Fisheye recommendations

dhazeghi

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Have been mulling over the possibility of getting a fisheye lens for a bit now. As usual, the problem is that there are so many options!

So far, I've looked at reviews and comments for the following:
  • Rokinon 7.5/3.5 - sharp, cheap, slowish aperture, only MF
  • Olympus 8/1.8 - sharp, expensive, fast aperture AF, weather-sealed
  • Panasonic 8/3.5 - sharpish, mid-priced, slowish aperture, AF
  • Olympus 8/3.5 (4/3) - not so sharp, lots of purple-fringing, cheap, AF, slowish aperture, weather-sealed
  • Sigma 10/2.8 (EF w/SB) - not too many reviews
Curious if folks have any specific thoughts on this bunch. Ideally, I'd want sharp, cheap, AF, and fast aperture in that order. If it weren't for price, the Olympus 8/1.8 seems like a no-brainer, but as it stands, it's a lot to spend on a lens that I'd probably use at most a couple times a month.

Thanks!
 

Shortsonfire79

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What's your use case?

Unless you're shooting astro, I think you could be able to get by with the Pany since it ticks all your criteria in order.

Based on your criteria the Oly 9/8 pancake is out. Soft, super cheap, slow, MF.
There's also the Laowa 7.5/2 (four photos attached). Sharpish, expensive, fast, MF. I've used this one with decent results for astro and star trails though I think I still prefer my 12-40. There's some swirliness in the star trails even though I'm using the 1/500 rule at 24mm, see edges of campsite photo. Metadata says 37mm because that was my previous adapted manual lens that I forgot to change.

Personally I'm going to get the Oly 8/1.8 (three photos attacahed) because I want to use the AF for wide angle underwater and the occasional astro. When defished it's still quite good.
 

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I always recommend the Oly bodycap Fish eye for people dipping their feet in. It will answer for you pretty quickly how much you will use it. And since it is easy to pack you can always have it with to try out.

If you want to spend a bit more money the Rokinion and all its rebrand are good for starting out. You should be able to pick up a good used copy for less than twice the bodycap edition.
 
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Since you didn't mention a specific need, you might consider a circular fisheye, if you're just looking for something to play around with.

There are a number of them available these days for under $200. I have the Meike and the Laowa; each has advantages and disadvantages.

220° in all directions trumps 180° from corner to corner!
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mfturner

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The best thing about the 9mm bcl is its size, you can take it anywhere. And it is good for getting your feet wet with fisheye, I'm now looking at options too. The circular fisheye is cool, and tiny. Maybe...
 
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Had the Samyang/Rokinon and loved how it got my creative juices flowing. That led to the Oly 8 1.8 and I never looked it back; between astro, underwater, and just plain super wide it's in my top 5 most used lenses. Search around for a used one, or pick up an Oly refurb- you won't be disappointed. If I'm wrong (that's happened once or twice today), you can always get most-if not all- of your money back.
 
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To me the pick is between the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower and Olympus MFT. It doesn't seem (to me) like the Panasonic is worth it; trading autofocus for sharpness and price, is 2:1 against. With this fisheye you can focus at 8 feet and everything from 4 feet to the Big Bang will be very sharp at f/3.5 (stop down to f/5.6!), so autofocus is only useful for macro, if then. The original 4/3 lens is too large complicated and expensive with the adapter. Similarly the Sigma... too big and complicated and expensive with a speed booster, and still not as wide... not worth.

I have the Rokinon and aspire to the Olympus f/1.8. The Rokinon is very sharp, I have no criticism at all there. To my eye it gives a slight cool or greenish tint to photos, especially in the corners, where it also loses some contrast and vignettes. It has unpleasant bokeh in macro I would say. I have not ever tried the Olympus (but I did hold it and it felt pleasantly small and well built), but I have looked at lots of its photos and think it has solved all the minor deficiencies I noted in the Rokinon. Great colors, contrast, and bokeh even in the corners. My only complaint is that if there is any lens I would want a focus clutch on it is this one, but it is the only Oly lens of this class without. Plus the price!

There is also a 7Artisans f/2.8 fisheye, which I know nothing else about. I would also love a circular fisheye :love:.
 
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Geez. I can't believe you can see your fingers in that first shot.
This is a problem with these lenses! I bought a pistol-grip, but the hand-grip of the E-M1.2 still is in the photo!

