rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 Lens review

By Scott Umstattd

The Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8  is turning out to be a great lens. It's quickly finding its way on day trips around town as well as real estate shoots. 

The Tamron 24-70mm isn't wide enough on the Canon EOS 6D for real estate and architectural photography. 14mm is plenty wide. It's amazing what an additional 10mm can give you.  And for around $300  this is a lens you need to have if you are using a full frame camera (and want to go wider than the standard zoom lenses).

But - and this has tp be pointed out quickly - the low cost comes at a pretty steep price. The Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 is a manual focus lens. 

This is not going to be a good lens if you need quick focus. Even more so if you have subjects moving toward or away from the camera. 

But, if you have time to set up a shot or if everything in the frame is beyond 5 feet from the camera, you'll find that simply keeping the focus ring on infinity will work most of the time.

Rokinon fe 14mm f/2.8

How does 14mm compare to 24mm on a full frame.

Tamron lens @ 24mm on a Canon 6D
Rokinon FE 14mm on a Canon 6D

If you are using a crop sensor camera (like the Canon 60D) notice in the next two pictures what 24mm looks like on a full frame versus how 15mm looks on a crop sensor camera.

Tamron lens @ 24mm on a Canon 6D
Canon lens @ 15mm on a Canon 60D

There's barley any difference between the two picture's focal length.  This is a pretty telling example of the difference between a full frame sensor and a cropped sensor with regard to focal length.

Why not just use the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM on the Canon 6D then? Remember the EF-S moniker on Canon lenses means that the lens is only compatible with crop-sensor cameras. EF-S lenses cannot be used on full frame cameras like the Canon 5D's, 1D's or the 6D.

Hence the need for a wide angle lens for my 6D.

Rokinon FE 14mm on a Canon 6D

You can see that 14mm on a full frame shows a lot more than 24mm on a full frame camera. The Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 opens up another world to explore.


Color is balanced. I've shot in several multi-color light environments and it does a good job of finding a balance of color even in desperate color situations.

Sharpness is actually pretty good. There are plenty of reviews that attest to this. 

Below is a cropped version of the picture above to give you a better sense of the sharpness of the Rokinon 14mm lens.

The manual focus on the Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 will make getting sharp pictures more challenging (especially with street photography)but once you are locked on expect sharp pictures.

Build Quality

I was surprised at how small the Rokinon is. Compared to the Tamron 24-70 this is a baby. It's actually a great companion to the Canon 50mm f/1.8. Both are great lenses with very useful focal ranges. Both are well suited for low light photography as well.

Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 on a Canon 6D
Left: Rokinon FE 14mm. Right: Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Left: Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8. Right: Tamron SP 24-70mm DI VC USD

Lens cap and glass are unique. You won't find a UV filter for this lens. It's glass will always be exposed when shooting. 

The curved glass of the Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 makes it impossible to mount lens filters.

How to use the rokinon fe 14mm f/2.8

Since the Rokinon is a manual focus lens you cannot use it like an auto-focus lens. Gone are the days of simply pointing and shooting and letting the camera and lens deal with finding focus.

While you can't always point and shoot and get a sharp picture with the Rokinon you can (and will) get sharp pictures most of the time - as long as your subject is four or five feet from the camera. Shooting when the subject is closer than this means that some adjustment (manual adjustment) will need to be made to get a sharp picture. 

For landscape or starry night photography this Rokinon is great. The wide angle offers some unique, it can open up to f/2.8 which is a useful aperture for night time photography and once you turn the focus infinity you know your are good to go.

But with street photography the subject's distance changes from shot to shot. If you're subject is more than five feet away infinity focus will likely give you a sharp picture - providing your shutter speed is fast enough.

A great part of what makes wide angle lenses so appealing is that it allows you to be up close and intimate with your subject.  Luckily, when taking pictures from less than five feet from the subject you only need to adjust the focus ring a tiny amount.

The focus ring on the Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 turns and turns and turns. It takes several twists to get it from infinity to its closest focal length. You can use the lens at this focal distance but your subject will be just a few inches from the lens.

The picture below shows how close I was to the objects in the picture above.

The Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 has a wide aperture but don't expect bokeh and don't expect to blur the background the way you can with other f/2.8 or wider lenses.

It's not in the nature of any wide angle lens to blur the background. Everything about a wide angle lens actually works to eliminate any blur. 

Rokinon FE 14mm f/2.8 Final Thought

The Rokinon is a great lens for the price. The manual focus is a pretty big deal. It changes a lot about how you use it in the streets or at events. But when you have time to focus, this is a great lens that will help to tell a story with your photography.

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