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Review 7-Artisans 7.5mm F2.8 Fisheye - Native mount for M43

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by Paul C, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Paul C

    Paul C Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Oct 29, 2017
    REVIEW: 7artisans 7.5mm F2.8 Fisheye
    7artisans_ 7_5mm_f2_8.jpg
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    The crop factor of Micro 4/3 is great for the telephoto end of the lens range - but terrible for the wide end.


    A "standard" M43 lens of 25mm focal length needs many many lens elements and aspheric or high density glass to resolve well across the film plane - while in the 35mm film era version using 4-5 simple lens elements could create fabulous 50mm F1.7/2.0 lenses at affordable prices. For an ultrawide the problem is even worse. Such lenses are huge, heavy and need 12 or more lens elements with aspheric elements to correct distortions that increase the costs still further.

    So what are the realistic options for an "ultrawide" capability in your camera bag?

    [1] learn panorama techniques - with the fabulous free "Hugin" ot the cheap AppStore "Panorama Stitcher Mini" and a kit zoom set at F8 on a tripod this is great for static panoramas where there is little subject matter in the foreground to suffer parallex error. However in the real world of moving people, clouds scurrying by, waving leaves and traveling without a tripod this isn't always possible.

    [2] try a "wide-angle converter lens" to screw on the front of your kit zoom? Don't dismiss these - for only a few pounds they work great for low-resolution internet "vloggers" but they are way-off having sufficient IQ for creative still photography.

    [3] dig deep into your pockets: If this is your job - then perhaps that's what you need to do - but for us amateurs the ticket prices make me think twice. Today's Amazon UK suggests....amongst others
    • Laowa 7.5mm f/2 Ultra Wide Lens - MFT £554.00 GBP
    • Panasonic 12-35 mm LUMIX G X VARIO Lens - £799.00 GBP.
    • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f4.0 £686.00 GBP
    • Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH £934.93
    • Kowa "PROMINAR 8,5MM F2,8 £830.60 GBP
    • Even the "budget" Samyang 7.5 mm Fisheye F3.5 Manual Focus Lens for Micro 4/3 - costs £249.00 GBP
    [4] Buy an Olympus 9 mm F8.0 Fish Eye Body Cap Lens - there have been some great pictures here so I won't dismiss that as a choice...
    • Olympus 9 mm 1:8.0 £88.00 GBP
    • or pay up for its faster "big brother" the Olympus 8 mm M.ZUIKO Digital ED 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO £599.00 GBP
    [5] Or try a Chinese "generic" 7-8mm fisheye designed for the M43 format from makers such as Cheecar-Fujian or 7-Artisans. I bought the 7-artisans when the price fell in the UK to less than £100 GBP.

    M43 Fisheye lenses are optically and mechanically simpler than rectilinear ultrawides. Because of their wide view and F2.8 aperture - they don't need AF or stabilisation - and so can be created cheaper by new manufacturers.

    My copy of the 7-Artisans lens has been great. I use it on Panasonic-G camera bodies and correct the distortion using DXO-Pro; 2 simple mouse clicks and type 66% into the "distortion-correction" box and you have a rectilinear ultra wide angle image ready to go. At little more than the cost of the Olympus 9 mm bodycap it is way ahead in terms of picture quality for 10x8 prints or showing on a laptop or TV screen.

    Do you need stabilisation and AF? No! Focussing is easy as the DoF is so great and you can handhold a 16mm full frame equivalent at 1/15th second no-problem.
    • At F2.8 the Hyperfocal distance is 1.33 m and Hyperfocal near limit 0.67 m
    • At F5.6 the Hyperfocal distance is 0.67 m and Hyperfocal near limit 0.34 m
    Pixel-peepers will never be satisfied. But no ultrawide lens, whatever the price, has great IQ at the image edges - but at a 7x5 or 10x8 print size or a full screen image on my laptop this lens is just fine. Flare is controlled well (crucial for a fisheye or wideangle) and colour is good. If you really need significantly more than that - then invest in a tripod head that can be adjusted to fix your lens optimally for panoramas and learn how best to use the fabulous Hugin programme.

