Four years ago, I was originally looking at purchasing a Nikon 85 1.4 as an addition to my lens line up. Of course when I first looked at the price I had “sticker shock”. It was nearly as much as I paid for my beloved D700. I knew right away that there was no way I was gonna purchase it and wanted to look for an alternative. That is when I found the Rokinon 85 1.4, which has now brought me to review the lens. I think you may be surprised at what a third party budget lens offers.
The first thing I noticed about the Rokinon 85 1.4mm when I received it was the fact that it now was the widest of all my lens. After holding it for a bit, it really felt pretty comfortable. The weight was nice, lighter than I expected. I even thought that the plastic housing wasn’t bad at all. I slapped it on my camera and went out for a test run and grabbed a few shots. Below is what I got. (Do not mind the watermark and text, they are from four years ago.)
After testing out the Rokinon 85 1.4 for a few hours in the backyard, I really liked the lens. It was super sharp, and the bokeh was unbelievable. (As you can see, I was a huge bokeh fan back then.) The Rokinon is a manual focus lens, which at first I thought would be difficult to use. However, the Nikon version comes with an AE chip. The AE chip basically tells you when you are in focus. If you aren’t in focus, it will tell you which way you need to to turn the focus ring. This helped out a ton! I would say that each shot took me about an extra 2-3 seconds to snap since I had to manual focus. A lot less than what I would have assumed.
Something worth noting as a negative aspect was that it was slightly hard to turn the focus ring. I found myself struggling a few times. I know with Nikon lenses it is really easy. Especially with the G series lenses that you can override auto focus with manual focus within seconds using the focus ring. It may have been just because I was using it fresh out of the box. I assume it loosens up a tad after some use.
The contrast and color the lens produces is amazing. I used it on my Nikon D7000 (DX crop sensor) and I was very pleased with the results. Below, are a few portraits I took the same week I got the lens. As you can see, it has excellent color and contrast rendering, and spot on with focus.
For around $300, you really can not go wrong with this lens. If you do not mind manual focusing than I think you would really enjoy this lens. The Rokinon 85 1.4 is definitely a steal compared to the Nikon 85 1.4 or Canon’s equivalent. For a budget lens it knocks it out of the ball park. I hope you enjoyed this review. If you would like to purchase the lens, you can find the best price here.