In this Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 UMC Aspherical lens Review I use real world photography situations and subjects, to show you what this lens is capable of doing in the real world!! I also used my Sony Nex-6 and LA-EA1 Lens Adapter in order to mount the A-Mount lens to the E-Mount camera. It is a great combo for the most part, but when shooting wide open @ f/1.4, the bokeh gets clipped by the lens adapter unfortunately. Other than that it worked flawlessly and was a very tight fit with almost no play at all when connected to my Nex-6.
To start things off I wanted to clarify right away that this Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle US UMC Aspherical Lens is fully manual. No electronics at all exist, therefore the aperture and focus are all you!! The Nex Cameras work great with fully manual lenses thanks to the focus peaking feature to get you sharp, followed up by the magnify zoom for double checking sharpness. This works really well for most situations, although moving targets like kids and stuff, can be really hard.
In any event, let’s get this A-Mount Lens Review underway and please remember to ask questions or comment below!
Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 UMC Aspherical Lens
A closer look at the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle US UMC Aspherical Lens.
On the Sony Nex-6 w/ LA-EA1
Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 UMC Aspherical lens – Specs
|F stop range||1.4 – 22|
|Maximum Angle of View||APS-C: 43.2°/35mm: 63.1°/4/3: 33.4°|
|Construction||10 Groups / 12 Elements|
|Closest Focusing Distance||1 ft./ 0.3 m|
|Length||4.4″ / 111mm|
|Maximum Diameter||83.0mm / 3.26in|
|Weight||1.5 lbs (24oz)|
The build quality on the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle US UMC Aspherical Lens is excellent! The focus ring is very smooth and large in relation to the lens length. The aperture settings are notched so it’s easy to change them while looking through the lens and know where you are by counting. Actually counting the aperture notches takes some time to learn of course, but with practice comes perfection!! It’s important to note that each aperture setting has a half aperture in between setting. For example, between f/4 and f/5.6, there is a extra notch. There is no extra notch between f/1.4 and f/2 however. On the cinema grade version of this lens(35mm T1.5 Cinema Lens), the aperture ring has been “de-clicked” for smooth iris pulls.
The size of this lens is pretty large considering it’s only 35mm, and in comparison to the much shorter 85mm f/1.4 Lens I’m also reviewing. However, the 1′ minimum focus distance means the rear lens element has to move away from the camera body, making the lens a bit larger. If the minimum focus distance was further, the lens could in theory be shorter in length.
The optics are awesome on this lens! Corner sharpness as you will see below is amazing, even @ f/1.4. The fringing is minimal thanks to the aspherical, and other multi-coated glass elements inside the lens. Glare is also very well controlled as you will see in the tons sample photos below. The small amount of fringing that is present can easily be fixed in lightroom ect… I did not fix any of it in these sample photos though!!
Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Lens – Sample Photos
I wanted to go over some real world sample photos first, followed by some sharpness and bokeh testing.
I shot in RAW quality mode for all the sample photos taken, and No Lens Correction of any kind was applied to these photos unless otherwise mentioned!! These raw files were then exported as jpegs @ 60% quality, 1000px, no sharpening applied beyond the defaults of the Lightroom 4.
These first two photos I did some post production work in Lightroom 4 including; contrast, clarity, and vignette.
Be sure to Click on the Photos for the High Res 1000PX Version!!
This next photo is just an older park bench, but @ f/1.4 the Rokinon 35mm lens turns into an almost magical scene. Slight contrast adjustment and white balance only on this next set of images. Also be sure to click on the images and the 100% Crops I also included!! The exif info is in the caption just below each image, but mostly shot wide-open at f/1.4.
100% Crop of the center area
I added a little contrast to next few sample photos as the raw files pretty much always need it in comparison to jpegs.
This next Landscape scene you may have seen in other reviews, but this time it had some really nice early morning light!
F/1.4 vs F/4 – Same Scene
I really wanted to illustrate what f/1.4 does to the background when your relatively close to your subject. The subject just pops out, as the background fades away into buttery bliss. Take a look at f/1.4 vs f/4 in this next series of Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 UMC Lens Sample Photos.
Lens Performance and Sharpness Testing!!