    _____________
    Key specifications 7-Artisans 7.5mm F2.8

    Autofocus No
    Image stabilization No
    Lens mounts Micro Four Thirds, also - Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X, Sony E
    Maximum aperture F2.8
    Minimum aperture F22
    Number of diaphragm blades 12
    Design: 11 Elements in 8 Groups with UMC multi-layer coating (it has excellent flare control I find - even with the sun in the field of view!)
    Filters - even though the lens is non-rotating as you focus it is no help as filters will not fit as the lens protrudes so much.
    Weight 275 gm; Diameter 63 mm; Length 63 mm
    _____________
    Size & Weight COMPARISON with Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS
    Weight 165gm; Diameter 57 mm; Length 50 mm (bigger with the lens hood reversed for storage in your camera bag. So - the 7-A fisheye is just a centimetre longer and about 100gm heavier than a kit zoom; certainly good to earn a space in even the smallest camera bags.
    _____________

    Personally I would love a Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm F2.8-4.0 lens - but at <1/8th the price of the alternative - the 7artisans 7.5mm F2.8 Fisheye will do just fine for now. It is the same size as a PL 14-42 kit lens and at this size and cost the 7-artisans fisheye travels with me in my daily camera bag - so it actually gets used. With this fisheye, a 14-42 and a 40-150 I have the from the "ultrawide" to 300mm "super-telephoto compression effect" telephoto range covered in a lightweight travel bag. See below for a couple of pictures in "the real world".

    Some reviewers complain that the focus ring gets loose on this lens. It is designed so you can set focus yourself - to match your own camera body. Just set it up once with your focus assist function turned on and tighten the grub screw and you should be OK. I carry a small jewellers screwdriver kit at all times - for computers and spectacles are always getting screws loose that need a fix. I set me fisheye up once - and it hasn't needed any changes since then.

    Here are 2 sample images from a recent trip to Pakistan - all on the standard Aperture-priority auto-exposure either straight out of camera JPEGs or corrected using the de-fishing programme in DXO Pro at 66% distortion correction setting and the basic DXO Pro "fix".

    Has anyone else tried this lens and wants to comment - or have you used the low cost alternative Fujian 7.5mm F2.8 Native M43 lens - pictured here?
    Fujian 7-5mm-Fisheye-Lens.jpg
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    ++++++++++++

    P1300884.JPG
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    Lahore cathedral - uncorrected JPEG

    P1300884_DxO- correction .jpg
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    Lahore cathedral - corrected in DXO @66% and compressed to 95% JPEG setting

    P1300358.JPG
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    Lahore Great Mosque - uncorrected JPEG

    P1300358_DxO- correction .jpg
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    Lahore Great Mosque - corrected @66% JPEG


    So - is the 7-Artisans a "GREAT LENS" ? - No!
    But is it "GOOD ENOUGH"? - well, take a look at my straight out of camera or fix-program photo's and decide for yourself.

    For me, this is certainly good enough for my amateur work - giving me a whole new photographic opportunity for travel pictures on-the-go that just can't be got from any "amateur price" PL lens.

    Best wishes to you all - Paul C in the UK

    PS - I have no conflicts of interest to report in this review - I buy all my own kit (from shallow rather than deep pockets) and take photo's for pleasure!

