Friday, 2 January 2015

Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye review

There is a new, expotic, and reasonanbly priced lens available, the Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye. It was announced in April for DSLR mounts like Nikon F and Canon EF. In November, it was further announced in Micro Four Thirds mount and Sony E mount.

So, should you buy this lens, and if so, in what mount? That's what I will be trying to answer in this article.

To help the review of the lens, I will be comparing it with a similar lens for Sony E mount, the Yasuhara Madoka 180 7.3mm f/4 (my review). Both lenses are shown below:


Left: Yasuhara Madoka 180 7.3mm f/4 circular fisheye lens. On the right, is the Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 with an adapter for Sony E-mount.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ review

I bought the Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ as part of a kit with the NEX-3N. Since I already have the Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 for Micro Four Thirds, it makes sense to compare them. Both are shown below:



Thursday, 8 August 2013

Meike/Skyblue macro rings: Highly recommended

I have previously tested a number of low cost solutions to macro photography on Micro Four Thirds, however, the concepts are the same for the Sony NEX system. Mostly, they are quite hard to use, for example because they don't support changing the aperture or focusing. I think I had the most impressive results with a reverser ring, however, the working distance becomes very short, and there is no aperture control or focus possibility.

Now, however, macro extension rings with electronic contacts are available at a low price. They are marketed as Meike, Skyblue, Neewer, and probably more names, and one pack includes two rings: One 10mm thick, and one 16mm thick. My rings look like this:



They appear to be a cheaper copy of the Kenko macro rings which work in the same way.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Yasuhara Madoka 180 7.3mm f/4 circular fisheye

The Yasuhara Madoka 180 7.3mm f/4 is an unusual lens. It is one of the very few circular fisheye lenses, and the only one, that I know of at this time, for a mirrorless camera. A circular fisheye lens is one that projects a circular image on the centre of the imaging sensor, usually with 180° coverage. This is in contrast to full frame fisheye lenses, which fills the whole imaging sensor, and generally feature 180° coverage across the diagonal only, see the illustration below:


The specifications are given by the name of the lens: The lens projects an image circle of 180° field of view, and has a maximum aperture of f/4. The focal length is 7.3mm. This is pretty much all you need to know about a fisheye lens. I'll get back to the significance of the focal length later.

To understand just how wide this lens is, I compare it with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens at 16mm, which is already quite wide. The images are taken on a tripod at exactly the same spot, using the Sony NEX-3N:

Sony E 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS @ 16mm f/8Yasuhara Madoka 180 @ f/8

Physical appearance


The lens appears fairly solidly made, with a metal construction in a matte black finish. The supplied lens cover is plastic, and fits over the lens by means of friction, which works just fine: