Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye HD Reviews
Not what I was expecting but the lens surprised me!
By Rev. David E.
Rated 5 out of 5
Based on some of the more negative reviews about this lens not focusing correctly, I had prepared myself to not be too disappointed when I tested the lens and knew that I could return it if necessary.
Returning the lens turned out to not be necessary and the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens with Removable Hood is now a permanent fixture in my camera bag.
For the record, this lens is being used on a Canon EOS Rebel T7i (EOS 800D) so the operating mode is FULL MANUAL since neither aperture nor focus is automatic. Now I started shooting in the manual mode back in 1974 with a Minolta SRT102 black body until I finally entered the digital age when I got the T7i.
If you will be using this lens on a body that offers you zero automatic controls/assists, then make sure you have a good understanding of the Exposure Triangle or your photographs will probably be hit and miss at best. While I shot all of my test photos in Manual (M) mode, it would also have been possible to use the Aperture Priority (Av) mode setting and manually vary the aperture setting on the lens whereby the T7i would then vary the shutter speed (when within range limits) based on the ISO setting and the available light. To some extent, the T7i would then be operating in a semiautomatic mode although I forgot to test to see if the camera would alert you to the fact that the manually selected aperture setting, available light and ISO setting were incompatible with any possible shutter speed.
As for testing, with the T7i, I observed the expected 167 degree field of view. Regardless of focusing extreme with the lens and installed hood, I experienced no vignetting. The fisheye characteristics, while not as pronounced as one could achieve on a full-frame camera, they are quite good since this lens is designed specifically for APS-C coverage. Focusing was very good shooting RAW with good lighting, either natural or manmade. In dim lighting, to achieve decent focus the aperture was set to f/3.5, ISO was increased considerably, and the image was magnified on the LCD screen. Once focus was achieved, the aperture was set accordingly for a flash photograph at a low ISO and a flash synchronized shutter speed. Test objects were situated at distances of 1 foot (0.3 meters) to 100 feet (30.5 meters) and a couple of spots in between. In the far field, a forest of tall pine trees lined the background.
When the RAW images were viewed on a 1920 pixel by 1080 pixel monitor and enlarged, focus while not pristine that you might achieve with Canon's $1,249 Fisheye Lens, was entirely acceptable for amateur photography which is the market that this lens is probably developed for. There are more expensive fisheye lenses which would probably yield even better clarity in the final specimen. But for this lens price point of $199 (on sale), it is going to be a keeper lens that should be lots of fun using to capture an entirely new dimension in space, the warped kind, on my photo shoots.
Bottom line? If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive lens, on sale or not, that takes good photos that you can be proud of in your amateur photography portfolio, this is your lens. You can find cheaper fisheye lenses but beware of the lens coating (if any), construction and materials, etc. This Rokinon lens is solidly built, has good lens coating and even has a removable lens hood (some brands are fixed hoods). Oh yes, last but not least, locking lens caps are included for both ends of the lens and a pouch to store the lens in is also included!
How good is it?
Rated 2 out of 5
Before I got this lens, I read a lot of reviews, watched videos, and for the price point at the time I purchased, which was $199, I went for it. The fisheye lens is the only lens that you can really get close up on a subject, especially in portrait mode, and capture the odd look, which I have always loved, like a tree or tall floor lamp, it just gives you a totally different perspective. I really would love to have the Canon EF 8-15mm F2.8L lens but at $1249 that's hard to justify the purchase for a hobby. I love photography and getting different perspectives with different types of lens. I had high hopes for this lens but to be honest it was disappointing. The images just didn't give the sharpness that I was looking for and no matter how close or far away I was from the subject, the manual focus just didn't focus. Why have manual focus if it doesn't work? I tried different aperture settings, but no matter the image results always looked the same, soft. I set the focus ring to 1 for 1 foot away, and I would be 1 foot away from what I was taking a picture of and the image was always soft, not sharp likes I was hoping. I would change the focus ring to infinity and at 1 foot away the image was no different. The focus ring did nothing to make the image more sharp and clear whether in Liveview or Optical View on a Canon 90D. Tried as many settings I could to get the image to look sharp but it was a worthless effort. Tried Auto, Program, Manual, Aperture Priority, trying all the aperture settings on the lens, and the only noticeable changes were with the lens aperture set at F5.6 or F8 but the images still weren't sharp. Even with the ISO set at 100 and taking what I thought to be a perfect shot, plenty of light, but when I would looked at the images and zoom in there was a lot of graininess showing and just no sharpness to the pictures, overall just a soft appearance. Perhaps I got a bad lens or maybe there is just a different build quality with Rokinon than Samyang even though technically they are the same lens made by the same company. The build quality seems fine, the lens hood moves too easily and doesn't lock on or at least mine didn't, it just had too much looseness. If the manual focus had worked I would have kept the lens but I sent it back to B&H for a refund and they have always been great to do business with. For the cost of this lens, it's a hit or miss. You might get a good one that works and then one that doesn't, which was my case. I didn't want to take a chance to try another Rokinon 8mm Fisheye lens and then have the same results, and of course, wasting time. If lack of focus and having a soft image is okay with you, then you would be okay with this lens. I like pictures that pop, are sharp, and I know that the edges or corners of a picture taken with a fisheye lens will likely be soft and of course with this lens there was the green and purple fringing showing. Most of that can be fixed in Lightroom but to get that sharpness of an image it first has to be focused correctly. You can make a sharp image soft but it's impossible to get a soft image to look sharp without adding pixelation. So, I will continue my search to find a fisheye lens that produces very good image quality and still be reasonably priced. I only posted this review to share what I experienced. Your experience may be much different with a positive outcome but mine however, was not a good experience. If I ever win that $1000 gift card from B&H, then I believe I will buy that Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Lens because then I would only have to kick in the other $245 and now that's reasonable!
A lens that's better to have than not have!
Rated 5 out of 5
The lens is fun to use. But dos not record the lens values in the image
properties. It is the hardest lens to stop down with and that's sad wen you can't adapt use of a ND or polarizing filter. But for the fun use and odd imagining it can produce, its a keeper in my bag!!
what a fun lens
Rated 5 out of 5
this fisheye is fantastic - using makes taking pictures even more fun!
Rated 5 out of 5
received the lens today, and used it with my canon 20d, loved it, i love manual settings,
A True Fisheye Lens for my Sony A65
Rated 5 out of 5
I've bought several add-on lenses that don't really make a difference with field of view. THIS Lens is great, it gives a near 180 degree view and you are able to take high quality shots with your 24 megapixel camera. I use it for architectural pictures, it does great in bathrooms and kitchens where normally you would not be able to get the whole context of the shot, even in the tightest spaces you can get nice pictures. And the Fisheye adds a professional touch to your shots as well.
Bang for the buck
Rated 4 out of 5
Bought this lens for fashion photography. It's solid quality, doesn't feel flimsy or cheap. Smooth manual focusing!
This lens is not as sharp as some of my other focal lenses however it gets the job done. B&h delivers quality every time. I recommend the lens to anyone looking to get funky with their craft!
Rated 5 out of 5
This unit is great for that wide open view. after a bit of fun figuring it out i've taken some wonderful shots while hiking.