Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Review & Sample Photos

The Rokinon 50mm f1.2 (also sold as a Samyang 50mm f1.2), is an ultra fast, ultra bright 50mm APS-C mirrorless lens with a field of view equivalent to 75mm on Sony and Fujifilm cameras and 80mm on the Canon mirrorless cameras. It features excellent coatings for flare and ghost reduction and two aspherical elements for excellent corner sharpness and chromatic aberration control. 

Because of the fast aperture and good corner to corner image quality, this lens is an excellent choice for any situation and is one of the best manual primes in the 50mm range you can buy for mirrorless APS-C cameras. Nothing can match the Rokinon 50mm f1.2 with speed and sharpness at this price point and it’s noticeably better than the cheaper Chinese alternatives.

This lens also comes in a cinema variant with a de-click aperture and geared focus ring.

 

Lens Specs

Focal Length: 50mm equivalent to 75mm on APS-C cameras
Aperture Blade: Rounded 9-Blades
Elements: 9 Elements in 7 Groups | Two Aspherical Elements
Coatings: Ultra Multi-Coated
Minimum Focus Distance: 1.64′ / 50 cm
Focus: Manual
CPU Contacts: No
Construction: Plastic Body
Filter Threads: 62mm

 

Pros – Excellent Sharpness all around, great flaring control, nice contrast, nice bokeh, light, fairly small, low vignetting, low distortion, not made in China.

Cons – Not the prettiest flares, No CPU contacts, Plastic barrel and hood.

 

Order

Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Fujifilm –Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto
Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Sony – Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto
Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Canon
 –Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto
Rokinon 50mm f1.2 M43
 –Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto

 

Fujifilm X-Mount Lens List
Sony APS-C E-Mount Lens List
Micro 4/3 Lens List

 

 

 

Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Review | First Impressions

 

 

I was testing a few low-budget 50mm lenses before I got my hands on the Rokinon 50mm f1.2, I have to say, it blew me away. I started using Rokinon back in 2010, and their lenses always left me wanting more. They usually had pretty poor build quality, poor lens coatings, and weird distortion patterns, so I wasn’t particularly excited to test out this lens. However, I find almost no flaws with this copy, almost everything everyone loves about the Fujinon lenses can be found in this lens. Near perfect sharpness across the frame, corners are insanely sharp, excellent contrast, great bokeh and very good flare resistance. 

While the Fujinon 50mm f2 lens is also fantastic and is almost the same price, the Rokinon produces a bit more character because of the faster aperture. This allows for improved background separation and shallower depth of field. One big complaint I often hear about the Fujinon compacts (50mm f2, 35mm f2, 23mm f2), is they all have very clinical quality to them, the images are almost too perfect, except for the swirling bokeh on the 35mm f2.

While the image on the Rokinon 50mm f1.2 is also very clinical, the rounded f1.2 aperture allows for some very fun and unique looks.

Bokeh on this lens is fantastic, but once you stop down you do start to see some geometry. I also personally like the bokeh in the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 much more. Overall the Fujinon 56 has a much bloomy bokeh with overall more character than this lens. When stopped down, I start to prefer the bokeh on this Rokinon.

 

 

 

Build Quality

Build quality is fine. I know a lot of people always say, “It’s made of metal, so build quality is good.” This lens is not made of metal, either are Canon or Nikon lenses and their build quality is fine. The build quality of this Rokinon is built of that super hard plastic like the Canon and Nikon lenses and it feels really high quality. I was expecting to not like it, but I’m liking it. It all around fits and feels right on my Fujifilm cameras.

The front element of this lens does move when focusing, so if you’re considering the cinema variant to use with Anamorphot adapters, this might not be the best option. I believe the SLR Magic anamorphic adapters require lenses that have locked front elements. 

 

Copy to Copy Variation

On my camera the lens fits perfectly and the optics are fantastic. Samyang / Rokinon has a reputation, or at least use to have a reputation for wild copy to copy variations. For example my Rokinon 23mm f1.4 lens is a little decentered, a very common problem with Rokinon wides. This lens has many reports of being slightly loose when mounted to the camera. While I don’t have any serious wiggle worth noting on my copy, some people may have some play when the lens is mounted. This is not a big deal, even some of my Fujifilm and Sony lenses do this.

