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Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens Review

Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Panasonic 8mm f/3.5 Lumix G Fisheye Micro Four Thirds Lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5
Price : £555
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5

This diagonal fisheye lens provides a 180 degree angle of view from corner to corner when used with a Micro Four Thirds camera body. As this lens is designed especially for the Micro Four Thirds system is is very compact and can be picked up for around £600. It is currently the only diagonal fisheye lens dedicated to the Micro Four Thirds system.

Olympus also offer an 8mm fisheye lens, but this can only be used with an adaptor from Four Thirds to Micro Thirds. Apart from being more bulky this lens costs around £715.

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 Handling and Features

Weighing only 165g and being only 60.7mm in diameter, this lens is incredibly lightweight and compact for a diagonal fisheye and complements the Lumix G3 used for testing perfectly. The only drawback of the small size is that care needs to be taken to ensure your fingers don't end up in the corner of the frame if they stray beyond the built-in lens hood.

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5 Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5
Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5 Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5

The shallow built-hood serves to protect the front element if the lens is placed face down on a flat surface and the lens construction is generally very good, with high quality plastics being used for much of the lens barrel and the lens mount being constructed from metal.

No claims for weather resistance are made by Panasonic for this lens, and there is no way to attach filters to the front of the lens due to the extremely wide angle of view, just like with other fisheye optics. A holder for sheet filters is provided in the lens mount, which 22mm square pieces of material can be placed inside.

Autofocus is very fast on the G3 body used for testing and the manual focus ring provides just the right amount of resistance for making fine adjustments easily. The minimum focus distance of 10cm makes the lens suitable for close up images, where the fisheye perspective can be exploited to create other-worldly looking images.

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 Performance

Sharpness in the centre of the frame is outstanding from maximum aperture, with the quality towards the edges starting off very good here. Stopping the lens down a little improves the quality from edge to edge, with peak sharpness across the frame occurring at f/5.6. Beyond this aperture, resolution is reduced due t diffraction, although the lens still performs well down to f/16.

Panasonic8mm_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 G3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations often figure strongly with fisheye optics, but not in the case of this lens. At their strongest, chromatic aberrations just exceed half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame at f/8, which will be difficult to spot, even in large prints or harsh crops from near the edges of the frame.

Panasonic8mm_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 G3 using Imatest.

It is very difficult to measure falloff towards the corners of the frame with this lens due to the extremely wide field of view. In practice I only noticed a small amount of falloff towards the corners at f/3.5 with visually uniform illumination being achieved from f/4 onwards.

In certain conditions, this lens can be quite prone to flare, especially if a strong point source of light, such as the sun, is in the frame towards the edges. It does take quite harsh conditions to cause flare in images, and so it is not an issue much of the time.

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5 Sample Photos



Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 Verdict

The compact size, and excellent optical performance of this fisheye optic will make it certainly worthy of consideration if the distorted fisheye effect is what you're after.

The price is in-line with other manufacturers fisheye offerings for other camera systems, and this lens should be ranked up with the best of those as far as performance is concerned.

The Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 lens should be ranked up with the best as far as performance is concerned.


Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 Pros

Excellent sharpness from maximum aperture
Good build quality
Fast focusing
Compact size

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 Cons

Flare with sun in the frame

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length8mm
Angle of View180
Max Aperturef/3.5
Min Aperturef/22
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalent16mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus10cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements10
Groups9
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens caps, Soft Case
Dimensions
Weight165g
Height60.7mm

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Comments


5 Oct 2011 10:14PM
Great review but check out my portfolio page. The image on this page was created with the G3 using a samyang 7.5mm fisheye.

Keith

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