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SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6

Sharpness 
 7.4
Aberrations 
 7.2
Bokeh 
 5.5
Handling 
 6.3
Value 
 8.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
19 32,613 Mon June 29, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $82.46 8.00
SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6
supersize


Description:
This is a fisheye lens for the Pentax Q System compact interchangeable lens cameras. It does not produce rectilinear images.

This lens is part of the Pentax-Q "Unique" lens series ( as opposed to "High Performance" ) and features super-protect lens coating. No hood or filters are available. The lens mount is made of plastic. It is manual focus only and has no built-in shutter or ND filter.

If this lens is mounted on a Q7/Q-S1, the camera will switch to a mode where it utilizes a smaller part of the sensor.

03 Fish-eye 3.2mm F5.6
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Q (1/2.3")
Lens Mount
Pentax Q
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
None
Optics
6 elements, 5 groups
Max. Aperture
F5.6
Min. Aperture
F5.6
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
9 cm
Max. Magnification
0.06x
Filter Size (mm)
No filter thread
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

1/2.3" (Q/Q10): 160 °
1/1.7" (Q7/Q-S1): 173 °
Hood
None available
Lens Cap
Lens Front-cover 33.7
Coating
SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Fisheye
Diam x Length
40.6 x 30 mm (1.6 x 1.2 in.)
Weight
29 g (1 oz.)
Production Years
2011 to present (in production)
Pricing
$68 USD current price
Notes
Engraved name: 03 FISH-EYE
User reviews

Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6
Price: $129.95



Add Review of SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6 Buy the SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 19
New Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: June 29, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: fun fun and more fun
Cons: manual focus, fixed aperture
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: Q-10   

My video review
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LGGFlM7_v4
   
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Katowice
Posts: 50
Lens Review Date: June 7, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $64.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, weight, size
Cons: small aperture for low light
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Q7   

I give overall "10" rating because any "cons" are overweighted by "value for money"
I takes very sharp pictures. I am positively surprised by image quality. Now I understand why Pentax marketing skipped "TOY" wording from this lens name. Definitely it gives "real" quality.
I found manual focusing with this lens very easy.
A little bokeh is there, but you have to know where to find it

   
Junior Member

Registered: September, 2016
Location: Central Iowa, USA
Posts: 42

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.82 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, surprisingly good image quality
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Q7   

This is the first fish-eye lens I've ever owned - or shot with - and have come away very impressed with the lens. I've found myself becoming a fan of the massive depth of field offered by this lens coupled with the fish-eye effect. I wouldn't want a steady diet of this kind of image, but images shot with this lens offers a unique take on things that I've not been able to get before - and I really find myself liking that.

To be honest, prior to experiencing this lens I felt that fish-eye lenses were a bit of a gimmick and so fish-eye lenses were far down on my list of lenses I ever planned to shoot with. Of course, this begs the question of why did I end up with this fish-eye lens?

Since my film days I have recognized a need in me to occasionally experiment with my photography. To use cameras and lenses that I wouldn't normally shoot with. As a result, back in my film days I shot with Tessar lenses, Cooke Triplets and single-element toy lenses. Now that I'm shooting with digital, I found a Q7 at a good price and picked up it's three 'toy' lenses - including the 03 Fish-Eye I'm reviewing here.

As far as I've been able to determine, the hyperfocal distance of this lens is 14.5 inches. That means that when the lens is focused at this distance, everything from 1/2 of the hyperfocal distance (7.25 inches) to infinity is in focus. That pretty much makes focusing with this lens a non-issue - just set the lens to it's hyperfocal distance and shoot away without having to worry about everything being in focus. On my copy of this lens, the hyperfocal distance is on the second focus mark from the left - the picture of the 03 lens at the top of the 03 Fish-Eye reviews is set to the same mark I use.

As far as sharpness goes, I've found in my pixel-peeping that the images taken with this lens hold together to the limits of the camera's resolution - an impressive result for something labeled a 'toy' lens.

To be sure, this lens has limits. The aperture is fixed at a relatively slow F5.6 and the lens does not have autofocus. To me a bigger issue is that the lens does not have a built-in shutter which establishes a maximum exposure time of 2 seconds when using this lens. However, I can understand why Pentax made these decisions - fish-eye lenses have never been big sellers in any format, and a faster autofocus fish-eye lens with a built-in shutter for the Q series of cameras would have been significantly more expensive. An expensive fish-eye for the Q series would probably have sold in only very small quantities. Instead, Pentax produced a pretty good lens - albeit a 'toy' lens - and sold a bunch of them.

