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Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Lens Review

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews this new diagonal fish-eye lens for Sony E Mount, Fujifilm X Mount, Canon EOS M Mount, as well as Nikon 1 and Micro Four Thirds.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Dorr Fisheye Wide-Angle
Price : £189
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Fisheye Wide-Angle
This basic fixed aperture fisheye lens for Sony E-mount cameras offers a very wide field of view of 167 degrees, with the barrel distortion effect you'd normally expect from a fisheye lens.

The lens is manual focus, has no aperture control and costs around £190. In this review we'll take a look at how it performs.

Also known as the Toda Seiko Diagonal Fisheye lens, and available in three versions, the version reviewed here is the 12mm version, with the following versions available:
  • Dorr Fisheye Lens, 12mm, f/7.4, 167 degrees, Mount: NEX / E, Fujifilm X, Canon EOS M
  • Dorr Fisheye Lens, 9.3mm, f/8.0, 168 degrees, Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • Dorr Fisheye Lens, 7.5mm, f/8.0, 162 degrees, Nikon 1 Mount

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Handling and Features

Dorr Fisheye Wide Angle Lens 12mm 167degrees (3)

For a lens pitching in at the budget end, build quality is very high. The lens barrel and bayonet are constructed from metal and the narrow manual focus ring is silky-smooth in operation. Even so, the lens is lightweight, tipping the scales at 220g and it balances well with the Sony NEX-7 camera used for testing.

Focusing is performed internally, so the lens barrel does not extend during focusing.  A partial hood is built into the front of the lens which helps to protect the front element from bumps and scrapes. Due to the positioning of the narrow focusing ring, and the shape of the hood, it can be very easy to let your finger slip into the view of the lens, marring the corner of images. So long as suitable caution is taken, this can be avoided.

Dorr Fisheye Wide Angle Lens 12mm 167degrees (6)

No minimum focus distance is specified for this lens and the only distance marked on the focus scale is half a metre. The focusing ring travel way beyond this point, and I'd question the accuracy of the marked distance, as it seems way off in use. Luckily, due to the slow fixed aperture, the huge depth of field this lens provides can be very forgiving.

Dorr Fisheye Wide Angle Lens 12mm 167degrees (7)

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Performance

Images taken with this lens often display strange colour casts and have a 'toy lens' look to them. Even so, it is capable of good sharpness across the frame. Unfortunately, getting this performance with any consistency can be difficult, which I suppose is all part of the fun? It could be that the sample provided has an issue with the focusing mechanism, so we may have to test another sample when we can to investigate that.

MTF
MTF @ 12mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony NEX-7 using Imatest.

Surprisingly, for a fisheye, chromatic aberrations are well controlled, with fringing only just exceeding half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame.

CA
CA @ 12mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony NEX-7 using Imatest.

Even with the fixed f/7.4 aperture, falloff of illumination towards the corners can be seen under certain conditions. Imatest read the corners as 1.47 stops darker than the image centre. As the aperture is not adjustable, there is no way to achieve visually uniform illumination.

Distortion is high as you might expect from a fisheye. Using a fisheye lens will always be a creative choice, where the distortion is used to enhance your image.

During testing, this lens proved itself very prone to flare, and contrast is noticeably reduced when shooting into the light. If treated right, this effect can be used to your advantage, creating a 'toy lens' look in images, without the use of Instagram, filters, or any other digital trickery.

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Sample Photos


Value For Money

With a price of around £190 from HarrisonCameras, this lens may be considered a little expensive, given its fixed maximum aperture, 167 degree field of view and that it produces images with a toy lens effect.

Although more expensive, Samyang offer two fisheye optics that provide 180 degree field of view and a faster maximum aperture, which is adjustable. Their 8mm f/3.5 fisheye costs around £240 and the faster f/2.8 version costs around £245, which may be £50 more than this Dorr lens, but you do get a lot more for your money. Another alternative is the Madoka 180 circular fisheye lens for Sony E Mount.

The Dorr Fisheye is available from HarrisonCameras, in Sony E Mount, Fujifilm X Mount, Micro Four Thirds Mount, Nikon 1 Mount, and Canon EOS M Mount.

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Verdict

Those who may want to experiment with the look a fisheye lens can create, but fear they may only use in on the odd occasion, may feel this lens is a good compromise and in some ways, it is. Images taken with the lens certainly have a distinctive 'look' to them, but the compromises in other areas, such as the slow f/7.4 fixed aperture and lack of consistency in the quality the lens can deliver make this lens quite an expensive toy, especially as it costs £190. If the price were to drop in time, then this lens could become a much better value proposition. 


 
 

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Pros

Less expensive than other fisheye lenses currently available for E-mount
Metal construction
Smooth focus action
Lightweight

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Cons

Not that much cheaper than alternatives
Fixed f/7.4 aperture
Strange colour casts
Inconsistent sharpness
Design makes it difficult to keep fingers out of shot

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Dorr 12mm f/7.4 Fisheye Wide-Angle Specifications

General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Nikon 1
  • Fujifilm X Mount
  • Canon EOS M
Lens
Focal Length12mm
Angle of View167
Max Aperturef/7.4
Min Aperturef/7.4
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus50cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
BladesNo Data
Elements4
Groups4
Box Contents
Box ContentsCase, Front and Rear Lens Caps
Dimensions
Weight220g
Height65mm

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