 

 

Focus

Focus is buttery smooth. I’ve seen some reports of it being a little stiff especially in cold weather. I don’t feel like this is stiff, it feels perfect to me, although I just got done reviewing the 7Artisans 55mm f1.4, focus on that lens is stiff and my SLR Magic 35mm f1.2 lens will get nearly locked up in sub freezing weather. 

Focus throw is about 180 degrees. It’s enough to get fairly precise especially at those fast apertures. For me it’s pretty important to throw focus from close focus to infinity in one twist, unless I’m dealing with a macro lens.

 

 

Aperture Ring

Aperture ring is setup with clicks, although you can get the cinema version of this lens that has no clicks and a geared focus ring.

I’m so glad this has click apertures. I’m so tired of that de-click trend in prime lenses right now. It’s just awful to deal with.

 

 

 

 

Rokinon 50mm f1.2 | Technical Overview

 

Sharpness

Sharpness blew me away, not because of center sharpness but because corner to corner sharpness is fantastic.

You’ll find other bargain lenses that are sharper in the center, like the Kamlan 50mm f1.1, or even the 7Artisans 55mm f1.4. However, mid frame, edges and corner sharpness of this lens blows those away.

 

Amazing center sharpness across the apertures. Again, not the sharpest 50mm in the world, but more than adequate for any stye of photography.

 

 

Edges are fantastically sharp.

 

 

I almost think the corners might actually be sharper than the center on my particular copy.

 

 

 

 

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations is very well controlled. There is some purple fringing when wide open along high contrast edges, it’s all gone by f2.8.

 

 

Distortion

Very little distortion. 

 

Vignetting

There is some vignetting f1.2 and f1.4, by f2 it pretty much clears up.

Samples taken of the sky. There were some very light clouds.

 

Coma / Bokeh Swirls

Coma, is when you get that sort of cats eye bokeh along the edges of the frame. You can also call it swirling bokeh. This lens is very well controlled. Actually the Fujinon 50mm f2 has slightly more coma than this lens. Some people like coma, others hate it. I’m not a fan of it, I feel like it’s a very significant distraction and it’s one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of the Fujifilm 35mm f2 lens.

 

 

 

Art & Character

 

 

Color and contrast is beautiful with this lens. It’s all around well balanced between edge sharpness, vignetting, contrast and distortion. You can find lenses with less elements that have better contrast and micro-contrast like the retro Industar 50-2, but that comes with some huge compromises. 

That’s usually how it works. You can get better color and contrast at the cost of edge performance. If you’re a Sony shooter you’ll see this when you compare a Zeiss Batis to a Sigma or G-Master for example. Zeiss usually goes for the look, Sigma and Sony go for the review scores.

 

Bokeh

Bokeh is nice. I do prefer the bokeh of the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 when wide open, but I think the bokeh on this lens is better when stopped down. This lens has 9 rounded aperture blades which is why it’s probably better. 

Once stopped down you can see some geometry in the background highlights. If smooth bokeh as higher apertures is important to you, you might want to look at the 7Artisans 55mm f1.4, which has even more aperture blades for smoother bokeh closed down. That lens however, is noticeably inferior to this lens when comparing image quality, but some would prefer it for it’s character. I do not. I’d rather have this lens or a the Handevision 50mm f2.4.

 

 

Color Rendering

Color rendering is fantastic and in-line with Fujinon quality. There is a very slight magenta cast compared to a Fujinon lens, but you rarely notice it. This is inevitable with 3rd party lenses with no CPU contacts compared to Fujinon lenses. Brand lenses are programmed to correct for many flaws like color shifts automatically with native lenses. Same is true if you shoot Canon or Sony. Some native lenses will automatically correct for distortion and vignetting as well.

There is no color ring patterns or shifts from the center of the frame to the corners, which is a serious issue with the overpriced turd Sony has made with the Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8. 

 

 

 

Straight Out Of Camera Samples

For the untouched straight out of Lightroom samples, all I do on these is just export them out of Lightroom without adjusting anything other than adding metadata. 

Images look really good for no adjustments. Excellent contrast and saturation. Sharpness is pretty good as well.

See Full Res Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Sample Images.

