Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f2.8 RF – 1 Month Review

Last month I posted about my new purchase of the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens for Canon RF mount cameras (ie. EOS R, R6, R5).

I was pretty excited to discover this lens as I have always been a fan of wide angle lenses. I took a wide angle lens to the UK on a vacation I took quite a while ago (2010)…and the pictures I got are still some of my favorite pictures to this day.

Wide angle lenses are the only way to get those castle and cathedral HUGE ceiling shots.

I believe I owned a Nikon D90 DSLR at the time and was using a Tokina 10-17mm lens. (I loved that lens)

Canon RF Mount Lens Options

Even though the EOS R has been out for a couple years now, there are not many third party options for the RF mount that Canon will be using for the foreseeable future. Yes, you can purchase their “fast” RF lenses…and they are fantastic…but they are also expensive!!

Canon RF 15-35 f2.8 – $2,500

Canon RF 24-70 f2.8 – $2850

Canon RF 70-200 f2.8 – $2,900

Canon did just come out with their RF 50mm f1.8 lens for only $200…it’s a great lens and that classic nifty fifty option, but 50mm is pretty limited.

Don’t get me wrong, if I could afford to buy these expensive lenses I absolutely would.

But I can’t…nor can most non-professional photographers/videographers I would imagine.

Third Party Lenses for Canon RF Mount

Rokinon (aka Samyang) RF 14mm f2.8 – $629 (currently) – can find it for less if you look around

  • All the others (lots of brands I’m not familiar with and many are manual focus)

There are a few…but none of the typical names you see associated with Canon like Sigma or Tamron. I will say though…Rokinon’s RF 85mm f2.8 lens for Canon looks VERY nice…probably a great deal if you’re considering that focal length (popular for portrait photography).

Rokinon 14mm f2.8 Initial Impressions

  1. It FEELS like a quality lens – I know that isn’t a real metric…but if you have owned enough cameras and lenses you probably know what I mean. This lens is MUCH heavier than my old Canon 10-18mm EF lens…but to me that means this thing is well built. I just feels like it will be able to take a beating and keep on ticking. (heck I’ve already used it in light rain with no issues…thanks weather sealing!)
  2. It is bigger than I expected it to be You can see the specs on paper, but until you start using it you won’t know how big it feels. It’s nice though…especially with the R6…feels like a pro lens. When taking pictures or video I don’t hesitate to grab the lens for balance.
  3. Autofocus is still fast –Canon’s new Dual Pixel Autofocus is amazing and super fast…and I haven’t noticed any slowing of that with this lens.
  4. Image quality is FANTASTIC – I haven’t had the chance to take many pictures with it yet…but I filmed a video for our Walk With History YouTube Channel on Washington Crossing that comes out on 30 June…and here is a quick teaser clip from that video that I filmed with this lens and my R6.

that little bit of shake is my handheld technique (or lack thereof)

The image is sharp from edge to edge…the Canon “colors” feel so natural (that I don’t always see with Sony images)…and I just love the wide shot I can get with 14mm on a full-frame sensor.

Expectations Going Forward

For someone like me who is a wide angle fan, I know I am going to get some serious mileage out of this. Not only do I enjoy the kind of photography that you can only get with wide angle lenses..but with the vlog style videos I make for my personal YouTube channel and now for mine and my wife’s channel…this 14mm lens is perfect.

I did also purchase the Haida Rear Lens ND Filter kit since this lens does not have front filter threads; rather, it has a rear filter set up…which has its upsides and downsides. (more on those later) I have only used the filters once so far, so I need some more usage before I can reliably write anything on them.

Rokinon (Samyang) is on to something with these RF lenses and I am not the only one who thinks that.

If you are interested in buying this lens, here is a link to it on Amazon.

Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD: My New Favorite Power Bank

This thing will be going everywhere with me…

Regular readers here know that I am a quality over quantity kind of guy. Sometimes to a fault, my wife would say. 🤣

My wife also loves me and lets me splurge every now and then…so for Father’s Day I bought what is now my new favorite power bank…the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD.

This isn’t the first power bank that I own. A couple years ago I purchased the Anker PowerCore+ 26800mAh PD…and it is arguably better in some ways. The Anker power bank gives you the same capacity and also comes with a 60W charger for faster charging of the power bank. (the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD does not)

The Anker is great for traveling and saving every bit of space you can, it feels VERY durable, and just works.

BUT…

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD has wireless charging.

