“The Rock”

The Rock

Here’s a quick equipment recommendation for anyone using a recent Canon, Nikon, or Pentax digital body. The Rokinon 85mm f1.4 isn’t the best lens in the world — it exhibits a lot of defocus chromatic aberration at its widest apertures and is quite difficult to focus unless you have a body with ‘Live View’ support or a good manual focus screen — but it may be the best ‘portrait’ or ‘wide aperture optimized’ lens you can purchase for under $1000.

It’s being sold for around $250 under several different brand names: Rokinon, Samyang, Vivitar, Polar, Bower, Opteka, and Falcon.

There are some fantastic examples of the capabilities of this lens at Flickr. Note the quality of the in-focus and out-of-focus areas in those shots.

The Alternative Gear & Lenses forum at FredMiranda.com is a great source of information about this lens and other (relatively) inexpensive, yet high-quality bits of glass.