Rokinon 85mm T1.5 Cine Compared To The Zeiss CP.2

Rokinon vs Zeiss Challenge

The Rokinon 85mm T1.5 Cine is a very interesting lens and many like the 35mm version a lot, so I had to see what the fuss was all about! Buying lenses is almost an addiction and I have plenty of company with this issue ,so to all my fellow addicts lets see how much quality we get from a $349 cine lens from Rokinon. Did I say $349?  Yes I did! This lens is such a value it’s kind of crazy, but what good is a value if it well, sucks! So I decided to buy the 85mm mainly because I have a the Zeiss CP.2 85mm and I thought it would be fun to compare the two. The Rokinon’s are unique lenses that are full frame 35mm, declicked and dampened from the manufacturer. That’s a big deal. Its a big cash jump to the Zeiss CP.2. The CP.2 has far better mechanics than the Rokinon since it’s a actual cinema lens. The build is far better all around. Lets just focus on image quiality alone for this one because the Zeiss kicks it’s butt hard on build and mechanics.

At work I use the Canon C300 but I own an AF-100. My CP.2 is a PL mount so I need to decide if I want to use the AF-100 for the test or buy the EF mount for the CP.2 at $399. Ouch! Now this is getting expensive. If I go the EF mount direction then it will take longer to complete the test. This test is going to happen over a period of time. I didn’t want to wait to finish it then post the results. Like you I have to work, and editing is a big part of what I do so getting this done in a day isn’t going to happen.

This post will be updated as I have time to test out the Rokinon. I know I made this a challenge but lets be real. The Rokinon wont beat the Zeiss but I think seeing how it compares to it could be interesting or at least let you know how it performs for a $349.00 cine lens.


First Impressions

The Rokinon is lighter than the Zeiss ZF 85mm as well as the CP.2. The body is made of plastic, but the EF mount is metal. It attaches to the C300 with no issues. As far as play is concerned? All EF mount lenses have a little play in them. Not like PL mounts that are solid. The focus is smooth and dampened. The iris has less of a dampened feel to it. I wish it was the same as the focus but I can live with it. Compared to the Zeiss CP.2 it’s less dampened on both. The focus though is also less, but that is to be expected since this is a cine converted stills lens, and no large barrel was added like the CP.2 has. Going back to the weight. The CP.2 isn’t that much heavier. You would think it would be since it has a much bigger body. The distance markings on the Rokinon are lacking. Plenty of room for more marks, and I have to test them to see how accurate they are. The hood is plastic and wont fit on the lens when the lens cap is on. Strange design. I can’t even put it on backwards to store the shade on the lens if the cap is on. I’ll try another brand 72mm cap to see if it works.

Rokinon Frame Grabs

I’m working on a sweep promo today and had a chance to get some shots for the spot. Here are a couple that I like. The bokeh is terrific wide open! I wasn’t expecting it to look this nice and round. It does change shape as you iris down. The image is sharp and I like the contrast. The iPhone grab looks nice. wide open it really draws your attention to the phone. The silhouette also looks nice. Deep blacks and sharp lines around the subject, also like the bokeh wide open. This looks pretty good for a $350 lens.

These three are ungraded frame exports from Premiere Pro CS6.

Rokinon 85mm at 1.4 on Canon C300. Exported Frame from Premiere Pro CS6

Rokinon on the C300 shot at 1.4 focused on the top tip of the phone. Click HERE to see it full size.

Rokinon 85mm at 1.4 on Canon C300. Exported Frame from Premiere Pro CS6 Love that bokeh!

 Click HERE for full size.

Rokinon 85mm at 1.4 on Canon C300. Exported Frame from Premiere Pro CS6. The bokeh is nice and round. Wow!

Click HERE for full size.

Here is the sweeps promo graded with Magic Bullet Colorista II.

Bokeh And Lens Flare Test

I setup my GH3 and did a comparison of the two lenses for bokeh and flare. I really liked the look of the Rokinon wide open but I wanted to see just how good it was stopped down and compare it to the Zeiss CP.2 I was surprised how the test went.

As for the bokeh the Rokinon 8 blade iris looked great wide open at T1.8 but as I stopped down it started to loose the circle and look more like a hexagon. The Zeiss CP.2 14 blade iris created a much better bokeh all the way to 5.6. That was impressive. For this test I preferred the look of the Zeiss CP.2 over the Rokinon. With almost twice as many blades the Zeiss just hands down was the winner for the best bokeh.

Flare Test

I set up a fresnel light on a stand and panned the light across the lens to make it flare. The lenses acted very different. The Rokinon flared more than the Zeiss CP.2 and also had a purple color cast to it. The purple cast was stronger at 2.8. The Zeiss handled the flare much better with very little if any color cast. The lens coating on the Zeiss seems to be better at controlling this color shift. The Zeiss wins this one as well.

More coming soon…….

Sharpness Test

This is tricky since both lenses are full frame and I will be using either a s35 or Micro Four Third Cameras, but then the corners should be very good since the sensor will be using the center of the lens.

I had a quick shoot today in the studio for a run/walk commercial. We have a lot of these in San Diego. Go figure right? I used two Kino Flo Divas and set up the C300 with the Rokinon 85mm at T1.5. Wide open. This lens looks so good and sharp even wide open. This was exported out of Premiere Pro with frame export feature. No editing done to the image.

Click on image to see it in HD resolution.

Rokinon 85mm Wide open. Shot with Canon C300

I think this looks really good. I have no issues at all shooting wide open with the Rokinon 85mm.

A little update since I wrote this post. I now have a C100 and I converted the Zeiss to a EF mount. More testing is on the way but as can see so far the Rokinon is really performing very well for such a inexpensive lens.

Thanks for coming by! Please help support my site by using the links on this page or bookmark these from my favorite retailers, B&H, Adorama, Zacuto, & Think Tank Photo Using the links cost you nothing extra, but it helps offset the cost of running my blog. Thanks again for coming by!

Interested in buying a new camera? Well I have a course on you should watch that will help you pick the right one for the job.

Back to Top