Rokinon’s Intro to Cinema Lenses

Everyone is talking about the Rokinon line of lenses. Also known as Bower or Samyang depending on what country you reside in. They’re all the same lenses just different badges. Rokinon lenses are an excellent alternative to pricey cinema lenses mostly due to their cheaper, featureless construction. These lenses don’t come with any zippy auto focus motors nor do they offer camera controlled aperture functions. They still (as in non-motion) photography lenses with completely manual controls. Maybe a pain for those used to automatic lenses from Nikon or Canon, but great for those looking for an entry level cinema option. The lenses are commonly available in Nikon F or Canon EF mount. I’ve done quite a bit of testing and found that they certainly provide a reasonable alternative to much higher priced lenses such as Zeiss or Leica.
However, their build quality leaves a lot to be desired. With cheap plastic housings and exposed focus and aperture components, the Rokinon lenses won’t last long. But at such a cheap price, who cares… Samyang took a page from the Duclos Lenses book and basically applied the Duclos Lenses Cine-Mod to their production lenses with a focus and aperture gear and a click-less aperture accompanied by a new stamp with T-stop markings instead of F-Stops. Still equipped with a Canon or Nikon mount, they lenses will make a great option for those using any small form factor cinema camera such as a Scarlet or a Black Magic Camera, or even a 5D MkIII since they do cover a full frame sensor.
Well done, Rokinon (or Samyang, whatever you want to be called) for listening to the people and making changes to a good platform to accommodate the needs of your clients. However, you left our a few details. Your focus and aperture scale look like a serious after-thought. You left out any PL mount option (In a recent Facebook post, the Rokinon rep didn’t even know what PL mount was…). The housing is still made of cheap plastic. And you forgot about the front diameter to accommodate matte-boxes. Now go and make those changes and render the Cine-Mod obsolete. Despite the details that Rokinon left out, these will still be a great option for those looking to get their foot in the cinema door.

If you still want to purchase the regular lenses as they will likely be much cheaper and will still perform exactly the same if not better when coupled with the Duclos Lenses Cine-Mod, check them out here:

85mm f/1.4

35mm f/1.4

24mm f/1.4

21 thoughts on “Rokinon’s Intro to Cinema Lenses

  1. Some people say the damping makes them not work for foucus pulls, does your cine mod help with this!

    1. Not sure what you mean by damping. If you are referring to lubrication used in cine lenses, then focus pulls become much more precise and cinematic with a well damped focus barrel.

  2. Hey! What’s up? The difference in video image quality between this lenses and Canon l serires lenses are considerable? Or there are no differences in the image quality?

    1. The difference is relatively minor. Canon L lenses are going to be sharper and will have the ability to auto focus. The Rokinon lenses will be just barely less sharp and will likely exhibit a noticeable amount of chromatic aberration.

  3. These lenses look great, im having trouble find the cinema models with the T-stops however. Do you know where you purchase these?

    In terms of ergonomics, how do these compare to Canon lenses when pulling focus?

    1. I don’t think Rokinon has officially released them for sale yet. I’ll be sure to post a link when they do. These Rokinons will be much better for pulling focus compared to the Canon L lenses since the focus is entirely manual on the Rokinons. They are well dampened and have nicely spaced focus marks.

  4. Please help. i am very interested in getting the samyang range… but i hear alot around the web people saying its best to get lenses in Nikon Mount,…whats really the advantage of that as opposed to getting a canon mount? Cant u just get an adapter ?

    1. Tj, In some cases it’s better to get a Nikon mount lens and convert it to Canon mount. In the case of the Rokinon lenses, if you’re using a Canon camera, then you should simply get the Canon mount Rokinon lenses. You may be reading that it’s better to get lenses in Nikon mount because modern lenses made by Canon do not have a manual aperture ring. The Rokinon lenses are completely manual including the aperture ring which makes them great in just about any mount.

  5. Do these Rokinon Lenses have more degrees of focus barrel movement compared to the Rokinon Stills Lenses? The deal for us Cine guys is pulling focus with short throw lenses. Also, is there a 50mm>>>

  6. Ok so I’m in a pickle I shoot with a 60D and I have the BMCC pre-ordered. Should I spend 1500 for a used Zeiss 21mm or get the Tokina 11-16mm along with this Rokinon 35mm cine with money left over for a variable ND filter? There wont be a big decline with Image Quality with these from the Zeiss will it? I rented the 50mm Zeiss and 35 mm Zeiss and love the image. Your thoughts?

    1. Personally, I would go with the Zeiss if its in your budget. The Rokinons are a great intro into DSLR video, but if you’ve already had experience with Zeiss, I think you’ll be missing out on that little bit of extra build quality. The image quality won’t be a huge difference. It’s mostly in the longevity of the lens and how well it will work for you.

  7. Hi
    I’m getting a Red One. Not too much money left for lenses. Thinking of getting some rokinon cine lenses. Could you give me some ideas about mounting issues since red has a pl mount rokinon dosent.

  8. Hi
    I have the opportunity to buy a new Canon cine 50mm prime for $1000 off. Would you recommend I get this lens and slowly build up a set or get a set of Rokinon lenses. I already have a canon 24-105mm f4 and use a Canon C100. Thanks for the help.

    1. That’s a tough choice. I really do like the Canon CN-E primes. They’re built really well and the optics are great. If you plan to expand the set of CN-E primes, I would recommend going that route. They’ll last much, much longer than the Rokinons. If you didn’t have the 24-105mm to cover the other focal lengths, I might recommend going with the Rokinon since you’ll be able to include more focal lengths, but the 50mm CN-E with the 24-105mm as back-up sounds like your best solution.

    1. Yes. The Aja and Blackmagic cameras offer a few different sensor sizes, but all are Super 35 format or smaller. All of the Rokinon Cine Primes cover 35mm Full Frame which is much larger than Super 35 format. The Rokinon 8mm and 16mm only cover Super 35 format which will still work with the Aja and Blackmagic cameras.

  9. I was at NAB April 2015 There was a rep in back of the C hall who was showing Rokinon Cine lenses in PL mount. I talked to him and had the impression the lenses were available from Rokinon, but cannot find any for sale on internet. Anyone keep a contact number on this guy? or know where to buy?

  10. I just picked up a rokinon 35mm/1.5 cine for $280.00. I could say I am a bit confused. I can’t quite make up my mind on whether this is something I need. I currently use 5DIII with Canon 24-70L II and Sigma Art 50mm prime. I do both still photography and video. Still trying to get used to manual focus on Rockinon. I have tried taking few still pictures with the cine lens and was pleasantly surprised with the images I took . Would you think that Rockinon cine lens could also be used for still photography or it is not ideal. The images definitely have a very different look, beautiful colors and nicely blurred background.

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