Rokinon (Samyang) has long been recognized for their good value lenses, lenses producing good image quality with very-attractively-low prices. Features typically excluded from these lenses in order to keep prices low have included autofocus and, usually, an electronic aperture. While some recently-prior-introduced Rokinon/Samyang lenses have included an electronic aperture, I have long thought that the lack of autofocus was, by far, the biggest limiting factor in the usefulness of Rokinon (Samyang) lenses. That factor is no longer missing – the "AF" in the model name points to the big-deal autofocus feature now found in select Rokinon (Samyang) lenses. While this is the first such Rokinon (Samyang) lens appearing with a Canon DSLR mount, a handful of recently-prior-introduced Rokinon (Samyang) Sony-mount lenses (including this lens in Sony mount) also include AF.
Our review lens was branded "Rokinon" but printed on the bottom of the lens is "Technology by Samyang Optics". The same lens is available in either brand with the "Rokinon" brand being most popular in North America. If both brands are available to you, pick the name you like best. As occurred with the Samyang SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens, the initial press release was for a Samyang brand lens, but ... the Rokinon version showed up first, so that happens to be the variant being reviewed here. Hopefully any questions in that regard are cleared up.
Samyang has been making 14mm lenses for a very long time and the Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens has been especially popular, offering good image quality at an outstanding price. Our prior-reviewed Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens was promised to be a premium offering, but I was even more excited by the prospects of autofocus in the follow-up AF lens. While the AF lens does not have the SP lens' f/2.4 aperture, f/2.8 is only 1/2-stop narrower and the AF lens includes the SP's auto aperture/exposure and durable-but-lightweight aluminum alloy housing with some of the low pricing flavor of the fully-manual 14mm option remaining in both of these lenses. In addition, discounts likely have trimmed a sizable amount off the price by the time you read this.
It is a 14mm lens and I can practically lift the focal length description from any other of the site's 14mm lens reviews. A primary reason to want this lens is because it has a 14mm focal length and the focal length largely determines the type of photography a lens is used for. The ultra-wide 114° angle of view presented by the 14mm focal length is both very useful and extremely fun to use.
Photographing architecture is a popular use for a 14mm lens. Buildings are big and working space is often limited by other buildings, trees, power lines, etc., making an ultra-wide angle focal length such as 14mm a requirement for the task. Architecture photography often requires a level camera (or a tilt-shift lens) to keep vertical lines from converging. It is often hard to gain a mid-building height vantage point for such photography, but an ultra-wide angle lens will frequently permit the entire building(s) to be included in a ground-level image captured with a level (both tilt and roll) camera. Unwanted foreground can then be simply cropped away.
Interior photography is another scenario where working space is frequently limited and a wide angle of view is needed to capture the entire space. A benefit from using an ultra-wide angle for interiors is that the space appears larger, and larger is typically desired in the real estate field.
We have this nice wild dogwood tree growing near the edge of our yard. It was very symmetrical until one day, two young bears, while fighting, climbed into it and broke the top out. The tree now "bears" an artistic shape.
Perhaps the most-common use of 14mm is in landscape photography. Here is another example, this one was captured with the SP lens variant.
The world is full of wide angle scenes awaiting your shutter release behind a 14mm lens. Wide angles are especially good for making foreground subjects appear large in relation to background subjects (due to perspective) and they enable capturing a vast background both in the frame and in-focus. When out and about, look for interesting subjects with interesting backgrounds. Then move in close for the killer shot, giving the viewer a sense of presence in the image. Again, this example was captured with the SP lens variant.
Creating a multi-shot panorama is a common technique used for photographing landscapes. This technique permits a wider overall angle of view to be captured than a lens is otherwise capable of. Very wide angle focal lengths can capture a big scene in one frame and can provide a panorama look (wide aspect ratio) by simply cropping the top and bottom from a single image capture. While the multi-image pano can create an even higher resolution, that resolution may not be needed with today's ultra-high resolution cameras and cropping is much easier than stitching.
Try using this lens for looking-up photos in the forest. Lay on your back amidst interesting tall trees for an easy-to-capture composition that, with each tree trunk becoming a leading line into your frame, looks great.
The night sky is vast and full of interest (and the daytime sky often is as well). The 14mm angle of view can take in much of the sky (sample borrowed from the Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens review).