The only way to get rid of it is to have a body without much of a grip.

I thought the second shot (through a sun-roof of a Jetta) was done on the Meike, but it's actually on a Sigma circular fisheye. It is a big lens, and sticks far forward of the hand grip. Because it's a huge lens, I don't use it much. I'd rather get a Pen-F and use the tiny Laowa and Meike circufishes!
 

Paul C

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Good idea to try out these lenses - Fisheyes are great for M4/3 - where because of the crop factor ultrawide wideangles are a technical challenge, and so are often big and expensive

If this is a "try out" - can I also suggest you look at the inexpensive 7-artisans F2.8 fisheye with native M4/3 mount ?
  • It is often on sale at great discount prices.
  • It is well built with a metal mount
  • It is small enoiugh to get space in my camera bag even if it used only rarely
  • It has really good close focus
  • It defishes very easily - 2 clicks with DXO PRO
  • It is an F2.8
  • It resists flare well (important with all that sky in the image)
  • It fills the M4/3 frame
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Lookig at the spec and images - the same lens seems to be available badged as a RISESPRAY, Lightdow, Britin Star - at a 25% discount below the already excellent value 7-Artisans.

I am a great fan of stitched panoramas - but there are many occasions each year where an ultrawide is better - especially when your foreground is moving or there are elements in your composition close up where frame fusion can lead to distortion

I have posted a review elsewhere on the site - but here is a classic example with people moving about in the foreground of entrance to the Great Mosque in Lahore - fixed with DXO pro and nothing else.
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Whatever else you do - make sure to have your horizon line turned on to keep the picture level - or get one of those hot-shoe mount spirit levels for your camera (I use both !)

best wishes to you all - Paul C in the UK

+++++++++

PS - has anyone tried out the new pancake "Rockstar" M4/3 10mm F8 fisheye model that has just appeared on Asian selling websites - at very very low prices?


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The spec is here........
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Jeffcs

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You have your list
Only you can justify your purchase you know what your needs are
One thing when it comes to glass I never compromise
Image quality is first thoughts when purchasing glass
That said personally Olympus
 

RAH

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I bought an Olympus 8mm FE about 6 months ago even though I have a Rokinon. It always bothered me not being SURE that the focus would be OK - i.e. I cannot work with a MF lens where I cannot easily tell whether it's in focus (till I see the image later in PP). I have read that Focus Peaking can help with this on the Rokinon, but I never actually tried it. Anyway, with the Oly, of course, you are guaranteed an in-focus shot.

Also, with some Oly cameras (E-M5.3 and E-M1.?), you can set it to show you a defished image in the viewfinder and in the jpg results, but the RAW will be the full fishy image. This was a big incentive for me to get the lens. I have a hard time knowing what defished results will look like while shooting. With the Oly 8, I can see what they will look like and experiment with the angle I am shooting at, etc. So, in other words, it makes the lens more usable as an ultra-ultra wide. You often have to throw away the side edges on a defished image (blurry, very distorted), but even after doing that, you get VERY wide images.

Plus, of course, you can turn that defish option off and just get really sharp FE results. I do think it is worth the money and might be more useful than a standard FE.
 

Petrochemist

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I have a no-name 8mm /3.8 & a 9mm BCL. I much prefer the no-name despite it's larger size.
The variable aperture, much wider FOV & more normal controls are the main factors (but I think it's sharper too...)
Neither of these are AF, and having AF on my Pentax fisheye I don't see it's a real advantage. The DOF of these lenses are such that focus is not much of an issue.
 
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The AF is the main reason that I prefer my Oly 8 over my Rokinon 7.5. I use both lenses for close ups besides landscapes. When I have the camera down low it’s difficult to manual focus, especially if it is a potentially moving target.

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Hypilein

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I own the Panasonic and the Olympus bodycap. My parents own the Samyang (or whatever particular branding theirs has) and the Olympus Pro. The Pro is definitely on another level, buildwise and that aperture opens up some interesting new possibilities. I don't think the IQ at f3.5 is really all that different between the Olympus and the Panasonic, but I would never buy the Panasonic new. When I got mine it was part of a bundle (used) with a domeport for underwater photography. It is significantly more compact than the Olympus, but I may eventually upgrade to the Olympus.

