Review of SLR Magic 8mm f4.0 lens

Started Mar 9, 2017 | User reviews thread
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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,313
Review of SLR Magic 8mm f4.0 lens

I have been able to try out this quite small wide angle lens made for the M4/3 mount.

It came well packed and presented. The lens feels well made in metal an glass. The aperture range is f4-f16 and the focus is infinity which almost immediately jumps to just one metre and then when wound around the scale to just 10 cm close focus. This means that only very close objects require focus adjustment. Out of focus bokeh is non-existent for all practical purposes.

Weight without caps is 125gm.

The lens also has a screw-in lock to prevent focus movement. This must be for one of two reasons - to either lock focus for use in drones or to lock focus to prevent it moving when the aperture is set. When I first saw it I thought that it would be a nuisance and might get lost but in practice it is not a lot of bother and a least you know that if the lens is locked at or near infinity most normal focus situations are assured. If the focus is not locked it does take a spare finger off the grip just to hold the focus in place as the aperture is adjusted. Focus and aperture action is smooth and easily controlled.

There is a small screw in hood that serves to protect the object lens protrusion if for any reason it is placed on a flat surface. The hood does not cause vignette. The supplied 52mm lens cap clips snugly on to the hood.

I thought it would be a bit slow at f4.0 but in practice in normal light it works fine from f4.0 through to f16.0. Sample images with any blue sky were taken at f16.

So it is easy use, light, and quite sharp. I don't do drones myself but I could see an attraction for this type of use - small, rugged construction, wide angle, rectilinear corrected, always in focus for aerial use.

It has only a very little distortion only really noticeable when shooting brick walls where a small curvature can be seen at the top and bottom periphery - for practical purposes this would probably not be noticed. Also if you angle the lens up or down from the horizontal there is an inevitable angular distortion due to its extreme wide angle.

Its small size is obvious when mounted on an E-M1.

The protruding lever on the left is the focus lock screw. The focus adjustment helper knob is the small chromed lever to the right. The focus scale between infinity and just 1 metre is easily seen.

In use I did not notice any flare.

This is far from a meticulous shot of a spider but it does show that the close focus works and has its uses - the depth of field decreases exponentially at close focus.

Dynamic range is also a factor of the camera used but I was able to bring out the detail under the tree without blowing the background away on a sunny day.

Close to far and white fluffy clouds.

The circus has arrived with bright colours.

Not soft but blowing vigorously on a windy day

I suppose a long jetty is as good a way of testing for distortion.

Bokeh? What bokeh?

I used it on a Panasonic GM5 which carries this lens nicely but also tried it on an Olympus E-M1 for a second opinion - both cameras handled this little lens very well.

Problems? Well I am still not sure about that protruding focus lock screw. It turned out not to annoy me as much as I thought it would and my initial impression that it might be easily lost is not so strong. But I tended to tighten it up after adjusting focus anyway. As most images are surely either going to be slow, deliberate close focus, or taken at infinity "always in focus" anyway the need to fiddle with the focus lock is not that often.

Low light photography is not going to be its forte. I did try it with some more moderate light shots and as long as I did not ask too much of it some extra ISO fixed it all. I wonder what application might need a really fast low light capable lens this wide.

It can also make a good copy lens and its wide angle is such that quite large objects could be copied from a fairly close distance. An A4 sheet of paper fits in nicely at 30cm.

So I find it hard to make much fault with this lens that fits its niche purpose very well.

Link here for more recent (better acquainted) images:

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Tom Caldwell

Tom Caldwell's score
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
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