Friday, March 25, 2016

Rokinon / Samyang f/2.8 Fisheye II lens on a Fuji X-Pro2

Picked up a Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 UMC fisheye II lens to do some virtual reality shots with my X-Pro2 but decided to try it out on the misty night sky over the city last night. Wide open it was sharp in the center area with some softness on the edges, but closing down a couple of stops eliminated most of the problem. Really nice, honest color. Excellent for such an inexpensive piece of glass.

The only cosmetic addition to this lens that I do not like is the inclusion of the brushed silver ring around the base of the Fuji model. The design is a bit jarring and looks like an afterthought. I would have like to see this done up in black. 

The lens is completely manual on a Fuji X camera -- manual focus, manual aperture. This is not much of a problem with a fisheye lens considering the extensive depth of field of such a short focal length and the fact that it works best when stopped down a bit anyway. There are no electrical contacts to connect the lens to the camera so no lens data is passed along.  You can set your X camera to know what focal length it is using, but that's about it. 

The Rokinon is a Korean lens that also goes under the Samyang name. They both come from the same factory in Korea and are exactly the same lens. Sometimes they are priced differently so shop around. 


I suspect many photographers will use this lens for astro photography where a lack of coma is important. I did not use it to photograph stars, but did check the city lights in the extreme areas of the frame and saw no coma present, particularly when stopped down 2-3 stops. 

There is noticeable lack of vignetting -- something typical in many full frame fisheyes --  with this lens. This means you don't have to open up the exposure in the corners in post processing. Opening up shadows in post increases noise in those areas. So that is a plus for this lens.

This is a full frame fisheye with a field of view covering an extreme 180 degrees. It has the typical petal style lens shade commonly found on fisheye lenses. Since the shade is built into the main body of the lens, it necessitated a larger, cylindrical lens cap to cover it.

This is a tiny lens, easy to tuck into a remote area of the camera bag and pull it out whenever you get the urge to try something different.

I owned a Nikon 16mm full frame fisheye once and got rid of it after using it for astro photography and seeing the distortion mess it created in the edges of the frame. The Rokinon is a much better performer than that at a fraction of the cost -- well worth it for me.

Night view of Fifth Avenue with the Empire State Building in its Easter colors. 

The Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 USM Fisheye II lens can be purchased at:   BH-Photo    Adorama    Amazon
The Samyang 8mm f/2.8 USM Fisheye II lens can be purchased at:   BH-Photo   Adorama    Amazon

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