    +++++++++++++++++++
    PS - just as the "generic" lens makers such as Vivitar, Sigma, Tokina and the dozens of others created the the tools that allowed extra lenses to be afforded and used by most photographers in the film era - I see the rise of a new range of Generic lens makers in China and Korea as the likely saviours of the enthusiast creative photography market. And with the "open format" M43 lens mount - we are the main beneficiaries of their interest. So - please keep posting your reviews of these products - however "unfashionable" the lens brand seems at the time. And for the "pixel peepers" amongst us, please just look away; I want 5x7 or 10x8 prints for my album and screen filling laptop images to show my friends, all delivered with the convenience and weight of M43 cameras and post-processing kept as simple and as automatic as possible.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  2. TheMenWhoDrawSheeps

    TheMenWhoDrawSheeps Mu-43 Veteran

    491
    Jun 15, 2016
    i heard there was some way of naturally defishing the fisheye.
    fisheye in comparison to rectilinear uwa, preserve proportions, so there shouldn´t be any stretching on the edges. in your case, defishing does a little bit to harsh work stretching it quite a bit. or is it just me?
     
  3. RyanM

    RyanM Mu-43 Veteran

    309
    Jun 16, 2017
    Defishing does stretch the corners, but fisheyes are wider than rectilinear lenses of equivalent focal length, so one tends to crop out the most offensive parts of the image.

    @Paul C@Paul C, I would note that you've omitted another option for someone looking to explore rectilinear UWA without spending too much: the SLR Magic 8mm f/4. New, this lens costs less than $150 USD and offers a rectilinear 8mm perspective. The sharpness isn't stunning (notably corners at f/4), but it's actually quite decent. Considering the price, I almost think of it as a "UWA kit lens": a great way to explore UWA and pretty good quality, though there are certainly higher quality options if you're willing to shell out some cash. Some more details (and images) here: Review - SLR Magic 8mm f/4 mini-review

    Compared to a similarly-priced fisheye, you can compose with a rectilinear perspective, rather than composing with a fisheye perspective and defishing in post (hoping that doesn't mess with your composition too much). Of course it also saves the step of defishing in post, though IMO that's a minor consideration.
     
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Nice review!

    My only hesitation with this lens is the availability of used Samyang 7.5mm FE in the same price ballpark and the crop factor.

    That is one lens that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. It's very difficult to get consistent results due to the focusing mechanism and even at f8, you cannot achieve a sharp result across the entire frame. I find the 9mm BCL to give better results and it is consistent in focus.
     
  5. RyanM

    RyanM Mu-43 Veteran

    309
    Jun 16, 2017
    I'm not sure what you mean about the focus mechanism or the inability to get sharp results across the frame; care to elaborate? I've gotten quite good results with mine. I've never used the BCL myself so I can't compare to that lens, but on paper the aperture, close focus ability (combined with the ability to set focus at infinity and forget it, as in the BCL), and rectilinear projection of the SLR Magic weigh heavily in its favor.
     
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    It's just hard to focus. It has that weird lock screw, an extremely short focus throw and infinity is not infinity. I could never get sharp edges even at f8 using magnify to focus. I was happy to get $50 for mine when I sold it, as it ruined far too many photo outings.

    Contrast that with the 9mm BCL and Samyang 7.5mm where I probably have a 95% success rate getting the results I expect

    In my opinion, it has enough resolution for 1080p video. If you use a 16:9 crop with 1080p output, it's an OK lens. For 16-20MP stills, no way.

    *I will give a disclaimer that my lens was purchased for cheap with some light coating scratches on it. But I'm talking in general terms, and you would expect a scratch to only affect a specific portion of the frame.
     
  7. RyanM

    RyanM Mu-43 Veteran

    309
    Jun 16, 2017
    I have the impression that this lens has some copy-to-copy variation in the location of the hard stop. For subjects more than ~1m away, my copy is sharpest at the hard stop, which makes focusing considerably easier, but I've heard reports similar to your experience as well. I agree with you completely that the focus throw is quite short. I like the weird screw lock though, because you can set the lens to infinity focus, lock it in, set the aperture to f/8 (where performance is best), and snap away.

    Anyways, I certainly don't claim the lens is cuttingly sharp or anything. But for a "kit" quality/price lens, it can give decent results for someone wanting to explore rectilinear UWA without shelling out $500+ for a Laowa 7.5mm, Oly 9-18mm, or Pan 7-14mm f/4 (speaking in terms of new prices).
     
