Rokinon 85M-C 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Canon – Product Description:
The Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Lens for Canon is an ultra-bright lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4. Although you can only use this lens in manual focus mode, it is fully compatible with the automated features available with digital SLR cameras. It is compact and lightweight, and offers the ideal focal length and bright aperture for use as a portrait lens.
|Product Features :
Rokinon 85M-C 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Canon – Review:
MY FIRST MANUAL FOCUS LENS AFTER 20 YEARS BREAK!
First of all, there is no point to compare this manual lens that has really fast F/1.4 aperture with autofocus lens or Canon F/1.8 lens. Depth of field is so narrow at F/1.4 that focusing is almost impossible without Live View and tripod. Another very simple and cheap solution is to glue a focus-confirm chip to the lens to get a reliable focus confirmation (light and beep). It’s a shame that Rokinon didn’t do that from the start. Taking into account the only use of this lens as a portrait lens, manual focus is not an issue due to steep price of Canon 85/1.2 and lack of 85 F/1.4 Canon lens. Nikon do have such 85 F/1.4 beauty at price 5 times that much. I was waiting for Sigma 85 F/1.4 but there still no reviews and you have to wait 6 months more to be able to buy it at a real, not introductory price.
I based my choice on professional reviews and Flickr sample photos of all comparable lenses. I was convinced when checked the bokeh quality of Rokinon comparing to Canon 85 F/1.8 and read favorable review of Ken Rockwell who generally doesn’t even touch third-party lens. Don’t have much personal experience with other 85mm lens (besides venerable and considered good Minolta MD Rokkor 85mm F/1.7 lens that is priced slightly above Rokinon. Please note that Rokkor requires some skills(and money) to be permanently converted to EOS).
Other brands of the same glass (afaik): Vivitar, Bower and more!
Focus: it’s easy to achieve by using Live View with magnification and tripod or focus-confirm chip. You could stop a lens down to 2.0 to achieve more DOF to ease the task.
Metering: Camera should be in Av to auto-meter. My Rebel XTi do not meter correctly with any manual lens when stopped down to more than 5.6. Not an issue as I need f/1.4 – f/4.0 only. My Elan-7 do not meter correctly at all. Later film models AFAIK are free from this fault.
Build/Feel: not up to the level of manual-focus lenses of good old times, more like entry-mid-level Canon glass (just my opinion)
Sharpness: Little soft to my taste when wide open (and comparable to Rokkor at F/1.7), VERY sharp stopped down starting from F/2.0. Common phrase but that is it. You could sharpen final image shot at F/1.4 in Photoshop, but I like DxO output more.
Aperture: the aperture ring is marked in full stops from F/1.4. Have half-stop clicks between f/2 and f/16, but no half-stop between F/1.4 and F/2.0. It stops down to F/32. Is it just me, but ring is located inconveniently. No way I can adjust it by feel. I understood that maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 of entry-level SLR is limiting when I bought this lens 😉
Color: Worm, creamy at f/1.4, normal when stopped down. Strange dependency on aperture but colors are good anyway, they are better than cold cast of Minolta Rokkor 85 mm/1.7.
Filter Threads: Plastic. Hood is cheaply made, but I do not use it anyway.
Summary: Definitely not a lens for actions. I use my 70-200 2.8 for that. Wide open could be used only in controlled environment. 85mm (135 mm on a cropped sensor) just has some magic for portraits. They seem almost 3D. Actually I’ve made my best photos ever with this lens. It is worth every cent.
edit 14 aug 11:
To get a chip – do a e-bay search for “Focus Adjustable AF-Confirm Chipset for EOS Adapter” or something like this. Mine cost me 15$ with free shipping. Chip is very easy to glue, you have to look at any EOS lens that you have for an alignment, then use a bit of SuperGlue (any Cyanoacrylate based glue) to glue a chip. Besides an alignment, be sure not to glue at internal (it’s much easier to do) ring. It’s too deep and there will be no electrical contact. If you are not sure, take a look at any EOS adapter with focus confirmation chip. Mine chip is programmable in some way – you may select focal length to be recorded in EXIF. Now I have focus confirmation and correct EXIF (aperture recording is not correct, of course).
As an extra, I suggest to replace lens cap, this 4$ investment will change your tactile sensing )) Again – it’s a shame for the manufacturer to not to do it from the start (hood, cap, chip).
I still enjoy this lens, best bang for the buck.