My bottom line is that this lens allows me to capture attractive and interesting high-quality images that unlike any others I've been able to take. And that's about all you can ask of any lens.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2014
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 671
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, size, weight.
Cons: Fiddly manual focus
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: Q-S1   

It's a "toy" lens, simple design, tiny, weighs nothing, manual focus, F5.6 (in the diffraction zone). But given those design parameters and with appropriate expectations it is actually a surprisingly good performer.

On the Q-S1 it produces decently sharp images across the frame and into the corners. Contrast is good. It is never going to be as sharp as the 01 or 06 but it is sharp enough.

Took it out for a spin the other weekend and was blown away by some of the images it produced when focused properly (focus peaking and zoom focus). I really need to use it more.

Given the price and size there really is no reason not to have one in the bag!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 449

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 21, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fun
Cons: Tricky focus (see below)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Q7, Q-S1   

A great little lens, more than just a "toy". Usable images with very close focus capabilities, in the image below the bee was about 1 inch from the lens!



Use the 6x preview to aid in focusing. Bokeh is neutral, only visible on close-ups, and is pretty good considering what it is.

It does have some quirks, however. The focusing is not like regular lenses, here is what I have found the tick marks on the lens barrel to mean (Left to Right as looking down from behind the camera:

1. Way beyond infinity
2. Beyond Infinity
3. Hyperfocal (3 feet to infinity)
4. About 1 foot (from the front of the lens)
5. About 6 inches
6. About 4 inches
7. About 3 inches
8. About 2 inches
9. About 1 inch (as above)


NOTE: A Q-7 or Q-S1 the camera will auto-crop the image to fill the frame. You can get more coverage (with a tiny bit of vignetting at the corners) if you put paper over the lens contacts before mounting the lens.


UPDATE: I've used this lens for a couple of years now, having it "hiding" in the bottom of my kit. I have found it to be really useful in many situations. This is a great value for someone who is interested in exploring fish eye photography. It is tiny, smaller than a 35mm film canister, and very light.

UPDATE UPDATE: If you shim the mount/lens connection with regular frosted tape, the focus range will be at infinity at the left-most tic mark (there is still a little play beyond infinity.) This will enable the close focus distance to be less than 1/2 inch (12mm).
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Mosquito Creek, Australia
Posts: 4,097
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, useful fish-eye. Sharp enough
Cons: A bit fiddly. Needs practice to get pics right.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Q   

I got this lens with a Q (about 1100 actuations) and the 01 lens for the equivalent of $150 US. On that, I would say the 03 was about $30 and the 01 and Q about $60 each. I was not looking for the 03. It was just an extra. But having played with it, I am very impressed. I am no expert photographer, but here goes:

First the specs. As it says above, it is an inexpensive fish-eye, manual focus with a fixed f5.6 aperture. Those are not weaknesses. That's just what it is. It is not for those who want something else.

How does it perform? The focus is a bit tricky. With mine, I find the infinity focus point is back a couple of marks from the end of "far" travel. Maybe it is just this lens. Focus Peaking helps but bright light is a killer anyway. Now I know where infinity is, I expect to get more hits. Shooting directly into the sun (I had no choice) it coped very well. Sharpness was also pretty good for what it is (see 100% crop - the focus may not have been spot on). Others have shown that it can be used for macro in the right circumstances.

My use for this lens will be to capture an "impression" from what I see. I am not much into wide angle, but having played with the 03 I can see how it can capture a feeling very well. If the horizon is kept at the 50/50 line it remains straight and the curvature can capture the sweep of the landscape (like the small bay below). Alternatively, if looking down from a height, a convex horizon can suggest the curvature of the earth. It is all a matter of imagination.

All the images were jpeg with just a slight tweak to contrast levels. The shots were taken on Thursday Island, Torres Strait. (I did not have the capacity to process RAW at the time)

Posts in the water - a nice sense of depth.

Same posts, different view. The 03 captures the curve of the little bay and it is echoed in the clouds.

Edge of the mangroves. Again, nice depth but getting a bit towards the sun which affects colour rendition.

Dinghy on the mud flats. This is directly into the sun and the Q and 03 had no problems. Yes, there is flare but not as much as I expected. Colour is almost monochrome in these conditions. Or maybe I need to post process more.

