Three Lenses With Same Specs, Which Would You Choose?

Though they've each been a player for some time, Samyang, Bower and Rokinon have each grown in popularity over the course of the last year or so. Recently releases by Samyang and Rokinon in particular have garnered a lot of attention from gear heads. But unlike mainstays like Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Tamron, consumers generally aren't as familiar with Samyang, Bower and Rokinon. So I ask you, which would you buy?

So let's take three very comparable lenses in the Rokinon, Samyang and Bower 85mm f/1.4 lenses for a Canon full frame DSLR:

Bower: $299


Samyang: $299


Rokinon: $279


So tell us Fstoppers... which of the three strikes your fancy? Tell us why in the comments below.

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Julien Martlet's picture that a joke? You know those three lenses are all the same, all manufactured by Samyang and branded under three different names depending on the market. There's no difference between them apart from the branding.

Jaron Schneider's picture


Jorge Tamez's picture

Hmm... Interesting, I didn't know that. Is that the same for their wide angle one (I forgot the actual focal lengths)? I was looking for one and those three brands came up

Actually I've seen some tests that showed that Samyangs are a bit better than re-branded versions of the same lens.

Simon Jerina's picture Germany these lenses are branded Walimex (pro). I´ve got the 8mm Fisheye for about 250€; great lens for the low price. So in this case I would buy the cheapest one cause they´re all the same..

I think that was the point Julien, to see if branding is as big a player in the industry when it comes to cameras/lenses and accessories. There's a lot of connotations when it comes to certain brands such as manufacturing, quality of the products, customer services and so on. This just seems to be a little experiment on the topic.

the_pro_amateur's picture

I don't get the "experiment".  Why would you ask which someone would buy, and just show a picture and a price?  I guess if someone gets a kick out of posting an update tomorrow saying "HAHAHAHA They're all the same!"

pretty much figured that's the case. so for me, based on:

the fact that they all look (near) identical (so far as I can tell anyhow)
they're three names I know little to nothing about
there's no info what so ever provided on any of them...

I simply went for price for my choice

yes, because that is the kind of silly things Jaron Schneider wants to waste everyone's time on, i find quite a of his posts to be.... time wasting

everyone else at fstoppers isn't so bad

Brooks Murfey's picture

All lenses sold under the Samyang, Rokinon, Bower and Vivitar brands are the exact same lenses. The original manufacturer is Samyang, and the lenses are sold to the other 3 companies and re-branded. There isn't a thing about them that's different other than the brand name on the lens and a slight variation in pricing.

Arek Rajtar's picture

There is no such a thing like "same" in the branding business. There are always some differences, some of them not very obvious. It is a common sense "tradition" that anything which is a subject to the brand-engineering is NOT EXACTLY as good as the "parent" brand. Usually, this is reflected in the price, without undercutting the market position of "parent company". GMC Vibe is Toyota  Corolla in a different skin, but it is different than Matrix and Scion. Lenses are less complex, but still offer an opportunity to play the brand-engineering game.

I'd pick the Rokinon and buy lunch with the saved $20 over the other 2.

Daniel R. Chang Acat's picture

What about Rokinon's "Cine" series lens?

The Cine lenses are still shared between them all.

Stephen Hunt's picture

The Bower's photographed at a nicer angle, thus it is nicer!  

Matt Tinney's picture


Max Ocampo's picture

they are all the same; so, the one with the lowest $$ tag

Max Ocampo's picture

thought you'd trick us with the photos of the lenses in slightly different angles? :-P

Paul's picture

What a really stupid thing to put up. I'm now stopping all fstoppers posts. I hate my time being wasted by this kind of useless rubbish.

Arturo Mieussens's picture

Then why waste more time commenting?

dosels22's picture

Rokinon. Just like the perceived brand better. Especially since the Cine lenses.

All the same lens, I will pay less when ever I can. Providing it's value for money.

mark hoy's picture

Or buy the Canon 85mm f/1.8 for $359? Reviews of the Samyang at f/1.4 are poor so defeats the object of a cheap f/1.4?

