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Samyang/Rokinon 100mm F/2.8 Macro Lens Announced For Under $600

By Anthony Thurston on April 2nd 2015

We have seen the rumors, and the Samyang teases over the last week. Today, it was made official, and Samyang/Rokinon announced their new 100mm F/2.8 Macro lens.


Mirrorless shooters, in particular, may be chomping at the bit for this lens more than others, as the lens will be available in virtually every mount: Fuji, Sony, M 4/3, etc. The new lens will feature true 1:1 macro capability with a minimum focusing distance of 1′.  You can see the rest of the specs listed below:

Samyang/Rokinon 100mm F/2.8 Macro Lens Specs

  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • One High Refractive Index Element
  • One Extra-Low Dispersion Element
  • Ultra Multi-Coating
  • 1:1 Magnification, 1′ Minimum Focus
  • Internal Focus; Manual Focus Design
  • Non-Rotating Filter Mount
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

Unfortunately for Samyang/Rokinon, the early review of the lens is not favorable in comparison to the Canon 100mm F/2.8 (non-L), at least according to Sweedish website Fotosidan, which said the lens could never match the Canon in sharpness (at F/2.8-F22). That is not a good sign, especially since they weren’t even testing it against the Canon L version.

That said, I won’t condemn a lens over one ‘bad’ review (they actually liked the lens other than how it compared to the Canon) – especially with the hit-or-miss nature of Samyang/Rokinon lenses. This site could have just gotten a ‘miss’ copy.

If you are interested, the new lens is available for pre-order over on B&H now for $549 and is expected to start shipping on April 27th.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Stephen Glass

    I’ve always been sorry when buying a 3rd party lens unless it’s a wide angle. In this case much macro work is done w/manual focus. So looking forward to seeing more reviews on it.

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  2. Scott Kretschmann

    Only 1 E in Swedish, guys ;)

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  3. Michael Old

    I am curious to see a couple more reviews of this lens to see if it is actually like that review or if it is sample variation.
    If it is a very good lens, then $550 even if it doesnt have AF is not a bad price.
    If it isnt as good then $550 might be pushing it.

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  4. Rich Roth

    It is hard to understand how one can trust the judgment regarding the performance or value of a lens, or any product for that matter, without firsthand knowledge/testing of the item, or at least numerous reputable reports from which to base in opinion. Until then, anything said is conjecture. Furthermore, did anyone, including the author (Anthony Thurston) actually read and bother to translate and understand the article from the Swedish website Fotosidan?
    The first of Thurston’s errors is that the Fotosidan test compared the Samyang lens to the Canon L when he says “(non-L)”. The second is that Fotosidan never says “the lens (Samyang) could never match the Canon in sharpness (at F/2.8-F22)”. The test images presented by Fotosidan were only at one aperture. The aperture for the Samyang V-DSLR 100 mm t/3.2 was t/4 and was f4 for the Canon EF 100 mm f/2,8L IS USM.” At the very least he should have been consistent and degraded the Samyang all the way to f32 as both the Canon and the Samyang stop down to f32.
    Furthermore, Thurston somehow leaves out additional Fotosidan comments including: “Samyang lens weighs approximately 100 grams more and considerably sturdier appearance. Canon lens feels something plastigt (Plastic) while Samyang lens is built in metal…. Focusing is smooth with just enough resistance.” Maybe the most important Fotosidan observation left out of the SLR Lounge article is: “This means that the difference in sharpness and detail reproduction are hard to see in normal use.” At macro shooting is autofocus rarely necessary. Therefore, Samyang be an affordable alternative to Canon and Nikon 100mm makrotelen.”

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  5. Rafael Steffen

    There is not point on lauching a new and cheaper lens that the performance is lower than it’s competitors.

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  6. Dave Haynie

    I don’t get it… is this supposed to be Samyang/Rokinon stepping up to a cheap higher-quality option? It doesn’t make much sense. Don’t get me wrong, loves me some macro lenses. I have the Canon f/2.8 100mm USM… slightly smaller, slightly lighter, ultrasonic autofocus (even if you don’t use it for macro shooting, still handy when used at normal distances), and full electronic coupling for the same price. Well, I guess the Roki’s got one more aperture blade. Ok, it’s not the “L”, it doesn’t have IS, but still, the Canon’s a fine lens.

