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by Tim Zurowski on Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:24 pm
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I am considering getting a wide angle lens wider than my Sigma 24-35 f2 Sport. Main uses would be wide angle landscapes and night sky photography. This would be a lens that I would use very infrequent, so I am not wanting to pay more than $500 CAD. I see a lot of people use and recommend the Rokinon lenses. Since I have never owned or used a lens wider than 24mm, naturally I have a few rookie questions :)

1) Are the Rokinon 12 and 14mm lenses basically the same quality, or is one better than the other, and if so why?
2) Which one would you chose? If they are equal, then I would likely choose the wider 12mm.
3) Since these lenses are manual focus only, is that ever an issue for getting sharp images, say for stuff like Milky Way images?
4) If not a Rokinon, are there other options in the same price range?

Much appreciated.
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Tim Zurowski
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by E.J. Peiker on Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:50 pm
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Rokinon makes a 12mm APS-C lens and a 12mm Fisheye - which one are you asking about? The 14mm is a full frame lens. Rokinon does not make a rectilinear full frame 12mm.
 

by Tim Zurowski on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:24 pm
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I have no idea which one I am asking about because I had no idea they made two different models. Which one will work with my D810? I don't even know what the difference is between and APS-C and a fisheye lens. Isn't a 12mm just as 12mm lens? Which one would be best for my suggested uses? This is the problem with having shot with telephoto lenses my whole . . . . I know very little (basically nothing) about wide angle lenses.
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Tim Zurowski
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by MND on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:45 pm
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Tim,

I hear good things about the Irix lenses. The 15mm Firefly f/2.4 version is around $475. Optically the Firefly and Blackstone models are same. They also do an 11mm which E.J reviewed recently but that is f/4 which a bit much for Astro. I realize both are just outside your 12-14mm but only just. Just noticed you said Canadian Dollars in which case it's over your budget,

Irix Review

Cheers
 

by Tim Zurowski on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:52 pm
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Thanks very much Mike I will check it out. I am not stuck on 12 to 14mm. 15mm would be just fine. I just said under $500 CAD since the Rokinon's are well under that. Not opposed to paying a bit more if it is a step up in quality. Any thoughts on the manual focus question? :)
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Tim Zurowski
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by Tim Zurowski on Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:16 pm
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Here's a fairly good comparison: https://blog.foto24.com/comparison-irix-15mm-vs-samyang-14mm/

In almost every case (to my eye) the Irix looks better. I must admit though that I would not have expected to see that much difference between a 14 and 15mm in area coverage.
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Tim Zurowski
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by E.J. Peiker on Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:32 pm
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Tim Zurowski wrote:
I have no idea which one I am asking about because I had no idea they made two different models. Which one will work with my D810? I don't even know what the difference is between and APS-C and a fisheye lens. Isn't a 12mm just as 12mm lens? Which one would be best for my suggested uses? This is the problem with having shot with telephoto lenses my whole . . . . I know very little (basically nothing) about wide angle lenses.


Sure you do ;) do you want a fisheye or do you want a lens designed for an APS-C sensor (DX in Nikon language)?  Those are your options from Rokinon on the 12mm front.  A fisheye records 180 degrees diagonally with curved lines everywhere except through the sensor, an APS-C lens is designed for a cropped sensor camera like a D500 or D7500 but can be used on a D810 in cropped mode.

If you want to go killer wide without a fisheye effect and covering the full-frame sensor, try the Irix 11mm f/4.  The polycarbonate one (Firefly) runs about $500 USD.  You don't need the metal body one - optically it's identical.  here's my review of the lens:

http://www.ejphoto.com/Quack%20PDF/Irix%2011mm%20Review.pdf
 

by Tim Zurowski on Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:50 pm
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Still don't completely understand. Okay, so I get that one is a DX lens, but is the fisheye basically an FX lens? Regardless, based on what I can see, I am leaning towards the Irix 14mm, which is $475 ($596 CAD) at B&H with free shipping to Canada.I think for what I would be doing 15mm will be great; especially when 24mm is the widest I have ever used.

