Are Rokinon Primes Right For You?

lineupRokinon just released their new Cine-DS line of cinema prime lenses with color matched optics and uniform focus and iris gears – but what’s the difference between these new lenses and the older lenses in the lineup and which ones will work well for you? Wether you’re just getting into cinematography or you’re tired of wrestling with your L Series or or crummy kit lens, there’s a better solution available. In this post we’ll take a look at the new DS line of lenses from Rokinon and how they’ll work with a range of different cameras.

Let’s start with the basics. The Rokinon Cine Primes are an excellent option for budget cinematographers and those just getting into motion picture work that need a fast, high quality solution. Originally these primes were designed as manual focus photography lenses by a company called Samyang, then released under different brands in different markets, Rokinon being the primary US brand. While you’ll still find Samyang, Bower, Vivitar, and others in the US they are all essentially the same lens. Rokinon remains the most popular US brand of these South Korean prime lenses.rokinon-Speed-Set_1024x1024


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Because of their image quality and low cost, many people adapted them for cinema use. Eventually Samyang/Rokinon caught on and redesigned the lenses to incorporate focus and iris gears as well as a click-less aperture movement. Rokinon released the 24mm, 35mm, and 85mm in the original cinema housing. Additional focal lengths followed such as the 16mm the 14mm and 8mm. This offered a decent set of prime lenses but there was no 50mm in the set at that time. Fast forward to last month and Rokinon finally released a 50mm. There are several other focal lengths, and even variations of some focal lengths, designed for different formats and camera mounts. So now that there’s a good range of primes from 8mm to 85mm, let’s look at a few details when paired with a specific sensor.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet indicating lens format coverage and available mount options.

Rokinon Cine Primes

Focal Length 7.5mm 8mm 8mm 10mm 12mm* 14mm 16mm 24mm 35mm 50mm 85mm
Speed T3.8 T3.8 T3.1 T3.1 T2.2 T3.1 T2.2 T1.5 T1.5 T1.5 T1.5
Coverage
Full Frame
S35/APS-C
Micro 4/3
Mount Options
Canon EF
Nikon F
Sony E
Micro 4/3
Fuji X

*In addition to the existing 12mm there’s a new 12mm f/2.8 35mm Full Frame lens that was announced recently that I intentionally left out of this chart because the specs aren’t certain yet and Rokinon hasn’t confirmed that this new 12mm will make it’s way to their Cine line of lenses. Subscribe for updates.

Full Frame

There are only a few 35mm Full Frame (FF) cameras that are popular right now for cinematography. Such as the Sony A7R and A7S, the Canon 5D MkII and MkIII, and the Nikon D810. Luckily, most of the desirable, fast Rokinon Cine Primes will cover the full frame without any problem but there are a few that will not. Several of the Rokinon Cine Primes are only designed to cover a Super 35 format sensor or smaller. Coverage usually becomes an issue in the wider lenses. However, the 14mm does cover a 35mm FF camera so you do still have an ultra wide angle option. I wouldn’t be too bummed about not having that 8mm available since 35mm FF offers a wider field of view than traditional Super 35 and the image quality and practicality of the 8mm isn’t that great anyway. The other primes in the line-up, the 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm will work without any hard vignetting. So coverage isn’t too much of an issue there.

Something else to keep in mind is the camera mount you’re using. There are three primary camera mounts that offer 35mm FF: Nikon F, Canon EF, and as of late, Sony E. The Rokinon Cine Primes are conveniently available in all three of these mounts which means there’s no need for an adapter. If you already have these lenses in a Canon EF mount or Nikon F mount, an adapter can still be used to attach them to a Sony E Mount. If you have the Nikon F mount version, you can adapt them to Canon EF or Sony E. Sadly, if you have the Sony E mount primes, that’s it… You can only use these with on Sony E mount cameras.

While we’re on the topic of adapters, don’t bother pairing the Canon EF mount Rokinons with a Speedbooster if you’re shooting 35mm FF. You’ll be increasing your field of view but you’d have to crop down to APS-C mode which is simply treading water. Don’t bother doing the math, just forget the entire concept unless you’re using an APS-C, Super 35 format sensor.rokinon85

APS-C or Super 35

The traditional cinema format known as Super 35 is extremely similar to APS-C, depending on which manufacturer you ask. In general, Super 35 (4-perf) is 24.89mm by 18.66mm which is gives a crop factor anywhere between 1.3 and 1.6 (depending on specific camera) when compared to 35mm FF. I really don’t want to get into the whole crop factor debate in this article so I’ll just leave this here. The number of Super 35 cinema camera options currently available is simply staggering. Everything from a Blackmagic Production Camera, to a Canon 7D, to a Sony F55, to an Arri Alexa – all Super 35 format. This has been the most popular motion picture format for over 100 years. So don’t feel bad if you’re not shooting on a massive 35mm Full Frame sensor. You’re using a time-tested format that has worked for every cinematographer except for James Neihouse.

