If you’ve been following my blogs, you probably know that I favor Canon over other brands. I have been using this brand for a long time and I am a big fan. When it comes to lenses though, I’ve been disappointed at times. In my opinion, Canon non-L lenses are not up to par. The clarity and chromatic aberration are not acceptable. That’s why, until a few months ago, I only used Canon L series lenses (with one exception). They are very pricey, I know, but they are worth every penny. I own a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm lens but always wanted an ultra-wide angle lens. I knew that I wouldn’t use it very often and I didn’t really feel like spending almost 2,000 USD on Canon’s version, so I decided to go with an off brand. I found this lens (Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8) and I thought I would give it a try. Worst case scenario, I’d just waste a few hundred USD. Not a huge deal. Believe me, I was really blown away by the value I got with this lens. First of all, I’ve never heard of this brand before but I did notice very good reviews.
What I liked
1. At a fraction of the price of other 14mm, it’s amazingly sharp even at f/2.8 and it gets even sharper from there.
2. Great build quality, you can feel it immediately. Pretty solid, not made of cheap plastic.
3. Smooth focus ring (even smoother than my L lenses). I know, hard to believe.
4. Very good contrast (maybe a little on the high side, but very good for such a wide lens).
5. Low light capability at f/2.8.
6. The fisheye effect is not overly strong. I use it with my 5D Mark II and the fact that this lens is friendly with full size sensors, makes it even better
What I didn’t like
1. It can be a little difficult to focus;
2. Vignetting is pretty significant on my 5D Mark II, but it can be easily corrected in Lightroom.
This is a manual focus lens (which I do not necessarily consider a drawback ) with amazing sharpness and color fidelity. Most of the time I set it at f/8-f/11 and my shots are spot-on sharp. If I set the focus ring at 3 feet I can shoot all day long.
I highly recommend this lens. I know, it takes time to learn how to use it, but it’s so worth it. If your budget doesn’t allow you to get a brand name super-wide angle, give this lens a try. I am sure you will not be disappointed. Don’t let the off brand fool you.