Pro-Optic 8mm Fisheye Review
So i decided that the next lens in my arsenal would be a fisheye lens for those unique situations that call for such a wide angle, 180° to be precise. After looking around I decided to try the Pro-Optic 8mm Fisheye since I didn’t want to spend $1000 on the Sigma 8mm Fisheye if I found It wasn’t a type of photography I used to much. Several of the other Pro-Optic lens’ have gotten pretty decent reviews, but I was hard pressed to find any for this lens. I decided to take the plunge and this is what i’ve found.
The Pro-Optic 8mm comes as is, in a small box with the lens cap and a soft chammy pouch for storage. The lens is fully manual, meaning you have to set the Aperature and and focus yourself, which provides a great chance to hone those photography 101 skills that may have lacked from the digital age. The f-stop numbers go from 3.5 through 22 so there is no guess work as the which stop your at and the focus is about 1ft at its lowest to infinity. One down side to a fully manual lens, is that it send no data to the camera so its a little more tricky to calculate over/under exposure with a given light source, but if you have a light meter that won’t be a problem anyways.
The lens lacks a dot on it that would line up with the dot on the camera, so a little fidgiting was need, but I put a whiteout mark on the corner so I would only have to find it once. Having tested out the sigma 8mm I found that the Pro-Optic, which not as sharp, avoided any vineyetting on the picture leading to less post processing (always a plus). The lens has a really good depth and takes some very unique pictures, especially when within 3ft of the subject.
One of the downsides of the Pro-Optic 8mm is that it doesn’t allow for automatic bracketing, so for those pano’s your gonna need to do a little more calculations in your head (or on paper preferably). Another minus for the lens, is that its night shots are not as crisp as its day shots.
Overall I found that for general shooting this lens is plenty sharp and will accomplish your goal, be it pano’s or 360 shots, effectively while at the same time allowing you to grow as a photographer by having to do more manual calculations. Check out some photos below from my testing.
UPDATE 3-30-2010: So since this is by far the most popular post on my site, I thought I’d provide an update on the lens and how much I like it. I’ve been using this for about 6 weeks now and I must say that I haven’t changed my mind at all. The lens is still very sharp, and after a few weeks of use, you get very quick with the manual settings.
You can view more shots taken with this lens on my Fisheye Flickr Gallery