Back to the Rokinons. Almost all of the Rokinon Cine Primes will cover Super 35 sensors without any problems. If you’re shooting strictly Super 35 or smaller formats you have almost the entire range of Rokinon Cine Primes at your disposal including the 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm. That’s a pretty complete set of cine primes. The only focal length in the Cine Lens line up that will not cover a Super 35 sensor is the 7.5mm which is designed only for Micro 4/3 sensors. If you feel like you’re missing something by not having the field of view associated with a 35mm FF sensor, you can reach for a speed booster from someone like Metabones to achieve a similar field of view and depth of field as a 35mm FF lens/camera setup. You’ll really only see this option when going from a full frame classic DSLR mount such as Nikon F or canon EF to a mirrorless mount such as the Sony E (NEX) mount. There are several options for the Speed Booster:

• Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX Speed Booster
• Metabones Nikon F/G Lens to Sony NEX Speed Booster

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The Rokinon Cine Primes really do shine when used on a Super 35 format sensor due to the range of available focal lengths and mount options. Also, considering the lenses that are designed for 35mm FF will really only be using the “sweet spot” of the produced image, shooting on a Super 35 format camera with these lenses makes so much sense. If you’re a Red owner and you’re under the impression that there’s some giant sensor under the scales of your Dragon, you’re mistaken. Even Red’s Dragon 6K sensor is just a tad larger than Super 35. So just about all of the Rokinon Cine Primes will work fine on a Red Dragon at full 6K.

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Micro 4/3

Growing more and more in popularity, the Micro 4/3 mount has become the modern day 16mm film – in a way. The size of the Micro 4/3 sensor is still much larger than old-school 16mm film, but it’s smaller than Super 35 and substantially smaller than 35mm FF. In fact, Micro 4/3 is approximately half the size of 35mm FF. Micro 4/3 isn’t just a sensor size – it’s also a mount standard which can be found on Olympus, Panasonic, and Blackmagic, and other cameras. Because of it’s smaller size and very shallow flange depth, the Micro 4/3 sensor has a distinct advantage over other cameras. When it comes to the Rokinon Cine Primes, just about any mount can be easily and cheaply adapted to Micro 4/3. So if you want to buy the lenses in Canon EF mount but maybe you want to run a Micro 4/3 B Camera, no problem. A simple Canon EF to Micro 4/3 adapter will get the job done.

Notice in the table above that every single Rokinon Cine Prime is available in a native Micro 4/3 mount. While I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the lens in this mount, it’s still an option. If you plan to use these lenses on a Micro 4/3 mount camera, go with the Nikon F or Canon EF mount and use an adapter. Or better yet, like the Sony E mount cameras, the Rokinon lenses can be paired with a Speed Booster to obtain some excellent images with a Micro 4/3 camera:

• Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro 4/3 Speed Booster
• Metabones Nikon G Lens Micro 4/3 Speed Booster

Photo, Cine, Cine-DS – Which Version?

rokinon35I’ve been referring to these lenses as the Cine Primes for most of this post. There are several versions of each lens to consider. Originally, these were available as a simple manual focus photo lens. They had a nice clean rubber focus grip and a clicky, plasticy aperture ring. Next came the Cine version which simply exchanged the rubber grip on the focus ring for a nice 32-pitch gear – same for the aperture which lost it’s click-stops for more cinematic operation. So now you have a compact, lightweight cinema prime, focus and iris gears with smooth, click-less manual operation. And finally, as of last month, the Rokinon Cine-DS line. The “DS” in the new version stands for “Dual Scale” which means there is a smart and dumb side scale for operating the lens from either side of the camera, instead of the top side position that the other versions offered. The focus and iris gear positions have been moved along the axis in order to maintain a consistent position from lens to lens making swapping a breeze when using a follow focus or motors. Additionally, each of the Cine-DS lenses is carefully color matched to a certain degree in order to sustain a specific cinematic look throughout the set.

The optics remain the same throughout all of the different versions so don’t expect any sort of increase in image quality from one option to the other. Do expect a price difference between the three series with the plain photo version being the lowest, and the new Cine-DS line being the highest. Rokinon will phase out the middle class Cine line (non-DS) in favor of the new Cine-DS over the course of 2015

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Other Options

Well, here’s the thing… There aren’t really any other options out there that will provide this much bang-for-the-buck. You can achieve much better results with the Zeiss ZF.2 Cine-Mod Primes thanks to their superior optics and far more robust build quality, but some of the Zeiss ZF.2 primes can be up to 4x the cost of a Rokinon Cine Prime. Even the ZF.2 primes have a weak link here an there. The ZF.2 50mm f/1.4 is a bit of a dog compared to the new Rokinon 50mm. But that’s really the only leg-up Rokinon has on Zeiss. There are some other Micro 4/3 options available such as the Voigtlander Nokton Cine-Mod Primes. Better materials and superior build quality in the Noktons – and still more expensive than the Rokinons. There are thousands of used lenses that can be Cine-Moded, but then you get into the hassle of searching for decent lenses, trying to avoid scams and pitfalls associated with such endeavors. The Rokinon Cine Primes really do have a special place in the world of cinema optics. At such affordable prices, pick one up and give it a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Published by

Matthew Duclos

A connoisseur of fine motion picture lenses, Matthew has spent over half his life servicing, refining, selling, manufacturing, and collecting cinema lenses from around the world. Chief Operating Officer of Duclos Lenses and Founder of TheCineLens.com, Matthew has been contributing to the motion picture industry for over 15 years, and to this site for over 5 years.

116 thoughts on “Are Rokinon Primes Right For You?”

    1. Hello Matthew,

      I would like to know the difference between Rokinon 12mm T2.2 and 14mm t3.1 for Blackmagic 4K?
      Which one is better to buy now?
      Thanks for your help

      1. The primary difference is the image circle. The 14mm is designed for 35mm full frame sensors whereas the 12mm is designed for Super35 or APS-C cameras. Personally, I prefer the 12mm over the 14mm for image quality and speed.

  1. Hey Matt,

    Would you be able to comment on the color matching aspect of the DS line?

    You mention that the optics stay the same through the different lines. What exactly improves the color matching?