The 14mm focal length can, especially with the interesting perspective it provides, capture artistic types of imagery. Take advantage of perspective distortion by moving in close to make something appear huge in relation to its surroundings. For example, hold the small fish you caught close to the camera to make it appear huge, backing up your big fish story.
Use caution when including people in the 14mm frame as the just-referenced perspective distortion may not be appreciated for portraiture – step back and use this lens to capture environmental portraits. People participating in sports can be captured using ultra-wide focal lengths. Lenses such as this one are especially great to use for remote cameras at the starting line, finish line, in the goal, over the basket, etc.
When you need to back up farther, but simply can't, 14mm might be the right choice.
Downsides to that ultra-wide angle of view include your shadow and shoes readily getting in the frame. Considerations must be made when using a 14mm focal length with flash. Since 14mm is wider than most flashes natively cover, a diffuser (either built in or accessory) or bounce flash (or similar) will be required to avoid an only partially lit scene.
To see how 14mm fits into the neighboring focal lengths, I'll borrow a comparison example from the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens review.
The Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens is a full frame lens and though the above discussion focuses on this lens being used on a full frame camera, it also has great use on a smaller-sensor APS-C (1.5x/1.6x FOVCF) model where the angle of view provided is narrower, similar to that of a 22mm lens on a full frame body. While the 22mm-like angle of view is considerably less extreme (between the 20mm and 24mm focal length examples above), many of the uses are the same. That said, with far more APS-C options available to cover this focal length, the competition is considerably more vast.
Along with the focal length, a part of the lens name we can count on being included is the max aperture and this lens makes it clear that it opens up to f/2.8. With a couple of exceptions, including the Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens and the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens, f/2.8 is among the widest/fastest apertures available at 14mm.
What are the advantages of a wide aperture? More light reaches the imaging sensor, permitting a faster, action-stopping and handholdable shutter speed and/or lower, less-noisy ISO setting. It also provides a shallower depth of field, producing a better-subject-isolating background blur. Though wide angle lenses are not especially well-suited for the latter, they will produce a blur if a close focus distance is used.
A wide aperture also provides a bright optical viewfinder.
Disadvantages of a wide aperture are generally related to size, weight and cost. However, this lens side-steps all of those downsides quite nicely.
The success of a lens is often directly related to the image quality it delivers and sharpness, a combination of resolution and contrast, is the most important image quality attribute for most. The enhanced resolution ISO 12233 chart is brutal on a lens' sharpness capability and the results from the lab tests using this chart are usually the most-telling in this regard. I'm happy to say that the Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens delivered very nice results in this test.
With a wide open aperture, center of the frame results are quite good at f/2.8, showing especially impressive resolution. At f/4, increased contrast kicks in, producing very sharp results in the center and mid-frame. Stop down to f/5.6 and the corner image quality catches up to the rest of the frame and everything looks great. From an image sharpness perspective, there is little reason to stop down any more.
In addition to our standard lab tests, I like to share some real world examples. Next up is a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured using an ultra-high resolution Canon EOS 5Ds R with RAW files processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional using the Standard Picture Style and sharpness set to only "1" (0-10 scale). The sky was clear and the exposures were equivalents.
The f/2.8 center of the frame example is quite sharp and if the f/4 example was not provided, we'd likely all be pleased with the result. The sharpest details in the frame are very nicely being resolved. Stop this lens down to f/4 and a very nice bump in contrast and resolution is seen. The center of the frame f/4 results are simply razor sharp. Realistically, the only gain you are going to see at f/5.6 is increased depth of field.
Next we will look at a set of 100% crops (same camera and processing) taken from the extreme top left corner of the frame, the most peripheral area of the image circle used and the most-challenged to deliver sharp imagery.
As the aperture narrows, the vignetting clears and the results look better. But, the details being resolved at f/2.8 are very good, impressive for this focal length and aperture combination.
I have not noticed any focus shift issues with this lens.
One image quality aspect that can be counted on, at least when an imaging sensor is utilizing most of a lens' image circle, is peripheral shading. How strong is the shading is the big question. At f/2.8, this lens delivers a very strong over-4-stops of shading in the periphery. A 1-stop-narrower aperture drops the shading to about-3-stops deep in the corners. At f/5.6, vignetting is reduced to 2-stops. That linear trend slows at f/8 with about 1.5 stops of shading, a typically-visible amount, that remains through f/16.
