Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Review

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Product Photo

Can the new Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS compete with the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8? Here are my thoughts on this unique lens.

A few months ago I showed readers how to pick a lens for milky way photography. In the conclusion of the guide, there was one particular type of lens that stands out above all the rest: the fast wide angle. Rokinon has been a particularly popular manufacturer for photographers interested in astrophotography because their lenses often outperform many of the more expensive offerings from Canon or Nikon at a much lower price. The lenses from Rokinon eschew the typical modern norm of autofocus or image stabilization, instead focusing solely on the optical performance. You can find the same lenses under other brand names too: the original manufacturer is Samyang and their lenses are available under the names Rokinon, Bower, Walimex and a few others.

The all new Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS is unique because it’s a lens design dedicated to mirrorless cameras. It’s made specifically for compact system cameras with a short flange focal distance and no reflex mirror like the Fujifilm X-Series, Sony Apha/Nex Series and the Olympus OM-D line. It’s also notable as the fastest 12mm lens ever made for APS-C sensor cameras. With a super wide field of view of almost 99° and a fast f/2.0 aperture, it becomes the highest scoring dedicated mirrorless lens on my astrophoto lens rating system to date with a score of 2176. It’s unique in that no other manufacturer offers a lens with as wide a field of view and as large an aperture for APS-C mirrorless cameras. 

The announcement of the 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS lens is also significant in that Rokinon is finally expanding its support for mirrorless cameras. Rokinon has upheld a reputation for offering some of the best bang for the buck lenses for any camera system and by now offering such a competitive mirrorless lens design, they’re helping fuel the push towards mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Some manufacturers like Fujifilm and Olympus have completely abandoned the DSLR design for mirrorless cameras and now every major camera manufacturer has offered at least one mirrorless camera design. Mirrorless cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Fujifilm X-T1 are directly competing with their larger DSLR cousins but offer smaller, lighter overall systems.

B&H gave me the opportunity to review this lens, and once I received it, I didn’t put it down for over a month, shooting with it in Germany, Italy, and California. Here are the results:

First Impressions

If you have used the Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye, this lens will feel remarkably similar and that’s a very good thing. It’s built out of high quality plastics with a metallic lens mount. It clicks firmly against the lens mount with no noticeable side to side play and only a slight amount of rotation play, no more than any of my other lenses. It feels rather dense for its size, presumably from the 12 element design. The lens hood also snaps in place with a satisfying click and has no noticeable play once installed.


The aperture ring feels very similar to other Rokinon lenses. It rotates with affirmative clicks at each half-stop from f/2.0 to f/22. The focusing ring is separated from the aperture ring with a red anodized aluminum ring. The focusing ring is plastic and has a broad ribbed grip and it rotates very smoothly and silently but with enough damping that it will stay where you want it. It requires just over 1/4 turn to focus from minimum distance all the way to infinity which is a very comfortable range for both fast and precise focusing. The lens has a rear focusing design so the front element and lens barrel do not move at all when focusing which makes the lens particularly nice for filter use.


Size Comparison: Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R vs. Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

The lens has a very narrow diameter for most of the lens barrel and then it tapers toward the front element to a rather large filter thread size of 67mm. This is presumably for prevention of vignetting when using filters because of the lens’s wide field of view so it’s probably unavoidable by design (The Zeiss Touit 12mm has a very similar taper near the front element). It’s large enough that the camera will rest on the edge of the lens barrel when you set it on a table. In practice though, it’s still a very compact lens, especially for a fast retrofocal design. It’s almost the same size as Fujifilm’s XF 14mm f/2.8 R and actually smaller and lighter than Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 despite being a full stop faster than both. It’s just the right size and weight for handheld use of small mirrorless cameras. It feels very well balanced on small camera bodies like the Canon EOS M.  At a glance, it looks and feels like a very nice lens, more than worthy of its price tag.


The Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 is a manual focus design so it inherits all the quirks of use that come with using manual focus. It has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm which allows for some relatively close-up subject shooting, allowing you to throw the background nicely out of focus. Unfortunately, the lens does not have depth of field marks which is disappointing for a fast wide angle prime. As a result, hyperfocal shooting is a little more difficult and likely requires use of some sort of digital focus aid like focus peaking or magnified live-view.