Now it’s time for some Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle US UMC Aspherical Lens performance testing, using this really awesome building I found the other day. It has tons of detail and high contrast areas which is perfect for this type of photo in my opinion. Be sure to click on the 100% Crops for the High Res versions where the detail can really be seen up close!!
Again, these sharpness testing photos have absolutely no lens correction or any adjustments made at all in Lightroom 4. Raw files exported UN-touched!! I also used a tri-pod, and the 2 second self timer for all of theses test shots.
Here’s the Full Scene taken @ f/4
100% Crops at all Apertures
|100% Crop of the Top Left
||100% Crop of the Center Area
At f/1.4 the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle US UMC Aspherical Lens has some significant vignette. I really don’t mind it myself, as I usually add it in any way when I edit my photos. However, what is important to note, is that at f/2 it’s almost gone and at f/2.8 it’s totally gone from what I can tell. See for yourself below! Vignette is simple the corner shadowing caused by the length of the hallow tube that the light has to travel through 😉
Shooting through a Fence??
This is Layla’s trampoline fence which is woven nylon style fence.
LA-EA1 Lens Adapter Clips the Bokeh @ f/1.4!!
The Bokeh gets clipped by the LA-EA1 lens adapter when shooting wide open @ f/1.4. Once stopped down to f/2 it seems intact. I would recommend getting a different lens adapter if you plan on using this lens on a Nex camera, such as the Fotodiox Lens Adapter Here on Amazon >>. I would not have went with the LA-EA1 lens adapter for this review had I know this was going to happen, but what are ya going to do 😉 See below for what I’m talking about, and it’s really not that noticeable unless the bokeh has specular highlights like in the images below.
More Real World Sample Photos
Here’s a bunch more sample photos and 100% Crops here and there showing off what the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 UMC Aspherical Lens can in the real word under various conditions ect.. Exif info will be in the caption just below the images. These photos were all shot Raw just like the others, minor adjustments in Lightroom 4 may have been made here and there, but I’ll let you know!
Some Layla Snapshots
About the best portrait I can get of Layla these days 😉
Chubs is the man, and my friend!!
Almost looks like a guy waving on the tree stump??
Here is a pretty good perspective shot from the supermarket showing off the bokeh big time!!
This is the lid to our little fire-pit out back.
S-Curve Madness with the wide-angle 35mm Rokinon lens!!
Note how much different the scene looks by simply raising and/or lowering the camera!! Sort of a forced perspective effect 😉
A few more sample photos. I added a little contrast to these next shots 😉
Great lens for a the investment is the bottom line in my opinion. Fast f/1.4 glass and high quality optics gets you almost a magical effect. It’s hard to explain, but my Canon 135mm f/2 L Lens has the same sort of “magic”. When the depth of field is super shallow in relation to the scene, the bokeh is just mesmerizing in such a way that it pulls you into the image. Again, it’s hard to explain, but picture a 2d object vs a 3d object. The lens seems to enhance the depth of the scene in the right situation, which intern creates a special look. It doesn’t seem to happen at f/2 as much as f/1.4 in my opinion. Just glance up at the bricks image above and you see exactly what I mean. The park bench image, and the photo of Layla looking down with the t-shirt on also really seem to have a special look in my opinion. Pretty much all the f/1.4 images have it.
Full Manual is not always easy to use, but as I get more comfortable with it, I seem to feel willing to sacrifice the AF for optical quality. This Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle US UMC Aspherical Lens is sharp corner to corner for the most part, it’s very well made, has a very close 1″ minimum focus distance which allows for some really great close-up photography.
I did not shoot any video with the lens, but it is an excellent choice for cinematographers on a budget. Although the 35mm T1.5 Cinema Lens version of this lens is only $549.00 vs $449.00, and also available for the Nex E-Mount so no lens adapter would be necessary!!!
In the end, I think this is a very affordable lens considering the incredible optical performance, killer f/1.4 aperture, and excellent build quality. My only minor nit-pic is the lens cap is harder to get on than necessary, and seems to fall off in my camera bag. probably my error most of the time mind you, but it still bothers me when a lens cap doesn’t just snap on easily and stay on. It’s the nice center pinch style lens cap btw.
That is it for the this Hands-on, real world photography based, Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 UMC Aspherical Lens Review. I really hope you got what you were looking for when you read my review, and please consider using the product links in this review, or below int he sign-off message 😉
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