REVIEW: 7artisans 7.5mm F2.8 Fisheye Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available) 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?  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.  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.  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  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  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? Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available) ++++++++++++ Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available) Lahore cathedral - uncorrected JPEG Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available) Lahore cathedral - corrected in DXO @66% and compressed to 95% JPEG setting Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available) Lahore Great Mosque - uncorrected JPEG Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available) 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.