London provides some great subjects for a fisheye lens
Today I got the chance to take the new Samyang 8mm Fisheye for some testing down in London, mounted on the Fuji X-E1. London has some superb modern architecture, which provides great subjects for an extreme wide angle lens. Having finished a meeting in the late afternoon in the City, I headed off to City Hall and More London, and then via Westminster Tube station on the way back to Kings Cross. It was a glorious evening, with nice long shadows and low warm sun.
More shots are available at a Flickr set I’ve uploaded here.
City of London Looking Up!
It’s so wide it’s easy to shoot your own fingers!
Having shot 50 or so frames with the lens on this outing I’m very impressed indeed. I’ve learned to keep my own fingers well away from the lens, as I ruined at least two frames by having my fingers on what I thought was the focus ring but which were actually straying into the edge of the shot. The only other error I made was forgetting to set the focus a few times; even though at most apertures the depth of field is almost infinite, when placing the foreground close to the lens, or shooter at wider apertures due to low light, one has to take some care to adjust the focus before shooting. I’m so used to autofocus on the Fuji I simply forgot a few times., and everything looks in focus because the lens is so wide.
The Samyang seems to be very sharp indeed right into the corners, and seems to have good contrast and colour throughout the frame with no unevenness. I shot quite a few images into the low evening sun as I liked the effect of the long shadows pulling back into the frame. The sunstars perhaps aren’t the most attractive, but flare seems to be OK for fisheye lens. On a few shots I got a large hexagon shaped flare in the corner. It’s interesting to see how lens renders so very differently between lenses. (By comparison my Tokina 16-28 has a highly structured and concentric circular pattern of lens flare – just visible to the right hand side of this shot).
Into the sun
Sunbathers at City Hall
One interesting possibility with shooting such a wide lens is that you can hold it steady enough with such a low shutter speed to easily get motion blur, whilst retaining general sharpness on static objects. I shot a few frames at about 1/20th sec and the images are dead sharp although pedestrians are blurred, which provides quite a nice effect.
The little Samyang seems to be something of a bargain. Even a couple of outings like this each year would make it well worth owning a fisheye. Yes – such lenses are a speciality but anything that helps me to learn to be more creative is well worth it!