The focus distance scale markings on the lens are also inaccurate on my copy: a problem that I’ve found to be common with Rokinon lenses. The same was true for my review of the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8. Simply put, infinity is not at the infinity mark; on my copy it’s actually slightly past it. This means that users should probably ignore the distance marks if they’re worried about critical focus when shooting wide open and instead rely on their camera’s focusing aids like magnified live view or focus peaking. I really wish that the focusing distance marks were more accurate and that the lens included a hyperfocal depth of field scale.

Image Quality

I, along with most other photographers, am probably most interested in the performance of the lens when used wide open at f/2.0 because it’s the only 12mm for APS-C sensors to offer such a fast aperture. I had a lot of skepticism that Rokinon would be able to keep the performance acceptable when shooting at f/2.0. While all my experiences with Rokinon lenses in the past (14mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/1.4) have shown spectacular performance wide open, the new 12mm f/2.0 is a rather extreme design. It’s a very short focal length with a large relative aperture in a very compact package. Usually, something’s gotta give when lens designs are pushed to such extremes. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Rokinon 12mm: its performance wide open is exceptional, making it a perfect lens for astrophotography. 


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS at f/2.0 – Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California

Sharpness Test: Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS versus Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

The obvious competitor to this lens is the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8. Both of these lenses are very good but the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS has three distinct differences: it’s manual focus only, it’s faster by one full stop (f/2.0 vs f/2.8) and it’s about half the price (unless you count the recently announced deal on the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 and 32mm f/1.8 kit).

Comparison: Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

Comparison: Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

The two lenses are very similar looking from the front but the Zeiss is a bit larger than the Rokinon. Neither is a particularly big lens but it’s curious how much bigger the Zeiss is, even though it’s a full stop slower. I presume this is because the Zeiss needs room for the autofocus mechanism. I tested these lenses side-by-side while visiting Anza Borrego Desert State Park in California. This is the full view of the test shot:

Sharpness Test Shot for the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

Sharpness Test Shot for the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California

Even wide open at f/2.0, the Rokinon 12mm has excellent sharpness. It’s sharper at f/2.0 than the Zeiss at f/2.8, a real accomplishment. The Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 starts very sharp in the center wide-open, with good performance in the corners. Both lenses peak in sharpness at about f/5.6 and remain very good until about f/11 after which the sharpness drops due to diffraction. I don’t recommend using either lens at f/22 if you’re concerned about the best sharpness. Right click the sample images below and choose “Save Link As… or Save Target As…” to save and view the full size images.

Sharpness Comparison: Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

Center Performance Comparison: Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 (Right Click > Save Link As… for full resolution.)


Corner Performance Comparison (Bottom Left): Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 vs. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 (Right Click > Save Link As… for Full Resolution)

While this test is rather unscientific, (two different bodies were used, the Canon EOS M and the Fuji X-T1) it’s still apparent that the Rokinon is a very strong performer for the price when compared to the Zeiss. Frankly, both lenses are very good performers and I enjoyed using both of them very much. I’m not particularly a pixel peeper in most situations so in terms of sharpness I think they’re both great. The real attraction for me is the extra stop that the Rokinon offers. The fact that it’s also sharper than the Zeiss when used wide open is just a bonus. If you have no need for autofocus, the Rokinon 12mm is sharper and a better performer in low light, making it a very attractive tool in your photography kit.

Flare, Chromatic Aberration, Bokeh, Coma, Vignetting

Contrast drops a bit in harsh light and the flare spots can be a bit distracting, but performance is acceptable enough in high flare conditions. It’s an easy situation to avoid as long as bright light sources are away from the edges for the frame. In most cases the lens hood does an adequate job at blocking most stray light from outside the frame. Here’s a couple examples of the flare spots at f/5.6 and f/16 respectively:


Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 NCS CS – Flare at f/5.6, Piazza Duomo, Italy

Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 NCS CS Flare at f/16

Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 NCS CS – Flare at f/16, San Marino

Chromatic aberration is also apparent at all f/numbers as magenta and green fringed highlights. A crop of the above image in a high contrast area shows a couple pixel wide magenta and green fringing around high contrast areas. Personally, I don’t mind chromatic aberration because it’s so easily corrected in post processing with Adobe Lightroom (and other RAW editors) but I know some photographers would probably like to see better performance here. It seems like chromatic aberration correction tends to be low on the priority list for Rokinon / Samyang because most of their lenses tend to perform similarly in this regard.