    1. I’m not sure of the specifics. Rokinon tells me that the tolerances in production are tighter. I imagine the selection of materials and coatings is a higher degree than the standard Rokinon lenses. I’ll check in the Rokinon for a more specific answer.

  2. Rokinon makes mention of “new” UMC AR coating on the Cine DS line of prime lenses. Is this a change from the older non DS cine primes? How else would they “adjust the color science” between their cine prime lens lineup except by playing with the optical coatings on each focal length?

    1. David, The Cine DS line is brand new as of a few months ago. I don’t know Rokinon’s formula or tolerance for this color matching, but I can say that it has improved when comparing Cine DS lenses to the regular Cine lenses.

  3. Great writeup. Thanks. Wondered what the barrel rotation was like? Generally EF lenses are a nightmare to have an assistant throw focus with, because the rotation is so small. How do these compare with pro level Cine PL lenses?

    1. I’ve used the first generation of Rokinon’s cine lenses as an AC, and there’s plenty of throw in my opinion. I believe they regear them to make them more precise for filmmaking, or that might just be the new barrel making the lens more forgiving.

    2. Norman, Focus throw with the Rokinons can vary from lens to lens but on average, you’ll have at least double what you would have with a similar Canon still photo prime lens. You can expect up to 300 degrees of rotation on some of the focal lengths. Quite nice for smooth, accurate focus pulls.

  4. Just wanted some clarification about the comment regarding the zeiss zf.2 50mm 1.4 being “a bit of dog” ? What are the issues with this lens? Thank you.

    1. The Zeiss ZF.2 and ZE (same glass) line of lenses have quite a range of quality. Some models such as the brand new 135mm or the 15mm are stellar examples of optical engineering whereas a few other focal lengths like the 50mm f/1.4 leave something to be desired. The 50mm f/1.4 is an older design inherited from the Zeiss Contax/Yashica era. It’s not a bad lens – it just doesn’t perform as well as some of the other lenses that Zeiss has to offer.

      1. So going off of an older post, you also said they use the same design in their compact primes as they do in their ZF lenses. So does that mean their $4000 50mm CP2 is using the same dated design?

        1. Correct. The Blackmagic Pocket Camera, Cinema Camera, and Studio Camera use a Micro 4/3 sized sensor. The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, and the URSA use a Super 35 (APS-C) sized sensor.

    1. I wouldn’t really compare the two. The Hyper primes are super fast apertures and made from slightly higher quality materials. I think a lot of people consider the SLR Magic lenses to be higher quality simply because they’re built with heavier alloys instead of a plastic body. This doesn’t make the SLR Magic lenses better at all, just heavier. Based on my experience, the Rokinons seem to be held to higher quality control standards.

  5. Hi Matthew,

    I’m always lurking and learning from your site but I want to know which would you recommend. The Tokina 11-16mm or Rokinon 16mm? The ability of the Tokina to cover FF @ 16mm looks good, but the Rokinon is sharper and faster from what I’ve read. Is full frame the future or will APS-C sized sensors be here for quite some time (making me go for the Rokinon). What’s your opinion?

    1. Philip, The Tokina 11-16mm will still only cover a Super 35 format (APS-C) sensor. Both lenses will cover the same size sensor. I think the 16mm Rokinon would be more useful because you have full manual control of the iris as well as the focus. You could go with our 11-16mm Cine Conversion but that is priced quite a bit higher than the 16mm Rokinon.

      1. Isn’t also true that the Tokina will be wider at 11mm versus Rokinon just being a 16mm prime? Or is there something I’m missing here with the sensor size? I am shooting a Sony F55 with the super 35 sensor.

      1. It appears the 14mm Cine DS lens in the current Rokinon online catalog has a fixed hood (not removable), so adding a matte box could be problematic. On-board ND (i.e. the Sony FS7) would be an option.

  6. I would like to know your thoughts on how the optical imagery compares with Nikon still glass: 24 (2.8), 35, 50, 85 (1.8) still lenses. I currently use these and am quite pleased with the results (other than the focus throw and direction of focusing, I am getting used to that tho).

    Would these Rokinon’s be beneficial in terms of sharpness, color, contrast vs the Nikon’s?

    1. The Rokinon Cine Primes will benefit you in a cinema environment with their longer focus throw and manual controls. However, Nikon’s newest crop of glass is very nice. In terms of overall resolution, Nikon will be superior. But resolution isn’t everything – especially in cinema.

  7. Hello Matthew,

    I would like to know the difference between Rokinon 12mm T2.2 and 14mm t3.1 for Blackmagic 4K?
    Which one is better to buy now?
    Thanks for your help

    1. Eduardo, Personally, I would prefer the 12mm if you don’t need 35mm full frame coverage. The 14mm is nice, but it’s larger and bulkier compared to the 12mm. The 12mm is also faster than the 14mm which is very convenient.

  8. Is there really a Cine DS 16mm? Rokinon’s poster shows 16mm in the line-up (with all gears lined up), but I don’t see anyone offering one that’s designated as DS.

    1. Steve, Unfortunately no. The photo does indeed show the 16mm and others but they aren’t due out for several months. However, the regular cine version of the 16 is available as well as the 8mm, and 10mm.

  9. My Nikon mount Rokinons focus the normal Nikon way–or abnormal for anyone used to non-Nikon lenses. You can’t tell from the photos of these lenses because they usually show the same shot for all the various mounting options.

  10. If I buy a set of Rokinon’s from Duclos would those 4 lenses color matched any better then if I bought them one at a time ala cart? I know you said Rokinon takes more care to color match the entire DS line, but I was wondering if there is any benefit to buying them all at once. Thanks for your time. Love the blog and site!

