on February 9, 2011
I was really looking for a way to get some distance for shooting birds and other wildlife while camping. Since I wasn't able to afford a really good telescope lens, ( I am totally a hobbyist photographer), I read all the reviews for these mirror lens and finally decided at least the price was right! I opted for this one with F6.3 rather than the less expensive F8 model.
When the lens arrived I was excited to try it, but in the middle of a snowfall in the dead of winter I didn't have much to photograph, but away I went.
I was absolutely AMAZED at the photos I got!!! They were spot on, for the most part and, while focus was a bit difficult, I had read a review that suggested using continuious shooting so I tried that. I didn't get out a tripod, so I was hand holding and it WAS pretty shaky thru the viewfinder but by using continuious shooting, the majority of shots were amazingly crisp. That extra light coming thru with the F6.3 sure helps there! I also did a few "close-ups" of one of my dogs heads while he was at the far end of the yard and they were PERFECT! There is a really short focus length and I am sure I will need to plan for that... if the poodles nose was in focus, his eyes were not, but I won't be using this lens for that type of shot anyway.
I had read about the "donut" effect but I actually found that kind of an interesting effect. If it bothers you, it is certainly easy to photoshop away!
I am sure I wouldn't be so happy with this lens if I had a nice 400mm or 500mm "regular" lens, but this one is sure going to be loads of fun and if my bird shots are as nice as my test shots were today I will be thrilled!! For under $100 you cannot go wrong!
on March 11, 2015
I've updated the review with two pictures. This lens has a steep learning curve, and I don't think it's a good bet for star photography, but I am going try and shoot the moon as well as stars.
I bought a Canon 60Da for night sky (star) photography only, as a retirement hobby. I am absolutely sold on Rokinon lenses. This lens makes the 4th Rokinon lens I've purchased (all from Amazon). I'm very happy with the results I am getting from all the lenses. I just unpacked this one, and put it on my camera, and stepped outside to see how it worked. If permitted, I will try and load a picture from this lens.
This lens, however, is very different from all the rest. As many have stated, you get a doughnut shaped image, which is difficult. I am grateful to have gotten anything at all.
Before I tell you what I found, many people have asked, so first I must say that mine came with a T-Mount, and my Canon 60Da required it. Therein was the first "issue". The T-Mount went on the camera perfectly, and when it clicked in, the writing was centered across the top as it should be. I carefully threaded the lens onto the adapter (which is big--so big around that my two thumbs and index fingers just cover the diameter). The opening is a whopping 95mm. No matter how I tried, unless I left it a bit loose, the lens DID NOT "center" on the top of the camera, but on the right side instead. This turned me off somewhat, but I was more interested in lens performance. That is why I gave it 4 stars.
I did try several different way to thread this; none gave me any different results; the T-Mount only goes on one way, and the lens only goes one way on the T-Mount. If anyone has a suggestion about this, I'd like to hear it.
I stepped outside my front door and focused it to infinity; looking around my subdivision. My first impression: "TRIPOD REQUIRED!". I plan to use a tripod anyway, so that didn't deter me. I leaned against a tree and focused carefully on a distance tree in a yard about a quarter mile away. Very good. I did notice that focus is critical; things pretty close to that tree were out of focus. I was holding my breath taking the picture.
This is a fully manual lens, and there is NO aperture focus on this one. (I don't know if that will be an issue for me or not yet). I use my Canon in Bulb mode (mostly shoot RAW)--the readout doesn't provide me with information on the apeture. I also use a (also purchased on Amazon) JJC Intervalometer. I do recommend the intervalometer (they are fairly cheap), especially for this type of lens. You don't want to touch the camera after you've lined up the shot. The refractor/reflector is much like a telescope, the images are easily distorted in movement.
I worried about the weight of the lens because I am using it with a small device called a "skytracker" (also bought on Amazon). My 85mm lens taxes the tripod screws, but still works with the skytracker; this one feels a bit lighter. With a lens this large, and a nigh sky; I'll need a long shot using my skytracker--I believe this will work.
I am all about "protect your gear", so I bought an inexpensive 95mm UV lens--for no other reason than to protect the front glass. The filter I purchased screws on just fine, and the lens comes with the protective pouch and two lens caps.
Right now, I am watching the sky clear anxiously, and hoping for a break in the clouds so I can try this out. I believe I will have some very good results as I have had with the other Rokinon lens.