100% crop from the image above. The fishing net is rendered quite well (this was a jpeg SOOC under pretty demanding conditions).
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2007
Location: Europe - France - Paris
Posts: 35
Lens Review Date: December 28, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fun , light, fish eye effect
Cons: lens can get dirty quite quickly
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax Q   

I like it .

Fine , this is not a perfect lens as it lacks autofocus , it's slow and sharpness cannot compare to the 01. However its fun , light and its a good combo with the Q.
Much better than the C/D lenses i tried so far. I found mine at 75 Euros new on Amazon.fr, good deal.

A good addition to the Q line
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 118
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $91.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fisheye! Light weight, compact.
Cons: focusing ring
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Q-7, Q-S1   

Anyone who has delved into the strange world of fish-eye lenses should appreciate this quirky little entry. Because it is a fixed aperture lens, it has been optimized at f5.6, a reasonable balance of sharpness, depth of field and diffraction effects. It doesn't have a hood because any hood would vignette (I tried it.). The focus scale should be set at the first large tick from the left (as shown in the picture in the lens description above) for most shots. The other focus settings to the right are for close-ups—as close as an inch!. Do not use the two left-most ticks unless you are shooting out-of-focus backgrounds for effect. A wide rubber band (like you get with broccoli) will hold this ring in place, make a shallow notch in it to see the focus tick marks. This lens would get a 10 in handling if it had 4 or 5 hard-click settings for focus.

The sharpness is relatively good, and very uniform across the frame, unlike cheapo auxiliary lenses. Contrast and evenness of illumination is exceptional for a $100 lens of this type.
Bokeh is really a non-issue. There is some fringing at the edges of the frame in backlit situations however, that might be a deal-breaker for some.

NOTE: If you are shooting jpegs with a Q-7 or Q-S1 the camera will auto-crop the image to fill the frame. You can get another 15° of coverage (with a tiny bit of vignetting at the corners) if you put a narrow strip of tape or paper over the lens contacts before mounting the lens.

UPDATE: Having used this lens for almost a year now, it is still a favorite. Once you get the hang of focusing it becomes very useful, especially in dramatic close-ups.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Paris, TN
Posts: 3,027
Lens Review Date: March 5, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fun, the wide end of the Q-system
Cons: You gotta spend the time to understand it

This is a deceptively complex lens to use but with a little effort you can obtain pleasing results with it.

First the three negatives:
- It is a TOY lens and the plastic build quality and feel reflects that.
- It's fixed aperture at f/5.6 (and that's likely a critical compromise between speed and diffraction limits).
- Focusing is neither easy with the LCD screen nor is it intuitive using the focus guide index*.

The positive factors:
- It's an economical UWA fisheye
- It's a lot of fun once you understand its quirks.
- It supports the claim that the Q is a IL-SLR SYSTEM.

Focusing insights:
- The first two and last two focus index tic marks seem to produce progressively worse focus results. I suspect this is an intentional accommodation that allows for much less expensive manufacturing costs by allowing more overshoot in the focusing sleeves to calibrate the lens. I do not personally criticize this since trying to focus a fish eye lens on this low resolution LCD screen would not benefit from the expense of a more precise design. I consider the first and last two tics a feature -- like the acclaimed DSLR AF adjustment mode that allows for calibrating individual lenses to the body.

-* The Near Far label with the focus ring indicates the direction to twist the lens, not the result.

Just shoot a deliberate series of near, medium and distant scenes and custom calibrate your own lens. Taping the ring, a rubber band or a focus detente clip is a big help in handling this tiny lens.

As for sharpness, it's similar to the APS-C 10-24mm class UWA lenses when shot wide open to F/4 -- more than satisfactory for the intended use of this fun lens with the Q bodies IMO. At the end of the day, this lens is the "grin-getter" when reviewing the days catch once you learn to focus it.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Posts: 3,346
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $96.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, cheap for fisheye, decent IQ when focused properly
Cons: Manual focus, weak construction, slow f/5.6
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 1    Handling: 4    Value: 8   

What an odd lens! The good aspects are very good and the bad aspects are very bad.

First, the good. It's an inexpensive fisheye lens that produces decent IQ when properly focused. I use focus peaking with blinking highlight/shadow indication to exaggerate the focus peaking effect. The close focus range makes this a pseudo macro lens with some distortion.