    1. Erik, Good question. I don’t think purchasing all at once would make much of a difference. As far as I know, the lenses are spread evenly across regions. If there were to be any difference in color temp or sharpness, it wouldn’t be a matter of production time – a flaw could happen any time in the production. You are, however, more likely to receive a bad egg from a dealer who doesn’t check their stock with proper test equipment. That said, with the DS line there shouldn’t be much difference anyway.

  11. Hello and thank you for the helpful article. Why would you not recommend buying the Rokinon lenses with the MFT mount? I have a BMPCC and would like a native mounted lens. I heard that using lens adapters is taking a chance, due to their possible inaccuracies in fit.

    Are you recommending going with a different mount than MFT in order to preserve options for use of the lens on other camera bodies?

    Happy New Year!

    1. I was wondering the same thing Harlan. I was thinking about getting the mft rokinon for my gh2 until I saw this article. I wonder why Matt skipped over your question. I would like to know too.

      1. Hey Sean,

        Yeah, I was wondering why he skipped answering my question too. But then a comment down through several below–by Alexander, written on 29Jan–poses the same question, and Matthew addresses that one. In short, he says there are higher quality lenses in the MFT format, like the Voightlander. But those things cost at least twice as much as a Rokinon!

        I myself went on to buy the 50mm Rokinon in the EF mount because I assumed Matt didn’t like the MFT version due to its lack of “future proofness.” I don’t regret my decision, as I’m sure I’ll be getting a larger sensor camera than my BMPCC down the line (but I do love my BMPCC :)). I bought a non-electronic EF to MFT adapter for the Rokinon, which way beats buying one of those expensive Metabones adapters, which I don’t need since the Rokinon is fully manual. The adapter I got is from a reputable, high quality control, company called Simple Cine. Their adapter is as good as Metabones for 1/3rd the cost.

        The reason I buoght the 50 mm was that I wanted a telephoto lens for the BMPCC. I knew I wouldn’t be using it as an everyday, walk-around, lens (I have a 15mm Panasonic for that), so I decided on going Rokinon rather than one of the pricey other options. At least to my un-sophisticated eye, the subtleties between lenses don’t warrant the 500 dollar difference.

        Take care!

        1. Multiple people in this discussion seem to be thinking the MetaBones SpeedBooster is simply an adapter, but that is only part of the story – and the least useful part of it IMO.

          A SpeedBooster is not only a mount adapter, but it is also a focal reducer – it gets back some of that crop factor (a sort of reverse teleconverter) – as well as gaining back some lost aperture as well.

          My Canon EF BMPCC-specific SpeedBooster has a .58x crop, so instead of the normal 3x crop of my BMPCC if I were to use m43 lenses, I can use my Canon EF (and slightly modified EF-S) lenses, and wind up at about 1.75x crop. I also gain something like 1 2/3 stops of aperture as well, so my f/2.8 lens winds up as an f/1.7 I think (my math could be off on that).

          This is obviously WAY more useful than a simple mount adapter, and should explain both things: why is a SpeedBooster more expensive than adapters, and why are people recommending I get one – especially for the BMPCC – which uses a m43 mount, but the sensor is actually smaller than a regular m43 sensor (hence the 3x crop instead of a normal 2x crop on m43 cameras).

          The BMPCC EF SpeedBooster is a better use for the BMPCC than the ‘universal’ one, because it gains you more of the lost crop than the .71x universal one, FYI.

          The great thing about the BMPCC m43 mount is that it’s active – allowing for electronic control of the lens. The EF-BMPCC SpeedBooster even allows IS to work!

          1. Hi Tyger11,

            Those are good points you have about the Metabones Speedbooster, the type made specifically for the BMPCC. I did consider those points in my decision to get the “dumb” adapter, but I didn’t mention why I still chose to forgo that Metabones Speedbooster for the Simple Cine adapter.

            First, of course, the Speedbooster is very expensive at 500, or more, dollars. But just as important to me was the fact that with its electronic internals and need for power, it makes the BMPCC’s already atrocious battery life even worse! What is it, like down to 10 minutes of battery life if you have the active adapter/Speedbooster?

            I wanted to keep the small, low-profile, quality of the BMPCC, which is why I choose to use the internal batteries, rather than one of those other external battery solutions which have you adding on boxes of batteries to the outside of the little BMPCC. Kind of defeats the purpose of the “pocket” aspect of the BMPCC, although I understand it’s really the image quality that people are after when they buy the BMPCC.

            I also wanted to spend the least amount of money on the camera, since one could easily buy so many accessories/lenses for the camera that it ends up costing as much as, say, an FS7. Already the $999 BMPCC ends up costing nearly 3 grand with the minimal accessories I’ve purchased (lenses, ND filter, batteries, SD cards), and that’s NOT including the necessary audio, which I already own.

            Finally, the Speedbooster, although very high quality, still does add that extra glass in front of the lens, which some claim to be detrimental to the original optics. However, like I mentioned before, I’m not such a purist that I can tell the difference between different glass. You can give me a cheap-A lens and it will look the same to me as a cine prime 😉 I struggle to tell the differences (other than color shifts) on all those youtube/vimeo videos out there that compare lenses.

            I think it would help people if they kept these things in mind when buying lens adapters and/or speedboosters for the BMPCC.

            Take care!

