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  • Writer's pictureKarl Whinnery

Let's talk about Rokinon Lenses

Ah Rokinons, the affordable cine lens "standard". Good buy or characterless crap?

I own 6 of them and have bought two of them multiple times because they're so rad.

I'll cover the Xeen/Rokinon comparisons/differences in a later blog post.

Let's chat about why I love them and why you should as well.

I started with Rokinon 85 - this was my first Cine lens. What's a Cine lens? A Cine lens typically has gears on the focus ring and gears aperture ring. You can attach follow focus and use the gears for smooth focus pulling. You can also use additional follow focus controls to adjust Zoom/Aperture. I use the Tilta Nucleus Nano:

When doing video work auto-focus can mess you up. When making films you want to be deliberate on what you're focusing on. Cine lenses give you that control.

When I first got started doing music video I was using Nikkor 35mm and Nikkor 50mm photography lenses. You could only adjust the aperture inside the camera. They had auto focus but I typically shot manually.

When I first bought the 85 and turned the camera on for the first time - I was BLOWN away! The lens was a HUGE step up in quality from what I was used to - and the CONTROL! It was mind blowing. I bought a 35mm next, then the 24mm, 14mm, 100mm, and the 50mm.

I still use these lenses today. These lenses offer maximum control, they're lightweight so they're perfect for gimbal work, modern looks, and most can shoot wide open (T1.5s for most).

Most of the lenses have 8 blade aperture for buttery smooth bokeh. Aperture is controlled manually on the lens itself, which is so amazing to use. The lenses sometimes get accused of not being sharp - but sometimes you find people who complain about lenses being too sharp. I've never looked at my images from the Rokinon and had a complaint. Don't believe the group think on forums.

The truth is these lenses are great - I've now shot with enough other lenses to appreciate how awesome these lenses are. They capture what you shoot without putting too much character into it, which I think is great. Other lenses have too much contrast, chromatic aberration, weird flares, odd color casts, etc. These lenses allow the user to capture amazing images. I use them as my standard when investigating new lenses. They don't have weird tints and no issues.

Price wise these lenses are the best bang for the buck I've ever found. They range from sub $300 to a little over $600. If you make music videos and film bands I'd recommend the 14mm, 35mm, and the 100mm. If you're making films I'd go 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 100mm.

I still want to snag the 135mm at some point.

For the price you won't find better lenses until you hit lenses in the $2500+ price range.

Link to 14mm:

Link to 24mm:

Link to 35mm:

Link to 50mm:

Link to 100mm:

(This site contains affiliate links - you don't get charged extra but I get a tiny commission. I only post links to things I believe in and actively use.)

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