The Sony A7R was used for this review. Note: mobile devices may not show all the quality in the full size image samples (over 7000 pixels wide) below.
The Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 (B&H Photo) was not designed specifically for Sony’s ‘e’ mount; Rokinon simply used the lens designed for Canon and Nikon cameras, and added a base extension so it would work properly on Sony’s mirrorless system, which did away with the old flipping mirror contraption from the film days.
Fit and finish. The lens appears to be made up of metal at the base including the mount, and plastic for the focus and filter area. Rokinon claims the use of a bunch of ‘special’ glass for the optics, see the x-ray view below. It’s rather large for a wide angle prime, and a bit heavy; well over a pound. Lens is made in Korea.
The Rokinon 24/1.4 wide angle lens doesn’t incorporate OSS, or Optical Steady Shot in the lens, so you’ll need a camera body with sensor based image stabilization if you’re shaky like me and need help at slow shutter speeds.
Filter size is 77mm, which unfortunately is not yet very popular for Sony ‘FE’ system lenses. Be careful when mounting filters as the filter threads are plastic. I’ve had great luck with Tiffen and Hoya; they’re priced appropriately, and are the only brands I use now.
Focusing. Make sure you select “enable” for “release W/O lens” on your camera, otherwise, the camera thinks no lens has been mounted, and won’t release the shutter.
This is a manual lens only, meaning there is no communication with the camera, you must use manual focus, and choose an aperture. The focusing ring is damped perfectly in my opinion, and is pretty easy to turn with one finger. Focus ring travel is about 150° from close-up to infinity, which is a good amount of travel, and should be plenty to get perfect focus.
Focus peaking works fine with manual focus lenses as long as you have it turned on. Get the focus magnifier to work by going to camera settings and push ‘focus settings’ and then push the center button on the four way controller. You can assign a custom button for this and it makes it much easier and quicker to bring up each time. Use ‘no time limit’ for ‘focus magnif. time’, also in camera settings if you don’t want the focus magnifier to quit in the middle of trying to focus on something.
Exposure metering is ok, but you’ll need to check your LCD after each shot and adjust for best results. Also, white balance metering may change as you stop down the aperture; to correct that, choose a manual white balance setting. The aperture settings are marked in one stop increments (half stop clicks in between F/2-F/16), there is no stop between F/1.4-F/2, and F/16-F/22. It is possible to use an in-between aperture, you’ll have to carefully turn the ring and set it between marked stops, although I don’t know why you’d want to do that. The viewfinder is very dark when the aperture is set smaller than F/5.6.
Note; bright daytime use at F/1.4-F/2 will often result in having to use a shutter speed of 1/4000 at ISO 100. Some less expensive Sony cameras start at ISO 200, so you’ll need to use a neutral density filter to bring down the light value and get the proper exposure.
EXIF data reads something like: 0mm for focal length, and F/0.0 for aperture. The live view screen will read F– with no aperture.
In the box is the lens, owner’s manual, front and rear caps, cloth strap sack, and a plastic petal type hood.
|Official lens name and code||Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 ED AS IF UMC e-mount MFR# RK24M-E B&H Photo.|
|Box contents||Front cap, rear cap, petal type hood, cloth strap sack and user’s manual in multiple languages.|
|Cost||$550 as of 8/16.|
|Build Quality||good fit and finish.|
|Additional information||This model is made for Sony ‘E’ mount cameras.|
|Optical configuration||13 elements in 12 groups.|
|Angle of view||84° diagonally, (56˚ when mounted on an APS-C sensor camera).|
|Aperture||8 blades, curved up to about F/5.6, then straight.|
|Coverage for||Sony FE 24x36mm sensor. When using APS-C sensor, the focal length (or capture area in 135 format) is equivalent to about 36mm.
|Depth of field and focus scales||focus in meters and feet, DOF marked by center line, then F/4- F/22.|
|Minimum focus, image plane to subject||About 9.84″ (250mm) using manual focus.
|Minimum focus, end of lens barrel to subject||About 4.25″ (108mm) from front of lens barrel, no hood, manual focus, 2.5″ (63.5mm) from tip of hood to subject.|
|Infinity focus hard stop||No.|
|Length changes when focusing||No.
|Focus ring turn in AF||No.
|Filter ring rotates||No.
|Maximum reproduction ratio||1:5x approximately.|
|Sony Teleconverter compatible||No.
|Length changes when zooming||N/A
|Dimensions WxL||3.25″ x 4.9″ 82mm x 123mm.
|Maximum extended length||Lens does not extend.
|Weight||19.9oz, (563g) bare.|
Optical qualities summary.
|Lens flare/ghosting||overall, good control.|
|Light fall-off||massive amount at F/1.4, much less at F/2, and then again at F/2.8.|
|Color fringing||excellent control of lateral type. I do see some magenta axial type at wide open, mostly correctable in Lightroom 5+.|
|Bokeh||good at very close focusing distances, poor at more normal focusing distances, see samples below.|
|Color||seems about the same as Sony lenses.|
|Close-up filter||not tested.|
|Coma||very tiny amount in the corners at F/1.4-2.0|
|Regular filters||cause no noticeable additional light fall-off.|
|Filter size||77mm, a size not popular yet in the Sony line-up.|
|Distortion||moderate barrel type, but correctable in-camera or with Lightroom profile.
