8mm f3.8 CCTV Fisheye mini review and samples

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by shesmu, May 28, 2016.

  1. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 18, 2013
    Mil-0838 is cheap no name fisheye lens for Micro 4/3 adapted from CCTV. It costs around $75 on Ebay as of May 2016. It’s literally no name as all the titles on its packaging are ‘Mirrorless’ and ‘Photo Lens’.

    Mil-0838 lens on Olympus E-M1 body.


    Weight 107 g, diameter 63 mm, length 39 mm (117/67/41 with front cap).
    Diagonal field of view: 180° in specs, about 170° in real life.

    The lens in manual, no electronics involved. The body is entirely metal. It’s so small that it feels sturdy in the hand despite its pretty light weight. My variation of the lens includes integrated hood, knobs on focus and aperture rings and native MFT mount. There are other variations around, which may include no hood, smaller hood, no ring knobs and C Mount with MFT adapter.

    Authentic Chinese Latin typography on the front side clearly witnesses the origin of the lens. The font on the ring marks looks better though. The focusing scale is unusably false (at least on my copy), see below for details. There is no ƒ11 stop on the aperture ring and at the first glance ƒ16 seems more like ƒ11. However I can’t tell it for sure, so I will be calling it ƒ16 by now.

    Focus and aperture ring rotation is smooth and easy. Aperture is stepless. I would call the rings convenient if they were a bit more wider. Due to their small width the knobs come in handy, with them you can rotate the rings with one finger.

    Small physical length of the lens combined with very wide angle of view makes you watch for your hands so they don't get into the frame. On bodies with a grip it may become a problem because in fact you cannot hold the camera in the usual way.

    ƒ5.6, 1/15 s, ISO 400. Full size. This and below samples are taken with Olympus E-M1, standard camera profile applied, no post-processing except exposure correction.

    Image Quality

    On the one hand, the image sharpness and resolution, especially in the corners, are not high by today's digital photography standards. On the other hand, for real world use I consider them decent. Under most circumstances this lens won’t get in your way of making a good shot.

    All apertures from wide open to completely stopped down are useable. Center sharpness is almost constant throughout the aperture range, maxing out at ƒ5.6. Corners are very soft at ƒ3.8 and almost sharp at ƒ16.

    As far as I can see, the diffraction affects the image starting from ƒ8. However it’s barely noticeable, so if you need the depth of field from 0.5 m to infinity or just want more corner sharpness, the lens may be used at ƒ16.

    Contrast and color rendition are absolutely fine. Chromatic aberrations are strong but easily removed in post-processing. The lens is pretty flare-prone when shooting into direct sun.

    ƒ16, 1/25 s, ISO 200. Full size.


    The markup on the focusing ring is completely invalid. You can download the scale that I’ve made for my copy of the lens, print it on a sticker and stick it to your lens. But it may not work for your copy. Perhaps you’ll have to do some testing with a tape-measure in order to learn the way your copy is focusing.

    Most of the times you won’t be focusing with this lens though, as it will be set to infinity, which begins right after 1 meter (a bit farther than 5 m mark on the original faulty scale). When you focus to infinity and shoot at ƒ16 everything starting from 50 cm gets in focus. Because of the huge depth of field ther’s not much use of hyperfocal distances with this lens.

    ƒ5.6, 1/320, ISO 200. Full size.


    Let’s look at major fisheye options for Micro 4/3 (prices from B&H & Ebay):
    • No Name 8mm ƒ3.8 — $70
    • Olympus Body Cap 9mm ƒ8 — $85
    • Rokinon 9mm ƒ8 — $130
    • Samyang 7.5mm ƒ3.5 (cine version available) — $270
    • Panasonic 8mm ƒ3.5 — $640
    • Olympus 8mm ƒ1.8 — $900
    Is this the cheapest lens available with native Micro 4/3 mount? For $75 it cannot be beaten. If you pixel peep, you’re unlikely to be happy with it. However, the lens is small, light, pretty fun to use, costs less than toy lenses and Olympus body cap fisheye, and allows you to make great images as soon as you learn focusing.

    If you seek maximum image quality or real photo lens ergonomics, Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 may be a better option. It has outstanding value for money as well because it costs around $270 and it’s sharp all over the frame. But if you’re on tight budget or plan to use a fisheye occasionally, or just want ultra cheap ultra wide angle for Micro 4/3, this little no name lens may appear what you need.

    ƒ5.6, 1/320 s, ISO 200. Full size.

    ƒ5.6, 1/1000 s, ISO 200. Full size.
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
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  2. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    I would add to the advantages that this lens is smaller and lighter than the Samyang/Rokinon. That makes for better balance and handling on a small camera like my GM5.

    As far as other lens options go, I also own the Olympus 9mm Body Cap lens. I have not used it since buying the no-name. I don’t think I ever will again. The no-name has a wider angle of view, better resolution, and better contrast.

    There is an Image Showcase page for this lens here:


    It’s good to see that our weight and length measurements agree! :)

    I use mine at F8 and 4 distance units, which is sharp from infinity to a few feet away - good enough for my landscape and architectural photos. I hadn’t really thought about whether the distance measurement was accurate, I just did some bracketing until I found a distance setting and aperture that I like.

    I like your close-up photo of the group meeting. I haven’t tried that, but I suspect it would require a closer distance setting than what I usually use.
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    It doesn't look that much smaller than the Samyang 7.5FE due to the hood, I found the Samyang fit very well with both the GM1 and GM5 in any case. Just for comparison's sake though, the Samyang's distance scale is also woefully inaccurate, it's very hard to focus up close without using focus assist.
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  4. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 18, 2013
    I've forgot to include the link to the corrected focusing scale I've made for myself, here it is: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/405913/mil0838-label.pdf (in both cm/m and feet)

    Again, I'm not sure it will be correct for your copy of the lens but at least there are some chances it will, so you may try printing it on adhesive paper. It helps a lot when focusing up close. It's to be sticked right over the original scale.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
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  5. adrian.constantinescu

    adrian.constantinescu New to Mu-43

    Sep 28, 2016
    Hi. I'm looking to get one of these fisheye lenses for my E-M10 II. Since these are manual lenses do you know if the automatic exposure and TTL flash will work if I'm in aperture driven mode?
  6. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Automatic exposure will work in A mode, not in S mode (the camera can't vary the aperture), P mode or Auto.

    I'm not sure about TTL flash, but you won't be able to use an on camera flash with a lens this wide (the flash coverage will be too narrow), so you're probably better off setting up a manual, off camera flash in any case.
  7. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2015
    Auto-exposure will work in all 4 modes (P/Auto, A, S, M). Of course for S and M mode you will need to leave the ISO set to auto. For the other modes, ISO can be fixed or left on auto. (at least on Olympus)
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