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS - Chromatic Aberration Example

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Chromatic Aberration Example

With a such a short focal length lens, it’s rare that you would think about the quality of the out of focus highlights since the depth of field tends to be rather large, even at f/2.0. But at short focal distances, it’s possible to throw the background nicely out of focus, and bokeh quality is very nice wide open. The curved 6-bladed aperture gives rounded hexagon shaped bokeh when slightly stopped down. Here’s a test shot wide open:


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Bokeh at f/2.0, San Marino

One of the most important traits of the lens for night photography and astrophotography is its comatic aberration performance when used wide open. At low f/ratios many fast lenses often distort pinpoint light sources at the edges of the frame, creating stretched looking shapes called coma. All of the past Rokinon lenses that I’ve used have all shown excellent performance with coma and the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS is no exception.


Coma Performance: Even at f/2.0 the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS has very low comatic aberration.

Levels of coma are very very low at f/2.0 and practically non-existent by f/2.8. I have no hesitation to use this lens wide open for astrophotography. This is very exciting for photographers with mirrorless systems that want to try their hand at astrophotography and want a great lens for the job. The crop below shows a 100% view of the top right corner. There’s a tiny bit of purple fringed coma at the extreme corners, indicating that the coma is partially a function of the chromatic aberration. Overall it’s very mild by most standards.

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Coma Test: Corner Crop

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Coma Test: Corner Crop

Vignetting  or light falloff at the corners is apparent at almost all apertures and can be quite strong wide open at f/2.0. I expect it might be as much as 2 EV stops of light drop at the very corners when wide-open. Personally, I don’t mind a little light falloff, it’s pretty typical of fast lenses and I like it for the dramatic effect it creates. Here’s an example shot with some heavy light falloff in the corners from shooting wide-open:


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Vignetting at f/2.0, Duomo di Milano, Italy


Sample Photos

In just one month, this lens has been with me to the deserts of California and through several historical cities in Europe. I’m a wide angle junkie so most of the time I just left this lens on my camera the entire time. It has fulfilled almost all of my photographic needs, from street photography to architecture to landscapes to astrophotography. Here are some of the photos from the last 30 days with the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS.


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Font’s Point, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Simi Valley, California


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Piazza Duomo, Milan, Italy


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Milan, Italy


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – San Marino

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS - Venice, Italy

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Venice, Italy


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Eraclea Mare, Italy


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Berlin, Germany


Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Berlin, Germany

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS - Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS – Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California


Optically, the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS is very good.  It’s very sharp at almost all f/numbers, even sharper than the much more expensive Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8. I have no reservations recommending it to anyone looking for a nice sharp lens. For astrophotographers, its excellent coma performance, fast aperture and an ultra-wide field of view make it a prime tool for shooting the stars.

It’s not without a few operational quirks, though. It’s manual focus only, which already makes for a completely different shooting experience that adds an extra level of difficulty to using the lens. Unfortunately, the inaccurate distance marks on the focusing ring and no useful depth-of-field markings make manual focusing that much more difficult, particularly when using it wide open. It’s probably not a huge issue for photographers already familiar with using manual lenses, but it’s something that I feel the manufacturer could improve.

Overall, I really love this lens.  I’m enthralled that it performs so admirably for astrophotography, a subject that usually requires large heavy lenses. It offers something unique for mirrorless shooters and delivers photos that don’t disappoint. It’s small size and small price tag make it that much more enjoyable.

You can find the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS available online at B&H for a whole range of lens mounts, in either silver or black:


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Thanks to B&H for lending the lens for this review and thanks to DL Cade at PetaPixel for helping make it happen!

80 Responses

  1. Fernando September 13, 2017 / 8:40 am

    Dear Ian, I have purchased the Samyang version of this lens and the results are far worst than what you report here for the Rokinon version. I have used a Sony a6000 to get an image that you can find here:

    as you can see coma and chromatic aberration are far greater than what is reported. Do you have any info on the quality control that is done on these lenses? Many thanks for any advice that you could offer.