I didn’t think this was a feature that I would care much about but now that I’ve used it a few times…it’s my absolute favorite feature. I don’t have to dig through my multitude of cables for the right one – some USB-A, some USB-C. I just press that blue “wireless” button set my phone on top, and BAM! it’s charging my phone. It’s not the newest, fastest wireless charging that comes with Apple’s new wireless chargers…but it works consistently and very well.

Plus the Goal Zero has the battery read-out that tells you how much charge is left in your power bank.

Should You Get One?

Now that I own this Goal Zero power bank…I am surprised at how much I use it, even at home. I can be working on my laptop and see my phone needs a charge and just set it on top of the Sherpa 100PD and know that when I pick my phone back up, it will be charged.

It is a bit more expensive than its Anker competitor, so if $199 for the Goal Zero is out of your price range, you can currently get the Anker over on Amazon for $129.

BUT…I can now highly recommend the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD power bank. It’s definitely a quality piece of gear and I expect it to last me a very long time and throughout many upcoming travels.

It is my new favorite power bank and worth every penny.

Sunseeker – Know Where the Sun Will Be for Your Photo Shoot

I recently received a comment on my (currently) most viewed YouTube video about the Goal Zero Yeti 200x and Nomad 50.

The commentor mentioned that the wattage gained from the Nomad 50 was much higher in Panama than here in the United States.

Kake then went on to recommend the app Sunseeker.

Sunseeker

This app is amazing!

If you look at the screenshots above, you can look up a location (or your current location) and see where the sun will be in advance. The more I have filmed over the years, the more I realize that I need (or want) to know where the sun will be when I am shooting.

Some of the reviews talk about how useful it is when/if you are looking to buy or rent a new house…as you can use this to see when the sun hits your house at various times of the day.

If I am not going out to shoot at golden hour, then this app will be in my tool belt for sure. It does cost $9.99…but for something so useful, I think it’s worth it.

If you want to download it or are curious, I recommend at least checking it out.

Download on the App Store

THE Next Vlogging Lens for the Canon R6: The Rokinon 14mm f2.8 RF

It might be yours too…

I have written numerous times here how much I would love to be able to own the super expensive Canon 15-35mm f2.8 RF lens. But let’s be honest…if I purchased that today, tomorrow my wife would probably murder me. Ha!

damn that is a good looking piece of glass

So when I had some birthday funds come my way (Amazon gift cards are amazing), I started browsing for what I could actually afford…and came across this.

Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f.28 RF

first ever 3rd party autofocus lens for Canon RF mount!

I’m not quite sure at how I stumbled across this…I think I just searched “Canon RF lens” in Amazon and this was one of the results.

  • Good Amazon reviews? Check
  • Good YouTube reviews? Check
  • RF mount for my Canon R6? Check
  • Constant fast aperture at f2.8? Check
  • Wide angle for vlogging? Check
  • Autofocus works well? Check
  • Good build quality? Check
  • Within my budget?…

Check!!!

I have used Canon’s 10-18mm EF-S lens for many years now…it is fantastic. I’ve probably made over 100 videos using that lens alone and it is durable, clear, has great image quality, and is very tough.

That lens basically lives on my camera.

Until now?

There are a few reasons why I am feel confident that this will be my next “every day” lens.

  1. I prefer wide angle photography and videography (purely preference…but I’ve always been a sucker for wide angle shots and have owned multiple wide angle lenses over the years)
  2. I want an RF mount lens (the EF to RF lens adapter series are great, but I can’t use my 120 fps filming on my R6 unless I have an RF lens on it)
  3. Prime lenses let you focus (I never really fiddled with the 10-18mm range much unless I had a polarizer on it and had to zoom in to avoid getting the edges of the filter in my shot due to the wide angle and front filter…so being fixed at 14mm will remove that decision from me)
  4. The Rokinon has a back filter (What is that you ask? Check out the video below…but it eliminates that pesky “filter too small” issue I mentioned)

Price

This lens is a bargain for what you get!!!

It is currently going for $629 on Amazon…although I snagged an Amazon Refurbished one for $545…which made me feel better about the Haida ND Filter Kit I bought at the same time. No more worrying about filming on sunny days!!

So for 1/3 of the price of my dream Canon lens, I was able to get a lens with a fixed focal length that I would use it at 90% of the time anyways, a set of ND filters…and hopefully some wiggle room to snag a gimbal in the future.

And I would still have money left over.