          2. For me, the SpeedBooster is all about regaining lost viewing angles and aperture than anything else. I got the Pocket due to the great image quality and the low cost (I was lucky enough to get it on that $500 off sale). Being able to use my existing EF lenses is fine for now – but was always a temporary thing; I’ll be getting real cine lenses within the next 6 months. But not being able to get true wide angle without the SpeedBooster was a dealbreaker. The widest rectilinear lens I know of is a 10mm, which winds up with the same angle of view as a 30mm on the BMPCC; that’s not going to cut it for me – though it’s fine for many. I can deal with the battery issues, etc., but being physically unable to capture the scene I want without the SpeedBooster is a dealbreaker. And getting back shallow depth of field is almost as important. But everyone has different needs. The SpeedBooster is an amazing option to have.

            My next cine cam will definitely be APS-C or larger, I think, unless they pull a very interesting BMPCC successor rabbit out of their hat at NAB. If not that, then perhaps Sony, Panasonic, or maybe Canon (not holding my breath) will give me the 13+ stop DR, 4K/60p I want for a price I can afford.

    2. Harlan, sorry about skipping your question. Sometimes they slip through the cracks. The other fellow nailed it. If you buy the Rokinons in Micro 4/3 mount, you’re stuck with that mount. Not a bad option, just less flexible. You’re absolutely right about introducing potential errors by using an adapter. It’s a tough decision to make as both routes have their pros and cons. If you have any other questions, please do ask. 🙂

  12. Hey Matt,

    Great write up. I see you mentioned the capability of using the EF mount for Canon or Sony using an adapter. Would that be the preferred way to go for future proofing your lenses? I currently have the 85mm from a Canon set up but recently went Sony E. I am afraid of buying a bunch of E lenses and then going back to Canon in the future with no workable lenses.

    1. I’ve really been enjoying the Sony E mount (on the camera side). I’ve been using all sorts of lenses with adapters. Going with a longer flange depth such as PL mount would help future proof your setup. That said, 35mm Full-Frame lenses are the best way to future proof your setup as the sensor sizes are in fact getting bigger and better.

  13. Hi, so far it looks like I’m going to be purchasing a Rokinon 12mm mft cine lens over the 14mm mft cine lens based on a earlier comment that you answered, yes it was very helpful.

    However, I have a GH4, (switched over from canon) and this will be my first lens for it (RKIN 12 mm mft cine) and I was wondering simply if that aid a good choice?

    I will be being freelance video and maybe photography, however I am working on making short films too so I was thinking will the RKINON 12mm mft cine lens be all I need. I also have a “b” camera which is the Lumix fz-1000, the not so little brother of the GH4 capable of 4K.

    I considered selling the fz1000 for another lens or should I keep it for events and my “b” camera?

    1. Having one prime lens as your only lens is a bit limiting. For this reason, most cinematographers use a set of primes. I would recommend a zoom lens if you’re only going to use one single lens.

  14. Hi Matthew

    I am shooting video on my Nikon D800, I have a set of Nikon AIS manual lenses, 24mm f2.8, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.4, and 105mm f2.5 180mm f2.8. The only bad apple is the 35mm when wide open. I have considered replacing them with either a set of Rokinons or buying a set of leica R lenses and have them modded. Which is the best route to go? To continue with the Nikkors or to replace them with either a set of used Leicas (Modified) or the Rokinon’s? I am thinking also in the near future to upgrade my camera to either a used Sony PMW F3 or Sony FS100 cannot make up my mind which one of the two yet.

    Thank you for a great blog.

    Kind regards
    Marthinus

    1. Marthinus,

      The best route would be a set of Leica R primes. They’ll provide great, cinematic image quality. However, there are many pitfalls associated with vintage lenses being used for a purpose they were never designed for. Going the Leica R route will include a lot of extra work – which you seem to already be familiar with using your vintage Nikon primes. The Leica R primes would provide beautiful images on a D800 as well as a Sony F3, FS100. The Rokinon Cine Primes will provide a pretty good image, but will lack some of the character provided by the Leica R lenses.

      1. Hi Matthew

        Thank you for your quick reply. I do not know the Leica R series lenses, which ones are the best ones to look for, and can you convert them to a Nikon mount?

        Regards
        Marthinus

        1. There are dozens of different Leica R primes to choose from. Deciding on which lenses to go with really depends on what your shooting and how you’re shooting it. In general, my customers like the 19mm (version2), 28mm, 35mm, 50m, and 80mm.

  15. Why do you say that you don’t recommend to buy the Rokinon Cine Primes on native m4/3 for a m4/3 camera? I’m planning to buy the GH4 and the 8mm, 35mm and 85mm Rokinon Primes, but the Speed Booster means additional 600$… so why not buy them in m4/3? Please clear my doubt so that I can make a good choice. Thanks!!! PS. I also was thinking about getting the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 or a Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 instead of the 24mm Rokinon just in order to have something a little better for “special occasions”. Do you think this is a good idea? I use the equipment for videography, not really cinematography like for projecting in theaters, it’s more of an internet and TV job. I’d appreciate your help, friend. Bye! And excuse my terrible english!

    1. There are simply better options for native Micro 4/3 cameras such as the Voigtlander Nokton primes or the new Veydra Mini Primes. But these options are a bit more professional. As you say: you’re just doing videography – so the Rokinon cine primes will work fine. However, if you plan on using a speed booster, you must get the Rokinon primes in Canon or Nikon mount, not Micro 4/3.