Now the bad. I find this lens to be poorly constructed. The manual focus ring is not dampened and the lens cap is more like a all covering hood. I would have appreciated some kind of petal hood to protect the lens from knocks. The lens mounting surface is plastic. This helps to keep the lens lightweight but it doesn't inspire confidence. I also wish this was an AF lens. The price would have been higher and then everyone's expectation on IQ would be higher too. The f/5.6 ratio is almost a necessary evil. You need it to get the corners sharp at the expense of diffraction in the center. Shots still come out good if you know how to play a fisheye lens.

Here's an example where I centered the horizon. Can you detect the fisheye effect?


IMGP6035
by Never Off, on Flickr

I would recommend this lens if you have gift certificates to burn.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 963
Lens Review Date: December 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, lovely colors.
Cons: Poor focusing ring.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

This small lens produces vivid colors. Easy to carry, but the focusing ring leaves much to be desired.
A cheap entry to the fun world of fish eye!

   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Sunshine Coast
Posts: 113
Lens Review Date: December 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $97.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap, fun way to try out fisheye effects.
Cons: Fixed aperture, hard to focus, all plastic, feels like nothing.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 3    Handling: 6    Value: 9   

I bought this really as a comparatively cheap way to try out fisheye effects, I really didn't want to pay out $100's of dollars for a lens for my DSLR to find out this isn't me. In realistic terms this is a cheap lens, it looks cheap, it feels cheap, and it was cheap, it's not pretending to be something it isn't. Not having a variable aperture and the lack of auto focus is a pain, particularly with the small screen on the Q. However pre set the focus as suggested below and use the lens's enormous hyperfocal depth and it is fun to go! Trying to focus manually, even with focus peaking, is an exercise in frustration, and few of my photos I did this way were very sharp. I imagine I won't use it a lot, but I must admit, fisheye is even more fun than I had imagined and I'm still experimenting. I might try defishing some of the photo's to see how it shapes up as a super wide substitute. All in all I don't regret my spend and this is a worthy addition to the Q system.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 6,437
Lens Review Date: November 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Fisheye! Tiny
Cons: hard to nail focus sometimes
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 8   

This is a tough lens to review. I can't say I love it. On the original Q I found it mainly frustrating but I have warmed some using it with the Q7. The attached photos illustrate some of the strengths and weaknesses. Note that it is fairly flare resistant even shooting into the sun.
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 183

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $76.00 | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: None
Cons: No meaningful distance scale, impossible to focus, poor build quality
Sharpness: 1    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 1    Value: 1   

Lacking any distance scale, it is impossible to focus this lens in any meaningful fashion. In frustration, I actually laid out three meter sticks to see whether it was possible to get anything in focus with this lens; shooting at each of the little marks, I then compared the images and determined that absolutely nothing was within an acceptable focus.

I have been using Pentax equipment for nearly forty years, and I have never seen anything from Pentax that approaches the dreadfully poor quality of this lens. It is trash. Toy "fisheye effect" attachments render better images than this lens.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2011
Posts: 4,064

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cheap, close focusing
Cons: Can flare; plastic cap attracts dust
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

This is an amazing little lens which makes a great enhancement
to the Q system. Once you're set up with a Q, the 03 gives you
the opportunity to sample fish-eye photography very cheaply,
without having to make the more substantial investment that
would be needed on the K-mount.

What's more, this lens can do things that the K-mount fisheyes
cannot do. A Q with the 03 is so small that it will fit in
confined spaces where an APS-C camera and fisheye won't go.
Best of all, the 03 will focus all the way down to 9cm, much
closer than APS-C rivals like the DA 10-17 or the
Sigma 10/2.8 EX DC HSM, which can't get closer than 14cm.

In contrast to the experience of some other reviewers, I have
found this lens to be capable of producing surprisingly sharp
images, under good lighting conditions, once you use the focus
peaking option to get it properly in focus. On "fractal" type
landscape scenes, the JPEGs from this lens on the Q can be over
5MB in size, more than what the 01 prime typically delivers.

The flare resistance of the lens is not up to the usual Pentax
standard. It can produce multiple blotches when subject to
strong light from the side. A minor niggle is the tendency of
the plastic lens cap to become charged and attract dust.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6 Buy the SMC Pentax-Q 03 Fish-Eye 3.2mm F5.6



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