BTW EJ, that last Milky Way photo you posted from Portal AZ is about as good as I have ever seen for a Milky Way image. I would love to learn how to do that!!
Cheers
Tim Zurowski
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by E.J. Peiker on Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:58 pm
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Yest, the rectilinear lens is for DX, the fisheye is a full frame lens. Thanks for the kind words. That kind of photography is difficult but I will likely feature how I got the shot in one of my upcoming newsletters, maybe the summer one due out at the end of June.
 

by MND on Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:43 am
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Tim Zurowski wrote:
Thanks very much Mike I will check it out. I am not stuck on 12 to 14mm. 15mm would be just fine. I just said under $500 CAD since the Rokinon's are well under that. Not opposed to paying a bit more if it is a step up in quality. Any thoughts on the manual focus question? :)



Hey Tim,

As you probably know on some lens you can go past the infinity point, some lenses have a stop at true infinity. The Irix lenses are pretty unique in that you can adjust the infinity stop position with a tiny adjustment screw. Another advantage of an Irix lens is that they have a focus lock. What you would be able to do is prefocus on infinity during daylight and lock the focus for nighttime. Another option on lenses without a lock is to tape the infinity focus point to stop it moving inadvertently.

I don’t own a Irix myself but did a fair bit of research on wide angle lenses suitable for Astro for my uncoming trip to Arizona. 

I tried a 14mm Rokinon but it was bad. I looked at the Sigma 14mm Art lens which at f/1.8 would have been great for Astro. I looked at the Irix 15mm which at f/2.4 was pretty good. My dilemma with both the Sigma and the Irix was that I would not be able to use them easily on my Sony, great for the Nikon but neither had a manual aperture ring, the Sigma did not have manual focus.  In the end with B&H having a great deal on the Zeiss 15mm that’s what I purchased. 

Manual focusing is not difficult you can use live view and zoom in really close. 

Here’s a full review of the 15mm Irix. 

Irix 15mm Review

Cheers
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:54 am
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MND wrote:
 Another option on lenses without a lock is to tape the infinity focus point to stop it moving inadvertently.


That is only true for lenses designed with a direct heliocoid focusing mechanism.  One can not insure that the focus stays in place doing this with a focus by wire lens (all Sony E/FE lenses for example).  It should be true for all manual focus lenses though.
 

by MND on Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:37 am
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Agreed E.J.

I forgot to mention for Tim that the Green Dot focus confirmation works with manual focus lenses. This may need some AF Fine Tuning for great focussing accuracy. With wide angle lenses you have much great DOF for a given f stop anyway.
 

by Tim Zurowski on Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:16 am
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Thanks guys . . . . . . looks like the Irix is the clear winner for my needs. I would almost certainly get the Firefly version, but the Blackstone is only $100 US more. Other than metal casing and more sold construction, are there any other areas where the Blackstone might be better?
Cheers
Tim Zurowski
www.timzphotography.com
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:47 am
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
Yest, the rectilinear lens is for DX, the fisheye is a full frame lens.  Thanks for the kind words.  That kind of photography is difficult but I will likely feature how I got the shot in one of my upcoming newsletters, maybe the summer one due out at the end of June.




Wonderful milky way image! Most of the images I see have the colour balance wrong, but yours looks great.
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:51 am
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Tim, something to keep in mind is dew. Depending on the location/conditions where you will be shooting, dew will form quickly on the front element and once there, you're out of business for the night(unless you have a way to warm it up). For quick grab shots it won't be an issue, but if you're out for very long, it's a session ender. Around my neck of the woods, dew is a problem 99% of the time. You can buy dew heaters like are used for telescopes and run on a 12v battery, or you can tape a hand warmer to the lens.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:41 am
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Tim Zurowski wrote:
Thanks guys . . . . . . looks like the Irix is the clear winner for my needs. I would almost certainly get the Firefly version, but the Blackstone is only $100 US more. Other than metal casing and more sold construction, are there any other areas where the Blackstone might be better?

See my review on the 11mm I linked above - I cover the differences between the Firefly and Blackstone.  The differences are identical for the lens you are looking at.
 

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