This is the first “Why I Love…” article that features a third-party lens. The Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS was the very first prime lens that I purchased for my Fujifilm X-E1 when I was just getting into the Fuji system (you can read my review of it here). It’s the oldest lens in my lineup (not including the many vintage lenses I’ve acquired…). Despite being the first, it’s one of my least-used lenses today. Five years ago I used this lens regularly. I had the Fujinon 18-55mm f2.8-f/4 and this Rokinon 12mm f/2, and I used them about equally. Once I got a few vintage primes, the zoom lens was utilized less frequently (I’m not a big fan of zooms, even though Fujifilm does have some excellent options), and I soon sold it off. Not too long later I sold my X-E1 to buy an X100F. Even though I didn’t have a camera to attach it to, I kept the Rokinon 12mm.
When I once again got a Fujifilm interchangeable-lens camera, I regularly attached the Rokinon lens to it. However, as time went on, I used the lens less-and-less. It has nothing to do with the quality of the glass, which is quite good, especially considering how inexpensive this lens is. The reason why I employ the Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens less frequently now is because of the focal-length. The 18mm-full-frame-equivalent focal-length of this lens is just a little too wide for my current tastes. Still, it’s sometimes nice to go ultra-wide, and I’m glad that I have this lens for those occasions.
The Rokinon 12mm f/2 can turn an ordinary scene into something extraordinarily! The lens is both challenging and rewarding. If you want more dramatic pictures, this lens is an excellent place to start—just shove the glass right into the scene! It’s also an excellent option for astrophotography. Why I love this Rokinon lens is because it increases the drama of the picture, and can be extremely rewarding to use. And even though I use it less now, I’ve certainly got my money’s worth out of it!
Interestingly, Rokinon recently released this lens but with autofocus.
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Rokinon 12mm f/2 with Fujifilm X-E1*:
Rokinon 12mm f/2 with Fujifilm X-T30 & X-T1:
*Note: the Fujifilm X-E1 pictures were captured before I began making Film Simulation Recipes.