What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness?

Started Jul 29, 2013 | Discussions
hjulenissen Senior Member • Posts: 2,230
What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness?

I just picked up a Samyang fisheye for my Canon 7D. From reviews on the net, I expected to be able to fix it at f/5.6-f/8, focus at 2m, use exposure time to adjust exposure and have reasonable sharpness for most scenes.

Judging from the in-camera previews, images are somewhat blurry. Most would say "show us your images". I intend to do so, but I would like to hear from other users in the meantime. Do you have to fiddle at lot with focus in landscape images? Is it an inherently softish lens?

-h

Canon EOS 7D
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123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness?

Long story, but those lenses use a hyperbolic focus distance thing. I didn't like it, so what I did, is I rolled up the rubber grip on the focus ring, under which three tiny (seriously tiny, disturbingly tiny even) screws appear. It's smeared over with some plasticy goo. You can scrape that off. You'll need an absurdly small screwdriver, something that's normally used to adjust atoms in a molecule under an electron microscope.

Loosed those screws up only just enough so that the ring rotates freely. I forgot before you do this, pick an object 1 meter away from the lens (or 3 feet). Carefully focus until you're sure it's tack sharp. Then loosen that ring, and make 1 meter line up with the marker. Then tighten the screws again. Test out 1 feet, see if it's sharp. Test infinity.

It took me a bunch of times to get it right. What frustrated me was that infinity kept on being slightly off. So what I ended up doing is aligned it to infinity. And not on the infinity marker, but all the way to the very end. I'm not interested in focusing past infinity. Then I discovered that that also maximized how close I can focus as well. It just about lines up on the near distances as well. So, now when I have an object that's about 1 meter away, I can just set it to 1 meter. It's otherwise just about impossible to focus during use. Anything over 2 meters goes to infinity anyway. So most of the time I now just set the focus all the way, and just click away.

Quality wise, the lens is soft at f3.5 but can be helpful in really bad lighting situations. f5.6 it's better. f8 it's very good. f11 is just about its max quality. And it can produce absolutely razor sharp shots. I've taken small crops from it, defished it, and ended up with normal looking photos.

Just like how a telelens is a good "spy lens", the fish eye is also a very good "spy lens". (not that I'm into spying or anything like that). You walk into a room, or museum, say. You snap a couple in a few directions, without knowing what's in the room, really. Then when you get home, you can pan around and zoom in, and discover all kinds of things.

Another fun thing is video. Put the camera on a tripod, high up, in the corner, and aim it so that it records the entire room all in one shot. Focus to infinity. Start video. Walk away. Then go play with the kits in the room. Amazing what you end up capturing. Can never do that with camcorders or other lenses. Also works great for cameras that either don't have auto focus during video or where auto focus sucks. Everything is in focus all the time. Problem solved

Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
Re: What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness?

hjulenissen wrote:

I just picked up a Samyang fisheye for my Canon 7D. From reviews on the net, I expected to be able to fix it at f/5.6-f/8, focus at 2m, use exposure time to adjust exposure and have reasonable sharpness for most scenes.

Judging from the in-camera previews, images are somewhat blurry. Most would say "show us your images". I intend to do so, but I would like to hear from other users in the meantime. Do you have to fiddle at lot with focus in landscape images? Is it an inherently softish lens?

-h

It's probably not directly relevant, but I have the Sony E-mount version of this lens mounted on an NEX-6 with an APS-C sensor, and mine is brutally sharp wide open.

Check my gallery - the Times Square images were likely shot between f2.8 and f4

From the July y weekend, others here:

 Mel Snyder's gear list:Mel Snyder's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a7 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS +12 more
David195 Regular Member • Posts: 113
Re: What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness?

I have this lens in Nikon mount. It is chipped so I can use it in aperture priority no problem. I just set it to F8 or F5.6 focus at 1 metre and everything is in focus. I am very impressed with this lens. Following shots were taken in the Philippines a few weeks ago.

 David195's gear list:David195's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon D610 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro +2 more
123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness?

I forgot I had a few in my gallery. Sony A mount...

OP hjulenissen Senior Member • Posts: 2,230
Re: What to expect from a Samyang 8mm CSII fisheye in terms of sharpness? (images)

I have done some test-shots. All are shot in live-view using 2s timer on a stand. The images are crops of the lower right corner (extending to about center of the frame) processed in Lightroom using fairly default settings (what I use for my other lenses).

The two pieces of paper are at measured distances of 30cm and 70cm from the camera screw-mount.

f/5.6, focus maximally close

f/5.6, focus at 0.7 meter

f/5.6, focus at maximally far

f/11, focus at maximally close

f/11, focus at 0.7 meter

f/11, focus at maximally far

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