 

 

 

Contrast | Micro-Contrast

Contrast is good as you can also see in the straight out of camera samples above. Micro-contrast pretty good, but there are better options out there for micro-contrast if you want to make compromises in other attributes. 

For the most part, compact primes like the Samyang / Rokinon lenses are all going to give you good micro-contrast which is especially useful for black and white photography. That’s one of the reasons people love primes in general. The only problem you run into with primes is you get those 20 element Sigma or Sony primes that are tuned to optical perfection at the cost of micro-contrast and color rendering.

This Rokinon 50mm f1.2 is a very balanced lens with overall great characteristics.

 

 

 

 

Lens Flares

Lens flares are very well controlled. I personally like a lens that will flare, especially in my primes.

This lens has that problem most Fujinon lenses have when they over correct flaring. They will flare when the sun is in the frame, but they leave that ugly little ghosty bead in the frame.

The good part is, even when pointed into light, ghosting is very well controlled and you will not lose contrast or saturation.

 

 

 

Fujinon 56mm f1.2 vs. Rokinon 50mm f1.2 vs. Fujinon 50mm f2

 

 

In terms of price, the Rokinon 50mm f1.2 is very similar to the Fujinon 50mm f2. The Fujinon 50mm f2 is a very nice lens, quick autofocus, weather sealed, very compact and very sharp, so it’s a great lens to put up against this Rokinon 50mm.

I threw in the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 as an example of what spending more money would get you and it is all around sharper. Of course, you should never buy a lens based on sharpness alone. It’s one of many attributes and what’s most important is if the lens is sharp enough for what you need it for. Real world shooting, around the streets etc, you can’t tell the difference between sharpness with these lenses when stopped down.

I’ll post more tests with contrast, bokeh, sharpness and saturation between all the Fujifilm 50’s in a future post.

 

Center Sharpness

The Fujinon 56mm f1.2 is the winner with center sharpness but just marginally. 

When comparing the Rokinon 50mm f1.2 to the Fujinon 50mm f2, the Rokinon is a touch sharper at faster apertures. By about f4 and f5.6 they’re end up about the same.

One thing that I did notice, the Fujinon 50mm f2 is seeing a bit more diffraction at f8. 

 

 

Corner Sharpness

Corners are looking good on the Rokinon. It beats out the Fujinon 50mm f2 at f2. By f4, the Fujinon 50mm f2 is superior in the corners.

Compared to the Fujinon 56mm f1.2, the Rokinon does outperform in corner sharpness just sightly. My 56mm f1.2 is however very old and the focus motor went out on me during this test. With the proper amount of wiggling I was able to get it to work again, maybe a different copy would see different results.

 

 

 

Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Review | Bottom Line

 

 

This lens blew me away. There are not a lot of manual focus primes out there for our APS-C mirrorless cameras in a native mount and this is one of the best ones you can get if you’re looking for a 50mm. Meyer Optic makes some compacts that are way overpriced, and Mitakon makes some cool speedmasters in a wider focal length, but overall, the design of this lens is pretty impeccable.

If you’re looking for a ton of character, this lens might not be for you. It is very pretty and the bokeh is fantastic, but once stopped down the lens becomes fairly clinical with near perfect image quality. So if you’re turned off by the 50mm f2, then this might be a nice alternative at a similar price.

Or check out the 7Artisans 55mm f1.4, which would be my #1 choice right now for good character in fast 50mm, but I’m still hunt for something better as I still prefer the overall image of this Rokinon to the 7Artisans.

If you’re looking for a slower walk around lens with beautiful rendering, the Handevision 50mm f2.4 is very nice. Review coming in a few weeks.

 

 

The Samyang 50mm f1.2 or Rokinon 50mm f1.2, is a solid choice for any mirrorless APS-C shooter that wants manual focus. I even think it’s great for Fujifilm shooters since it holds its ground against Fujinon lenses. I know a lot people buying mirrorless want and miss manual focus, and this is a nice place to start without spending a ton of money on adapting Voigtlanders.

If you’re on the fence about switching to a manual focus lens and are a bit nervous about spending all that money on something you might hate, then I recommend the 7Artisan lenses until you can get comfortable and confidant with manual.

I personally prefer manual focus in most situations as long as the lens isn’t too long and as long as I’m not shooting fast action.

 

 

 

 

Rokinon 50mm f1.2 Sample Photos