The effect of different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently is referred to as lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration). Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the greatest amount as this is where the greatest difference in the magnification of wavelengths exists.
While lateral CA is usually easily corrected with software (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide, it is of course better to not have it in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but below is a worst-case example, showing a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of ultra-high resolution 5Ds R frame.
There should be only black and white colors in these images and the additional colors are showing lateral CA. The amount is not bad for a lens with these specs.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while the spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
The following images show 100% crops of an out of focus background and foreground containing reflective silver subjects. Differing color fringing between the two images will quickly highlight these issues.
I like what I see here with the foreground and background appearing very similar in color.
It is very easy to get the sun and other bright light sources in the 14mm angle of view and when that happens, the Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens is going to reward you with some flare effects. I can say the same thing about all of the other 14mm prime lenses we've tested and some of them flare even somewhat worse than this one.
There are two lens aberrations that are particularly evident when shooting images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point, instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal).
This lens' predecessor was well regarded for its ability to keep stars round in the corner of the frame and this one appears to be one of the best available in this regard. The following 100% crop sample is from near the top left corner of the frame.
Linear distortion was an issue with the Rokinon (Samyang) SP 14mm and with the Rokinon (Samyang) IF ED 14mm lenses. The first has strong barrel distortion and the second has a strong mustache distortion profile. So, I cringed a bit as I put this lens to the distortion test.
Fortunately, the result was not cringe-worthy. This lens does have moderate barrel distortion, but it does not have a mustache profile and the amount is less than the SP produces and less than many other lenses this wide.
Most modern lenses have lens correction profiles available for the popular image processing applications and distortion can be easily removed using these, but distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level and this technique is seldom as good as using a distortion-free lens in the first place.
The quality of blur seen in the out of focus portions of an image is referred to as bokeh. While a 14mm lens is intrinsically weak in its ability to create blur, the blur this one creates has a nice quality. Here is a 100% crop f/8.0 example showing out-of-focus specular highlights with aperture blade interaction.
I don't see much of a variance from normal here.
With an aperture blade count of 7, point light sources showing a star-like effect will have 14 points (2x as many points as aperture blades).
This lens creates relatively strong starburst effects, though the multi-ray effect is somewhat different.
For this lens, Rokinon advertises "UMC [Ultra Multi-Coating] anti-reflective coatings, one ED, two high precision Aspherical, and four High Refractive Index elements combine to minimize aberrations and increase sharpness and contrast."
Regardless of what is in this lens, it works really well.
I've already made a big deal about this lens having autofocus. But, simply "having" AF is not good enough and I was very anxious to find out how this first Canon full-frame AF system from Rokinon (Samyang) would perform in this regard.
First, the Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens focuses internally, a positive feature, and with decent speed, another nicety. While I would not classify the AF sound as loud, it is audible and an electronic whir sound can be heard, especially during large focus distance adjustments and the sound will be picked up by nearby/in-camera microphones.
AF consistency on the Canon EOS 5Ds R was reasonable, yet not stellar, when using the center AF point and just slightly lower consistency was seen when the mid-peripheral points were being used. The results from the lower-resolution Canon EOS-1D X Mark II appeared slightly better.
This lens does not support FTM (Full Time Manual) focus. The manual focus ring does not turn during AF and the lens must be switched to manual mode for the manual focus ring to function.
With very limited information provided and no clues in the name (such as USM, HSM, etc.), figuring this system out was the order of the day and it didn't take long to determine that the manual focus ring acted as a switch driving a motor, meaning that this lens utilized electronic manual focusing (focus-by-wire) vs. the direct-driven version traditionally found in Rokinon/Samyang lenses. For the manual focus ring to function, the camera must be powered on and the meter must be active, providing power to the motor driving AF.
The manual focus ring is not completely free-spinning, but it has very little resistance. This is not my favorite attribute as I find at least some dampening an aid to manual focusing precision. When turned, the manual focus ring switches the motor on and off and a scratchy, static-like sound can be heard.