  8. Paul C

    Paul C Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Oct 29, 2017
    As always on the forum - thanks for the useful comments and additions of "Ultrawides at a budget" that we should add to the list.
    • SLR Magic 8mm f/4 Lens: Current UK price £229.00
    • Cheecar Fujian 8mm F3.8 C-mount: Current auction site price new £55 GBP
    You are right to champion the Samyang/Rokinon alternative 7.5mm F3.5. For a long time it was the only native M43 mount serious fisheye lens alternative to the branded products from Olympus & Panasonic-Leica....but now competition is increasing our choice.

    I mentioned the Rokinon/Samyang Korean F3.5 lens in my initial suggestions. Although the reviews on MU43 forum are often good, I skipped past that choice myself in favour of the less than half-price 8mm/F2.8 alternatives from China. Perhaps now I am getting better at visualising the "defished" composition in the viewfinder and making more use of M43 fisheyes I should consider trading up! Is the quality really that much better? Is one of us ready to post a head to head review?

    The suggestion of using the small lightweight fisheye lenses designed for drones (SLR Magic 8mm f/4 Lens) or those with C-mounts for CCTV set ups (Cheecar 8mm F3.8 C-mount) I left out because I was looking for a "conventional shooting experience" with a native M43 mount. However you are right to add these to the list to consider when chosing your own ultrawide options against the depth of your pocket!

    SLR Magic 8mm f/4 Lens: Current UK price £229.00
    SLR magic 8mm f4.jpg
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    Cheecar Fujian 8mm F3.8 C-mount: Current auction site price new £55 GBP
    Fujian 8mm f3-8 c mount.jpg
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    I got the minature sized Cheecar Fujian 8mm F3.8 over a year ago (it also appears under many other brand names with superficial changes). It is a stunning buy at about £55 GBP on auction sites or the "Chinese Amazon" Ali-Express shopping platform. I loved it and have had great images from it (some posted in the forum) but it needs very careful setting up for each shot, and is very fragile. It is forever being knocked "off focus". Despite that criticism it gets pictures that are otherwise impossible with a kit lens and the pictures were certainly good enough for casual viewing - they just weren't good enough for my 7x5 and 8x10 prints.

    The ultimate test of "usefulness" was that after the initial fun, the tiny C-mount fisheye stayed at home or lay unused in the bottom of my camera bag while I went back to shooting panoramas; it just wasn't good for fast shooting on the go or durable enought for a few weeks travelling. However it did teach me lots about using a fisheye such that I was happy to spend more money on a more practical version. In contrast the 7-Artisans native M4/3 fisheye is rugged and truely "useable" and is always being put on and off my camera these days. But if £100 GBP is too much to pay for a F2.8 8mm native M43 lens- by all means don't let me put you off C-mount experimentation.

    I went the same route with those small fast c-mount 35mm and 50mm lenses - they were great and inexpensive learning tools that convinced me to trade up for better native M43 options at a later date when I had the confidence to use them. And we often need confidence before spending up - a 35mm F1.4 for a head-shot picture at 0.86m camera to subject distance has a DoF of only 2.1 cm at F1.4 --- and I had a long learning curve with that lens before I felt confident such a tool was good for me! On-line sellers were offerring all the c-mount CCTV 25mm, 35mm and 50mm trio with a C-mount to M43 adapter and a lens hood thrown in last month for about £50.00 GBP - a creative camera bargain! Those lenses taught me that I needed to buy a PL25mm F1.7 and a fast 50mm lens for my style of photography; so those inexpensice CCTV lenses have done their job in teaching me for the price of a pizza dinner for 2!

