Rokinon / Samyang 35mm f/1.4 for Nikon

Here is another gem from Samyang, maker of Rokinon brand. It is a manual lens. It is absolutely beautiful. Solid build, dignifying fit and finish, properly dampened focus ring, and it looks the part. The sharpness and the bokeh are absolutely amazing.

The Rokinon 35mm 1.4 work seamlessly on my Canon 40d as well. Using the Nikon-to-Canon adapter with a dandelion chip, the Canon will actually give you the focus confirmation beep which is nice but not as helpful as it sounds. I’ll explain that later. Ironically, when mounted on a Nikon body it doesn’t beep. It will, however, give you the focus confirm indicator light in the viewfinder, which also isn’t as helpful.

The reason why the built-in focus confirmation isn’t as useful is because my copy of the lens has a flaw. However, numerous reviews and testimonials about the Rokinon 35mm 1.4 confirms that these models are prone to mis-calibration which may affect its ability to accurately confirm focus especially towards the larger aperture ranges. But interestingly, many seem to love this lens and willing to forgive and accept it as is despite the seemingly critical flaw. And here is why. Photo hobbyists who are into manual focus lenses have always depended on their optical judgement for proper focus. Furthermore, with the advent of LCD live focus, manual focusing became significantly easier and far more precise. As it turns out, many people do not actually depend on built-in focus confirmation at all even if the lens came with one. Many prefer to use the LCD with magnification instead. I, too found the LCD method to be more convenient and way more precise. So, if you choose to focus totally manual anyway, the mis-calibration becomes a non-issue.

Rokinon 35mm 1.4 on Samsung NX mirrorless
Rokinon 35mm 1.4

If you’re a Nikon shooter and are into quick snaps and street photography, you may be better off with the Nikkor 35mm 1.8G which has proper auto focus and is about half the price of this Rokinon. But if you’re the type who choose to take more time imagining and framing between shots, you may find a manual focus 35mm such as this Rokinon very enjoyable. And who doesn’t like all the goodness that comes with f/1.4? The next level up in the Nikon 35mm chain is the Nikkor 35mm 1.4G which costs about $1,200 more than the Rokinon. But at that level, I seriously think it’s more like you are buying into the novelty of owning an expensive lens rather than on a basis of cost justifiable performance.

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