Update: Unscientific lens shootout: @Rokinonlenses /Bower/Samyang vs. Panasonic M4/3 fisheye @SEC_Carrboro

Update: If all goes as planned I will be picking up the Bower/Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm fisheye later this week. Will post pics soon. Original ramblings below…

Stopped by my favorite camera shop (Southeastern Camera Carrboro) to compare two fisheye lenses I am thinking of buying. My obsessive research (dpreview.com, bhphotovideo.com, stevehuffphoto.com and amazon.com among others) led me to the Bower/Rokinon/Samyang triplets (one lens of many names evidently) 7.5mm fisheye which runs for as low as $239. That being said I was concerned that it was manual focus. Manual focus itself is not scary as I enjoy shooting with my father’s old school Pentax ME Super. The issue, or so I thought, is that I have become quite spoiled by my little E-PL5’s touch screen focus and rely on it heavily. Enter the Panasonic 8mm fisheye. Autofocus?: Check. Price of $638… Wait. What the heck? All of a sudden a twist of the wrist to focus seemed more reasonable. But can I take a clear picture while pocketing $400? To Southeastern Camera! When online shopping just won’t do. Contrary to common practice for many, researching in store and buying online, I tend to start research online and then do final comparisons and buy in store (if available in stock for the same price that is) mostly due to an utter lack of patience. Your results may vary, but I found the Bower (the triplet in stock) to be a match in photo quality and fisheye-oscity, but (duh) more effort to focus up close. Distant shots were a match since set just below infinity the Bower rendered my camera a point and shoot. This would be resolved if I purchased an EVF. Perfect since I have been looking for any excuse to buy an Olympus VF-4 anyway (Update: Purchased since writing this. Love it.). So if I buy the Bower and a VF-4 I am actually saving about $130? Wow. Justification is an expensive slippery slope. Below the Panasonic 8mm autofocus shots are on top and the Bower 7.5mm manual focus shots are below…

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Here is a shot of it on the camera that I took with my Lumia920:

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While I was there I also checked out my planned next lens purchase, the Olympus Zuiko 45mm f1.8 (Update: Have purchased since writing this. Love it.). Below is a shot I took of it looking all handsome in black on my E-PL5, and a few sample shots after that…

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-ELW