    • Fernando September 13, 2017 / 8:59 am

      Forgot to add that I used the lens at f2 with camera set at ISO1600 and exposure time of 10s under dark sky conditions.

  2. GERONIMO SERRANO December 14, 2016 / 10:15 am

    Hello Ian, great review. Which would you prefer for Astro photography between the this lens and the Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 UMC Fisheye II??


  3. J james October 9, 2016 / 12:14 am

    I was wondering what your exposure length was on some of those Milky Way shots above.

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  5. Bobby September 8, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Hello Ian, I’m starting astrophotography using my A6300 and I’m wondering if I should get the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 or the 21mm f/1.4? Both are the same price. If it makes a difference, I never enjoy very dark sky (light pollution). My other lens are the Sony 16mm f/2.8 with a 0.75x converter and the Sony 35mm f/1.8. Tanks for this amazing site. Very inspiring!

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  7. Tony August 24, 2016 / 4:37 pm


    I loved your review of the A6000, and I was able to get a very gently used body off of Craigslist for $400 recently. Your review of the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm lens as the lens to get for astro and landscape is great.

    However, I’m wondering if there’s a similarly recommended lens but with autofocus? Does AF make the price go up quite a bit? For the price I’m finding the Samyang versions, it would be hard to justify a lot more money just for AF, but I was just curious what else was out there.

    Thanks! Your A6000 review got me onto your site, but I’ve been kept by all of the other great material here!

  8. Pascal August 19, 2016 / 7:57 am


    Is this lence good tor sony A5000? (E-mount).
    If yes, Im wory because lence have no contacts to communicate with camera so how camera can know when to magnificate image on lcd when I mouve focus on lence manualy?
    And did A5000 have enaugt advanced setings to put a thirt party lence without communication on it?

  9. Marte Visani July 14, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Thank you, a very interesting lens!
    I own a Canon 6D and a M3 and i’m struggling with picking the right lens for astrophotography: according to you, what’s the best gear combination?
    Canon 6D + Rokinon 14 f2.8 or M3 + Rokinon 12 f2.0?
    What would you prefer and why?

  10. Ray Stephenson June 30, 2016 / 10:11 am

    Thank you for the great review. I needed a good light lens for my Sony a6000 for astrophotography. I have the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 on my Canon, and wanted something similar for my Sony for backpacking. How do the 12mm f2 and 8mm f2.8 compare?

  11. Kendall March 19, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Hi Ian, I have a Sony A7rii and am considering the Rokinon 12mm f2.8. I can only find the f2.0 (aps-c) version reviews on your site. Have you also used the 2.8 full frame version? If so how do you feel it compares to the 14mm 2.8 or the 24mm 1.4?


  12. Mark Janes December 22, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    A very thorough review, thanks. I’ve had one of these lenses for a few months (branded Samyang in the UK), which I use on a Fujifilm X-E2 for astro work. I agree with most of your thoughts, but surprised at your comments about the accuracy of the distance markings. I find the infinity mark pretty much spot-on and, in fact, it’s one of the main things I like about the lens. Maybe different copies vary?

  13. PaulW November 29, 2015 / 9:02 am

    Thanks for this great review!
    I have an opportunity to pick up the cine version of this lens (for m4/3) for less than the cost of the regular version. Do you think image quality would be the same? I’m especially concerned about coma.

  14. Mark November 23, 2015 / 6:10 am

    Hi Ian.

    Thanks for all the great info.

    I received my Samyang 12mm this week that I am using on a Fuji x-e1.
    What would your suggestion be re: lens profile correction in lightroom?
    I have read that the Zeiss touit profile can be used as it is similar.
    On some architectural pics I have needed to adjust the vert profile correction manually.

    How do you normally manage/correct in Lightroom?

  15. Jon September 17, 2015 / 9:44 am

    Thanks Ian the great write-up!!!

    I’m in the same boat as Sudarshan. I currently own a Rokinon 14mm for Nikon F mount.
    I’m torn between whether or not I should invest in the 12mm for X mount or use an adapter for it. Has anyone tried using the 14mm on Fuji?

    Thank you!

