It is a Wide Wide World
The Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye for m4/3
This little lens is opening the world to a wide perspective. With its 180°, you really need to watch where your feet and fingers are … otherwise they will end up in the frame. Obviously, the fisheye effect is not for everyone and I found out that people really like it … or hate it.
On m4/3 cameras, you will work with a Full Frame equivalent of 15mm (which makes it one of the widest lenses available on the market for that format).
For Olympus cameras, the first thing to do is to set the Internal Stabilisation (IS) to 8mm since there is no communication for the camera. Forgetting to do so (especially if you used a long lens on manual mode before) will generate a lot of shake from the sensor. You can also simply disable the Internal Stabilisation. I usually put the camera on Manual mode (M) but it is also possible to use the Aperture mode (A).
Unless you need a deeper depth of field, the best way to work with it is to leave the aperture ring at f/3.5 and just forget about it. Then, only the shutter speed and the ISO will be the decisive factors. To increase the fisheye effect, simply have anything on the side of the frame. The more centered your subject will be, the less fisheye effect you will get.
Its short focus distance also allows some interesting viewpoints and it is possible to take picture of people without them really noticing (if you don’t mind some distortion)! On Olympus bodies (and others), you can also use the “Scenes” modes with the caveat to not forget to set your settings before moving to it. Some of those in-camera effects work fine with the fisheye (especially if you shoot JPG + RAW … just in case). You can also remove or reduce the fisheye effect with the usual tools (Photoshop, Lightroom and others).
This lens is so small that you can basically carry it everywhere (which I do as it is nearly always in my bag). It is well built, solid and the focus ring feels is just fine. As for the price (about $399 to 385CND), it is hard to beat for the fun factor it will bring you.
This lens is built by Samyang for the m4/3 mount but sold under a lot of names: Samyang, Rokinon, Bower and more. It is important to notice that they also offer another version (8mm) with the same basic specs for APS-C models from Canon, Nikon, Pentax and more. Also, it is not a circular fisheye.
The technical specs are:
Focal length: 7.5mm
Angle of View: 180°
Max Aperture: f/3.5
Min Aperture: f/22
35mm equivalent: 15mm (m4/3 mount)
Min Focus: 9 cm
Weight: 197 g
Notes: No stabilization (on the lens itself), no internal focusing and no filter thread (however, there is a trick to add one … such as between the lens and the sensor…).