My goals with this lens are: nebulas: for example, the Flame and Horsehead in Orion; galaxies: (Andromeda, to start with), and anything else I can find. I am hoping for very crisp moon shots, but that might be beyond the capabilities of this lens. (note: The Horsehead nebula is beyond of capability of this lens; but see the picture below; the Flame nebula is to the left of the left most star of Orion's Belt.
I know someone will be thinking: Well, geez, if that's what you really want, why don't you buy a telescope? What I really want weighs over 500lbs, is fairly expen$$$$ive, and it's just not going to happen for me at 60+ years of age. However, I have friends with those scopes, and they often show me their results, which are simply delightful. For me, I am very excited with the results I am getting so far, and maybe later I'll purchase a small refractor.
For those new to nigh sky photography, I would like to point out that my experience is that you need at least a 60 sec exposure to see the moons with this lens (that means you need a device that tracks with the Earth's rotation to get a clear shot). I read somewhere where you can capture Jupiter with a 1/20 sec exposure (and 800 ISO), and yes, you CAN; but you'll only get a small bright dot. When I did a long exposure with an 85mm lens (100 ISO, 2 min exposure), I was surprised to see the moons of Jupiter clearly, and a big bright (but not differentiated) white orb. My experiment continues with this and another slightly less powerful lens.....
I am fairly happy with the lens, and plan on many more nights learning about it. It works well with my skytracker (it isn't too heavy). The lens has limitations, but for the price, was worth it to me.
on January 27, 2014
This is a super lens for the price. I have about three weeks experience with this lens and have taken wildlife, night, and day time moon shots. The focusing is tricky and sensitive, so takes some patience to set up a shot, but once focused the pictures are sharp with good color. Light is very important to this lens, so make sure you adjust settings accordingly. I took some night pictures with the lens using both my Canon 5D Mark II and 70 D. I got some good pictures of the Orion Nebula, but don't expect Hubble quality. This lens is not for that type of photography, but is a fun lens and does have some flexibility. During night or day a tripod is very important. Camera shake shows when holding without a tripod and I have very steady hands. It takes some getting used to so allow some experimentation.
on January 11, 2014
I didn't expect much from this lens and it does have significant limitations but for the price, it actually gets a pretty good shot. I used it in a professional scenario shooting wildlife at a great distance and it worked. It's basically a small reflector telescope. Depth of field is very very shallow so focusing is critical and you had better be on a solid tripod. You had also better be outdoors because it is slooooooow. The build is very substantial and functions smoothly. It's a Rokinon, and they build good, manual lenses .. this one is no exception. For the price, it did the job and that's pretty much all I could ask.
on December 6, 2014
I purchased this lens on a bit of a whim when I was planning some fall birdwatching. It works as advertised, gives a nice sharp picture with very little chromatic aberration due to its mirror design. Even without autofocus it was not that difficult to focus, my Canon 6D has "live view" mode that allows me to zoom in while focusing, and ensure the desired parts of the image are in focus. At F/6.3 it has a relatively narrow depth of field, making the focus even more important than with a standard lens that can be stopped down to get larger depth of field. As other reviewers have stated, it does present a "donut bokeh" effect, which is a little unusual, but really only noticeable when there are really bright objects such as lights out of focus. Summary: It's a good value for a long focus lens.
on July 26, 2014
I thought long and hard before ordering this lens. I have read a lot of reviews of mirror lenses and know of their limitations. Still, the long reach and cheap price were tempting enough to make me order it.
It arrived and I tried it right away. It came in a T mount configuration, but I had a T-mount to M43 adapter I had purchased for a telescope so I was able to try it right away. The focusing is much easier than expected although it's not very easy to achieve. I shot with a tripod and hand held and the results were surprisingly good.
However, do not buy this lens if you expect very sharp photos or low light performance. It will not please you if you expect it to be as sharp as a good prime. I will try to shoot the moon and see how well it works for that purpose. If it's sharp enough for some decent shots I will keep it.
Anyway, for the price it is a great buy.
on August 15, 2013
I really like having and using this lens. It provides a capability that is missing in my collection of camera gear. When it arrived, I took it directly out of the box with the included Canon adapter and started taking photos of wildlife in the backyard. It is a hefty lens compared to my others, but only enough to force me to hold the lens along with the camera body. The main draw back is that it is manual focus, so I also missed out on some photos by not being able to set the focus correctly in time. I look forward to continuing to take photos and improve my ability to focus on the subject.
I'm also just excited by thinking about the science of this lens, versus the others I have. It's like a little telescope.