    • Ian Norman September 17, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      I used the 14mm/2.8 in Canon Mount and adapted it to Fuji. It’s just fine but, as you know, very large for a Fujifilm body.

  16. Sudarshan August 16, 2015 / 7:54 am

    Hi Ian,

    I’ve got a question about lenses. I love shooting landscapes and do a lot of astrophotography too. I currently own an EOS1100D with the 18-55 kit lens and a Tamaron 70-300 F3.5-5.6, I also own an NEX-6 with 16-50 kit lens.
    Right now I am still deciding between a DSLR and a Mirrorless system, I shoot some wildlife/birds too. The slow auto focus and the lack of native lenses might be an issue with the Sony.

    I am trying to decide between the 12mm F2 Rokinon and the 14mm F2.8 Rokinon lenses. I have heard great things about both of them and that they are extremely sharp. On one hand the 12mm will do better with Astrophotography as is it a stop faster than the 14mm. This means I can shoot better with lower ISO and less noise but I would only be able to use it with the Sony.

    If I go with the 14mm F2.8 then I would loose 1 stop and loose some focal length too but I can use the lens on both the Canon and the Sony with an adapter. I am torn between both choices, can you guys help me decide, thanks/

    • Ian Norman August 17, 2015 / 1:47 pm

      I personally prefer the 12mm. You’ve already captured the reasons for it over the 14mm. I mostly prefer the size aspect as it makes me more likely to use it.

  17. John August 8, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    Excellent information you have provided. I have a new interest in astrophotography and have a question. I have Nikon D7000 that I mainly use for my wildlife photography and Lumix M43 for most other tasks, currently the G7. What is your recommendation, Should I invest in the Rokinon 16, f2 for the Nikon or the Rokinon 12mm, f2 for the M43? Honestly I was not planning to purchase additional nikon mount however I could always use it when I make a transition to Sony FF mirrorless since it is a full manual lens.

    • Ian Norman August 17, 2015 / 1:56 pm

      In the case of m4/3 vs. APS-C, I’m usually one to prefer the more advantageous setup if you have it so I’d rather go 16mm/2 in that particular case. Same field of view between the systems but the extra sensor/lens size on the APS-C setup is going to provide a distinct advantage.

  18. Micko July 25, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    Finally had a nice clear night to try out this lens on my A6000, and wow, what a beauty. You can see so much more of the night sky than meets the eye! Next on my list is a ‘superzoom’ for those close up moon shots

  19. Shane April 24, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    Hi Ian
    with regards to my earlier question, I just realized that you have changed the spreadsheet from the last time I looked and split out the 3 different camera formats.

    Since you have redone the spreadsheet I am sure you found the error in the earlier spreadsheet, column O (FF SNR) which referred to column I instead of column F so it was based on 24×16 instead of 36×24.


  20. Shane April 24, 2015 / 2:44 pm

    Hi Ian
    what happened to the Signal to Noise Ratio tab in your excel spreadsheet?
    “If you did want to compare across sensors, check out the spreadsheet again and take a look at the second tab labeled “Signal to Noise Ratio Score””

  21. Alessandro March 20, 2015 / 11:29 am

    Hi Ian, very usefull review! I need your help! I Just received the samyang 12 but i have a problem: my eos m doesn’t shot!! It’s setted in MF but i can’t understand how can i take a shot…


    • Axel March 25, 2015 / 7:32 am

      This lens has no electronic contacts. Therefore, the camera does not detect even the lens. In my Fujifilm XT-1 I need to activate “trigger without lens” option in the menu. Maybe that is in your camera exactly the same.

  22. Lars Wara March 7, 2015 / 12:32 am

    This test made it for me! My next lens!!! Thank You!! 🙂

  23. Marvin December 19, 2014 / 4:48 pm

    Hi Ian
    Thanks for such a thorough review – really helpful. Can you comment on the communication with the camera, ie does EXIF data record normally or did you have to manually note your shoot settings each time? Thanks again, Marv.

    • Ian Norman December 21, 2014 / 11:01 pm

      Marvin, there is no communication with the camera so you’re limited to remembering your settings if you really care about them.

    • Marvin December 22, 2014 / 9:56 am

      Thanks for clarifying – suspected that would be the case. Don’t think it’s going to be a deal breaker for me though. Thanks again.