Unlike nearly all other lenses I've used, this one does not continuously adjust the focus distance as the manual focus ring is turned, but instead adjusts the distance in tiny steps. It seems that the focus ring must be turned a specific amount before the lens clicks to the next focus distance step. While this is unusual and distracting, it is also easier to figure out which step provided the best focus, taking some of the guesswork out of the task, though along with some of the precision. Fortunately, I have not seen a scene that could not be precisely focused and the ring's adjustment rate nicely facilitates precise focusing.
Subjects not only come into and go out of focus as the ring is turned, but they become modestly larger or smaller while doing so.
The focus ring is nicely sized and easy to find. All focus distance indications have been omitted on this lens and, also unlike most of the prior-released Rokinon/Samyang lenses, infinity (or just past) is not a hard stop, meaning that focus marks may be more challenging to hit.
This lens' minimum focus distance is only 7.9" (200mm), but with the low magnification of a 14mm focal length, it only reaches 0.15x on the maximum magnification scale. While few are going to get excited by 0.15x, this spec falls in the middle of the lenses in the chart below and many of those have a longer focal length to aid their specs. This list is sorted by focal length and then brand.
|Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.16x|
|Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.20x|
|Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Lens||7.1"||(180mm)||0.20x|
|Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.15x|
|Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.15x|
|Nikon 14mm f/2.8D AF Lens||7.9"||(201mm)||0.15x|
|Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.08x|
|Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.15x|
|Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens||10.8"||(274mm)|
|Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens||10.2"||(260mm)||0.19x|
|Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens||10.6"||(270mm)||0.10x|
|Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly/Blackstone Lens||11.0"||(280mm)|
|Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.20x|
|Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.11x|
|Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.25x|
Figure roughly 9" (23cm) of width filling the Rokinon's frame at minimum focus distance. The close-up picture of the pink dogwood tree flowers shared earlier in this review was captured at close to the minimum focus distance and shows the foreground-emphasizing perspective this lens can capture.
Often, a lens' minimum focus distance can be reduced via extension tubes. However, on lenses this wide, even a 12mm extension tube reduces the minimum focus distance too much to be usable. With the lens focused to infinity, the maximum focus distance appears to be at approximately the front lens element, leaving no working distance to light within. This lens is not compatible with extenders/teleconverters.
"The refined all metal design combines a luxurious look with excellent reliability." [Rokinon]
This lens has a nicely-smooth shape that is very pleasant to hold and use, the lens appears nicely made and I love the looks of the big convex objective lens element. Still, I can't claim to be a fan of the aesthetics of the red ring and shiny black finish. Also, I find the focus ring too easy to turn and it has a slight wobble to it. The plastic switch bank (rarely seen on Rokinon/Samyang lenses) protrudes only modestly from the metal barrel and functions fine, though it does not exude high quality to me.
Note that "all metal" does not include the lens hood. Using plastic for this part can make sense from an impact absorption perspective and it seems nicely made.
Not seen before in a Rokinon/Samyang lens is weather sealing, but this lens indeed has that feature. I have not seen any mention of the details of that sealing, but obvious is that the lens mount is gasketed.
The Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens is a compact lens with a very easy-to-use, lowest-in class weight.
|Model||Weight||Dimensions w/o Hood||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens||41.7 oz||(1180g)||4.3 x 5.2"||(108.0 x 132.0mm)||2015|
|Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens||40.6 oz||(1150g)||4.0 x 5.2"||(102.0 x 131.5mm)||2016|
|Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Lens||21.5 oz||(609g)||2.9 x 3.3"||(74.8 x 82.8mm)||2016|
|Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens||22.8 oz||(645g)||3.1 x 3.7"||(80.0 x 94.0mm)||2007|
|Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S Lens||34.2 oz||(969g)||3.9 x 5.2"||(98.0 x 131.5mm)||2007|
|Nikon 14mm f/2.8D AF Lens||23.7 oz||(670g)||3.4 x 3.4"||(87.0 x 86.5mm)||2000|
|Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens||27.9 oz||(791g)||3.7 x 4.3"||(95.0 x 109.4mm)||2016|
|Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens||17.1 oz||(485g)||3.6 x 3.8"||(90.5 x 95.6mm)||2018|
|Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens||19.5 oz||(552g)||3.4 x 3.8"||(87.0 x 96.1mm)||2012|
|Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens||41.3 oz||(1170g)||3.8 x 5.0"||(95.4 x 126.0mm)||2017|
|Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens||40.6 oz||(1150g)||3.8 x 5.3"||(96.4 x 135.1mm)||2018|
|Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens||24.2 oz||(686g)||4.5 x 3.9"||(114.0 x 100.0mm)||95mm||2016|
|Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens||38.8 oz||(1100g)||3.9 x 5.7"||(98.4 x 145.0mm)||2014|
|Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens||33.4 oz||(947g)||4.0 x 3.9"||(102.3 x 100.2mm)||95mm||2016|
|Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens||27.9 oz||(790g)||3.5 x 5.0"||(88.5 x 127.5mm)||82mm||2016|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens Specifications using the site's Lens Spec tool.
