acceptable than the 77mm ltd., but at half the price, I can live with it.
     

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