Review: Rokinon 14mm F2.8 AF (Canon EF)

firework photography
The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF lens is one that travel photographers are bound to enjoy.

When I heard about the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF lens, I was a tad shocked. I mean, a new autofocus lens for Canon DSLRs? Really? Why not just continue to focus on mirrorless cameras instead of going for a dying format? Alas, Rokinon has created this lens for DSLR shooters; specifically those that use Canon EF mount cameras. It isn’t their highest-end offering, but it has features that make it almost so. For starters, the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF has autofocus in it. That’s a big one for Rokinon who traditionally has been a manual focus lens maker. Then there is weather sealing. Yup; when I first started working with this lens, I didn’t think that there was. It wasn’t until I removed it from the camera that I felt and saw the rubber ring on the back of the lens.

And at $698, there isn’t much to complain about.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sharp output
  • Accurate autofocus in most situations
  • The clear, crisp color that we’ve come to expect from Rokinon
  • Bokeh when needed
  • Weather sealing

Cons

  • I still really am wondering why Rokinon chose to make this lens for DSLRs.
  • A few inconsistencies with the focus

Gear Used

The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF was tested with the Canon 6D Mk II.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF official listing.

Model: IO14AF-C
MSRP: $999
UPC: 0-84438-76575-5
Focal Length: F2.8
Maximum Aperture: F2.8
Coverage: Full Frame (FX)
Optical Construction: 15 Glass Elements in 10 Groups
Aperture Range: F2.8-22
Diaphragm Blades: 7
Coating: Ultra Multi-Coating (UMC)
Minimum Focusing Distance: 7.9in (0.20m)
Filter Size: n/a
Lens Hood: Built-In Petal Shape
Maximum Diameter: 3.6″ (90.5mm)
Weight: 17.1oz (485g)

Ergonomics

The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF has a plastic body. Despite this, I’ll give Rokinon credit as it’s still built better than many of their previous lenses from years ago. It is mostly defined by this giant focusing ring. For the most part though, you won’t use it.

On the side of the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF you’ll spot this AF/MF switch. It’s the only real control and you most likely won’t use it at all.

The front of the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF has a big bulbous element. The lens cap goes over this.

Build Quality

The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF has weather sealing. Yes, an ultra wide angle lens has autofocus, weather sealing, and a fast aperture. This is something we typically only see with Tamron, but Rokinon is doing it too now. Besides the rubber ring towards the back of the lens, holding the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF in your hand is a nice feeling. In this case, you don’t need to turn the big giant ring on the lens but instead just press the AF button on your camera. It’s nice.

Ease of Use

For the most part, you’re attaching the lens to your camera, choosing a focus point, pointing, shooting, and that’s it. There isn’t much else to it. No need to sit there and crank away to get something in focus.

Autofocus

On the Canon 6D Mk II, the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF focused mostly with no issues. At times it couldn’t work with the camera to get something in focus. These times were with fairly bright lighting during the day with few moving elements. It was odd and, even though it only happened for a period during a day, it didn’t happen again. In low lighting the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF didn’t have many issues at all and during most of this review, I didn’t really experience major problems with the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF. However, you should note that there are indeed times the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF won’t be able to nail the focusing.

Image Quality

The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF is in many ways a very standard lens. It does what it’s supposed to do. There isn’t any problem involving aberrations, the colors are good, the sharpness is there, and the bokeh is possible. Comparatively speaking about other lenses though, Rokinon is hit or miss, but when you consider the price tag it’s one of the most competitive options on the market.

Bokeh

Don’t expect a lot of bokeh from the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF. But when it’s there, you’ll need to shoot wide open and focus closely. Comparatively on the market, there are faster lens options like an f1.8 lens from Sigma. If you really want Bokeh, then go for that monster.

Chromatic Aberration

Besides obvious pincushion distortion and other types, you’re not going to find any issues with fringing or anything else with the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF. As it is, I’ve come to like the slightly distorted look that it can render.

Color Rendition

The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF has saturated colors that are also very “crispy” in their look. They pop. They don’t pop like Sigma or Tamron and are arguably a bit more muted, but they’re there for sure. Combined with manual white balancing techniques, you’re going to get beautiful colors. Further, Canon’s sensors tend to render like Slide film. So if you like that look, then you’ll enjoy what the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF can do for you.

Sharpness

Wide open at f2.8, I think the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF is pretty sharp. But it gets really sharp at f5.6, and stopped down to f8 you’ll be plenty satisfied with the results. Sigma and Zeiss have options that are still sharper, but imagine this as a budget version. Also remember that you’ve got software to boost sharpness.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Affordable for what it is
  • Weather sealed
  • Good image quality
  • Silent

Dislikes

  • A few inconsistencies with autofocus

For the most part, I can’t really put the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF at fault. There were a few inconsistencies with the autofocus that I experienced at the start, but they went away really fast. It’s fast to focus, can deliver bokeh, has a fast aperture, has weather sealing, and is on par with Tamron’s pricing. How can you seriously go wrong?

The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF earns five out of five stars. Want one? Be sure to check out Amazon.