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.

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.

Setapp: The Superhero App Subscription Service for Mac and iOS

It saves me just in time…every time…

It seems that every time I write about Setapp it is when it saves my day. Yep, Setapp saved my bacon right when I needed it most…again.

Simon Sinek has a podcast called A Bit of Optimism and I have been making my way through every single episode. Like most things of his, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out…a free, 30 minute podcast, that will uplift anyone who listens to it. Guaranteed.

the most recent Simon Sinek podcast

This podcast has caused me to think a lot more about what “life lessons” I have learned over my career. Specifically in leadership, service, and how to leave a positive impact on the world.

Last Thursday, as I’m thinking about capturing these thoughts, I opened up Ulysses to start jotting down notes and I get a “Subscribe monthly or yearly” screen. My notes were now read only and I couldn’t add any content to it.

Subscriptions

Now don’t get me wrong. I COMPLETELY understand why developers have moved to a subscription based model and I harbor no ill will towards them at all. There is no such thing as a free lunch right? These folks have to make a living too.

What this shift has caused me to do though, is really scrutinize what apps are most important to me. Ulysses is normally one of those apps. I used it through my Master’s Degree program, I keep future writing ideas in it, I use it to publish here 99% of the time, and it really is a pleasure to use.

Ulysses pricing is quite reasonable for all it gives you across Mac and iOS and if I were to subscribe to one or two services…it would be Ulysses and my todo app of choice.

As I was starting to put together the reasons I was going to tell my wife why I wanted to spend $50 to subscribe to an app that I love using, use often, but that has not given me a monetary return on investment (yet) – I remembered Setapp. In fact, Setapp has Ulysses amongst its suite of available applications that is covered in its Netflix-like subscription model.

BINGO!!

I open up Setapp on my Mac and search for Ulysses.

I download the app to my Mac, open it up, and boom! All of my notes are there, ready to be edited. I can now delete the Mac App Store version of Ulysses and I’m ready to go.

Now to figure out how to get this to work on my iOS Ulysses app…since it still seemed to be tied to my now expired subscription.

Well…Setapp has that figured out too.

Notice that little iOS app button?

Setapp thought of that and I was surprised at how easy they make it to get your iOS app to sync up with your Setapp subscription apps. I just clicked on that little iOS app button, Setapp gave me two QR codes to scan with my iPhone – first to download the app and second to open it under the Setapp subscription account.

Viola!

I was now up and running. SO FREAKING SIMPLE.

Setapp For the Win

There you have it. Not only did Setapp make switching my subscription simple…it did it with one of the highest quality writing applications available for Mac and iOS.

Spoiler alert…I do NOT have any sort of affiliate association with Setapp, so I don’t get anything if you click any links or sign up to try the free trial. I just think they are an amazing service that has A LOT of great applications available.

Maybe you will too. 🙌🏻

The iPhone 12 Review Everyone Reads

Daring Fireball…

I try to keep two distinct readers in mind with these annual reviews of new iPhones. First, you, today — you probably want insight to help you decide, to some degree, whether you should upgrade from whatever iPhone you currently own (and you probably do own an iPhone already) to one of this year’s new ones, and if so, which one? Second, me, in the future — I want to look back and use what I write now as a resource to remember what was new with the 2020 iPhones.

As always…great review over at DF.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro

What if 80’s Movies Were Filmed With the Canon R5?

ignoring the overheating issue…

There has been a myriad of Sony vs Canon camera reviews released recently. If you watch an occasional YouTube video or Vlog at all, then I guarantee you have seen them.

Recently my wife and I have been making our way through some classic 80’s movie series like Beverly Hills Cop (I never knew #3 was so bad), Lethal Weapon, Tom Cruise flicks…and more.

Watching each of these in close succession, I noticed how the image got sharper as we got later in a series. Even before digital cameras, film making progressed in picture quality. Beverly Hills Cop is classic Eddie Murphy comedy and 80’s action all artfully crafted together. However, the third movie in that series, I literally couldn’t make it past the first 5 minutes before I had to turn it off. IT-IS-AWFUL.

What struck me about this particular movie was that the picture quality was MUCH higher than the very first Beverly Hills Cop…but Eddie Murphy’s stardom couldn’t overcome the choppy editing and horrendous dialogue.

Here…try watching a couple minutes of the very beginning of the movie.

Beverly Hill Cop 3 opening scene

I know right!!!

Who in the world did they get to put this together?

I know that people say it all the time, the tech doesn’t matter…the story does. This dichotomy between the first and third movies was a clear example of that to me. I don’t know why that fact jumped out to me so much, but it did.

Partly this makes me feel better…it should make you feel better too. Newer and “better” camera gear WILL NOT automatically make your vlogs, short films, videos better.

So what if these movies were filmed with the Canon R5?…Answer: It wouldn’t change a thing.

Story is paramount. (and in big films acting matters too)

I’ll leave you with the opening scene of Beverly Hills Cop 1…in all it’s grainy humor and glory.

even the credits are fun to watch!

Shortcuts for Duck Duck Go

At first glance I said…huh?

I have been using DuckDuckGo for several years now. Recently I was talking to a friend about this, and she explained that while she likes the idea of DuckDuckGo, she still thinks she would occasionally need Google. “Then just bang Google,” I responded, and she looked at me like I just got off a spaceship.

Such useful trick if you don’t want Google to know everything you ever search the internet for. Duck Duck Go is a solid search engine for the privacy it gives you…knowing these shortcuts make it that much better.

Duck Duck Go Bangs — MacSparky