  16. Would you recommend the 50mm or 85mm Rokinon Cine prime E-Mount for documentary / talking head interview type work using a Sony NEX VG20 which has an APS-C sensor. Would the distance from the subject become a hindrance with the 85mm ? I currently use a Nikkor 50mm 1.8G and a Nikkor 35 1.8G and although the light gathering is good I’m attracted by the speed and built in gearing on these Rokinon lenses. Thanks

    1. Steve, I would probably go with the 50mm. 85mm is a typical “portrait” lens, but the 50mm would be some much more versatile. I would use the 85mm for interview shots where I wanted to put some distance between the camera and the subject – but you’re right, sometimes that distance can be a hinderance if you’re in a tight space. The 50mm would be more useful in most situations, but you may have to get pretty close to capture just a talking head instead of a whole bust.

      1. I’m already using a Nikkor 35mm and a 50mm f1.8 which are designed for APS-C so I hoped the Rokinnon would have better light gathering capabilities even if the 50 becomes an effective 75mm after cropping.

  17. Hi Matthew and thanks a lot for all these useful details! I am primarily a stills photographer but am considering starting shooting video in the coming year or two. Therefore I wanted to know if it makes sense for me to buy a Cine version of the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm even for stills photography. Will I have any issues metering, for instance, when I use a light meter for my analog cameras? Or is there anything that would go against shooting stills with the Cine version?
    Many thanks for your insights on this,
    Mike

    1. Mike, the Cine DS primes will work exactly the same as the regular version. Either way, they’re both fully manual so there’s no exit data or communication between the lens and camera. The only difference you may notice is the Cine DS is marked with T-stops instead of f stops on the regular photo versions.

  18. Hello Matthew,
    Is there any loss if I go for the Rokinon A-Mount kit and adapt them to E-Mount with the Sony adaptor? I use both FS100 and A77.

    1. Pablo, I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t go that route. A Sony Alpha to E mount is pretty easy to find, especially the units directly from Sony which are probably going to offer the most reliable flange depth. Enjoy!

  19. Thanks for writing this. I appreciate the info you share on the web. I am putting together a set of lenses for a documentary to be shot on BMPCCs+speedboosters. I already own the older Rokinon 85mm Cine (not DS), and I am thinking of purchasing the 50mm Cine DS. Do you think there is any real concrete reason that I would need to upgrade that 85 to the DS version? To your knowledge, is this color matching business real enough that the newer 85 DS will really match the 50 DS better than the older 85 will? Thanks so much.

    Here’s one more question, if you have any experience of this situation: My latest idea for the set is to use the Sigma 18-35 (which I already own), and then the Rokinon 50 and 85 primes to cover the focal range. Does that sound to you like a reasonably well matched set of lenses? One thing I notice is that my Rokinon 85 Cine (non-DS) is sharper, in one sense, than the Sigma. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Sigma much better. The Rokinon has a sort of overly sharp, clinical look to me, although it too is very nice for the money, and can be softened in post. But beyond that observation, any thoughts as to how well this hypothetical set would match?

    Thank you.

    1. Benjamin, if you aren’t concerned with the color difference between the Rokinon and the Sigma, then I certainly wouldn’t stress over the difference between the DS and non-DS lenses. The difference would be minimal. In most situations, I don’t recommend replacing a non-DS with a newer DS lens.

  20. Can these lenses work with 35mm motion picture? Such as regular 4 perf – Standard 35 – and 2 petf Technovision?

    I am planning on using the lenses on Nikon mounted 35mm film camera that is Standard 35 but I also wonder will these lenses cover 2 perf as well. I know these lenses were made to work with digital sensors so I wonder how they can work with real 35mm film stock.

  21. Hi Sir,

    I have a blackmagic 2.5k EF mount, super 16 sensor it have. I yet not brought any lenses yet, which rokinon lenses i need to buy that support 16mm sensor.

    If i buy fullframe rokinon lens does their will be any difference ?

    Thank you

  22. Thanks for the detailed post! I just picked up a GH4 + Sigma 18-35 w/ Metabones Speedbooster which seems to be a really nice combo and much more cinematic look than the native Panasonic lenses which seem to clinical and oversharp.

    How do the Rokinon primes compare to the Sigma Art lenses?

    Would you recommend trading in my Sigma zoom for a Rokinon 16mm, 35mm, and 85mm primes or just adding a 85mm to the Sigma 18-35 that I have to cover more range? I wasn’t sure how different the look of the Sigma from the Rokinons were and if I should mix the two.

    Thanks in advance.

  23. Hai sir,

    How are you

    I read about your article Rokinon lens in different sites and blogs, have a doubt about Rokinon and Samayang latest lens series, can you please help

    Is samyang vdslr series II is same as rokinon cine DS

    The Rokinon Cine DS lineup has 3 primary advantages:
    1) All of the gears are unified among all Rokinon Cine DS lenses. The focus and aperture gears are exactly aligned so that the user does not have to re-adjust his/her follow focus when swapping out lenses.
    2) The new Cine DS lenses now feature dual focusing scales, one on each side.
    3) All of the Cine DS lenses are tested to be color matched to provide the same color & contrast in video production.

    Does samyang new series vdslr II will get the same advantages ? when i contact with different Authorized seller, they informed Rokinon has recently requested Samyang, the original manufacturer of the lenses to produce glass in a difference spec which is what you see in the DS line currently, which those specs samyang doesnt hold

    What is tha fact, coz in our country Rokinon lens is not available

    1. I am curious about the differences, if any, between the Rokinon DS vs Samyang VDSLR lenses. FWIW, some of the Samyang VDSLR lenses cost less than the same focal length Rokinon DS lens. I’ve read some people suggest that the Rokinon lenses may have stricter quality control standards, but this may be speculation on their part.

