4 Types of Photography You Can Shoot for Less with Affordable Rokinon Lenses
Wanna branch out from photographing the same things over and over? Congrats! It's a great way to grow your craft, and perhaps discover a new area of interest that may lead you down some new creative paths.
However, it's not always easy to take the plunge, especially if it involves making an investment in specialized gear.
Fortunately, there's brands like Rokinon that make affordable lenses that get great results without breaking the bank.
Samyang Optics is the South Korean optical brand behind Rokinon. They've been making photography and videography equipment since 1972, under the sub-brands of Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, Opteka, Vivitar, Pheonix and Quantaray.
They're known for their sharp optics and cost-effective pricing, which, when shopping for used, becomes even more enticing. Best of all, since they're a third-party lens manufacturer, they make products for a variety of mounts and systems.
I've shot a handful of Rokinon/Samyang lenses myself, and have been amazed by the images I was able to capture—sharp, contrasty, and great color rendition.
Let's go through a few types of expressive photography that Rokinon lenses might make even more intriguing to you.
Rokinon Lenses for Astrophotography
The first type of photography that's ripe for the picking with Rokinon lenses is astrophotography.
The challenge with shooting things like the Milky Way is that you want a lens that fits these two criteria—wide enough focal length to capture the scope of the night's sky, and wide maximum aperture to pull in as much light as possible for the shortest time possible.
If you're lens is too long, you lose the scope. And if you're lens is slow, you won't be able to keep your shutter speed fast enough to avoid movement, or trails, in the stars. In most cases, you can't just crank your ISO, as that starts introducing too much noise in your shot.
It's a tough balancing act, but luckily, there's three lenses that are perfect for the job—the Rokinon 10mm f/2.8, the Rokinon 12mm f/2 (Samyang version), and the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 (Samyang version). They're all wide enough, even on a cropped-sensor camera, to cram millions of stars into your shot, with room to spare. Plus, they're fast, so you can keep your ISO as low as possible to capture clean images.
All three of those lenses are manual focus, which, for astrophotography, having autofocus is not an issue, as you usually just focus to infinity and leave it alone anyway. If you want autofocus, check out the Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 (Samyang version).
Rokinon Lenses for Portraits
Maybe getting to bed early is your jam, and astrophotography is not for you. Maybe you'd like to get into portraits?
The key to a good portrait lens is, again, a wide aperture, so you have the option to blur out the background as to not distract from your subject, and a longer focal length, to flatten out the features of the face making them more pleasing to the eye.
Many portrait photographers swear by their 85mm prime lenses, as they can usually achieve a narrow depth of field, and are on the short end of telephoto, which means you won't have to stand too far away from your subject.
Rokinon/Samyang has you covered there as well. Check out the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 (Samyang version)—it's incredibly sharp, and it offers quick and accurate autofocus. Plus, at its price point, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than native lenses of the same specs for Sony, Canon and Nikon.
If manual focus doesn't scare you off—and it shouldn't—also check out the Rokinon 135mm f/2 (Samyang version). It's a little longer, but that focal length is especially flattering and great for outdoor portraits.
Rokinon Lenses for Street Photography
If portraits aren't your thing, and you live in a heavy light-polluted city, maybe street photography is worth a shot.
When it comes to shooting on the streets, you want something wide enough to capture some context of the surroundings, and quick autofocus can certainly help nail your shot of fast-paced people walking by your scene.
Most people agree that the 35mm focal length is ideal for street photography, as it's versatile and time-tested.
The Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 is an awesome choice, as it's compact and the autofocus is lightning fast. At its affordable price, it beats the competition by hundreds of dollars.
Rokinon Lenses for Cinematography
If shooting stills isn't a big enough challenge for you, perhaps it's time to try some videography.
What people look for in a cinema lens is that there's minimal to no focus breathing—the change in focal length that sometimes happens when adjusting the focusing distance. Also, if you've already got a nice camera rig, it helps if the lenses also come equipped with geared focus and aperture rings, so you can adapt them to automatic follow focus systems.
The big barrier to entry with cinema lenses is that they're usually very pricey. Luckily, Rokinon/Samyang can help in this respect as well.