  24. Tony Oresteen December 4, 2014 / 4:31 am

    Ugh! I still don’t know if the aperture is auto stop down or if it is a manual stop down lens! Which is it?

    • Ian Norman December 4, 2014 / 11:18 am

      It is all manual, including aperture.

  25. Awni November 19, 2014 / 9:26 pm

    Dear Ian

    I own Olympus E-m5 and I am really interested in milky way photography, and I read your review about Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 Lens, and I was wondering, do I invest in buy this lens to use it with my E-m5 or shall I invest even further to purchase a Canon 6D and use it delicately for astrophotography.

    • Ian Norman November 20, 2014 / 1:34 am

      I think it’s more reasonable to invest in a good lens than a camera body most of the time. That said, the smaller sensor of the E-M5 does limit your choices a bit for fast enough lenses. My suggestion: start with the lens and learn with it first. Once you feel like you’re being limited by your camera body, then make a jump.

  26. Okan October 31, 2014 / 5:40 pm

    Hi IAN,

    What a great review! After your comments about rokinon 12mm i want it badly to buy it but when i was going to purchase at amazon i want to show your review to my friend. We are both designer. From that reason i asked to my friend again. Is that good and what do you think? kind of questions and i realised when i look to your photos. I cannot see any sharpness! I cannot see any focus . I dont know why. There is no sharp photos at all. Then i cancelled my purchase. I am very curious about that. What is the problem with the lens or is it kind of web image rendering problem ? Could you give me more depth info about it?

  27. Michael T. September 14, 2014 / 11:55 am

    Thanks for all the great reviews, tips, and images! Now that you’ve reviewed both the Rokinon 12mm and 14mm, if you could pick only one (and budget was a consideration so that would rule out the Fuji 14mm) which lens would you choose for landscape and night photography?

    • Ian Norman October 31, 2014 / 6:02 pm

      Definitely the Rokinon 12. The extra stop and increased FOV are very beneficial.

  28. Danial September 2, 2014 / 4:54 am

    What ISO were you using when taking photos with the Canon EOS M?

  29. bagendbrewery August 15, 2014 / 12:48 pm

    Hello again,

    Thanks for the excellent review on this and the XT-1. I’m on the verge of selling my Nikon gear and getting an XT-1 – largely because of your detailed review. I’m sick plastic bulky menu based photography! I want something made for lots of frustration free shooting that can handle the elements. I take about 75% of my pictures with a 35 1.8 and the other 25% with a combination of my Tokina 11-16 and my 18-200 (mainly for family stuff where lens changes aren’t easy with bulky lenses while on the go – something that should be far less of a problem with Fuji). I far prefer to use fast primes to any zooms.

    Starting out I could afford the camera, grip/extra battery, and about $1000 worth of lenses. Eventually I’ll have more, but for now that’s my budget. I’m debating between the Fuji 18mm 2.0 or the Rokinon 12mm 2.0 to go with the Fuji 35mm 1.4. I prefer the 12mm focal length to the 18mm since I love wide angle shooting, but obviously lose out on autofocus and sacrifice a little size. I’m no stranger to manual focus (and the Focus Assist looks awesome), but when shooting people I’d probably miss the AF (which the 35mm would usually cover). The other advantage to the 18/35 combo is they both use 52mm filters, but that’s not a major factor for me.

    I primarily shoot nature/landscapes/travel in addition to photos of my wife and son. I’d like to get into astrophotography as well as other time-lapse photography so that weighs in the favor of the 12mm. I also will be using it for video so I assume the Rokinon would handle better since it’s a MF lens.

    Do you know if you can change aperture while in live view/recording video on the Fuji lenses? I assume you can on the Rokinon since it’s a true aperture ring.

    Can you essentially operate in Aperture Priority Mode with the Rokinon like you can with the Fuji lenses (essential for day-night time-lapse transitions)?

    I’m leaning towards the Rokinon – is there anything else you would factor in? 18mm would likely be wide enough to get by, but I find myself thinking I’d want something a bit wider often enough when shooting the 18mm to convince me to get the 12mm (based on how often I’m at 11mm and not 16 on my Tokina). The alternative would be to wait and save for the 14 2.8 (and then some from what I’ve read), but not sure how long that would wait and it would also postpone any other lens/gear purchases (or buy a 12 now and sell towards a 14 later). Any other comments/suggestions?

