With the wholesale adoption of interchangeable-lens compact (ILC) cameras by major manufacturers, third-party lens makers are churning out glass for a new class of largely crop-sensor shooters. One such recent release is Rokinon’s 50mm f/1.2 AS UMC, a fast optic that ships in four mounts: Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X (our test model), Micro Four Thirds, and Sony E. Depending on which mount you use, this $549 (street) lens has a full-frame equivalent focal length of 75mm (on APS-C sensors) or 100mm (on Four Thirds).
Aesthetically-minded shooters will be happy to learn that this 50mm comes not only in standard black but also in silver for all mounts save the Canon. Like all Rokinon glass, it must be focused manually—no autofocus. The 62mm filter mount in front does not rotate, good news for photographers who shoot with polarizers. Its optical formula comprises nine elements in seven groups, including a pair of aspherical elements to minimize chromatic aberration. A new ultra multi-coating on the outer surface of the front element is designed to reduce flare and ghosting.
This lens balanced nicely on our test camera, the Fujifilm X-T1, despite its size: nearly a quarter-inch longer than the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2, for instance. But it weighed only slightly less than that 56mm. True to the ILC ideal, it’s significantly lighter than full-frame lenses with equivalent focal lengths.
We appreciated its smooth turning radius of 160 degrees, less than the Fujifilm’s 220 degrees whose “focus-by-wire” system made the turning radius seem very slow. The focusing numbers on the Rokinon’s barrel are marked in feet (orange) and meters (white) and were large and easy to read.
In addition, an improved hood, included with the lens, now snaps on very securely. Trying it attach it, we were initially afraid to push the hood too hard for fear of breaking it; after applying some elbow grease however, we were impressed by how nicely it locked into place.