  24. i just bought an entire kit of 5 Rokinon DS Cine lenses yesterday, like new as if it was just taken out of the box from factory. Pristine condition. All for $2000 otd on craigslist with the hoods, original boxes, receipt, warranty cards, and a pluck and pull foam carrying case to hold all the lenses. Individually, it would have cost me $2900-$3000 after taxes. Even bundled on amazon would have been ($2599) or $2800 after taxes. I decided to take the plunge and make the investment. Steal of the year for me I think. 🙂 What do you think? Good bargain?

    These are for shooting wedding videos and any other smaller budget commercials/projects I may be shooting.

  25. My research indicates that these are the same optics as the still lenses. If so, you folks should be careful. The real tests with charts and images show SEVERE distortion above and beyond even what you might expect from an inexpensive lens.

    From Dan Carr using a real world example:

    “Of course a 14mm will display a lot of distortion and this interior shot of my dining table shows the problem areas with this particular lens.  We have a bulge in the middle which is causing the front edge of the table to bow outwards, and we also have the more typical edge distortion.”

    Now for stills you can likely correct much of this in something like Lightroom. When shooting video it nearly impossible for someone who is not a VFX guru with expensive software to correct this.

    One of the examples I saw tested (sorry don’t recall where) had severe mustache distortion.

    Robert A. Ober

  26. I recently switched from Canon to Panasonic and now shoot primarily on the GH4. My work is in the outdoor sports and travel industries. I’m highly considering a set of the Rokinon DS primes in the EF mount and pairing them with the Metabones Speedbooster. My main concern is how the lenses will hold up to travel, weather, and outdoor use? It is not uncommon to be completely covered by snow after certain takes.

    Also the need for ND filters outdoors is a necessity especially on non threaded lens elements. Do you have any suggestions for the lightest most compact ND solution/matte box for the wide primes? I normally use an 8 stop Tiffen Variable ND… but that won’t work on the wide primes. Thanks and great write up.

    1. There isn’t really a simple solution for the wider primes. I would perhaps consider a matte box that attaches directly to the rails and then using a bellows or ‘nuns nickers’ to seal the gap between the two. As for their robustness and ability to hold up to the elements, there are certainly higher quality options. But for cinema work, your best bet is prevention all together. Weather sealing in photography lenses is becoming quite advanced. Not so much in the world of cinema optics.

  27. I have just got a Panasonic gh4. Now I want to get a rokinon lens for micro four thirds, will I need an adapter to mount it to d gh4 or its just gonna fit the camera directly?

    Pls I nid to knw because I’m buying a set of rokinon lenses.

    Thank you

    1. Bryan, I usually recommend purchasing the Rokinon primes in Canon EF mount. This way, you can pair them with a simple Canon EF – Micro 4/3 adapter and achieve the same results, but still have the option to use them on a Canon EF mount camera at any point. It keeps things a little more future proof. We’re doing some excellent deals on custom Rokinon Cine DS lens sets right now over at ducloslenses.com. Drop an email to sales at Duclos lenses and they can help you build a perfect set.

  28. @Matthew Duclos
    i rally like the concept of manual aperture old legacy lenses and these samyang/rokinon cine DS lenses. i just bought gh4 without any lenses. i’ll be using adapted lenses to make my lenses future proof, i have plan to go Nikon D type lenses (Ai, Ai-s, AF-D) currently i plan to buy nikkor 20mm 2.8d, 50 1.8d, 85 1.8d and a ZOOM lens with manual aperture. i was going to buy sigma 18-35 but i think colors and contrast wont match with my nikon lenses. by the way do color/contrast remain same on all nikon/nikkor lenses ??

  29. hi Matthew i have a question, i am looking for a rokinon 24mm f/1.4 and someone is trying to sell me the 24 mm T/1.5 cine, would these two perform the same? i normally take astrophotography and architectural and landscape

    1. Josh, for the most part, yes. The optics are identical. The only difference between the photo version, cine version, is the outer housing (focus and iris gears). The Newest Cine DS versions feature color matched optics and uniform focus and iris gear position. However, optical design and internal construction is the same across all models.

  30. i’m in love with the idea of the cine line, but don’t know much about focusing on manual lenses. I know the Nikon mounts have a focus confirm chip, and the sony A and Canon EF do not (i have a t3i and a sony A-57).

    So, what would be the best option? Buy Nikon lenses with focus confirm chip, and adapters for both cameras? …

    I’m also thinking about switching completely to Canon, in which case I would buy all EF

    1. Good question. That brings up a good point that I would like to know more about too. If we like the manual focus and manual aperture capabilities of lenses, is it recommended that we buy Nikon lenses (the ones that have both manual focus and aperture) and adapters? For instance, Canon lenses don’t have manual focus and aperture control, so buying Canon lenses always limits you to electronic control, which I understand isn’t as accurate or desirable for filming (vs. still) purposes. I have a Canon, so buying any native mounted lenses (EF) will not give me the manual controls on the lenses, no matter what camera I may use in the future. So is Nikon lenses plus mount adapters the way to go if we want to future-proof our lenses for film-making purposes?

      Thank you!

  31. Hi, May i know what the differences between the Samyang 35mm T1.5 VDSLR Lens MKII and Rokinon 35mm T1.5 DS Cine? And does the samyang or rokinon 35mm the focus ring is same direction to nikkor lenses ie: Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G? Your information and feedback is much appreciate. Thank you. Hear from you soon.

  32. Could you shed some light on the new Rokinon 135mm Cine Lens. Information is limited at present due to reconstruction of the Rokinon website, and the Rokinon lens chart on this website does not list it. Apparently this lens is for use with Full Frame camera’s. Can it be used with APS

    Thank you.

