Robin Wong's review of the Oly 9mm fisheye lens

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Mellow, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Can be found here.

    Honestly, these reviews make me laugh . . . he is such an incredible photographer, so it's painfully obvious that I'll never achieve the results he gets. The lens may have its flaws, but WOW does he have some great images with it. I especially like the ones with blur motion, like this one or this one.

    I wish it were cheaper (nearly $100!) but I'll probably get one just in the slim hope I can someday capture an image with it as good as the ones he's posted.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    I would love to have seen it closer to the price of the 15mm BCL, but I understand that it isn't feasible given that it uses two aspherical glass elements.

    I've been thinking about picking one up, but it's hard to stomach knowing that the fantastic Samyang/Rok 7.5 is so much better and not so much more expensive (wish I hadn't sold my copy). Obvious size trade off is obvious, though, for sure.

    I can see it though. Takes no space and not too expensive that you feel bad that it spends most of its life in a gear bag. Tough decision.
  3. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I agree. I have the Samyang, and it's really good. It's not big, but obviously a whole lot larger than the 9mm bodycap.

    It probably comes down to how often you'd use it. To be honest, I rarely use the fisheye because I don't want to carry it and it's not a "leave-it-on-the-camera" kind of lens. The bodycap might get more use simply because it's so dang tiny. As ever, the best lens is often the one you have with you, not the one sitting at home.

    Decisions, decisions!
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  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    My "Rokfish" goes everywhere with me. I find a good proportion of my favourite landscape shots are taken with it. There's no way a body cap lens could replace it. TBH, I fail to see the point in these things at all.
  5. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I am tempted by this. I have a 9-18 zoom so the quality aspects don't bother me. The fisheye perspective would be nice to have and this is an attractive price point. More so than the Samyang and certainly more so than the Panasonic.

    The 15mm BCL is not much of a lens but this seems significantly better. Good enough I want one in the bag.
  6. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Compelling photographs comes from inspiration and a camera captures your imagination. If you have no imagination, then there is no photo -- it's a piece of crap. Which is why some people, like Ansel Adams, can create stunning images with mood and impact and using all the elements in the photo to project with a piece of crap lens and still look better than say countless of "TURKEYS" who go to the exact same sites using GPS coordinates and try to copy Ansel Adams' work and could not even create the same atmosphere and mood, despite the fact they have technically more advanced gear and the sharpest lens on the planet.

    How do you inspire imagination? Well, it's easy. Be like little children. We all were once little children that had lots of imagination. When we became adults, we inherited many emotional baggages and thus abandon our imagination because we see them as threats as society's ill pill. Sometimes you need to chill out, be like a child again and look through the camera viewfinder as a child looks into the world with child like curiosity. Then you will find something magically. You will be able to shoot like Robert Wong can. When you have a child like attitude, people tend to be more heart warming towards you, so in portraiture they have soft glazing eyes. I find that quite interesting also even if we are a few miles apart using my telephoto lens.
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  7. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Surprisingly good results! I've just very recently got a hold of the 15mm BCL. I bought it (new?) from a guy on here for $35 shipped. I only used it once at an indoor carshow when I got bored of the only other lens I had with me (40mm MF). But the results are totally useable. And out in daylight, if I want something as small as my P&S, I can just pop that one and go. I don't know if it's better than my P&S being that I'm limited to F8, but it's an option at least.

    About this 9mm BCL, I like the shots right out of camera. And the 140-degree angle, to me, I like BETTER than Rokinon's. To me, you need to crop that one whereas the 9mm looks just fine. If this 9mm would have been out 3 months ago I might not have bought the Rokinon. I don't know. Meh, knowing me I'll probably end up with both :)
  8. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    My problem with the 15mm lenscap was: why would I use it instead of the excellent Panny 14mm? The 14mm is just slightly larger, way sharper, AF, and you can actually change the aperture. So after the novelty wore off I sold it and haven't looked back.

    But the 9mm's a different animal. The only "replacement" is the Samyang, which is a great lens but MUCH larger. I can easily see times when I would take the 9mm along but not the Samyang, simply on the basis of size. This is why I'm intrigued by this lens.
  9. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    You know, you are right in a logical sense. I bought the 15mm BCL to use as BODY CAP, but I've found I'm treating it more as a lens. In my camera bag, I have a few little pockets for filters where I always keep a spare body and rear lens cap. I bought a $35 USED 15mm BCL purposely so I can throw it in there and not worrying if it gets scratched. The $200 14mm, although it will fit, I don't want scratched. Plus, I have this thing where if I have more than one lens on my person, I'm not a happy photographer because I keep wanting to change lenses. So, the BCL, similar to a plain body cap, with its lack of sharpness, prevents me from using it. However, it's always there for those times when I want to remove all lenses and still have something to protect the camera. It sounds weird but I wish the guy who sold me the BCL would have been a bit more rough with it!

    The 9mm BCL, however, I think would be more useful and will also fit where the filters go. Yet I don't think it will have the bold presence (read: quality) of the 14 or 12-32, meaning mentally, I won't feel a desire to keep pulling it out. But at times, when I'm out with a 50mm and get bored of that a small fisheye that weighs nothing would be nice. Perhaps in a few months someone will sell a beat up dirty one for under $50 :)

    Unfortunately for me, people's emotion is why I think nearly ALL lenses are useful, no matter what lenses you also have. I own the following:

    * 14/2.5 - you'd think this would be useless if you have the 15/1.7 or 12-35/2.8, but the 14 is still smaller and cheaper
    * 11 UWA converter - I thought that after buying the 12-32 this would be useless, but it's quite a bit wider when used on the 14 (comparisons to come), about a half stop faster, and is safer to twist on the 14 than to remove the 14 and put the 12-32 on.
    * Oly 14-42 - after having the 12-32, this lens seems useless. But, it does have extra reach. Another lens I SHOULD sell but haven't.
    * Sigma 30/2.8 - I have a Vivitar 28/2.0 which is one of my favorite lenses, but there's something I like about the Sigma. AF, smaller size, overall sharpness, and plastic touch in the cold, perhaps? I should sell it. Even if you had the 12-35, the Sigma is smaller; and I'd like to see some samples because I can't imagine the 12-35 being better, not at f2.8, at least.

