Holy moly, this is a great little lens. I’m jumping the gun because this thing is just a great little performer for the money. A 24mm equivalent ultrawide lens for the MFT system, a reasonable price, wide open aperture, and fantastic optical performance make this thing a no-brainer if you’re in the market for a lens of this nature.
So this bad boy is 12mm, per the tin, and that works out to 24mm equivalent focal length when applying the 2x micro four thirds crop factor, making it a very workable ultra wide angle lens on the tiny sensor. The maximum aperture is f2, which is pretty dang bright for an ultra wide lens. The lens also has a close focusing distance of 20cm (7.87”), making it useful for some fun close up and detail shots. The close focus can be used in conjunction with the wide open aperture to actually bring in some very pleasing bokeh characteristic to the out of focus areas. That bokeh, insomuch as it appears in these specific use cases, is pretty pleasant and not overly busy or harsh.
The build quality is superb. Made in Korea and consisting of all metal and glass it is quite nice. The fit and finish is fantastic. This lens really carries on the tradition of film-era lenses from yesteryear, and compares favorably to the nicest vintage lenses, making it significantly beefier and more pleasant in the hand than most modern lenses. This doesn’t mean that plastics are bad materials to have in a modern lens, to the contrary with all the moving components, electronic components, autofocus mechanisms and motors, etc. etc. it is a preferable material to metal (5 pound lenses? No thanks!), but the all-metal construction in a manual focus lens just works so well.
The aperture ring is clicky (thank the Lord), and has a fantastic feel. The manual focus ring is damped close to perfectly if not a touch heavy for my tastes for a lens on a tiny little micro four thirds body (Olympus E-M10, this probably wouldn’t be a concern on the bigger Olympus and Panasonic bodies).
Image quality is absolutely fantastic for a budget-oriented modern manual focus lens. Center sharpness is superb from wide open at f2, and the corners quickly catch up while stopping down. Chromatic aberration exists, but isn’t crippling or weirdly behaving and can be mitigated or addressed in post processing. Color rendering is great. Contrast is excellent. Flaring can be problematic and a contrast killer, and sadly my used copy of this lens didn’t come with a lens hood. Overall the little Rokinon 12mm f2 puts up an above-average optical performance.
As mentioned earlier, if you move close to the subject you can get this little lens to put out some pleasing bokeh in the out of focus areas. Not too busy, fairly soft, and altogether impressive for an ultrawide lens.
Night performance is great given the wide aperture of f2. This lens has so far been a blast for night time cityscapes and street photography. Coma does exist wide open, but it's not debilitating. I’ve yet to do astrophotography with the lens, but it does seem to be a perfect budget-minded candidate to do so with.
In conclusion this is a fantastic lens. Moderately small in size, able to use a fairly standard 67mm filter (handy since I already have a handful of filters and stepping rings in this size), beautifully damped focusing action, superb image quality and at a good price make this lens a no brainer if you’re in the market for an ultrawide, rectilinear lens. If you have the coin and the need for this lens, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Rokinon 12mm f2 MFT lens.
Written on Monday, 28 December 2020, by Aaron Brown. Last edited on
A lens review of the Tamron 80-200mm f/2.8 constant aperture telephoto zoom lens for the Adaptall 2 system. An early and fairly smashing first attempt at a standard fast telephoto zoom lens by Tamron. We will see if it holds up to 21st century use case scenarios.
Monday, 13 February 2023 by Aaron Brown
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