    And then there’s the same one for micro four-thirds. Now things just get crazy. So I have the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 macro. Um… the Roki actually grows in length for mirrorless, of course… so it’s basically twice the length and over 3x the weight of the Zuiko. That matters more for my m43 system than Canon (well, ok, I do have the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, which is a big lens, about the size of a FF 80-300 f/4-5.6). There’s no AF, while the 60mm has not just AF, but three zone AF to speed things up, depending on how you use it. No mention if the Roki’s even got an encoder on it — would I need to set the FL manually every time to couple with IBIS?

    I guess it’ll be interesting to see if this is some kind of ART or better class lens — that would be interest at $550, maybe. And while it’s nice to have the multi-platform love here — they didn’t leave anyone out — I’m not sure just where this flies vs. the existing macros.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Yeah, but the problem is, “word” won’t really get out, or be final, about any new Rokinon’s longevity for another year or so at least. This is clearly a long-term game for Rokinon, either way, and that’s good news no matter what. I hope they re-make the wider angle primes with solid, Art/L grade build quality; and I also hope they do it while staying manual focus. (Sorry, folks who want AF, but this is Rokinon’s niche, and MF lenses are AWESOME for certain things. The long, smooth focus throw is not something I’m willing to give up.)

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    • Dave Haynie

      If they’re hitting Art/L class, and if they’re solving their consistency problem, then this would become pretty attractive for some purposes. The lack of AF isn’t much of an issue in macro mode anyway, though I would at least hope that, at those prices, they’re including a chip so the camera can recognize the lens. And yeah, I agree, they’re in it for the long haul. I’m pretty happy with the one Rokinon I own — an 8mm fisheye for m43. I never had desire for a fisheye before, but given the “de-fisheye” potential of LR and PS, and the low price of the Rokinon vs. an Olympus or Panasonic, it was an easy decision. And it’s well made, but it’s also a $200 lens.

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  7. Ed Rhodes

    i look forward to the day when rokinon/samyang starts making AF lenses. love my 14mm MF, but only thing keeping me from buying any others is lack of AF.

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  8. Matthew Saville

    Keep in mind, also, that while $550 may be a lot to pay for a manual focus “cheap-o” macro lens, A Sigma Art Macro will probably cost about $1K, and a new Canon / Nikon macro (for the 50+ MP crowd) would cost at least $1500, plus of course last but not least, if Zeiss ever made an Otus Macro, it’d be $3-5K.

    Just a little perspective. Personally I’m all in favor of the affordable Tokina and Tamron macros, and the stabilized Sigma EX macro, of course. Of all the macros out there right now, I have my eyes set on the Sigma 150 and 180 2.8’s, because they both offer something that neither Canon or Nikon seem to have cared about- f/2.8 in a focal length longer than ~100mm… Either Sigma on a crop camera doubles as a wildlife telephoto lens, especially on a crop sensor…

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    • Kyle Stauffer


      Not to get off topic, but you mentioned 180mm. I’ve been looking into buying a used Nikon 180mm 2.8. They’ve been around forever (still sold new) and go used every once in a while for $300-$330 for a good one. I’ve never used one but hear of how sharpness, color and bokeh are so superb in a bullet proof affordable lens.

      I’ve come across the Sigma 150/180 macro’s and have wondered if it would be money better spent since it would have a dual purpose. Now that I have a 100 mm macro, I’m finding it harder to decide.

      I’d appreciate your thoughts.

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    • Matthew Saville

      The older Nikon is a beast, but don’t expect it to autofocus quietly, or even accurately. It’s decently sharp, and bokeh is hard to complain about on a 180mm lens, and of course it’s got build quality in spades, if you want a lens that you can use in self defense.

      But yeah, personally I’m a huge fan of dual-purpose lenses. If you’d rather own a killer 150mm or 180mm lens instead of a 70-200mm, and would therefore prefer modern AF and stabilization, then don’t bother with the Nikon 180, just get one of the Sigmas.