There are now a very large number of full frame ultra-wide angle lenses available, as made obvious in the above table, and Rokinon/Samyang have a significant representation in this space. Here is a comparison showing three review-time-current 14mm Rokinon models.
Above, you are looking at the Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens on the left, the similar-sized Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens on the right and the modestly-smaller Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens in the middle.
Below, from left to right, are the Nikon 14mm f/2.8D AF Lens, Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens and Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens appearing about the same size and followed by the noticeably-larger Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens to other lenses.
With the large convex front lens element in the way, this lens is not compatible with standard threaded front filters and no provision is made for use of a rear drop-in gel filter, useful for holding neutral density gel filters. To use circular polarizer and neutral density filters on such a lens requires an external adapter. Companies such as Fotodiox implement filter solutions for such lenses but note that these filter holders and the filters themselves are quite large. The lack of convenient filter access will give some landscape photographers pause, but no other 14mm option accepts standard threaded filters, meaning front filter compatibility is a sacrifice currently required to get to 14mm or wider focal lengths.
Commonly provided with lenses having integrated hoods is a lens cap that also covers the sides of the hood and that is the lens cap style provided with the Rokinon AF 14. This rigid plastic cap uses a friction fit via a thin ring of flocking-like material inside the hood. While staying attached has been problematic for some similar caps, this one has been holding on nicely for me.
Rokinon includes a drawstring lens pouch with this lens. The fabric pouch has a fleece lining with a thin layer of padding between it and the outer fabric layer. The pouch bottom is similarly constructed, but a relatively thick piece of foam is included to provide the extra protection it needs. While the construction cost was surely not very high and the feel of the material does not seem especially reassuring, this pouch is more protective than most similar included-in-the-box lens pouches.
The Rokinon and Samyang niche has long been very good image quality for a low price and, while this lens is one of their highest-priced offerings, it is still a very good value. What you get is easily worth what you spend to get it.
The Rokinon (Samyang) AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens is currently available in Canon (reviewed) and Sony mounts. My standard disclaimer: There are potential issues with third party lenses. Since Samyang reverse engineers (vs. licenses) manufacturer electronics and algorithms, there is always the potential that a DSLR body might not support a (likely older) third party lens and this being Samyang's first autofocusing Canon DSLR lens is not terribly reassuring. Usually a lens can be made compatible by the manufacturer via a firmware update, but this fix cannot be guaranteed. Rokinon provides a 1-year limited warranty.
The reviewed Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens was online-retail acquired.
There are more ultra-wide angle lens options than ever before. While that is a good thing, determining which lens is best, or better-said, best for you, becomes more difficult with each release. Let's wade through some of the options.
I'll start with Canon's most-equivalent lens, the EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM. In the Rokinon vs. Canon image quality comparison, I see the Rokinon holding the edge in image quality, notably showing less lateral CA. The Canon has less distortion and modestly less vignetting.
The Rokinon has 7 aperture blades vs. 6. The Canon is slightly heavier and slightly narrower. Expect the Canon to focus accurately at a modestly better rate and provide a smoother focus ring experience. Expect the price difference to outweigh all other differentiators seen here; the Canon is far more expensive.
The Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens had not been on the market too long before the AF 14mm f/2.8 version arrived and I was anxious to see how these two lenses compared. I see the Rokinon AF performing modestly better than the SP 14mm f/2.8 lens with both set to f/2.8. With an increased lens/group count (18/14 vs. 15/10), the SP also shows modestly stronger flare effects.