I am excited to get this soon and start using it…you better believe I’ll be writing more about it here.

6 Gifts for Video Creators in 2021

Sometimes I forget they’re even coming up. More and more I can’t help but notice them on the horizon like a massive tsunami, threatening to wash away all thoughts of youthful exuberance.

While the latter hasn’t quite happened to me yet, the days leading up to most of my recent birthdays tend to be trying to figure out how to strike the balance between my kid like impulses of buying what I want…and “adulting”…i.e. not buying the expensive toys that really want.

This year, with a household move around the corner, I decided to write about the expensive toys that I can dream of buying as an outlet to counter my inner child that wants to click ‘buy now’.

Toss me a comment if you own any of these and enjoy them…or if you WANT to own any of them!

(great book 4th in a series I listened to)
(for those bright shooting days)
(no more shaky footage!!)
(record all the image data)
(mmm…drones)
(drool factor)

Notice any trend there?

Yeah, I have high quality…and pricey…taste. However, I always say you get what you pay for and that has almost never let me down when it comes to buying quality goods like the ones I listed above. (I didn’t even bother listing the pricey Peter McKinnon variable ND filters!!)

What do I expect to get? Old faithful…the Amazon Gift Card.

Totally ok with that. 😉

(works every time)

Don’t Give Up

If you keep going you won’t regret it. If you give up you will.

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If you enjoy these quotes in post every now and then, I encourage you to check out Motivation App.

It gives me a quote each morning that I can then share, favorite, save for later, etc. I’m all for some automated positivity in my life. 😉

2021’s BEST VLOGGING CAMERA

This won’t be replaced for at least 5 years…

I have to admit that I can be a bit of a gear head…but really…who isn’t? 😉

I also have to admit that I am incredibly delinquent in posting about my new favorite piece of gear…the Canon EOS R6.

Let me tell you why the R6 is the BEST camera for you!

It is what the EOS R “should have been”

The EOS R was tempting, but with the crop in 4K, the weird thumb pad on the back, and RF lenses still coming out when it was released…I decided that my Canon 80D was more than enough for my uses. (which you can get crazy cheap right now)

It is the “Goldilocks” of Cameras

I don’t need the Canon R5. It is $1,300 more, uses a CF Express card slot which also costs more (and more for another computer dongle), the file sizes are MUCH bigger (45mp sensor vs 20mp), and did I say it’s over $1,300 more than the R6?

I’d rather have 2 SD Cards slots (which the EOS R and 80D didn’t have), great 4k (now with smaller file sizes with a firmware update), and 1080p at 120 fps recording is enough for my slow motion b-roll needs. (It was good enough for Peter McKinnon for years!)

I has the same autofocus system as the R5, same IBIS system as the R5, can use the same RF Lenses (I would LOVE the RF 15-35mm f2.8…drool factor 11), same batteries (which are the same as my 80D), and more similar features!!

For most people, the only thing it DOESN’T do is 4k 120fps and 4k HD mode (which you need to watch out for overheating with).

Remind me why I waited so long?

He does the best reviews

It’s for the “Prosumer” in All of Us

The Canon R6 is honestly everything 99% of us will need. I am an absolute sucker for the upsell when it comes to quality products and companies…and I almost went for the R5, but the price difference and other downsides I saw (or “pro” level stuff I didn’t need) kept me away.

And MAN AM I HAPPY WITH THIS CAMERA!!!


I won’t ramble on…rather I will say that I can HIGHLY recommend this after filming and shooting a TON on it recently (see recent vlogs). It feels good in the hand, the 4k looks great, super solid, and I know it will last me for years.

If you’re considering the Canon EOS R6…go buy it.

Sony ZV1: The Vlogger’s Camera I Wish I Owned 3 Years Ago

This little camera completely blew me away…

I recently posted a video about starting my second YouTube channel with my wife. She’s a historian that loves seeing places of history and I found I like filming them with her.

In order to get her comfortable vlogging…and more importantly to get her a quality camera that is easy to use…I bought her the Sony ZV1.

Let me say I am IMPRESSED!!!

The picture quality if phenomenal, the ease of use is second to none, and the sound you get from it is pretty good too! You can buy the vlogger’s kit that gives you a memory card and bluetooh handle….I HIGHLY recommend it.

If you have been looking for a good starter and beyond vlogging camera (or a more video focused handheld camera) the Sony ZV1 is ABSOLUTELY the way to go.