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11-19-2009, 01:54 PM   #1
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Rokinon/Samyang 85mm - still good?

Hi all,

I've been doing a bit of searching around for details and it seems like the Rokinon (or Samyang or etc etc.) 85mm F1.4 is a heck of a steal in terms of image quality and, for the most part, build quality as well.

I had a chance to try one in Japan not knowing what it was until I left (and could not return. it was hidden somewhere in Harajuku...) but didn't end up buying it as I needed the cash for food and japanese vending machines. True story

Anyways, it was a pretty good lens and after reading all the rave reviews and seeing the prices they go for, I have now come to re-consider it as I'd like to put some finishing touches to my 'low light portraiture' ultimate lens lineup.

Currently, I have the Sigma 30mm F1.4 and the Pentax DA*55 F1.4. The Samyang 85mm F1.4 seems to be a perfect lens for my purposes, considering I rarely shoot F22 landscapes.


My question is in regards to the reliability of this lens. I've heard of some isolated cases of apertures sticking either initially or after a few months. For those who own the lens: Is yours still working? Is there stuff I should look out for when purchasing this lens?

11-19-2009, 02:03 PM   #2
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I have had the vivitar version for about 8 months, no issue with it.

It is sharper I thnk than my super tak F1.9 but the CA and Bokeh are different between the two lenses
11-19-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
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Is this the same as the Bower 85mm f/1.4?

Amazon.com: Bower 85mm F1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Pentax K and F Cameras - Bower SLY85P: Electronics
11-19-2009, 03:23 PM   #4
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check this link and hope this helps. gonna upload another pic abit later.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/79237-rokinon-85mm-1-4-k-7-a.html

11-19-2009, 04:49 PM   #5
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here is a sample from the Rokinon version.

1st pic is the original in-camera jpeg from the K-7.
2nd pic is the converted DNG file post-processed on PS4 and converted to JPEG
3rd pic the the further enhanced version of the post-processed PS4 jpeg

pretty nice lens, huh?

btw, I forgot to adjust the camera's custom image setting for the jpeg and left the saturation decreased by 2 levels. that would make sense for the slightly less vibrant color setting. so that would make sense. I made the necessary correction later on including the WB adjustment and tint to show a greener environment and shadows.


as shown and as a summary, the 85mm is really sharp even at wide open, on this case at f1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/100 and even without post-process enhanced sharpening. btw, it was a bit windy when I took this shot and as you can see, it is raining as well. it is also quite tricky to nail the focus since the DOF is as thin as it gets, with a slow shutter speed and windy situation. definitely not for the shaky hands with weak eyesight.
Attached Images
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Last edited by Pentaxor; 11-19-2009 at 05:06 PM.
11-19-2009, 05:28 PM   #6
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haha... I definitely know this is a pretty nice lens (also considering the price). Thanks for the shots!

As far as I've read, most of the 85mm F1.4 rebranded lenses are more or less the same as the Samyang. This includes Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar Series 1, etc etc etc.

No issues with sticking apertures or the like?
11-19-2009, 06:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
haha... I definitely know this is a pretty nice lens (also considering the price). Thanks for the shots!

As far as I've read, most of the 85mm F1.4 rebranded lenses are more or less the same as the Samyang. This includes Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar Series 1, etc etc etc.

No issues with sticking apertures or the like?
no issue so far as aperture sticking is concerned. I choose the Rokinon since it has a better construction and well-boxed as opposed to the Vivitar. also because it is the cheapest that I could find. note that the focus ring maybe quite a bit tight at first but may loosen up after a few turns and usage. it aperture is auto and electronically controlled, so that is another convenience if you want to shift opening without turning the aperture ring. in my experience, it is quite difficult to turn the aperture ring since the lens is big and thereby making the turn space a bit to narrow for shifting. with the A setting, the need for manual aperture selection is eliminated. lens is manually focused and you know that already. the lens display a very manageable CA.
11-19-2009, 11:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
haha... I definitely know this is a pretty nice lens (also considering the price). Thanks for the shots!

As far as I've read, most of the 85mm F1.4 rebranded lenses are more or less the same as the Samyang. This includes Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar Series 1, etc etc etc.

No issues with sticking apertures or the like?
It's funny you should ask. My copy by Rokinon (even though they're all the same thing) just developed an aperture problem. Not a sticking aperture, like oil leakage, but a "dry" aperture which is causing excessive friction on the aperture blades and making them squeak when they open/close. Because of the excessive friction, it also won't work fully on my camera any longer. I'm in the process of getting it worked out under warranty.

11-20-2009, 01:28 AM   #9
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good to know. I'd rather spend more money to get a more reliable .. uh... Pentax A* 85mm or something like that... if the Samyangs are getting aperture problems.

how long have you owned your lens?
11-20-2009, 10:38 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
good to know. I'd rather spend more money to get a more reliable .. uh... Pentax A* 85mm or something like that... if the Samyangs are getting aperture problems.

how long have you owned your lens?
About 10 weeks or so.
11-20-2009, 01:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
About 10 weeks or so.
what did you think that made it like that? do you use the aperture ring too often? how often did you use the lens?
11-20-2009, 02:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
what did you think that made it like that? do you use the aperture ring too often? how often did you use the lens?
I actually never used the aperture ring, it was always in A mode. The lens went through probably 600-700 actuations at varied apertures.
11-20-2009, 05:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
I actually never used the aperture ring, it was always in A mode. The lens went through probably 600-700 actuations at varied apertures.
wow, that's a lot! I guess you used it too often. for what it's worth, I had used the lens exclusively at f1.4. but I'm considering of using it stopped-down to only as low as f2.8. it won't make sense for me to go beyond that point. are you letting the camera set the aperture automatically? I haven't tried that in a while.
11-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #14
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oh boy :P
600-700 actuations sounds like something I would do in a short period of time, especially since I'm considering this as a wedding/event lens!

And I would stop down to about F2 to F2.8 when I can.

Hmm... should I be... avoiding this lens?? And, I wonder how Rokinon warranty works up here in Canada...
11-20-2009, 05:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
wow, that's a lot! I guess you used it too often. for what it's worth, I had used the lens exclusively at f1.4. but I'm considering of using it stopped-down to only as low as f2.8. it won't make sense for me to go beyond that point. are you letting the camera set the aperture automatically? I haven't tried that in a while.
Well, it's not too much when you start to notice how many shots you take are "throw-aways" when testing a new lens. And I like to test new lenses a lot And no, I would always shoot in A mode and choose the aperture myself. That's how I always shoot, unless there are really odd lighting conditions and I would go into shutter priority mode.
QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
oh boy :P
600-700 actuations sounds like something I would do in a short period of time, especially since I'm considering this as a wedding/event lens!

And I would stop down to about F2 to F2.8 when I can.

Hmm... should I be... avoiding this lens?? And, I wonder how Rokinon warranty works up here in Canada...
Honestly, it's a fantastic lens *if something doesn't happen to it*. The aperture problem I'm experiencing doesn't "break" the lens, and I can still take nice pictures with it. I also imagine it won't be something that's hard to fix, even if the warranty didn't cover it (which it surely will). For something extremely critical like a wedding, I wouldn't recommend it, but for just about every other situation where you're just having fun and taking some nice dusk portraits or something like that, it's a spectacular alternative to a $1400+ "name-brand" lens.
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