The SP has 9 aperture blades vs. the AF's 7 and has a smoother focus ring. The AF has a much higher maximum magnification specs, 0.15x vs. 0.08x, and weighs considerably less (17.1 vs. 27.9 oz, 485 vs 791g). The SP has a higher list price, but there may be little or no difference in street price, depending on the promotions currently in effect. Of course, that the AF lens has autofocus is a big attraction over the manual focus-only SP lens.
Living at the bottom of the price-descending ultra-wide angle lens list is another Rokinon/Samyang lens, the manual focus, manual aperture 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens. In the AF vs. MF comparison, the AF turns in sharper results, especially in the center of the frame. The AF lens has a better distortion profile. The AF has 7 aperture blades vs. 6, weighs slightly less, features a rear mount gasket and has a shorter minimum focus distance (7.9 vs. 11", 200 vs. 280mm).
The Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens made waves at its introduction, featuring the widest aperture ever available in a 14mm DSLR lens. The Sigma is considerably larger, much heavier and far more expensive, but those differences make the Rokinon vs. Sigma image quality comparison an even more interesting one. The Sigma is sharper in the center and has less peripheral shading in the corners at equivalent apertures, but the peripheral image sharpness differences are not as big as the lenses' price differential may suggest. The Sigma also has less linear distortion.
The Sigma has 9 aperture blades vs. 7. With a shorter minimum focus distance, the Rokinon puts a higher maximum magnification number on the board, 0.15x vs. 0.10x.
Stepping up 1mm in focal length brings the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly/Blackstone Lens, another inexpensive manual focus-only lens, into consideration. The Rokinon vs. Irix image quality comparison shows the two lenses performing very similarly. I'll say that the Irix is slightly sharper in the center of the frame and the Rokinon holds a slightly edge in the periphery. The Rokinon's linear distortion is slightly stronger and the Irix's peripheral shading is modestly less at equivalent wide apertures.
The Irix has 9 aperture blades vs. 7 and accepts standard threaded filters. The Rokinon is narrower and weighs less than the 21.4 oz (608g) Irix Firefly model and moderately less than the heavier Blackstone model. With a shorter minimum focus distance, the Rokinon again puts a higher maximum magnification number on the board, 0.15x vs. 0.11x. The Blackstone lens costs noticeably less than the Rokinon and the Firefly costs considerably less.
Once the comparisons are open to zoom lenses, several more options come into view. Obviously, the zoom lenses offering a range of focal lengths is an advantage they all hold.
Since I just finished the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens review, I'll start with that one. This Rokinon vs. Sigma image quality comparison shows the impressiveness of this zoom design, with the zoom lens showing itself noticeably sharper than the prime at 14mm f/2.8, especially in the corners. The Sigma has less peripheral shading.
The Sigma has 9 aperture blades vs. 7 and with the help of a longer focal length, has a higher max magnification (0.19x vs. 0.15x). The Rokinon is considerably smaller, is well under half the weight of the Sigma and costs far less.
The Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens does not match the 14mm wide angle of the Rokinon, but it adds a very useful feature – Vibration Compensation. The Rokinon vs. Tamron image quality comparison, I like the Tamron's center performance, but its mid-frame and corner results are less convincing.
The Tamron has 9 aperture blades vs. 7 and again, with the help of a longer focal length, has a higher max magnification (0.20x vs. 0.15x). The Rokinon is considerably smaller; it is well under half the weight of the Tamron and costs far less.
If 16mm is wide enough and your budget is not constrained, get the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens. It is an extraordinary lens.
As is often the case, there are a lot of lens options to consider for your wide angle needs (especially for the APS-C format) and I didn't mention all of them here. Look at the list in the tables above and use the site's comparison tools for your decision-making process. But, make sure that you have this approximate focal length covered in your kit as it is both highly useful and lots of fun to use.
Rokinon/Samyang's first auto focus lens for Canon (Sony was already covered), the AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens, jumps right to the top of my all-time Rokinon/Samyang lens favorites list and onto my short list of 14mm favorites.
The size and weight of this lens are such that it is easy to include in the bag even when 14mm is not the primary need. The design is nice. The image quality the Rokinon AF 14 delivers is a big driver for selection and the very reasonable price tag seals the deal.
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