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Review: Rokinon Cine 35mm T1.5 Lens

by Thursten Kent on 09/20/2012

I’ve had a bit of experience with Rokinon’s Cine lenses. I kind of feel an explosion has occurred in the video end since DSLR’s have come to maturity in it’s life. And no surprise, so has the very glass you mount to your camera. Rokinon makes some very affordable options if you are looking for some cine glass for your HDDSLR. In fact, very, very affordable when you compare the price versus what you get from Canon’s L line or Zeiss Cine glass. Just keep in mind that all three lenses are quite different in the way they do things.

Let’s move on forward and dive into this lens.

Tech Specs

Compliments of B&H Photo

Focal Length 35mm
Aperture Maximum: T1.5
Minimum: T22
Mount Type Canon EF
Angle of View 63.1° (full-frame)
43.2° (Nikon APS-C)
43.2° (Sony APS-C)
40.8° (Canon APS-C)
33.4° (MFT)
Minimum Focus Distance 1.0′ (30.48 cm)
Iris Blades 8
Groups/Elements 10/12
Filter Thread 77 mm
Dimensions (Diam. x L) Approx. 3.27 x 3.04″ (83 x 77.3 mm)
Weight Approx. 14.7 oz (416.75 g)

 

Ergonomics

The front of the lens has a small protruding element. The thread on this lens s 72mm. So, good news to you who might have bought your filters at a bigger size down the road like I did.

In the rear you can see a very solid quality Canon bayonet mount.  I find this to be one of the nicest areas on the lens.  This lens does not have the electronic components used in showing focus confirmation like on a photo lens. This is 100% manual.

Like with it’s sister the Cine 8 mm, You have the same repeating motif.  A very solid, quality barrel with easy to read white number markings. The focus is pretty smooth. The outside casing has a flat black look with a slight texture on it. Almost to give it a better grip when handling the lens at least in my observation.

By the top side of the lens you will notice this lens has gear teeth on it. For those of you new to cinema lenses, these lenses work with a follow focus system, giving you a more accurate and comfortable focusing of the lens.  Luckily the pitch on this lens is a tradiotnal 32 pitch.

The aperture control is located towards the back of the lens. This is a click less aperture which will allow you to have finer control over your exposure.

Focusing

Like all cine glass, it’s best to use some sort of follow focus system. This lens meshed just fine with my own unit. The pitch of the gears on this lens is a 32 pitch. Pretty standard all-around for film/video work.

I found the focus to be very smooth.  Just like with it’s fish eye relative, the cine 8mm. I had no problems getting used to the lens in practice.

Now I have mentioned this before but, an invaluable tool that I feel has made making videos much easier (for Canon users) is using Magic Lantern. They just recently released a very stable release of the firmware. Using ML (Magic Lantern) gives you tons and tons of things you simply do not get in these cameras. For example, peaking. So very useful in knowing what is, and what is not in focus. I would highly recommend you trying it if you feel adventurous–But, do so at your own risk. The only sad part is the 7D will not get the ability to use the firmware.

One thing to take note of, I was not too thrilled with the focusing scale on this lens. It was a smidgen off. Granted, this is a pre-production model. In the past this has been a bit of  problem for Rokinon. I really hope with something so critical as cinema lenses they get this hammered out on the production line.

Image Quality

Working with this lens, you will wisely stay away from being wide-open. It’s a little too soft. I’ve found that T5.6 was where the sharpness starts to come in. By T8 you have what I consider it’s sweet spot. What is interesting however is I observed the same sharpness patterns as the Fisheye.

Above is a little video I shot on a 5D mark II just as a very quick and dirty test of using the lens. Love to hear your thoughts on this lens as well. Any Rokinon users out there? Please share your comments below.

Conclusion

If you are looking for an affordable option for a cine-like lens, this is a one to  consider. You have a sturdy build for the barrel, nice color, although in my use, this depends on what profile you use.Aesthetically this lens is handsome. I do really wish that if you are going to give me a wide open T stop of 1.5 that it would be just a little bit sharper.

Perhaps Rokinon will make some wider primes down the road. Sell them in a kit!  I would love to see that.

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