Peleng 8mm fisheye lens review
by Mladen Sever, 2006
Too often, general interest for (digital) photography is oriented primary on our equipment from a technical point of view rather than creative one. And too often we are spending our time discussing topics like "which lens is sharper" instead on how do we expand our photography expressions and creativity.
Peleng 8mm fish eye lens, is just a great example on how can a simple (and not so expensive since it can be found for 250$ new) tool lead us back, to a "fun-world" , where all that matters is enjoy our photography and "consume" our creativity expression.
Build and handling
Peleng 8mm is a t-mount lens. We can use it with both T-mount to MAF adapter or with t-mount to M42 adapter (provided with the lens) and m42 to MAF adapter (this is how I do use it). You can find more about the lens itself visiting links provided at the left side of this page, so there isn't of much sense to repeat it here.
One the biggest problem when using manual lenses on our DSLR is ability to focus properly. Smaller viewfinders (due to reduced sensor size) not really optimized for manual focusing (except if you are using additional M screens or special split screens) aren't of great help in this regard. While mentioned is a real issue with longer focal range lenses, in this case, with 8mm lens (35mm) this isn't a problem. Set your aperture to f8 and you practically have all in focus !!
The build quality is excellent. A all metal construction gives the feeling that you can drop this lens from an airplane and the lens will still work. Aside focusing and aperture rings there is additional ring for opening or closing aperture blades which is used for stop down metering process.
First of all, this is a special lens, not adequate for most applications. And, it isn't for anyone!
This is a typical "hate it – like it" lens that may be too frustrating to use for some but that at the same time may be a favourite lens for others. Whether you will like it or not, will depend on your shooting style and preferences and has nothing to do on your photographers skills.
The more we close the aperture the better overall image quality is. The lens can be used wide open, but image quality isn't what the lens can really provide if stopped down. At f8 images are sharp enough even for some serious applications, but the lens really shines at f11 and f16. As expected, image quality is best at center of the frame, with the sharpness and contrast significantly decreasing in corners.
Many owners may notice another strength of this lens; colors. Those of us who love old Minolta glass for their color rendition may love this lens too in this regard. Both colors and contrast are very appealing at least for my taste.
The lens is multicoated, which should result in more resistance to flare. But, we are talking about extremely wide focal range and care should be taken.
In certain situations the lens can exhibit flare and "white ring" artefacts at the edges of projected images. Most probably this is caused by light inner ring found on the front lens element (I don't know the reason the lens is build this way).
Again, it's an issue that can be a turn-off for some users, but personally, doesn't bother me much at all.
It's WIDE !
If you think you can get about the same angle of view with lenses like Sigma 10-20 or Minolta (Sony) 11-18, then you wrong. Below you can see original image, fisheye corrected (using fisheye-hemi plugin .. so far the most pleasing correction tool I have found) and the same frame taken with sigma 10-20 lens at 10mm.
It's not a perfect lens, not even close. But is a fun, creative tool that will became an permanent inventory of my photo bag.
For a lens like this on, where creativity has a higher priority than technical perfection, images taken with this lens may be the best presentation of capabilities, and for this reason I have asked a good friend of mine to try it a bit and share his fish-eye vision.
Thank you Pastyr, for taking care of the Peleng :)
Update January 2008
A great lens to play with is has served me great for our dyxum January Madness challange.
It was fun to use this lens every day for an entire months. You can see my January madness gallery here.
Related peleng 8mm links
Gallery by pastyr
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