    Sorry for the long comment – just trying to think of everything before pulling the trigger on this.

  30. ciaran75 August 13, 2014 / 7:59 am

    Hi Ian,
    Great review !!
    I’m just after taking up photography properly (ie. putting the phone away) and got myself a Sony A6000 with kit lenses and doing a basics course at the moment.
    I’m heading to Namibia in October which i believe has some of the clearest skies and would love to be able to take the milky way shots similiar to above.
    It seems from your review the Samyang 12mm f2 would be the perfect lens to go with my A6000 for this but i’m a little worried about the manual focus etc. and actually been able to take these. how difficult is it for a beginner? don’t want to waste money if not realistic.
    Presume the kit lenses would be useless at milky way pics?
    Should i be able to take pics like above with a little practice with the samyang lens and A6000?

    • Ian Norman August 13, 2014 / 11:06 am

      The kit lens should be just fine to start with but I think you’ll find that the manual focusing on the 12mm to make astrophotography easier. Just use the focus magnifier on the a6000 (maybe map the C1 button to focus magnifier) to help with manual focusing. Whether you use the kit lens or the 12mm, both should suffice, especially in the dark skies of Namibia. My recommendation to you would be to go out with your a6000 and the kit lens and try shooting stars with it before you depart for Namibia. That will at least give you a feel for the process beforehand so you’re ready when you arrive.

    • ciaran75 August 14, 2014 / 2:57 am

      Thanks Ian for quick reply, i’ll try that so.

    • Ian Norman August 6, 2014 / 5:59 pm

      I do, however the Rokinon 12mm/2.0 is the first ever 12mm/2.0 for APS-C sensors which makes it rather unique. It’s basically the fastest super wide angle available for APS-C mirrorless cams. Sure, its available in m4/3 mount but also supports larger sensors on cameras like the Sony NEX/Alpha, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, and Canon M. The Olympus 12mm/2.0 supports only a micro 4/3 sensor so its limited to Olymous and Panasonic Caneras, has autofocus, and is a bit more compact so it’s sort of unique in its own right. If I were a micro 4/3 camera owner I would definitely consider the Olympus, especially for the autofocus.

  31. Robert August 6, 2014 / 2:16 am

    Suggestions please.
    I’m in the Canon world for astro/Milky Way but am styding the A7s for same. The sole reviewer of the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens for Sony E Mount is not positive for its use with the A7r, and I’m fearing its use with the A7s. Do you see any reason using the lenses I own now (and use with a Canon 6D) on the A7s via Metabones III (Rokinon 14mm, 24mm, and Tokina 16-28mm) ???
    Honestly I’m hoping Sony/Zeiss get the 16-35mm F4 out and do appreciate your observation that F4 is fine with the ISO capabilities of the A7s.

    • Ian Norman August 6, 2014 / 6:10 pm

      I have the a7S mounted with the Canon mount 24mm/1.4 Rokinon via the Canon EF to Sony E mount adapter and its honestly identical on the a7S as on the 6D, no issues. Also, Metabones just released the improved Mark IV adapter for Canon autofocus lenses just FYI. All your Canon Lenses should perform fine. Autofocus will be slower though and these big lenses make the a7S feel pretty imbalanced. Not a problem for astro on a tripod but I would want to stick with some native Sony FE lenses like the Zeiss FE 35mm/2.8 for everyday walkaround stuff.

  32. Garrett July 11, 2014 / 6:37 am

    Since this lens is designed for crop sensors, is the 12mm given as the equivalent focal length of what you’d expect with full frame? Or would it still be a 12*1.5=18mm equivalent focal length? I noticed on the spreadsheet that the rating of 2176 uses the Full Frame max shutter speed. Using the APS-C column it changes to 1567.

