Affordable Camera Lens Review: Rokinon 8mm Fisheye Lens

I recently purchased a new affordable lens for my Canon T3i camera, the Rokinon FE8M-C 8mm F3.5 Fisheye Lens (manufacturer site). After using the lens for almost 2 months in a variety of situations I wanted to give you a review of the lens and my impressions of how this affordable fisheye lens can help you become more creative with your photography. Here's a video review of the lens, followed by some sample images and more of my thoughts on this unique, and affordable, fisheye lens:

Sample Images

As a follow up to the video review I wanted to share some images I made with the Rokinon lens.

This 1st one is pretty much the first image I made with the lens right after I opened up the box and attached it to the T3i. I was about 6 inches away from the beer bottle when I took this:

Stone Ruination "Fish" IPA

As you can see, the lens has a super-wide field of view (just under 180 degrees)! The horizontal deck railing took on a very curved appearance. This is a neat effect, if you are wanting it, but you need to be aware of any horizontal or vertical lines when composing the shot because they will be distorted to some degree.

One of the things I'm hoping to do is use this fisheye lens to take shots of expansive landscapes, like the ones we see every time we visit places like Colorado or New Mexico. We haven't made it out there in the last few months but we were in North Carolina in August so I tested out the lens in more traditional landscape-type shot:

A New Day

I took this shot just after sunrise. The clouds were very interesting and the abandoned farm equipment caught my eye. The sky was very bright but the field was still fairly dark so I bracketed 3 shots and combined them in Nik's HDR Efex Pro to create the image you see above. I definitely captured a wide swath of landscape in this shot. My feet are just out of view on the bottom of the image (once again due to the nearly 180 degree field of view).

As many of you know, I really enjoy shooting old/classic/exotic cars. I figured the Rokinon lens would be a neat addition to my car show arsenal. Here's an image of a sweet Lamborghini with a great license plate.

BOOYAHH

The Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens was perfect for this car. I was about 2 feet away from the vehicle and the effect from the lens made the bright Orange Lamborghini look as over-the-top in the image as it was in person.

One thing to be aware of when using this lens, especially in a bright scene, is the chromatic aberration. If you look carefully at the bright section of sky in the image below, you can see some light purple fringing around the leaves. This is a fairly common occurrence with the lens but can usually be corrected in post processing applications like Lightroom.

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I'll finish up the sample images with a couple more from a car-show. I think both of these are great examples of how you can use a fisheye lens like the Rokinon to make some very creative images.

Here's an old Mercury custom that I got up close and personal with using the lens. I processed it to give a bit of an over saturated, detailed appearance:

Big Orange Mercury

This 1950's Ford Country Sedan's driver's door made a perfect subject for the creative distortion that the fisheye lens can impart on an image:

A Day In The Country

The Final Word

Let's be honest, a fisheye lens is definitely something that is a bit limited in its use and falls, at least partly, in the "novelty lens" category. In the end, the Rokinon FE8M-C 8mm F3.5 Fisheye Lens (Amazon Link) is a pretty darn good lens at a very affordable price. You should be able to find one of these new for between $225-$275 depending on the store/time of year. The quality of the images it produces is very good and the creative options it adds to your "bag of tricks" is well worth the price of entry, in my opinion. Remember, this is an all manual lens (no autofocus here) that is made specifically for crop sensor cameras. The only blemish that I found was the lens' propensity to add a good amount of purple fringing in the bright sections of the image (think trees against a bright sky). I was aware of this before purchasing the lens, and while it is a bit of a hassle to correct, it is not a deal breaker for me.

I'm very glad I purchased this lens and I definitely look forward to using it in my photography. If you've never tried a fisheye lens before and want to explore the options without taking out a second mortgage, the Rokinon 8mm F3.5 fisheye lens is well worth trying.

Happy Shooting!

Support This Site. Buy The Lens Using The Links Below!