      Sigma also has a much older un-stabilized 150 2.8 EX DG, which I owned once long ago, and that lens is also incredibly sharp if you’re on a budget and willing to buy used. Throw it on a monopod, and you’ve got a 70-200 killer, a 100 macro killer, …all for about $450-$550 used…

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    • adam sanford

      Yep, I love me a dual-purpose lens. I have the 100L macro as a rockin short tele and the new 24-70 F/4L IS has a great impromptu 0.7x mag macro if you don’t mind a comically short working distance (it’s more for snapping flowers on a hike and you only want to carry one lens).

      Canon (with native glass) is hurting on the ‘longer’ macro/tele option like the 150 and 180 that you speak. Canon has a solid 180 f/3.5L macro, but it lacks IS and the AF is considered one of the slowest of Canon’s L lenses. So it’s more of a dedicated macro than a multipurpose tool.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      Gentlemen, Thank you for the reply’s!

      I think one of the Siggy’s will be my next lens. I just bought a used 80-200 2.8 (two ring version) zoom so the 180 Nikon would be a little redundant other than the better sharpness (So I’ve heard).

      Maybe one day I’ll have enough money to be able to blow on classic lenses for nostalgia feel, collection, and the ability to say “they don’t build them like they used to”. Hahaha

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    • Rafael Steffen

      I totally agree.

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  9. Matthew Saville

    Yeah, for $550 this lens is going to have to 1.) be sharp enough to efforltessly resolve 50+ megapixels, and 2.) give Sigma Art lenses a run for their money, build-quality-wise.

    I think Rokinon can pull off both, but the latter being more of a surprise to me of course.

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  10. adam sanford

    I’ll reserve my judgment on how reasonable the pricing is until reviews comes in. Their new 135 f/2 is freaking sharp — it surpassed even the great 135 f/2L (if you don’t mind it being MF). RokiBowYang is turning into the ‘manual focus Sigma’ of late. :-)

    This *specific* lens is a pass for me as I’ve got the Canon 100L and it’s a gem. We file these 1:1 lenses under ‘macro’ in our heads, but give it AF with a focus limiter and it’s a killer short tele as well.

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  11. robert s

    $550 for a manual focus macro lens? you so crazy!

    ill take the stellar Tokina 100 2.8 with autofocus that costs $380 with 3 years warranty vs rokinons’s 1 year.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      For not much more money you could get a used Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR. Proven to be sharp, AF, and VR.

      Sam/Rok/Bow is getting pretty proud of their stuff and are starting to get a little overzealous on their pricing

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    • Dave Lyons

      I think i’m going to finally get a dedicated macro next week and I lovely my samyangs but my $$$ is either going to the tokina 100mm or maybe figure out which old nikon micro i could pick up on the cheap and also get something else i need.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Robert, people pay well more than that for manual focus only lenses all the time. AF is not the end all be all of a lens, in fact, many – like myself in many situations – prefer to manual focus if the moment allows.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      That Tokina is awesome too. Except how it focuses. I went with the Nikon 105mm for Macro.. phenomenal lens, which can often be found for $500ish used. Or wait for a Nikon sale and get it for $800 brand new. The best part about having a great macro lens on the longer end is portraits … which AF/VR works great for. Manual Rokinion? No thanks.

      I’ve never been impressed with Rokinon image quality, decent for the price but not exceptional.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      I’m with Robert. I ordered the Tokina earlier this week. The Nikon 105 is roughly $350 more (Which to me is far more than “not much more” . From the testing/samples I’ve seen, the only noticeable bonus with the Nikon is VR. I’d only use that for low light portrait work in which case the 85 will most likely be mounted. Just my .02

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    • Stephen Jennings

      Tokina is slightly softer fully open with a bit more vignetting and distortion. Stopped down I believe the Tokina is sharper than the Nikon. Basically the Nikon is better for portraits if that’s your thing, and the Tokina is better for actual macro work …… for half the price. Really can’t go wrong with that.

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    • Steve VanSickle

      I’ve heard a lot of great reviews of the Tokina macro, but for 1:1 reproduction, I tend to go manual focus anyway. For the 100-ish mm range macro, nothing beats my Kiron 105mm f/2.8. That lens is absurdly sharp.

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