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Rokinon eight
I just bought a Rokinon fisheye for my Canon APS-C sensor cameras. This is a well rated lens, quite popular with bargain loving photographers these days. Customer and lab reviews have been positive, all saying image quality is quite good, and build is solid. Manual focus, manual iris. This is what makes it affordable. And fun to use. No point and shoot here. Instead, you operate the camera and lens to get your photograph.

Set your iris with the camera set to manual or Auto ISO, aperture priority shooting, or full manual and set your own shutter speed. Focus no problem. Set it to 4 feet and everything is in focus unless something in the frame is really close. Exposure is like the old days with no in-camera metering if you like. But you get to see the results so no big deal to dial shutter speed in. Or auto-bracket your exposures if light varies a bit. You have to actually USE the lens when it is manual. And get involved. Focus is silky smooth, aperture ring solid and clicks nicely. No mid stops.

I got it from BUYDIG for $199 shipped, no tax. Normal price is $250 these days, and they just came out with a newer model with a removable lens shade, which is good for cine users and full framers. Also available is a non clicked f stop and side reading focus and f stop scales and a removeable lens shade, for cine users. Canon cine lenses start at very high prices ($4,000.00) and go higher, Zeiss makes a 18mm f 3.6 for $3990.00, so these Rokinons are good alternatives for amateur film makers and they have a good selection of focal lengths in the cine line.

Roninon is based in Korea, and is now a mainstream aftermarket lens manufacturer. I started seeing Rokinons in my photo magazines last year, and when Popular Photography reviews a product, they must be selling a bunch of them. Incidentally, in the latest Pop Photo, there is an article about a Rokinon tilt shift lens for $999.00 that might be next on my list, since the Canon tilt shifts are about $1400.00-2400.00. But for $500 more, I would probably go with the Canon. Or get a used Canon. But that’s another story.
Reviews describe it as optically almost as good as the Canon 8-15mm f2.8 for $1500.00, or the Sigma 8mm f3.5 for $800.00.. Both of these, however, deliver a fully circular image on a full framer, with auto focus and exposure. The Rokinon does not. This lens delivers a 167° field of view on a Canon APS-C, a 180° field on a Nikon crop sensor. On a full frame, the lens shade shows up and it’s not pretty. But some are cutting off the lens shade and using it anyway to get a nearly full circle. You end up with black circular edges on the sides and a curve on top. Not that great. So, it’s designed for APS-C sensors, ok?
flowers fish
Does not accept conventional (look at the front element) or gelatin filters, however. But that’s OK. For the most part, it is strictly a part time lens, for a bit of fun now and then. I always wanted a fisheye, and now the price was right. Comes with lens hood that fits over the hood, and a pouch and rear cap, of course.

This is my only non-Canon lens, but I figure this is a good one for the money, and if I ever needed a better fisheye, I can always sell this one for what I paid.

I now think I have everything I need, except maybe a newer body sometime. My 1D MKIII is my main camera these days, but this lens makes me want to take the 40D out once in a while now. Or even the 20D. Go ahead and click on the two pictures above. It’s pretty sharp. And notice the lack of flare in the shot looking right at the sun. That’s typical for this lens. You have to search for flare in it. Color fringing is also held to a minimum.

It is a stereographic projection lens, quite unusual for this price point. Even the Canon and Sigma are not stereographic fisheyes. This describes the lens formula and the amount of distortion. It’s the way the lines curve less at shorter focal lengths. It is more expensive to produce, and only the Rokinon is using it.

Google it and you will find all sorts of stuff about it. I was going to save up for the Canon 8-15, but now I don’t have to.


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