The Rokinon 8mm Fisheye at Adorama.

Amazon-Rokinon FE8M-C 8mm F3.5 Fisheye Lens for Canon - Black

 

 

Day 95-New Canon 15-85mm Lens

I just picked up a "new to me" lightly used Canon 15-85mm lens: I've been wanting to get a wider range "walkaround" lens for a few months. After a lot of research I decided that this was the lens for me. I've only had it a few days and haven't used it much but so far I'm impressed.

I plan on posting a review of it after I've had some more time to use it.

Review: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

Last week we returned from a great vacation out West. We spent three days each in Death Valley and Zion National Parks with stopovers in Las Vegas. I knew that I wanted to try some wide angle photography while out there so after some research, I decided to rent a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens for the trip. It is one of several "ultra wide angle" lenses that are on the market and has received very good reviews from a number of sources. The lens is specifically designed to fit the APS-C "crop sensor" EOS digital SLR's like my Canon EOS Rebel T3i After using the lens and really enjoying it I thought I would give you my impressions of it by doing a "video review" of it. Now remember, I'm not a pro photographer or optics expert, so I can't give you a technical review discussing sharpness, vignetting, barrel distortion or any of the other technical issues. But, I think I can give you a real world impression based on using the lens in a variety of situations.

 

So, without further ado, here is the video review. After this, scroll down and I'll give you some sample photos and links:

Having a wide angle lens can really increase the possibilities in your photography. Here are a couple of images I took to show you the advantage you can gain by "going wide".

This first shot is taken with my T3i and the kit 18-55mm lens set to 18mm:

Here is the same scene after I swapped out the 18-55 for the 10-22, shot at 10mm:

Big difference, huh? The extra field of view is pretty impressive. In the first picture (18mm) you can barely see the top of one of the deck posts while at 10mm you can see a good chunk of the railing. That's a HUGE difference and exactly what I was looking for. Having some extra room can make a big difference in your ability to get the whole picture in one shot. And, a wide angle lens opens up many new creative paths.

Here's a couple of quick (I'm not finished tweaking these yet) examples from the trip:

This 1st one is from Las Vegas. It was taken on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard "the strip" and Tropicana.  With the lens at 10mm I was able to get both New York/New York and the MGM in the shot, as well as a good portion of the road.

This next shot is from the top of "Angels Landing" in Zion National Park. To get here I had to hike up a ridge and scramble up some rocks. The view from here is awesome. Once again, with the extreme wide angle I was able to capture a pretty impressive view.

As you can see, the wide angle really gives a different perspective on things and can allow you to capture a very big slice of life. The lens operated perfectly for me and I can assure you that any "errors" you see in my images are my fault, not the lens' If you are interested in trying a wide angle lens for yourself without committing to purchase one you might want to rent one to try out, like I did. I used a local lens rental service, Aperturent.com for my rental and they were great. Their prices are very reasonable and they will ship the lens to you, anywhere in the country, via FedEx just like the other lens rental companies. Here's a link to their site.

Rent Camera Gear

After using the lens for two weeks I plan on purchasing one whenever I can afford it. If you are looking for a wide angle lens, here are some links to help you out.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens on Amazon

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens at Adorama

In addition to Canon, Sigma produces a 10-20mm lens. It has received favorable reviews as well:

Amazon:Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Adorama:Sigma 10-20mm lens

Not to be outdone by Canon or Sigma, Tamron has their own 10-24mm wide angle lens:

Amazon:Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 SP Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Adorama: Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 SP Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

 

So, to summarize things: You Need A Wide Angle Lens! OK, maybe you don't officially "need" one but they sure are nice and can open up lots of creative possibilities in your photography. If you are looking to add a lens that can give you new options in landscape, architectural and many other types of photography, a wide angle lens is the way to go. I plan on getting one and I think you will enjoy the creative opportunities a wide angle lens like the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens can give you.

Happy Shooting!