Rokinon 85M-N 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Nikon

Rokinon 85M-N 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Nikon – Product Description:

Rokinon 85M-N 85mm F1.4 Aspherical LensThe Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Lens for Nikon 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 :

  • Aperture Range: F/1.4 – F/17
  • 10 Elements in 7 Groups
  • Angle of View: 28.3 Degrees
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 3.3 ft
  • Filter Size: 72mm

Rokinon 85M-N 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Nikon – Review:

WOULD BE A BARGAIN AT TWICE THE PRICE!

Pros:
Image quality from wide open
Bokeh
Handling
Construction quality
Value
Video use

Cons:
Image quality doesn’t improve a lot stopping down the aperture
Included 72mm lens cap is junk
Hood not positive feeling
Focusing at 85mm f/1.4 is difficult
About 1/3rd stop darker than my other 85mm lenses

Bottom Line:
Buy this lens now if you want a superb manual focus long portrait lens of modern design and don’t want to empty your pocket book. It performs like a name brand 85mm f/1.4 at a fraction the price. You must be proficient with manual focus to use this lens at f/1.4 (or be willing to learn).

Review:
The lens produces nice usable portraits from wide open. There is a pleasing softness too it, but the eyes appear nice and sharp and the bokeh transitions are smooth. Specular highlights in the bokeh are smooth and fairly uniform with minimal rings or donuts. The modern aspherical lens design takes care of most spherical aberration. I bought this lens solely for f/1.4-f/5.6 usage. If I want to use the f/4+ range I will use my f/4 zoom, so wide open performance of the 85mm was critical too me, otherwise it added nothing over my slower zoom. I would not be afraid to use this lens at f/1.4 for portraits.

Wide open it does show a small amount of purple fringing around very high contrast subjects, but it almost has to be blown out next to a darker object for it to be noticeable. The lens also has your typical green/red chromatic aberrations (CA) visible in the bokeh, which I think is longitudinal CA. This is actually fairly typical of large aperture lenses, even good lenses. It is generally not intrusive. The lens is also a tad darker than my other 85mm lenses, maybe 1/3rd f/stop.

Focus is critical at 85mm f/1.4 as the depth of field is shallow, and most dSLR focus screens are designed to focus for f/4. I think the one in my K-7 is a bit better but still doesn’t show the true DOF at f/1.4, so it is impossible to focus totally precisely less than f/2 or so, but with practice you can get really close. Also, for slower subjects live view is useful. The focus feel of the lens is excellent with a heavily weighted focus ring that feels high quality.

Lens construction is equivalent to any Canon L lens or Pentax DA*. It is a metal body at the base with a quality feeling plastic focus ring/upper body (this feels like the Plastic in DA* or Canon L lenses). The only part that feels cheap is the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, and the hood. At least they only cut costs with the non-critical items.

This will make an excellent manual focus video lens too, because of the pleasing bokeh wide open and the shallow depth of field. This is one of the reasons I wanted the good bokeh wide open.

Overall, this is a great lens for a superb price. The maker is Samyang, but it is sold under the Vivitar, Opteka, Bower, Rokinon, Polar, and other names. Image quality is supposedly the same between any make, but accessories might differ depending on what the brand wants to include with the lens. The Vivitar Series 1 lens has a slightly different look to it.

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