I've played with the Samyang before, but never really liked it. When I put peaking on, everything just glows because of the huge DoF but setting critical focus is difficult.

The Olympus bodycap was my first fisheye and also my only Wideangle when I first got into Mu43. I did not have a lot of money so my first trip (Istanbul) I just had the 9mm bodycap, the 20mm (which came as a kit with my GX7) and the Sigma 60mm. The lens is less wide and therefore seems less fishy compared to the full fisheye lenses. It is soft and slow but if the subject matter and composition are interesting this is no problem. I got the Panasonic 7-14 soon after and I rarely use it nowadays, but as a low risk step into the world of fisheyes it's probably a good idea and if I were to go on a trip where I had to severely downsize my kit, I would probably bring the 9mm Bodycap again.
 

Shortsonfire79

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You have your list
Only you can justify your purchase you know what your needs are
One thing when it comes to glass I never compromise
Image quality is first thoughts when purchasing glass
That said personally Olympus
Full agreement. I never compromise when I figure out that this thing has the features I want and that one doesn't. When I did in college I was always at least a bit disappointed and ended up upgrading anyways. Not even because of "buy twice cry twice"; the lenses here are all pretty nice, but if you won't be satisfied at f/3.5 then you may as well wait to get the f/1.8, imo.
 

SilverShutter

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Funny to see this thread as I was looking into the Samyang today. I have used the body cap fisheye for the last year and it has been such a fun lens, but I am thinking of upgrading since the body cap is only limited to f8 and its not very sharp on the corners (especially noticeable when defishing). My main worry is that I won't use it as much since its not as pocketable. Any who have upgraded from the BCL to the Samyang can shed some light on this maybe? Did you find you used it more, and how do the two compare?
 

StefanKruse

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I have the Samyang 3.5 and find it a great working lens. It is easy to manuallly focus and I think it does great in terms of sharpness and the fact that it is really small. But I never really found good usage after the initial : Oh this is fun, period. Lately it has just been sitting on my shelf.

However last month I started doing more concert shooting and here a fisheye is great, I like the fact that I can actually combine stage and crowd shots and create some live concert shots that can capture the vibe of the event - see below example (shot at an indoor corona restricted event where people had to remain seated.) Both are cropped a bit and thus not taking full advantage of the wide angle, but this is something I will work on going forward)

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This has really renewed my love for Fisheyes and cant wait to live concert start up again as I really want to explore the things I might be able to do with the Fisheye once I really tsart thinking this into ny planning rather than just a spur of the moment.

However this has really put the Oly pro FE on my list mainly because of the faster aperture which will be really nice for indoor concerts and swhen shooting it Wide open (to raise shutter speed or lower ISO) the Autofocus may also be handy - not an issue at F3.5.

So my point is, consider carefully what you want to use it for and how much, because the initial novelty will eventually go away if you dont have a clear need. If you have a clear need then deciding on the specific Fisheye will be simpler.
 

SilverShutter

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I have the Samyang 3.5 and find it a great working lens. It is easy to manuallly focus and I think it does great in terms of sharpness and the fact that it is really small. But I never really found good usage after the initial : Oh this is fun, period. Lately it has just been sitting on my shelf.

However last month I started doing more concert shooting and here a fisheye is great, I like the fact that I can actually combine stage and crowd shots and create some live concert shots that can capture the vibe of the event - see below example (shot at an indoor corona restricted event where people had to remain seated.) Both are cropped a bit and thus not taking full advantage of the wide angle, but this is something I will work on going forward)


This has really renewed my love for Fisheyes and cant wait to live concert start up again as I really want to explore the things I might be able to do with the Fisheye once I really tsart thinking this into ny planning rather than just a spur of the moment.

However this has really put the Oly pro FE on my list mainly because of the faster aperture which will be really nice for indoor concerts and swhen shooting it Wide open (to raise shutter speed or lower ISO) the Autofocus may also be handy - not an issue at F3.5.

So my point is, consider carefully what you want to use it for and how much, because the initial novelty will eventually go away if you dont have a clear need. If you have a clear need then deciding on the specific Fisheye will be simpler.
Wow that second shot particularly is fantastic! I think the Oly is the lens to have, it does everything all other fisheyes do and does it better. Sadly, I'm not a professional photographer and the fisheye is only about maybe 5-10% of my shots at most, so the Samyang will do me well for now.
 

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