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Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Lens Review

John Riley reviews this manual focus 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs.


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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS
The Fisheye lens is a speciality and creative tool unsurpassed in various ways that we hope to explore in this review. In many ways, the “rules of thumb” that we use to express our ideas of what to expect from a lens fall apart, although the laws of optics remain true. Let's see how this Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Diagonal Fisheye lens challenges our expectations and how it performs.

Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Handling and Features

Kelda 8mm F3,5 Front Element Without Hood

The Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens is chunky, features an enormous, bulbous front element and a metal mount devoid of any electronic contacts. It is manual focus only. The aperture is also fully manual, and once set remains there until changed again. The lens is available in Nikon and Canon mount, and was supplied in Canon fit and a Canon EOS 600D camera body was used for this review. The lens bayonet fits smoothly onto the camera, with no play when locked in place. When removing the lens care needs to be taken as it will rotate beyond the point where it may be removed.

The Canon crop factor is 1.6x, so normally an 8mm lens would be considered to have a field of view similar to a 12.8mm lens on a “full frame” format. With a fisheye, with its 180-degree diagonal view, this is no longer true. Fisheyes of the full frame type, as opposed to those showing as a circle, can have various focal lengths, depending on the fine details of the design and the exact diagonal coverage. This lens is around 167 degrees on APS-C format and 180 degrees on full frame.

Kelda 8mm F3,5 On Canon 600D

The aperture ring is nicely click stopped, the lens markings are printed as opposed to engraved and filled and the small petal lens hood is not fixed but may be removed via its bayonet fitting. The lens hood provided is very substantial. The focusing ring is smooth, not totally even, having a slight feeling of grittiness in its travel, but it works well, with the action being just light enough. All in all, the package is well put together.

Focusing is very difficult as there is so much depth of field that judging the sharpest point by eye is not easy. This is true either through the Canon optical viewfinder or the live view screen. However, it is entirely feasible to simply set the distances on the lens scale as there is enough DOF to amply cover any errors, especially at medium distances. For the lens testing, focusing was achieved using the screen plus magnification.

Kelda 8mm F3,5 Side View

Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Performance

The lens resolution tests were very impressive when we consider the design parameters of the lens. We have enormous amounts of barrel distortion and that is fully expected in a fisheye. It is, of course, one of the “creative” lenses, where we look for its wacky effects and strange apparent perspective on the world. I say apparent because it obeys the laws of optics like any other lens and its world-view is correct. To test this, we would need to see a print from a distance of maybe a few inches. If we could focus that close, the image would no longer look odd. From more normal distances it reverts to looking as we want a fisheye to look.

It is true to say that fisheye lenses are not designed for lens testing charts and the figures provided are interesting but the lens is probably far better than the results indicate. Sharpness is impressively good and resistance to flare is also very good, which is important with such a large front element.

Looking at the resolution figures, the lens performance is very good across the frame at f/5.6 and f/8 and good overall except at the widest and smallest apertures, where it drops to only fair at the centre (wide open) and fair at the edge (smallest aperture). Imatest refused to measure distortion, perhaps unsurprisingly, so we can summarise that as a large amount of barreling.


 

 
MTF
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. 

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

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 600D using Imatest.

 

 CA impressively low at the centre, and visible but at reasonable levels at the edges, especially considering the ultra wide angle.


 

 
CA
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 minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 600D using Imatest.

 

The field of view is very wide, so much care is needed to avoid anything unwanted creeping into the frame. If the lens is pointed downwards, do watch out for your own feet, something that I fell foul of whilst distracted by the texture I was trying to capture in a couple of shots. It's also worth noting that for landscapes, the image will look wide but quite normal if the horizon runs right through the centre and the camera back is absolutely vertical.

Focusing was the main issue, but part from that, subjectively the lens performed very well indeed and is a very usable fisheye with enormous creative potential. The key is probably to get in close to see the effects desired. If we stay back then all we have is a very wide and distorted shot. It is a lens for the bold.

A final thought on metering. Fisheye lenses, and this one is no exception, may well need some exposure compensation, depending upon the make of camera body. Centre weighted metering seems to work very well, in my case -1 EV is the norm for correct exposure, but once that is dialled in then exposures are generally accurate.


Kaili Optronics Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Sample Photos

Value For Money

The Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS lens is available for £180, from Kauser International, which makes it excellent value for money. Also available from Kelda, is the 6.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens (£170). Other alternatives to consider include the manual Samyang 8mm f/3.5 UMC Fisheye CS II (£220), the auto-focus Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye lens (£559), and for Nikon the 10.5mm f/2.8G ED DX fisheye lens (£549).
 

Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Verdict

The fisheye may not be everyone's cup of tea visually, but it does offer some tremendous and unique creative possibilities. This is what makes such lenses exciting. If it were to be over-used then the effects might become staid, but in the right place the fisheye can be a fantastic tool. The Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS lens is a good quality fisheye lens at a very reasonable price.

Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Pros

Well made
Good image quality
Creative possibilities

Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Cons

Very difficult to use manual focus
Specialised effects can be over-used

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS lens is a good quality fisheye lens at a very reasonable price.

 

Kaili Optronics Kelda 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye CS Specifications

ManufacturerKaili Optronics
General
Lens Mounts
  • Canon EF
  • Nikon F
Lens
Focal Length8mm
Angle of View167°
Max Aperturef/3.5
Min Aperturef/22
Filter SizeNo Data
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus30cm
Construction
BladesNo Data
Elements10
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight516g
HeightNo Data

View Full Product Details

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Comments


LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
12 Oct 2015 11:55AM
It is a disappointment to me that a crop sensor body was used for the optical quality testing.
Corner quality fall off is usually more severe on a wide angle lens than with a longer lens.
Corner quality is being measured from inside of two thirds out of the full frame image - which is not much good if you use this lens on a full frame body to get the full and often more dramatic 8mm fisheye effect.
There is not much 8mm 24x36 fish-eye competition. The price at under £200 is more than reasonable compared to manufactures 16mm fisheye optics.

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alan53 12 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2015 10:09AM
Thank you for realizing that your readers now have the intelligence to look at an MTF graph without the need for the “weighted” average reading you used to add.
16 Nov 2016 10:59PM
Hi i would like to ask where could i find a replacement part of the front element of the fisheye 299942_1479337189.jpg


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