- Primes Are Fast Lenses – Most prime lenses have very wide apertures – f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8 or f/2.0 – which are a great benefit when shooting in low light situations. You can use a faster shutter speed and not be required to increase ISO which would otherwise produce a grainer image. Often, flash is not allowed or is intrusive, and people will react to the flash, spoiling an opportunity to capture spontaneous poses.
- Shallower Depth of Field – Those fast apertures also contribute to more creative use of depth of field. Subjects are better separated from backgrounds, adding three-dimensionality to your images, and prime lenses also create very pleasing bokeh (The effect of a pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blurred background).
- Optimized for Performance – Although the optics of zoom lenses have improved significantly, they are often a compromise. Versatility is traded for image quality and a slow and usually a variable maximum aperture. The optics of prime lenses are optimized and highly refined for specific single focal lengths. You achieve a higher level of performance for sharper images, a fast maximum aperture and typically have a more robust and reliable construction.
- Matches Specific Kinds of Photography Better – Prime lenses will allow you to capture better landscapes, architecture, street photography, portraits, night skies and other subject matter.
- Be an Artist, Not a Snapper – Using a prime lens forces you to think more like an artist instead of a snapshot shooter. It only has one field, or angle, of view, so you must pause to picture your composition in your head before shooting. This compels you to move your body or crouch low or elevate your camera in search of the best and most interesting points of view.
- The glass configurations are essentially the same, with the Rokinon slightly better at one or more of the focal lengths.
- The apertures of all of the Rokinons can stop down to f/22, providing greater depth of field and exposure control, compared to the Canon 85mm and all of the Nikons, which only stop down to f/16.
- Even when you take into account the additional lens specifications, the Rokinon primes are still very comparable.
- Rokinon 24mm has 2 aspherical elements and the 35mm and 85mm 1 each.
- The Canon 24mm also has 2 aspherical elements and the 35mm and 85mm 1 each.
- The Nikon 24mm has 2 aspherical and 2 ED elements, the 35mm 1 aspherical and the 85mm none.
It’s often been the popular wisdom that beginner or hobbyist DSLR photographers should shoot with zoom lenses instead of prime (or single focus length) lenses, so they have a variety of focal lengths in one lens. It’s the intention of this article to shatter that myth, and for the following reasons.
Rokinon Prime Lenses Combine Outstanding Quality and Affordability
Since Canon, Nikon and Sony sell the vast majority of DSLR cameras, then it’s only reasonable that these camera owners (including you) would be attracted to these companies’ extensive line-ups of lenses. Fortunately, this is a free-enterprise marketplace where a less well-known lens manufacturer offers a number of competitive advantages when it comes to choosing prime lenses.
It’s time you were introduced to Rokinon lenses. Their construction and optical qualities and technical image tests have impressed the reviewers and critics.
“…the Rokinon [24mm f/1.4 ] turned in excellent sharpness and contrast numbers, with results almost identical to those of the Canon 24mm f/1.4 and slightly better than those of the comparable Nikon…this Rokinon can transport you to the thrilling, rock-your-world thrills of f/1.4.” – Popular Photography
“It renders scenes with excellent contrast and color, and even has good bokeh when shooting wide open and close up…a full $600 cheaper than the other 12mm lens for Sony E-mount, the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8…and it’s a stop faster to boot!” The Admiring Light Blog commenting on the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0
All Rokinon lenses have silky smooth manual focus and are available in a full range of camera mounts: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A and E and Pentax K, as well as Olympus 4/3 and micro 4/3, Samsung NX and Fujifilm X.
A set of 3 Rokinon prime lenses – 24mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 – compare very favorably in quality and performance to Canon and Nikon lenses.
Speed and Price – All 3 Rokinon primes have very fast maximum apertures of f/1.4. As the chart below reveals, however, the closest matching Canon and Nikon lenses have little or no advantages over the Rokinon primes and the price differences are very significant.
Comparison of Rokinon Prime Lenses to Canon and Nikon Equivalents
|Prime Lenses||Minimum Aperture||Glass Configuration||Price|
|Rokinon 24mm f/1.4||f/22||13 elements in 12 groups||$599.00|
|Canon 24mm f/1.4||f/22||13 elements in 10 groups||$1,650.00|
|Nikon 24mm f/1.4||f/16||12 elements in 10 groups||$2,200.00|
|Rokinon 35mm f/1.4||f/22||12 elements in 10 groups||$549.00|
|Canon 35mm f/1.4||f/22||11 elements in 9 groups||$1,480.00|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4||f/16||10 elements in 7 groups||$1,800.00|
|Rokinon 85mm f/1.4||f/22||9 elements in 7 groups||$349.00|
|Canon 85mm f/1.2||f/22||8 elements in 7 groups||$2,100.00|
|Nikon 85mm f/1.4||f/16||10 elements in 9 groups||$1,700.00|
Consider these interesting points of comparison:
·To purchase Canon or Nikon prime lenses with the same fast aperture, you would have to choose those specifically marketed to professionals, which is why the 3 Rokinon primes cost $1,800; the Canons, $5,230; and the Nikons, $5,800.
In addition, as a beginner, hobbyist or even serious amateur DSLR photographer, your images won’t gain much if any additional sharpness, clarity or color saturation with the Canons and Nikons. Only professionals might require whatever advantage some Canons and Nikons will provide – and it’s negligible – which is why there are professionals who already have Rokinon prime lenses in their camera bags!
Zoom Lens Comparison – Another way to compare Rokinon prime lenses to others is to determine what zoom lens you would need – and what it would cost – to cover the 24mm to 85mm focal length range. Among Canon lenses, there is the 24–70mm f/2.8. It doesn’t extend to 85mm; its widest aperture is f/2.8; and it costs $2,000, or $200 more than all 3 Rokinon primes. You could also choose the 24–105mm f/4. You’ll have a bit more focal length, but its 2½ stops slower, and still costs $1,150. On the Nikon side, there is a 24–85mm f/2.8–f/4.0 for $745 and a 24–120mm f/4 for $1,300.