Close focus Shot.
The image below is the usual stamp shot from the old site. The subject is a standard US stamp, 0.87″x 1.0″ or 22mm x 25mm. It’s very sharp stopped down at F/5.6-8, but pretty small, so no link to a larger version. You can get as close as 4.25″ (108mm) from the subject to the end of the lens barrel; or 2.5″ (63mm) from the end of the hood. As a side note; the ‘1996’ text in the lower left corner of the stamp is a mere 1mm wide in real life!
The first image shows mild to moderate barrel distortion; the signature looks flat on the ends, with a gradual rise to the middle; in the second sample it’s mostly correctable using simple distortion sliders, but the lens is not recognized by any photo enhancing software such as lightroom as of this review. The next two shots show how the lens handles the full sun, which is good overall; the lens makes big sunstars as the aperture blades are mostly flat when stopped down some; I think this shot is at F/16. The next to last sample shows light fall-off as you stop down the aperture; when the lens is wide open, the corners are black! The final sample is a Real Estate shot at F/8; when used stopped down for interiors the lens is excellent!
Click for larger images. Note: mobile devices may not show all the resolution.
Background highlight blur.
Here are a few full size images of a subject taken from about 6′ or 2m. The hightlight blur looks neutral at most apertures, meaning the disk is mostly even, and without harsh outlines.
Click buttons for full size versions.
Resolution on the Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 is pretty good wide open, and very good from about F/2.8-8. The mid-sections and corners sharpen up nicely at F/2.8-4. On the downside; contrast is lacking at all apertures, see the comparison with a lens that has excellent contrast here. The lens is maxed out resolution-wise at F/4-5.6, which is great!
Note to potential buyers: look at the full size images with a desktop or laptop computer and see if the quality is what you are looking for. My copy of the Rokinon 24/1.4 has an optical alignment issue, meaning it is soft along the left side at wide apertures, and sharp on the right; possibly the base extension is adding to other problems as well. Unfortunately, Rokinon still has troubles with their quality control, and I’m tired of requesting multiple copies and wasting my time with testing etc. For this reason I would never buy, or recommend their products unless you get them from a dealer that will either send you another copy, or refund your money. Fortunately, B&H Photo is great about this! incidentally, I probably return half the lenses I buy from them as they may not really meet my needs after all, or I decide I just don’t want them.
This is the same scene as I used for the Zeiss 25/2 review.
The bottom yellow flowering Palo Verde trees are not within the depth of field at wide apertures, so don’t pay any attention to that part of the image for this test.
I see minor veiling haze and axial color finging at F/1.4-2.0, it’s not very noticeable unless you look closely for it.
Camera used: Sony A7R, RAW and converted to jpegs. Please note: mobile devices most likely will not show the full quality of the images.
Click buttons for full size versions.
Here is a comparison with the same subject at three different locations in the frame; center, mid-section and corner. In this case, it was the right lower mid-section and corner.
The Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 turned in a pretty good review all things considered. high points are: it’s very usable wide open, even with a lack of contrast. When you stop down to F/4 the whole image gets pretty crisp, even with an optical issue as I had on my copy where the left side was soft at wide apertures. Quality control is quite often a problem with this brand, and also Samyang, Bower etc. As I said above, don’t buy this brand of lens unless you are sure you can return it for a refund, or try another copy.
There are a couple of negatives to report, aside from the one above. Light fall-off is very noticeable when the lens is used wide open, but it is not very distracting in my opinion. Stopping down to F/2 eliminates most of the dark corners, and more again at F/2.8. Axial color fringing (reddish) is noticeable at F/1.4-2, along with some veiling haze, and contrast is not very high at any aperture. The lens is pretty big and heavy for a wide angle prime, and did I mention the QC?
On a tight budget, or for traveling light, I’d greatly prefer the Sony 28/2, it’s much smaller and lighter; it also costs less and the quality control is way better with Sony. For those with a high megapixel camera and wanting the best quality and resolution from a wide angle lens for really big prints, and for future proofing your images, the Zeiss 25/2 is for you!!
That’s it for this review. Please check out the Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 ED AS IF UMC lens at B&H Photo and help support the site!