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.

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)

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.

Sponsored by Uppbeat!!!

Remember how I wrote about this brand new music service (Uppbeat) that has royalty music for places like YouTube? Well one of the things I wrote there was that I had applied for their sponsorship program to see if I could get a free year of premium from them.

Well to my great surprise they said yes! They agreed to give me a year of Premium if I made a video talking about the service. I actually had some fun making this video…even though I think it could have been 3 minutes vice 5 min (they required 5 minutes).

I guess you never know what you will get unless you ask!

So far, it’s a pretty great site for what you can get for free and for how inexpensive the premium price is.

I’ve found that their way of keeping copyright strikes off a video doesn’t work smoothly just yet…but if you dispute it, it gets cleared pretty quickly. (I can tell they’re sprinting to smooth things out and add features right now)

They haven’t approved my affiliate request with them yet. But you should check them out anyways…especially if you are always on the hunt for royalty free music for videos.

I wish this site had been around when I started my YouTube channel a couple years back…would have saved me hours of searching for good, free music.

Uppbeat.io

Is That the Mountains or My Kids?

Coffee can help…

Sometimes I wake up and I don’t know if it was the mountains calling me…or if my kids just woke up super early.

That is why God created coffee. ☕

Purchase here…so I can buy more coffee.

I Missed the Cut with Amazon’s Affiliate Program…Then I Got Paid

Funny how things work sometimes…

Last year I was really trying to see if I could get this website to make even a little bit of money. I posted consistently 5-6 days a week for about a year straight and (twice) tried to get an Amazon Affiliate account off the ground.

In the end, I proved what the experts say…

What Do The Experts Say?

I recently received an email from Amazon stating that they were paying me $4.64 for an affiliate account I had previously started.

I was shocked because I didn’t realize that ANY of my affiliate links had ever resulted in sales. I had regularly checked my Amazon Affiliate site to see if I had met the minimum of 3 qualifying sales within 180 days…and I never saw even one. Plenty of clicks…but I never saw my metrics showing a qualifying purchase.

Well…apparently I needed 3…and made 2.

Upon further reflection, I realize that I had proven what the experts keep saying and what various affiliate programs keep emailing me after they turn down my affiliate partner application.

More Volume

Image by John Conde from Pixabay
Image by John Conde from Pixabay

These experts kept saying that I need more volume before anything can really get started on this website. This is true for affiliate links, selling merchandise, trying out Patreon, and anything else.

Again…I posted every day for a year, but the raw website visits are not there…yet.

Volume does not mean volume of posts, it means the attention of more readers who find what I post here interesting, willing to share, like, comment on, or click on what might be an affiliate link. (I do my best to make sure people know that my posts contain affiliate links)

To me that means to keep my posting volume low (for now) and making sure the quality goes up.

Should You Set Goals for a Side Hustle?

Honestly I believe the answer to this question is different for us all. For me…I would say yes but very generic goals.

  1. Make money from this site…eventually
  2. Once I do…make enough to cover basic website costs

However, I am smack in the middle of a full-time career and honestly can’t devote as much time as I might want to my side hustle right now.

For others, your goals may be required in order for you to get any real momentum. If you are hoping that your side hustle can become a full-time gig sooner rather than later…your goals should be SMART.

What Are Your Next Steps?

Ask yourself that question. I did.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For me, I have decided that I want to keep this site going for a long time. I like the format I’m using and I enjoy seeing people come across old posts and like them (thanks WordPress app!). I am one of those people that needs a creative outlet every now and then…and having my own corner of the internet to do that has become a necessity for me.

I am in this for the long haul.

One day I will be looking at retirement. It would sure be nice if my “side hustle” had matured to something more “full-time possible” by then.

Whatever your next steps are, take them.

Best Workhorse Vlogging Lens

This lens does it all for me…

This is an easy one for me. The Cannon 10-18mm lens is what is on my camera about 90% of the time I am using it.

Partly because (for photos) I’ve always been drawn to that wide angle lens look, but (for video) when it comes to vlogging it checks so many boxes.

I do wish that it was a prime lens (ie. a fixed f2.8) but that just makes me work for that good lighting.

If you are considering an “intro” vlogging lens and don’t want to spend a butt load of money…this is the way to go.