    Some lenses I do think I would never use, but do have their use

    * Sigma 19/2.8 - I guess price is the only reason you'd take this over the 20/1.7
    * 17/2.8 - I guess it's a touch smaller than the 17/1.8 and wider than the 20/1.7, but I'd never get it. It'd be a good starter lens for a kid or GF.
    * Kit 14-42s - With the Panasonic 14-45 and the 14-42 version II being better, I'd say these are complete replacements for the kit lenses. Fast zooms too, if you had them. But then again there are places I wouldn't take a $1000 lens where I wouldn't mind taking the kit. plus, the kits are free :)
    * Pan 42/1.2 - I know a lot of people would take this over the cheaper MF Voigtlander 42/0.95, but I'm not one of them. Ditto the 42/2.8 macro.
    * Oly 25/1.8 - Not if you have a Panasonic 25/1.4. But if you don't, I'm sure the price will be about half; plus the lens is smaller and is more contoured and looks as nice as the 45/1.8.
  10. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I'm glad this was twice the cost of the 15mm BCL - saves me from GAS! I have, and absolutely love, the Rokinon so I have no real need for this lens. If it was cheaper, however, I might just be tempted. :biggrin:
  11. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    I shoot my lenses mostly between f2.8 and f5.6. Even the Samyang fisheye has amazing DOF at f4. f8 just wouldn't work for me. Light drops a bit and up (way up) goes the ISO.
  12. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Robin sure put this lens to good use. Having said that, I was very tempted to get one before reading his review, but have actually decided against it after reading the review. I find the images not "fisheye" enough, with the 140 degree angle of view, and the close-focus not quite close enough. I want my fisheye lens to be able to capture those big-nosed cat or dog images, and as Robin pointed out, this lens cannot produce such results.

    The one main attraction I find in this lens over a "normal" fisheye lens is the convenience of not having to worry about focus most of the time, when set to deep focus. This seems to work particularly well for those panning shots... but then again, I am sure one can get similar results with the Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm using zone focus technical with a small enough aperture... So, maybe a 7.5mm fisheye lens is what I should get instead... :rolleyes:
  13. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I am so in! Other than the soft edges and CA this is a great lens. A perfect companion to the 15mm BCL. It is exactly twice as wide 140 degrees verses the 15mm's 70 degrees. Next they need to make a 35 degree BCL which would be about a 35mm.
  14. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    I personally like this lens. It's fun and it's a toy. Isn't photography supposed to be fun first and being serious later on?

    But I'm not a particularly big fisheye lens user myself and my most used focal lengths are 28mm and 50mm and 90/150mm (all 35mm focal lengths), so it's difficult for me to justify such expense when I just use it occasionally. This lens presents some of us who are in this dilemma with the opportunity to get the taste. The taste to see if you like the FOV? If you do, sell it back to the market and consider a slight loss as a rental fee and then buy something like the Samyang. If not, then it's a keeper. Either way, it's a win win situation for me.

    I'm not too worried with the slow aperture at all. It's f/8, so I guess I will need to shoot slower and use the tripod more. Soft edges and CA -- You PIXEL PEEPERS!
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  15. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I sacrificed my ROK 7.5 in a trade to get my Oly75… I was looking to pick up a used one later down the line.. but with the 9mm BCL I think I will be alright… And if it doesn't work out, then I will just buy a ROK7.5… But from what I have seen, I think I will have lots of fun with this lens…
  16. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer


    In bright daylight f8 is more than big enough of an aperture, it also works great with flash. The BCLs are not for low light or shallow DOF however. I have used my 15mm for candids because there is no delay for focus, just aim and fire. Often I just point it the right direction without looking and usually get a usable image{great for catching those moments when people would pose or shy away if they knew. This new BCL should work just as well and maybe better since it is wider{crop as needed latter}.
  17. aukirk

    aukirk Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2012
    Wow... for so many reasons.

    First of all... I am amazed by the quality of Robin's images. Any one of those shots would be a shot of the year for me. Absolutely amazed at the quality.

    Also, I don't know how I missed that this body cap lens was a fisheye. When the press release for the 25, 14-42 and body cap lens came out, I thought it was just another useless body cap lens. The fact that you can get a fisheye lens (even low quality) in such a small size is great. I have the Rok 7.5 and never bring it with me. It is really just a "for fun" lens, and I never know ahead of time when the mood to use it will strike me. Since it is way too big to carry every day, it has only gone out a few times. However, with this, I could see this permanently residing in a pocket of my camera bag and always available if I see something that would look good with it... I am sold.

    I don't care if it is not great quality, as a fisheye shot is not about corner to corner sharpness... also, rarely will you crop the image, so any softness will be even less noticeable.

    I also don't imagine the fixed f8 will be a problem... Most fisheye shots are shot at high aperture to get a deep DOF and f8 will be fine for what it is.

    I am pre-ordering and selling the Rok 7.5.
  18. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    The Rokinon is really an incredible little lens at a great price. I love mine and highly recommend it.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Swandy

    Swandy Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2009
    Totally agree about the ROK. I have it and enjoy it WHEN I USE IT. Like you it just does not make it into a camera bag or pocket often enough. So I also pre-ordered the BCL FE. Have not decided on what I will do with the Rok yet - but it might go on the market also.