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Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO Review

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO Review  - Gary Wolstenholme puts the Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye lens, with a wide field of view of 180 degrees, to the test.

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Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO in Interchangeable Lenses

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus 8mm Fisheye PRO (1)

This diagonal fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras offers a very wide field of view of 180 degrees, with the barrel distortion effect you'd normally expect from a fisheye lens.

It is the first diagonal fisheye to sport a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and it sports dust and moisture resistant construction. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Handling and Features

Olympus 8mm Fisheye PRO (4)
 

Being one of Olympus' Pro lenses, the build quality is very high and the lens feels reassuringly robust as a result. The lens is dust resistant and splash proof and even freezeproof to help when shooting in difficult environments, or inclement weather. Despite having a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture, the lens is compact and lightweight, tipping the scales at 315g. As a result, it makes a great, compact companion for the Panasonic Lumix G6 camera body used for testing.

Autofocus is quick and accurate and the manual focus ring is nicely dampened, which makes applying fine adjustments a pleasure. Closest focus distance is only 12cm, which allows for a maximum magnification of 0.22x and is great for shooting in claustrophobic environments.

Olympus 8mm Fisheye PRO (3)
 

Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Performance

The characteristics for the sharpness this lens delivers is typical of fisheye lenses, with sharpness being high in the centre and not so high towards the edges of the frame. Even so, sharpness is outstanding in the centre from maximum aperture and clarity towards the edges increases to very good levels between f/8 and f/11.

 
Olympus 8mm Fisheye PRO MTF Chart
MTF @ 8mm

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 of the frame. Imatest recorded 2.5 pixel widths of fringing towards the edges of the frame, which will become apparent along high contrast areas of images.

 
Olympus 8mm Fisheye PRO CA Chart
CA @ 8mm

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.

 

Falloff of illumination is well controlled. Imatest read the corners as 1.23 stops darker than the image centre at f/1.8 and stopping down to f/4 results in 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.

As this lens incorporates Olympus' ZERO anti-reflective coatings, this lens was very resistant to flare during testing and contrast remains good, even when shooting images with a bright light source in the frame.


Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO Sample Photos

Value For Money

Due to the fast maximum aperture, this lens is fairly unique and it is difficult to find an equivalent to compare the current price of around £710. Panasonic has an 8mm fisheye lens which costs £500, but it only has a maximum aperture of f/3.5. Even though less expensive alternatives are available, if you will find the f/1.8 aperture useful, it should represent good value for money.
 

Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Verdict

By producing a diagonal fisheye lens with a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture, Olympus has created something unique. Not only will the fast aperture allow for shooting in low light conditions with the expansive field of view you'd expect of a fisheye, but it also delivers outstanding sharpness and robust build in a compact package.

Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Pros

Unique fast f/1.8 maximum aperture on a fisheye
Lightweight
Outstanding sharpness
Fast focusing
Close focusing
Dust, splash and freezeproof
Robust construction 

Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Cons

CA's quite high towards the edge of the frame 
 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO is a unique lens that delivers outstanding sharpness.


Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length8mm
Angle of View180
Max Aperturef/1.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter SizeNo Data
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent16mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus12cm
Construction
Blades7
Elements17
Groups15
Box Contents
Box ContentsLR‑2 Lens cap MFT (rear), LC‑62E Lens Cap, LSC‑0811 Lens Case, Warranty Card, Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight315g
Height80mm

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