    1. I just picked up a set of Cine DS EF lenses and hear some strange noises coming out of the 100mm and 135mm. When shaken or rotated between vertical/horizontal, it sounds like small bearings are rolling from one side to another. It is especially pronounced on the 135mm, and it doesn’t matter how slowly I rotated it. The sound is loudest at the mount end.

      It sounds like a tiny “tik tik tik tik .. tik .. tik”.

      Anyone hear this in theirs?

  33. Sorry about the above – wrong Reply button, can’t delete.

    I just picked up a set of Cine DS EF lenses and hear some strange noises coming out of the 100mm and 135mm. When shaken or rotated between vertical/horizontal, it sounds like small bearings are rolling from one side to another. It is especially pronounced on the 135mm, and it doesn’t matter how slowly I rotated it. The sound is loudest at the mount end.

    It sounds like a tiny “tik tik tik tik .. tik .. tik”.

    Anyone hear this in theirs?

  34. Hello Matthew, thank you for such a great article about these lens series! I own a GH4 and I am interested in buying two of these lenses, and although I am a MFT user now, there is something about what you said – to buy the lenses in a EF format and adapt them on my MFT if needed, so I don’t limit myself to only MFT… My question is – if I buy the lens in an EF mount and I buy the Metabones EF to MFT Speedbooster – does that enhance the lens in terms of it’s speed and crop factor too? Meaning would a f1.5 become f1.2 and 80mm become somewhere around 60mm with the Speedbooster? Thanks!

  35. I’m wondering to go e mount or ef for my fs700. I have a meta ones ef adapter, but only the markiii …obviously would like no mount option going with e, but as you mentioned it’s the only mount option you can’t adapt?? What would you do?

  36. Hi Matt,

    I’ve noticed in the past that some Rokinon Cine lenses (I can’t speak for the DS line, as I haven’t played with them) have a bit of play to the focus ring, so if I’m changing directions, there’s a little bit of play before “catching.”

    Is this still the case with the Cine-DS line? The ones that really stood out to me were the 24mm and the 85mm. The 35mm seemed ok and the 50 wasn’t out yet.

    1. This isn’t uncommon. The Rokinon Cine (and Cine DS) use plastic cam followers which can wear out or lose their shape pretty quickly compared to stainless steel or more exotic resins of higher-end cinema lenses. Additionally, on some focal lengths, the cam slot itself can have weak points that will increase the amount of play in the focus movement. This tolerance can usually be tightened up. However, there’s a lot of junk out there that sold by less reputable retailers that may not be up to the standards some might expect. This is why I always recommend buying from honest dealers who know what they’re doing.

  37. I have the new a6300 and was wondering if anyone has any experience using the rokinon 24mm f/1.4 on an aps-c sensor using a metabones (or similar) speed booster to achieve full frame FOV? And if so how were the results?

    Cheers

  38. I just bought a 35mm T1.5 and did some test shots last night. Initially my reaction was great while reviewing the shots on the screen of my 5D Mk3 but this morning on my editing system they look terrible. Every time I pan the footage looks very jittery and quite unpleasing. I was shooting handheld and all but it’s not my movement that looks bad. Any suggestions on how to improve this and get the smooth footage I’ve seen in the reviews?

    1. Not sure how to answer this. The lens cannot cause jittery footage unless there is loose glass or a loose adapter that is allowing the lens to physically move about. Jittery footage sounds like a camera/rig issue.

  39. Thank you for this post, Matthew. This helped me to make sense of a lot of other research and I’ve finally narrowed down what I need to get. Much, much appreciated.

  40. Hi Matthew,

    Great article! So just to double check. I own a Sony FS5 and consider buying the rokinon lenses. I dont want to loose the lenght and I own a metabones speedbooster canon ef to e mount. Do I understand correctly that using the Rokinon lenses on the speedbooster is no prblem at all. No loss of quality, no strange vingetting etc? Cheers Rod

  41. Hi Matt, I find the Samyangs distort verticals in frame a lot, even the 50mm – maybe even the 85mm. I own a set of five from 24-135mm. How would you rate the level of distortion compared to more expensive primes?

  42. I was curious, if you did go the route of purchasing the MFT mount DS lenses are there any attachments or adapters that you would be able to purchase to increase the field of view?

  43. Hi Matthew,
    Would the Rokinon series of lenses be considered as high contrast or low contrast?
    Will Veydra be making EF mount glass in the near future? After the recent announcement of the EVA1 from Panasonic… there seems to be a huge gap for manual EF mount lenses with Rokinon being the entry level… The next tier up is significantly more expensive, which may provide a really good slot for Veydra to fill. Oh, and one more question… Would a modern sharp lense compensate for an older softer sensor? Or is it not the same criteria?

  44. I’ve noticed that there are lots of complaint about the out of focus of the entire left side of image at 24mm f1.4 , and a lot of warnings about not buying it before you make it certain with the dealer that you could return it or replace it if the left side focus problem catches you unfortunatelly. or warning of try it if you wanna test your luck… that really bugs me , But, I’ve also noticed that this kind of complaint only comes from the 24mm f1.4 user but none of the 24mm t1.5 user. so I am wondering is the t1.5 totally free of that problem ? if so I will definately buy one of the t1.5.

  45. Matt – Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Can you comment on any differences that may exist between Rokinon DS and Samyang VDSLR lenses? Some of the Samyang lenses cost less (for the same focal length). I’ve read comments that suggest Rokinon passes higher quality control standards, but this may be speculation by those who made the comments.

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