Lens Review: Rokinon 14mm f2.8 E Mount

Updated: Dec 2, 2018



The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens is the best bang for your buck available for the full frame Sony camera.


Why? This mount lens started out similarly to a Canon/Nikon lens but with a built in lens adapter. Don’t disregard this lens for that reason. It is the best lens for the price.


Coming in at just $329 at most retailers, this is one of the cheapest full frame lenses you can buy. Thankfully when I purchased this lens it was on sale for $250, an incredible deal on an already insane value lens.


At this price, it is almost 9 times less expensive than the flagship Sony 16-35 f2.8 G Master lens.

Although significantly less expensive than the G Master lens, the Rokinon’s quality per dollar ratio is very similar. For being so cheap there must be some downsides to this lens right?


Well, for starters, it's a manual focus only lens. For those of you looking to fully utilize Sony's blazing fast autofocus or signature Eye Autofocus, you're gonna be out of luck. However at 14mm, this is one of the widest lenses available for E mount cameras and it is a fantastic lens for landscape and architecture photographers. Because of these features, manual focus should not be a problem since you can set it to infinity for 90% of situations. And if you are using this lens, it is likely that you'll have plenty of time to focus on the perfect shot.


Pros

-Inexpensive

-Large aperture for star photography

-Pretty sharp, even wide open

-One of the widest non fish-eye lenses available

Cons

-Need an adapter for filters

-Manual focus only

-Corner Distortion/Softness


Build Quality


Side view of large glass front element of this lens

The build quality of this lens is incredible, especially for the price. First, the lens is primarily plastic but this doesn't subtract from the very sturdy feel.


Second, most of the weight comes from the bulbous front element that is standard with most lenses this wide. So, it is a light lens for the size. Also, the focus ring is sturdy and creates a very smooth focus, and the large rubber ring makes it very easy to turn.


Third, the lens feels very balanced on my A7iii, but may seem a little long and front heavy when used on the A6000 series. Because of the wide angle nature of this lens, the front element is a large piece of glass and the lens hood is permanently attached. Unfortunately, filters cannot be used with this lens without a separate adapter for large and interchangeable square filters.


One downside that I've noticed in my videography is that it does require a large turn to go all the way from infinity to the minimum focus distance. It either requires two turns or to place my hand far enough around it to make the full rotation without letting go. In my opinion, this is a small inconvenience for the great quality and price of this lens.


Overall, this lens has a very nice feel during use. The manual aperture ring and focus ring are huge advantages for astrophotography and are very satisfying to turn. For the price, this is a solid, fairly well constructed wide angle lens that feels perfectly matched when attached to a full frame Sony camera.




Image Quality


Again, for the price, this lens is incredibly sharp. Paired with the already super sharp A7iii, this lens produces some fantastic images even wide open at 2.8.


Stopped down to f5.6-8, this lens will keep everything in the frame of view clear and sharp. There are sharper lenses available, but this is one of the sharpest wide angle lenses I have used. However, it is not the sharpest when compared to competitors like Zeiss and Laowa, but for several hundred dollars less, this is reasonable compromise.



Wide angle view of Acadia National Park Beehive Trail


The colors in the images are vibrant and there's minimal contrast leading to a very pleasing and neutral image. Personally, I love the look of super wide images, especially for dramatic landscapes or for fitting every angle of skyscrapers on a city corner. Although the lens is great for landscapes, it is best used for astrophotography. Super wide, big aperture, and manual focus all make for a fantastic lens to capture the Milky Way.


Fortunately, I had the opportunity to test the astrophotography abilities of this lens in Acadia National Park this October. Thankfully, the weather cooperated just long enough to get some really great Milky Way shots. This is the major reason I own this lens and I strongly recommend this lens to beginner astrophotographers.



Milky Way above Jordan Pond at Acadia National Park

There are some significant drawbacks in image quality with this lens. This is expected because it is several hundred dollars cheaper than other wide angle lenses. One of the biggest is distortion. Since this is a super wide angle lens, distortion is inevitable. Anything close to the center of the image will appear fish-eyed and anything toward the edges is going to be stretched or warped. Most of this can easily be corrected in Lightroom so its not a big deal unless you're filming or need perfect lines for architecture photography. Even with the correction, the corners of images can still appear soft, stretched, and even be cutoff during the correction process.


If you want to fit everything into the shot, this is the lens for you. The images this lens can produce can range from towering skyscrapers from low street perspectives, vast lakes at the base of giant mountains, or a night sky full of stars. This lens will allow you to capture wide dramatic scenes for any occasion.


Wrap Up: Why you need this lens in your camera bag


Not only is this one of the widest and cheapest full frame lenses available for Sony cameras, it's also one of the best performers at this price. It's super wide, it has a bright maximum aperture, it is pretty sharp across most of the frame, and is very well built. If you can live with some of the drawbacks like manual focus, heavy distortion, and the inability to use filters, then this is the perfect landscape and astrophotography lens for under $400. At this price and especially when on sale, this is still a must have lens for someone looking to transition into the Sony ecosystem or looking for a fantastic wide-angle lens, or the perfect astrophotography lens.


More sample images are provided below.


Samples Photos