Hands-On Review: the New Rokinon 16mm Wide-Angle T2.2 Cine Lens for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds
Rokinon has just released a 16mm T2.2 wide-angle cine lens designed for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras. The lens continues Rokinon’s trend of adapting their DLSR lenses to a more video-friendly housing. With the same optical formula as in their 16mm f/2.0 AS UMC CS Lens, the 16mm T2.2 is a fast, full-manual-control prime lens that filmmakers using APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mount cameras are sure to appreciate.
The 16mm T2.2 Cine Lens is available for Canon, Nikon, and Sony Alpha APS-C DSLR cameras, as well as Sony NEX and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. For this hands-on review, I worked with the Canon EF mount version. Aside from small differences in weight, length, and angle of view, the lens construction across the different versions is identical.
Determining the equivalent 35mm, or Full-Frame, focal length of the lens will depend on the sensor size of the camera to which you've attached it. Nikon and Sony APS-C cameras have a crop factor of 1.54x, which yields a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24.3mm. Canon APS-C format cameras have a slightly smaller sensor, with a crop factor of 1.6x and an equivalent focal length of 25.6mm. Micro Four Thirds cameras have an even smaller sensor, with a 2x crop factor producing a 32mm full-frame equivalent focal length.
The construction of the 16mm T2.2 lens is similar to that of other Rokinon Cine lenses. It is built from high-quality plastics with a lightly textured finish, and it features the distinctive red metal band just before the iris ring. I really liked the way the lens felt in the hand and on the camera. At about 1.3 pounds, then lens is a tad heavier than many modern lenses, but I personally found the added weight useful, as it helped me keep the camera steadier when shooting handheld. The lens comes included with a plastic bayonet-mount lens hood that can be easily attached and removed. For easier storing, the hood can be mounted in reverse, saving you space in your camera bag.
Also in line with other Rokinon Cine lenses are features designed specifically for digital cinematographers. Gone is the rubberized focus grip common to most DSLR lenses, and in its place is standard 0.8 pitch gearing on both the focus and iris rings. This is a benefit to shooters who use follow focus systems, as separate lens gears won’t need to be purchased and then attached to the lens. The iris ring has also been "de-clicked," enabling you to do smooth iris pulls while filming. Focus, depth of field, and aperture markings have all been placed on the side of the lens to allow better viewing by focus pullers/camera assistants. It may seem minute, but it’s the little things like this that make this lens much more conducive to filmmaking.
The optical design of the lens, as previously mentioned, is the same as Rokinon’s 16mm f/2.0 AS UMC CS Lens, which features two aspherical lens elements to minimize chromatic aberrations and lens distortion. An anti-reflective coatings have also been applied to reduce flare and ghosting across the surface of the lens. When tested outdoors and around bright light sources, I found that the anti-reflective coatings held up well, and when flaring did occur, it was in a controlled manner that didn’t have a negative impact on overall contrast or color of the image.
With a maximum aperture of T2.2, this lens is a viable low-light option. When the iris is opened up, the lens produces a pleasing shallow depth of field when focused on subjects close to it. A minimum focusing distance of 7.9 inches allows you to use the lens in tight locations or for stylized close-up shots when you want to include more of the background with your subject or exaggerate scale or distance between objects. I did notice some barrel distortion when shooting straight lines and performing camera pans, but the distortion wasn’t severe and was nothing out of the ordinary for a fast wide-angle lens.
In my field test, I found the lens produced sharp, well-balanced images. Wide open at T2.2, the center of the image is already very sharp, with the edges softer, but still quite useable. Center sharpness peaked at around T4, with edge sharpness very good from T4 to T8. Like most lenses, performance begins to fall away after F16. Similarly, I found that light falloff could be seen in the corners when the iris was wide open, with a noticeable hot spot in the center of the frame. This is most apparent when shooting landscapes and skies with the iris wide open. In these cases, a slight vignetting effect will be seen. By around T4 to T5.6, the exposure across the frame becomes uniform. T4 is really where this lens shines.
What I found most pleasing about working with this lens was the overall quality of the construction and how nicely it handles when used with an HDSLR rig. As a filmmaker, I don’t have much need for autofocusing or internal aperture control, so these are features that I did not miss having on this lens. The focus and iris rings had just the right amount of dampening to provide smooth and precise movements. I measured the focus throw to be about 155 degrees of rotation, which offered plenty of throw for getting accurate marks on my follow focus disc, while being short enough to focus the lens comfortably by hand as well. Because all focusing is done internally, the barrel of the lens won’t move in or out and disrupt a matte box or other camera accessories placed in front of the lens.
Overall, I truly enjoyed working with this lens. The handling and feel of the lens matches the quality of other Rokinon Cine lenses that I have used. What really impressed me was the image sharpness, especially with the iris wide open. I like to shoot mostly around a T2.8 to T5.6, and the lens performs beautifully in this range. Rokinon’s willingness to take their DSLR lenses and incorporate features such as 0.8 pitch gearing and a de-clicked aperture ring shows that they understand and appreciate the needs of HDSLR filmmakers. This lens would be a great addition to any APS-C or Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a fast and versatile wide-angle lens that is ready for video use.
For more information about this Rokinon cine lens, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.
|Canon EF||Nikon F||Sony Alpha||Sony E (NEX)||Micro Four Thirds|
|35mm Equivalent Focal Length||25.6mm||24.3mm||24.3mm||24.3mm||32mm|
|Angle of View||79.5°||83.1°||83.1°||83.1°||67.6°|
|Aperture Range (T-Stop)||T2.2 - T22||T2.2 - T22||T2.2 - T22||T2.2 - T22||T2.2 - T22|
|Minimum Focusing Distance||7.87" (20 cm)||7.87" (20 cm)||7.87" (20 cm)||7.87" (20 cm)||7.87" (20 cm)|
|Front Diameter||3.26" (83 mm)||3.26" (83 mm)||3.26" (83 mm)||3.26" (83 mm)||3.26"