    • Ian Norman July 11, 2014 / 5:42 pm

      Every camera lens is marked with its true focal length. This means that you always need to apply equivalence conversions to it yourself. A 12mm lens on and APS-C camera has the same field of view as an 18mm lens on a full frame camera. (12mm*1.5=18mm)

      As far as the lens scoring spreadsheet goes, the number is purely quantifying the signal the lens can capture, it’s not made to compare across sensor sizes. Using any given focal length on a full frame camera will always be able to gather more total light than that same lens used on an APS-C camera, just because the field of view is larger, allowing for longer exposures withour star trailing and capturing more total light.

      If you did want to compare across sensors, check out the spreadsheet again and take a look at the second tab labeled “Signal to Noise Ratio Score”

  33. Miguel Kieling June 11, 2014 / 3:32 pm

    Hello Ian,
    Have you tried any Rokinon that would be good for the Sony A7? Is this lens adaptable for the A7? Many thanks,

    • Ian Norman June 11, 2014 / 5:50 pm

      The Sony E mount version of this lens would mount to the a7 but you would need to use it in APS-C lens mode in the camera settings to prevent vignetting. Really, a better lens for the a7 might be the Sony FE mount version of the Rokinon 14mm/2.8. It will be wider angle and more affordable to boot.

  34. Glen Belbeck June 9, 2014 / 3:53 pm

    So I’m guessing us Nikon D7100 owners are similarly out in the cold w.r.t. mount for the new Rokinon 12mm?

    • Ian Norman June 9, 2014 / 5:23 pm

      Yes, the 12mm/2.0 is made only for mirrorless cameras. A good alternative is a 14mm/2.8, 10mm/2.8, or 16mm/20

    • Glen Belbeck June 11, 2014 / 8:42 am

      Thanks for the confirmation and suggestion of other lens – went with the 16 mm from Rokinon for the D7100 – should be fine!

  35. Luca June 5, 2014 / 12:33 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful photos of Milan. Hope you’ve enjoyed the city.

    • Ian Norman June 5, 2014 / 3:14 pm


      Thanks! We definitely enjoyed Milan a lot!

  36. Josiah June 4, 2014 / 10:18 am

    Thanks so much! This is exactly what I was looking for! I’m very glad there’s something like this available for my Sony NEX. I found the fisheye effect of the 8mm f2.8 to be a bit much for me.

    • Ian Norman June 4, 2014 / 11:16 am

      Josiah, the lens should be great for a NEX camera! I love the 8mm/2.8 but it is definitely very specialized!

  37. Kit June 3, 2014 / 11:38 pm

    Thanks for your response Ian, it is greatly appreciated. Just wondering compared to the Fujinon 14mm if you had to choose to only keep one of those lenses vs the Samyang 12mm which would it be and why? I am so stuck between these two, like yourself I too am also a wide angle junkie. By the way awesome photos, and site 🙂

    • Ian Norman June 4, 2014 / 11:47 am

      Thanks Kit! Choosing between the XF14mm/2.8 and the Rokinon 12mm/2 is a pretty difficult decision for me. I really love both lenses and will probably get both. (I had to return my review copy of the 12mm so I’ll be pre-ordering the lens for myself soon.)

      I think that of I was forced to pick only one, the Fujifilm would win because of the autofocus and the excellent manual focus depth of field scale which makes it a tad more useful walkabout lens than the Rokinon. It’s not too shabby with astrophotos either.

  38. Nick Smarto June 3, 2014 / 7:34 am

    Ian, great review! The coma looks great on that lens! Great distortion properties too. I’m a little bummed that they don’t make a Nikon F-Mount version.

    • Ian Norman June 3, 2014 / 2:18 pm

      Hey Nick!

      Yeah, the short focal flange distance basically makes it impossible to fit on the larger SLR mounts like the Nikon F.

  39. Kit June 3, 2014 / 6:23 am

    Thank you, thank you and thank you. I have been looking for a solid review on this lens for the past 2 months. You have answered all my questions… Only thing is where can I buy one? BH only has them on pre-order 🙁

    • Ian Norman June 3, 2014 / 3:17 pm

      From what I understand, B&H has been getting them in-stock periodically and shipping them out to those with pre-orders. In other words it’s more like they’re backordered. I would recommend just pre-ordering to get it the quickest, rather than waiting for it to show in stock.

    • Ian Norman June 8, 2014 / 2:06 pm

      Amazon seems to have them in stock here.

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