After the company announced their new lens on Facebook, Rokinon let me try their brand new 8mm f2.8 fisheye lens for Sony NEX cameras. Since Sony sent me the 5n to review, I decided to also give this brand new piece of glass a quick run. This is a hands-on review and at the time of writing this, I’ve spent maybe 9 hours with the lens in my possession and a significantly less amount of time playing with it. Plus, it was raining in NYC quite hard.
Either way, I present to you the exclusive first hands on review with the new Rokinon 8mm f2.8 fisheye lens for Sony NEX digital cameras.
The Rokinon 8mm f2.8 is not only a small lens, but it’s super light and very well balanced with the Sony NEX 5n. In fact, it feels like it was designed to be used with the camera. When in the hand, it feels so much like an old vintage SLR camera with its small aesthetics and size.
One of the beautiful things about the lens is its aperture ring. In order to use the lens, you’ll need to set the camera to shoot without lens mode (or release.) What I did was set it to aperture mode and controlled all that via the lens ring.
Then I turned on the focus peaking mode and just shot.
Of course, the front element is bulbous. That means that you won’t be able to put a filter on it and in fact, putting the lens cap on will be tougher for those not careful as I discovered with a friend of mine.
The lens is actually extremely small and that only helps to compliment the entire package. With Sony’s own lenses, the entire kit can’t fit into a jacket pocket. That isn’t so with the Rokinon lens. This combo is so small and ergonomically friendly that it could very well become a companion package for any photographer invested into the NEX system.
Additionally, the lens doesn’t protrude out that much. When the NEX series was first announced, reviewers stated that the grips were not the most ergonomical and they were too bulky. That has changed though, and the 5n’s grip is nice but remains relatively small. And when the package is held in your hand, you’ll also notice that the lens actually doesn’t protrude as far as as other lenses. Indeed, this package can be shot and held with one hand (though we wouldn’t always recommend it.)
All focusing with this lens is done manually via the very large and well built focusing ring. Unfortunately, there is no depth of field preview scale but there is a distance scale. However, I tried focusing all with Sony’s peaking function, which seemed to work fairly well but still not the best from my initial tests.
For the very quick shooting session I had with the lens (less than a half hour), I set the camera to ISO 6400 and the lens to f2.8 for most of the time. The camera was also set to aperture priority and focus peaking was turned on.
Ergonomically, the lens is an absolute joy to use and is only bested by the likes of Zeiss and Leica; but those are totally different budget levels.
As you’ll see in the photo above, I was able to make the lens flare a bit. Extremely minor editing (if any at all) was done to these photos. It’s nice to see the super wide field of view on this lens (which is around 12mm.)
The photo above was shot while on the move. You can notice at wide open at f2.8, the lens offers hexagonal bokeh balls. The distortion levels are also relatively acceptable.
For this photo, I really tried to focus on the woman’s umbrella to see how easily I could get it in focus. Once again, shot at f2.8 and using Sony’ peaking function, I was able to do a decent job. However, I’m still not confident enough to say that this is the final quality of the lens. I’ll need to test it much more thoroughly.
In terms of colors though, I can say that it tends to render all images more towards the blue side of the spectrum. Sony by default tends to render more towards the purple side (with Sony lenses) and Canon leans more towards the warmer side, Nikon very neutral and Olympus very blue.
There is a significantly large amount of testing that I will be doing with this lens and I have it on loan to me for a little while.
If you have questions about it, let us know in the comments and we will try our best to answer them or test the lens to answer them.
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