    Lastly - if you don't have a "electronic viewfinder level" consdier spending a little for a hotshoe spirit level. Shooting with a level horizon makes for an easier defishing process later!
    Hotshoe level.jpg
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  9. Paul C

    Paul C Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Oct 29, 2017
    You are quite correct that there are many different geometric corrections for fisheyes: with effects from "subtle" to "harsh"

    If you try the free-to-download programme Hugin - you will get lots of alternative projections to "defish" with.
    Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 22.58.39.png
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    Although "Hugin" is a very clever and complicated panorama stitching tool - it also doubles as a distortion correction programme. Use your search engine to look for the instructions.

    The other end of the spectrum for me is the wonderful DXO-optics pro 11 programme: often released as a free download to tempt you to upgrade. In that programme use the distortion correction tool - drop down "fisheye" and type in intensity = 66% - all done in a flash!

    First look in the "preset editor"
    Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 23.03.34.png
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    Then toggle "fisheye" and slide intensity to 66% (or just type it in)
    Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 23.15.28.png
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    The next step for me is to create a lens profile for the 7_Artisans fisheye so that I can batch process several images at once. Some kind MU43 reader will be sure to tell us how this is done and come up with even cleverer settings for these lenses.

    For me the convenience of DXO is a winner - and a bonus is that by sticking to a uniform correction geometry I have helped my learning curve to visualise the eventual image from the distorted version in the viewfinder (see my 2 before and after examples posted at the start of this thread).

    Any other ideas for this? Fisheye lenses need defishing control - and I am sure the MU43 Forum members have used other programmes that they might want to flag up?

    best wishes - Paul C
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  10. Christop82

    Christop82 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2016
    Great review. I'm a huge fan of the 7artisans lenses. I have the 35mm f1.2 and 50mm f1.4 for my fuji. The 35mm is the most used lens I own. Don't have this one yet, but will probably pick one up eventually.
     
  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    I tried out a Fuji combo over the summer and REALLY liked the 35mm f1.2. Amazing they can make an f1.2 lens in a veritable pancake form! And it's very usable at f1.2. Got a lot of great pics with that combo. I don't have the Fuji anymore, but have been considering getting one for my m4/3. 35mm is a decent short portrait length on 2x crop.

    I also had the 55mm f1.4, and it was very good for the price, but didn't really seem as special as the 35mm.

    OT for the thread, but if you are looking for a similar Chinese wider prime for Fuji, check out the Zonlai 22mm f1.8. I tried that as well, and it was a very impressive lens at 33mm equivalent. Had a very nice build and optical quality. Much smaller and cheaper than the Samyang 21mm f1.4 or Fuji 23mm options. (of course on m4/3, 20mm f1.7 makes more sense)
     
  12. mike3996

    mike3996 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    222
    Jan 17, 2018
    Finland
    I'm left wondering about this confusion here. "FullHD video" is a target format, a "24x16 print" would be a target format -- "16-20 MP still" is not a target format, it's a source format.

    Does the lens resolve 7-10 MP's worth of information, because that's what you need to print.
     
  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    You can often pick up used Samyang/Rokinon 7.5/3.5 fisheyes for very little more than the 7Artisans lens reviewed here. The Samyang is a superb lens - sharp corner to corner, with great flare resistance and delivering fantastic sun stars. I've upgraded to the Olympus 8/1.8, but tbh, it's no better than the Samyang optically.
     
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Full HD is literally just pixel dimensions - 1920*1080. So is 16 MP. Not sure how they are at odds.
     
  15. mike3996

    mike3996 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    222
    Jan 17, 2018
    Finland
    Sorry, my inner engineer just got himself caught in this dimensional analysis.

    Unless you have a digital picture frame that shows 16-megapixel images then "16 MP" is not a target in the sense I'm trying to convey. FullHD is ~2 megapixels because that's the spec so it's a target. So is a 4-by-6 photo printed at 200 PPI (1 megapixel) or a 50x75 at 150 PPI (80 MP) but that's something you take your source image and post-process it to fit the target...
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 1:05 PM
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    HD phone vs HD cinema screen are not the same, but I think we are meandering into the weeds now.

    The lens is terribly soft and the worst lens I've ever used.
     
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