In addition to the reasons listed in the linked post above a recent test drive with a Takumar 17mm f/4.5 Fisheye (Courtesy SE Camera) is to blame for this one.
I usually tire of fisheye lenses fairly quickly so I had said I swear off of them in favor of rectilinear wide-angle lenses. My inner camera nerd blurted:
- It has built-in color filters!
- It is small!
- It is a beautiful lens.
- Can be used on the (Check to make sure I did not trade it. Yep. Still there.) Pentax ME Super with an M42 to K adapter!
- Sidenote: Do NOT DARE put this thing on the Zenit! Yes, the threads match, but it will likely get perma-fused like the prior Takumar that required an abundance of convincing to get it loose. Never again.
- It has built-in color filters!
- It does this!
But then my annoying better senses stepped in and stated:
- Built-in color filters are only helpful when shooting black and white film.
- It is not that small when you use the M42 Mount to FE adapter.
- While it is nearly a piece of art in appearance it costs a bit more (mid-$200 range) that I want to spend on a fisheye lens.
- Lastly, at 17mm it is not as wide as the 15mm rectilinear lens I already had.
So the Takumar was a no go. Even though I was not won over by the Takumar it did convince me that a fisheye would be nice to have.
7Artisans to the rescue. They had already won me over with their M mount lenses.
All of them are an excellent value, but this 7.5mm f/2.8 lens takes the cake at only $139.
- One of the least expensive fisheye lenses.
- That is quite the impressive front element there.
- Somehow one of the smallest lenses also.
- One of the brightest aperture fisheye lenses at f/2.8.
- One of the widest non-circular fisheye lenses available.
- Very well built.
- It comes with a nifty metal cap like the other 7Artisans lenses.
If that was not enough look at this comparison with a more expensive lens (click here or image for B&H comparison):
Is the 7Artisans as good as the Samyang? Based on my past experience with Rokinon/Samyang/Bower fisheye lenses I say yes. Rokinon/Samyang/Bower make great lenses. (Before singing national anthem w/ 100 Men In Black at TWC arena below.)
But based on my brief experience so far and my previous testing I believe the 7Artisans to be even better. On par with the best fisheye lens I ever owned, the AF Samsung 10mm f/3.5 fisheye that Samsung gave me free of charge for a review… (Interior of Duke University Concert Hall… before singing there w/ 100 Men In Black)
You know before Samsung bailed on their customers and all. That was a wonderful lens. So much so that it was one of my first camera gear videos six years ago.
Is the Samsung fisheye lens better because it is AF? No. AF is not really needed on a fisheye lens or near any very wide lens. Set it at f/5.6 to f/8 and a meter to infinity or so and have at it. Nearly everything is in focus. In fact, even though the Samsung lens is quite small the 7Artisans lens has a few advantages.
- Brighter at f/2.8.
- Wider at 7.5mm than the Samsung.
- Significantly less expensive even now than the Samsung lens.
So now that I have it what are my first thoughts.
Like every 7Artisans before it, this lens looks nice and is well built. Dense and solid without feeling heavy. Just shy of zombie apocalypse melee weapon in a pinch grade. It also looks like they address build issues I saw in earlier videos. Notably, this mount seems to be a new silver version.
- This video shows a black mount where the lens can be attached a couple of different ways. That does not seem to be the case with this version.
- That same video also notes that a screw can back off of the focus ring rendering it inoperable. So far the lens seems robust and I trust this has been addressed also.
- Other reviews showed that the lens hood could be screwed off of earlier versions. Luckily I caught myself before torquing on it too much, but the hood on this one is fixed.
Odd to see such variations since there are no mentions of a lens version change anywhere I saw.
A neat party trick most fisheye and wide-angle lenses can pull off and that is the case here. See the image below.
Sharpness Wide Open
Straight to the point. It is sharp wide open.
Is that all? Nope.
Bonus round. Defisheye.
Courtesy Lightroom this lens has served notice to my rectilinear wide-angle lens. Exhibit A below is the exact same picture above with the Samyang 7.5mm lens profile applied.
Here is another before and after.
More than good enough to serve as a replacement for my dedicated rectilinear lens if I choose to sell it.
All this for $139.
Another win for 7Artisans. And a win for me in my book.
Here is an ongoing gallery. I am looking to getting this lens out and about when that day arrives.