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Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens Review

Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the compact Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye
Price : £63
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus Fisheye 9mm Lens (3)


This basic fixed aperture fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras offers a very wide field of view of 140 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 £90. Olympus themselves, seem to play down the optical performance of this lens, describing it as 'usable' on their website. In this review we'll take a look at how it performs.

Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens Handling and Features

Olympus Fisheye 9mm Lens (4)

As the lens is almost entirely constructed from plastic, it does accurately fit the description of a 'body cap' lens, especially given its extremely compact dimensions (12.8mm thick and weighing only 30g). The compact size means it can be stashed away in a pocket and forgotten about until needed. It will feel as at home on even the most compact Micro Four Thirds bodies, as it does on the Panasonic Lumix G6 used for testing. There is no electronic contact between the lens and camera, so it may be necessary to enable a 'shoot without lens' option if your camera has one.

So little movement is required to achieve focus that the lens barrel does not extend during focusing.  Focus is performed by sliding a small lever, located on the front of the lens from side-to-side. A notch for hyperfocal focusing is provided part way through the focus range, and for shooting at normal distances, it can be pretty much left here all the time as there is so much depth of field. If more accurate focusing is required for close ups at the minimum focus distance of 20cm, then the lever mechanism provides enough fine control to make get sharp results relatively easy. Sliding the lever all the way past infinity closes a built-in lens cap, protecting the lens elements from bumps, scrapes and dust.

Olympus Fisheye 9mm Lens (6)

Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens Performance

As far as sharpness is concerned, this lens actually performs pretty well. Clarity in the centre of the frame is very good, with fairly good performance being achieved towards the edges of the frame.

Olympus9mm MTF

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 Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

As is typical of fisheye optics, chromatic aberrations can be quite prominent towards the edges fo the frame. Imatest recorded over 3.25 pixel widths of fringing towards the edges of the frame, which will become apparent along high contrast areas of images.

Olympus9mm CA

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 Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

Even with the fixed f/8 aperture, falloff of illumination towards the comers can be seen under certain conditions. Imatest read the corners as 1.64 stops darker than the image centre. As the aperture is not adjustable, there is no way to achieve visually uniform illumination.

Distortion is 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 was quite resistant to flare and contrast remains good, even when shooting images with a bright light source in the frame.

Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Other sample images


Value For Money

With a price of around £90, this lens offers a budget-friendly introduction to fisheye shooting.

The closest equivalent to the lens is Panasonic's 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens. Although this lens offers a faster maximum aperture it does costs over five times more, being priced at around £550.

Samyang also offer a 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye, that may be the best choice for those wanting a proper fisheye with aperture control as it available for around £265.

Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens Verdict

Olympus' tactic of playing down the optical performance of this lens need not be necessary. Even though this lens only costs £90 and is little more than a body cap with some glass in it, it is still capable of delivering decent quality images. Those who fancy experimenting with the fisheye look but don't relish the thought of forking out proper fisheye money, this lens is ideal.

Overall, this lens is fun to use, thanks to its compact size and fuss-free operation.


 
  This lens offers a budget-friendly way for photographers to experiment with the fisheye look in a fuss-free manner. 
 

Olympus 9mm Fisheye  Pros

Inexpensive
Lightweight
Decent image quality
Fuss-free operation

Olympus 9mm Fisheye Cons

CA quite high towards the edges of the frame

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length9mm
Angle of View140
Max Aperturef/8
Min Aperturef/8
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalent18mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus20cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades1
Elements5
Groups4
Box Contents
Box ContentsRear lens cap and instruction manual
Dimensions
Weight30g
Height12.8mm

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Comments


21 Mar 2014 3:05PM
Weight 265g ??? you have the wrong specifications for the Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap.
you have the specifications for the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm

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joshwa e2
3 595 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2014 6:28PM
This has been updated, thanks for letting us know.

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