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02-08-2012, 07:40 PM   #1
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Fisheye ?

I was wondering if any one out there has any experience with either of the following lenses? The SMC Pentax Fish-Eye 17mm 1:4 by Asahi or the Bower 8mm Wide Angle Fisheye Lens. I have always wanted a fisheye both the Pentax DA 10-17mm is out of my price range. I have found the other two closer to what I can afford and both close enough in price that it won't sway my preference (the Asahi is a little cheaper). Does anyone have any experience with either of these. I will be shooting with my K5. Thanks in advance for you help.

02-08-2012, 07:48 PM   #2
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I have the S-M-C Takumar 17mm f/4 FE. It isn't as fishy on aps-c as on full frame of course, which is fine for me as I don't go for the extreme fishy look. It works fine, takes good shots, nothing really special but I have not used it all that much. Very small and light so easy to carry, some flare if you are not careful with your direction.
02-08-2012, 08:20 PM   #3
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I've never used the Bower, but it will give you a much wider angle, and a lot more "fishyness". The Tak 17/4 is nice, a very fun little lens, very handy to carry as an extreme wide angle - with some fish eye distortion. You may also want to look at the Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 fish-eye - supposed to be quite good, and inexpensive.
02-08-2012, 10:22 PM   #4
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I have an older Sigma 8mm circular fisheye and it's fun but a handfull.

It looks like this on a film camera:



and this on my K5 with the APS-C



I love both looks.

Honestly as fun as the 8mm is it's no where near a versatile as the DA 10-17. I'd save my money for that lens. It gives you fisheye and ultra wide angle.

02-08-2012, 11:03 PM   #5
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I considered getting the DA 10-17mm FE too, but knowing that ultimately it will be a fun lens (rather than a day-to-day workhorse type of lens) I ended up with the KA-mount Sigma 8mm.

Viewing angle is exactly as posted above by blackcloudbrew.

FWIW, 8mm is definitely fun and fishy : )

Maybe you could get either the 17mm Asahi or 8mm Bower for now as a stepping stone and find out if it'll be worth your upgrade in the future.
02-08-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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those are great blackcloudbrew!!
02-09-2012, 06:39 AM   #7
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There is also the SMC Pentax-F 17-28mm F3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye which I have and probably has a similar FOV to the 17mm SMC you mention above. Its not extremely "Fishy" which at times can be a good thing (makes for an interesting landscape lens) but "Fishy" enough in tight situations to fit more in the image than a rectilinear lens of the same focal length. Plus you get a bit of variability that a zoom provides. FWIW I had the DA 10-17mm and loved it however I just didn't use it enough to justify keeping, but will probably pick it up again some day down the road. A little while ago I picked up the 17-28mm as a deal I couldn't refuse. I would keep an eye out here at the market place if your interested as the prices one typically sees on ebay are quite inflated.
02-09-2012, 10:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Honestly as fun as the 8mm is it's no where near a versatile as the DA 10-17. I'd save my money for that lens.
I would do the same. A fisheye lens provides a rather restrictive FOV, with loads of distortion. It's a specialty lens with narrow applicability. A fisheye that zooms is far more versatile and will stay on your camera longer. It allows for a significantly greater range of creativity.

Moreover, how much more expensive is the DA 10-17 to the bower? $200? Isn't that just 4 or 5 tanks of gas?

02-09-2012, 10:57 AM   #9
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i have the DA10-17 and it gets more use than i ever expected. they are typically just over $400 used and may be worth a second look.


A few of my recent shots with the 10-17:


10mm - very fishy but horizon in middle and no straight lines at the edges don't scream, "i'm a fisheye"



10mm - also doesn't look fishy but in reality the scene is quite distorted. would've been very hard to capture this with a wide angle rectilinear.


10mm - you can tell it is FE from the curved water trails


10mm - ok, no mistaking the classic FE look here. This shot cropped on the left side.
02-09-2012, 11:59 AM   #10
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Don't forget that the Fisheye Hemi plugin works well with the Samyang 8mm. It straightens out the verticals in a landscape shot without noticeable image degradation and without losing much FOV. The outcome looks like the cylindrical projection you might get from stitching several shots, rather than the 'everything curved' fisheye effect.



Mike's last shot above would have straight verticals.
02-09-2012, 05:12 PM - 1 Like   #11
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My fishy experiences:

* DA10-17 is the lens that drove me to Pentax. It is MUCH more flexible and usable than any FE prime. From very fishy at 10mm to slightly fishy at 17mm, it can't be beat.

* Zenitar 16/2.8 is slightly fishy on APS-C, very fishy on 135/FF. It's faster than other glass in the vicinity, and still a real deal at about US$200 new.

* Vemar 12/8 (made by Sigma, also branded Spiratone, Vivitar, etc) is almost full-circle on 135/FF and still very fishy on APS-C. It is slow and not flexible. Not recommended.

* Kenko 180 Degree Fisheye adapter. I put this on 35-80mm zooms. At ~40mm it's full-circle; from ~60mm it's frame filling. Slow, and not great around the edges.

* generic 0.25x fishy adapter, about US$20 new. I put this on my DA18-55 or DA18-250 and get full-circle at 18mm. Much faster than the Kenko, better resolution, more aberrations.

* cheap hardware store door peeper -- absolutely sucks and isn't much cheaper than the generic.

My recommendations: For quality and flexibility, the DA10-17. For quality and a little stretch for not much money, the Zenitar 16/2.8. For just exploring radical fishiness, the cheap generic 0.25x.
02-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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I have the Rokinon 8mm f3.5 Fisheye (believe is the same as the Bower just rebranded). I really enjoy the lens. Here is an example taken with my K-5 at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show:

02-10-2012, 06:57 AM   #13
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I have the pro-optic 8mm fisheye. Note that Bower, Pro-Optic, Vivitar, and rokonon are all rebranded Samyang 8mm fisheye lenses.

the only difference is the vivitar has cosmetic differences to the samyang, all others simply have a similar looking nameplate with a different name on it.

the lens is very good, has minimal CA and excelleng flare resistance, which is important because with 180 degree field of view, it is sometimes difficult to keep the sun out of the shot.

as for use, it is somewhat of a specific lens, but haviong said that it is one i would not travel without, even though I have a sigma 10-20, because it is very useable in tight spaces.

even controlling the curved field effect is manageable, and many times if you can orient the critical lines of the subject to cross through the middle of the screen, you do not even notice the curvature.

Manual focus is not really an issue because depth of field is almost infinite.

Biggest issue I have is keeping my feet out of the picture
02-10-2012, 09:22 AM   #14
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Well after seeing MikeSF's photos with the DA 10-17mm I think I'm going to save some extra money and get that. I didn't realize it was so versatile. Wonderful pic Mike. Thanks everyone for your opinions.
02-10-2012, 09:41 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by smack1019 Quote
Well after seeing MikeSF's photos with the DA 10-17mm I think I'm going to save some extra money and get that. I didn't realize it was so versatile. Wonderful pic Mike. Thanks everyone for your opinions.
Let's not ignore that there is some remarkable processing going on in Mike's shots up there. You aren't going to get those results right out of the camera! No matter what lens you throw on....
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