So I've got to talk about my brand new 14mm f:2.8 Rokinon lens for a little while. IT IS AWESOME! I was a little skeptical before purchasing it. I had read mostly good reviews, but some people didn't like that it was manual focus...they claimed it was hard to focus. Others said it wasn't wide enough on a cropped sensor body. Most liked the sharpness and colors, but a few said it was a little soft in the corners. Everyone loved the price, which is literally 1/7 the price of the Canon L series 14mm f:2.8.
MANUAL FOCUS & APERTURE
It is a little hard to focus if you are shooting a subject close up, but for landscape and most general use purposes just set it a little left of infinity and you are ready to shoot. Also, the aperture doesn't link to the camera. For me this was super easy to adjust to. Just turn it on the lens which is even faster than changing the settings in camera.
I shoot with a Canon Rebel T2i, a cropped sensor camera. I am hoping to upgrade to a Mark II within the year, but for now my trusty T2i serves its purpose. I have only been purchasing lenses for full frame cameras recently because of my inevitable upgrade, but I was a little worried about losing some of the width with this lens. I wanted super wide for landscape and night photos, and even with my T2i this lens gets the job done. I would guess that on my cropped sensor I still shoot at around 16mm, super wide for all intents and purposes. And having the luxury of being able to shoot at F:2.8 has been incredible.
SHARPNESS & COLORS
Sharp as shit. Seriously, hands down my sharpest lens. It does get a tiny bit softer around the edges, but mostly just at the lower f-stops which is normal. When you get up to f:8 it is generally pretty sharp. Astounding image quality and colors. I could not be happier in this area.
One of the main reasons I purchased this lens, in addition to having a general all-around wide angle, was to shoot better star and night photos. This lens seriously reduces comatic aberration, even better than the Canon L glass. That's right, 1/7 the price and better image quality? Well, if you are willing to put a little bit more work into focusing and pay attention to the details I would say it is at least equal to the Canon version.
At $360 it is hands down the best deal for the image quality. The Canon L Series 14mm f:2.8 runs around $2300. Yes, it has autofocus, but on a prime 14mm lens is that really worth the extra $2000? Not to me, it's not. I seriously can't even believe I could get such great image quality from such an inexpensive lens. Best purchase in a while. :)
Kat Carney is an outdoor adventure photographer. She loves surfing, climbing, canyoneering, and mountaineering, and can often be found wandering around both the east and west coasts in her built out suburban. See her adventure wedding portfolio at www.swellandstone.com.