Andy Kerr's picture

I've heard of Rokinon, and it's cheaper.

Thomas Lawn's picture

They're all the I'd buy the Rokinon, which happens to be slightly cheaper.

Stefan Parol's picture

Its so funny thats theres always that one guy who gets totally pissed:-)

Anthony Lam's picture

This is what we call OEM. In Malaysia we only have Samyang. No other brand.

Gabriel Mingorance's picture

I noticed they all look exactly the same except the the rokinon comes with a rear lens cap for a cheaper price :P

aaronchuck's picture

Crap crap and crap.

Vidar Mathisen's picture

samyang, i got a fisheye lens from samyang and its awesome and NOT crap like one moron commented above

Vidar Mathisen's picture

Samyang has been making lenses for decades

Rokinon as it is the cheapest of the same lenses :)

Someone give Paul a hug.

Lloyd Grace's picture

I'd get the Rokinon because I already did - yesterday!

Darren Williams's picture

but this is a waste as a post though... no specs on lens, no MTF charts for each of the lens... nothing

Sieg Martil's picture

do you really need the specs and mtf chart for each lens? they would all be the same across the board as they are the same exact lens.

Arturo Mieussens's picture

They are the freaking same. This post is all about what reactions a brand name provokes. Those who know they are the same choose the cheaper one, those who don't react on their perceived value of the brand, which is interesting since these, the vivitar and the walimex are all exactly the same lens, all made by samyang. Any difference in reviews is sample variation.

Crap?, these are very good performing lenses, better than the nikon 85 1.4D and on par with the G. The greatest bang for the buck you will see anywhere.

Jens Marklund's picture


razvanamarandei's picture

i got the samyang 85mm, f 1.4 for video recording with nikon d800. excellent lens. For photo i will get the Nikon 85mm because of auto-focus. i can't wait to do some tests ...

Sieg Martil's picture

From these three, I'd pick the the Rokinon. It's cheaper than it's triplet siblings and I've used Rokinon for years and they've been great.

Lorenzo P's picture

I personally own the the Rokinon 85mm. I paid $230 and this lens kicks A...... This is is extremely sharp!!!

Rick Massie's picture

I own the Bower version, but would choose the Rokinon since it seems to have a mounting alignment marker (the white dot) to help me change lenses when it's dark. Much easier than looking on the mount for a dark red dot!

Joe McDonald's picture

Anybody know the name of the company in japan that acts as a middle man for tech companies where they exchange ideas, resources, labor. End result is companies like Tamarac, Nikon, Canon, etc. end  result appears that they all end up with the same same product.  I heard about this from an American lens designen engineer who works for a lens manufacture, but I can't remember the name of the company.

Spy Black's picture

Actually, there is an answer. Buy the Samyang. Besides the fact that your lens would bear the name of the actual manufacturer of the lens, the Bower and Rokinon lenses are typically repackaged returned lenses that Adorama and B&H re-sell as new. There are others as well (J&R come to mind), but these two are top dog at this. Not that this kind of stuff can't happen with the Samyangs, it can, but typically only if you order it from Adorama or B&H, both which are notorious for re-selling returned goods as new.

So the answer is buy the Samyang, and don't order it from either of these two distributors. They give a whole new dimension to the term "resellers".

yourgoo's picture

Acctually I dont have time for test and this kind of revies as I am busy using my Samyang( Bower, Rokinon and you forgot to mention Falcon and probably some other names as well) lenses to do some work.

John_Skinner's picture

I've had the 8mm Bower on my DX body and have taken some real money makers with it. Before I had made the purchase, I read one guy's extensive testing between the Nikkor 10mm and the Bower 8mm. His findings showed comparable or better in some cases. I was SOLD for that price. Never looked back.

Friendly Photo Zone's picture

At least the Vivitar looks noticeably different, which I guess is why it wasn't included in this list.

There's also an issue with the fisheye lens having a different claimed focal length between these brands, even though they're all the same lens. Vivitar claims theirs is a 7mm while all the other brands claim 8mm.