Recently I posted up a review on the Sony VCL-ECF1 Fisheye Conversion Lens. What this lens does is attaches itself to an existing wide angle lens and converts it into a fisheye lens. That is one way to get a fisheye effect. On the other end of the spectrum is getting a dedicated fisheye lens such as this one from Rokinon. It is the Rokinon FE75MFT 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. You’ll notice that this is a 7.5mm lens which means that it is super wide angle and since the Rokinon fisheye lens provides 180º field of view, you’ll be able to capture quite a lot of visual information.
The Rokinon lens is a very high quality lens with solid construction. Most of it is constructed out of metal except for the built in lens hood, the focusing ring, and the aperture adjustment ring. You can tell that the construction of the lens is top notch when you feel it in your hands. There is almost no give to any of the parts with all the combined parts being built to perfectly fit each other. The focusing ring has very nice tight feel to it when tuning it and allows for precise focusing. The aperture ring is also fairly tight and clicks at every aperture setting. As with most fisheye lenses, because the lens itself protrudes out a bit, you will not be able to use any type of filter with it. On the plus side, the Rokinon includes it’s own built in petal style lens hood to help keep glare off the lens.
I’m testing this lens out on an Olympus E-PL3 and when screwed in, it’s about the same length as the 14-42mm kit lens which makes it extremely compact. The lens itself only weighs about 6.9 ounces and is a little under 2 inches long. This makes for a very small and light lens that matches up quite well to the PEN series of cameras. It also helps that when it’s screwed onto the camera, the mount also fits very tightly and has no give to it, making it very secure. Overall, I’m very impressed with quality of this lens and in fact, find the feel of the lens much better than even Olympus’s own included kit lens.
I can’t really compare the Rokinon with the Sony fisheye conversion lens seeing as I am testing these on two different cameras that have 2 completely different kind of sensors. Instead, I’ll just comment on how the image quality is based on the Olympus I’m using. First off, the images it produces are very crisp and clear, even the edges of the image are pretty clear which is a problem with some fisheye lenses. Some lenses are a little soft at the edges but the Rokinon isn’t. However, because this is a manual lens, you’ll have to make sure you set it up correctly in order to get good results. If you check the focusing ring, you’ll really only need to mess with it if you planning on focusing on anything less that 1ft away from you. Other wise, you can set it to infinity. For me, I set it to just below infinity which seemed to work perfectly. As for the aperture setting, I set it to f/5.6 in order to get most of the image nice and sharp. I also set the E-PL3 to aperture priority mode so that the camera could automatically adjust shutter speed.You can check out some of my sample images here on my Flickr page which I took over the weekend on a partially cloudy day – http://www.flickr.com/photos/samversionone/sets/72157629148379768/
If you’re looking for a really good fisheye lens for your Micro Four Thirds camera and don’t want to spend a fortune on it, Rokinon definitely has a winning lens for you. The Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 lens is brilliant. This is a true fisheye lens and the super wide angle it offers really gives you that extreme fisheye look. If you looked at the image samples, you can see that there is quite a bit of distortion present, even if you are taking a picture of something at a distance. It’s even more apparent when taking a picture of something close up.
If you’re not a fan of fisheye lenses, you’re not going to like this lens at all seeing that this lens is very extreme. However, if you do love the fisheye effect, you are going to love this lens. With 180º diagonal view, you get a lot of viewable information with each of your shots. You see a lot more in your photos than you would with a regular wide angle lens even if it is a distorted view. It’s a very fun lens to use and yields some very interesting images but you have to remember to set up both the lens and the camera properly in order to get the best results.
There is one thing you’ll want to watch out for when using this lens and it’s due to the size of it and the way the lens is shaped. Because the lens is pretty small and the front lens element protrudes out a bit to get such wide angles, sometimes your left finger will show up in your images if you are not careful. This is something you have to be aware of when shooting. Other than that issue, this is a fantastic lens with excellent build quality that will yield excellent fisheye photos.
The Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 lens for Micro Four Thirds is available for $299 and available in two colors, black and silver. You can find it on Amazon here – Rokinon FE75MFT-B 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye Lens for Micro Four Thirds (Olympus PEN and Panasonic)
This review is made possible with my affiliation with G Style Magazine. It is also featured at the G Style Magazine website which is a tech blog that focuses on the fashion aspect of tech. Please visit their site for the complete review and more images.