Fee Shy!

One fine sunny day, I went down to Poslaju KL Sentral to pick up a package. Yes, a package shipped all the way from Canada!

The Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye lens for M42 mount.

I also ordered an M42 to Minolta AF A-mount adapter over eBay.

With the lens on the adapter, on the Sony A100. Note that MenuGearPage 2Shutter lock must be set to Off: no lens to shoot, as the Sony A100 does not detect any lens on it and otherwise would not shoot.

Sadly, the fisheye was misaligned; the markings were on the right-side of it. It cannot turn clockwise anymore in its M42 screw mount.

So what does an 8mm M42 mount fisheye do? 180 degrees of insane wideness, and distortion like no other.

Why didn’t I get the Sony 16mm diagonal fisheye, which has auto-focus, then? I wanted to use the much cheaper M42 mount lens on all my film SLRs. The package was supposed to include the Nikon F-mount and Pentax K-mount adapters, and color filters (screwed on the back of the lens) but none of that was included. Thus, I would not highly recommend Kremlin Optics, the online shop where I bought this, just yet.

Fortunately, the lens that came was well-coated, and was good and sharp. Russian-made lenses are solid. This was made in Belarus. The only sign of weakness would be the lens cap, which many have warned will lose its tightness.

Because it has 180 degrees of coverage there is simply no place for a lens hood. There’s no way you can put filters in front unless they were shaped like the front element.

Since it was an M42 mount lens, there was no way for the camera to tell the lens to stop down, thus you had to stop it down yourself by turning the Unlock-Lock ring as far as it would go. A separate aperture ring limits how far the Unlock-Lock ring will travel.

There is also a focus ring, but this lens, having such a short focal length, has such great depth of field that I rarely ever have to touch it. Considering the hyperfocal distance at F3.5 wide open is 1 meter, I can get everything from 50cm to infinity in focus by turning the infinity marker to the rear F3.5 mark.

If I stopped down to F16 (which doesn’t have any noticeable diffraction, wow) and set the infinity marker to the F3.5 mark, I’d have everything from under 10cm to infinity in focus. Interestingly, I could turn it way beyond the rear F16 mark (looping into the front F11 mark).

It would be pretty hard to conduct a test with a ruler extended to see how much DOF I can get close up, as the ruler would look pretty much in focus everywhere!

Left to right, top to bottom: Sony 16mm F2.8 with Tamron 1.4x teleconverter for 24mm F4.0; Sony 16mm F2.8; Peleng 8mm F3.5 with Tamron 1.4x teleconverter (for 12mm F5.0, note that the vignetting is gone); Peleng 8mm F3.5; Sony KLCC with the Sony 16mm F2.8; Peleng 8mm F3.5 represents what a fisheye is all about.

If vignetting is a big deal, a 1.4x teleconverter can solve that at one stop of light loss. The Sony 16mm diagonal fisheye would be great on a full-frame body, but is unfortunately not as fisheye as expected.

The Peleng is a sharp, sharp lens. Everything is already in focus; stopping down just sharpens the image. F8 is the recommended aperture for decent all-round crispiness.

A crop of the previous image. This was at F16. Blistering! I can feel my whiteheads.

A fisheye is a very interesting effect; it affects near and far objects differently; curved and straight objects differently; objects near the side and smack center distort differently. This shot of KLCC shows how skinny it can make something.

It also has uh… practical use, as I uh… took a picture of my phone.

Get in the action! Sony HVL-F56AM wireless flash fired to ceiling at 1/4th power, held up with left hand, camera in right hand.

So how does the Peleng do on my infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1? Left is my Canon Powershot A520 at 35mm equivalent, and right is the Peleng on the Q1, for 8mm x 6x digital crop factor for 48mm equivalent. Except that it doesn’t look it, as it seems the fisheye is wider than a rectilinear lens of the same focal length.

Both shots are at ISO100 and F8. The Q1 got 1/500th of a second with all the infrared bouncing around, and the A520 did 1/50th of a second.

The fisheye can remove curves! KL Performing Arts Center actually had a curved dome, which has been straightened by the distortion.

Point-less photography. This cannot be any more convenient. Just hold the camera in the general direction and shoot. In this case, the HVL-F56AM wireless flash bounced against the cabinet walls.

We needed was a serial number off the back of the casing.

With the fisheye, you have to get close to get stronger distortion.

Note my shoe; it is quite impossible to get a shot of the floor without your feet unless you jump forwards, am free-falling or have mastered the art of levitation.

30 seconds, ISO100, F16, I think. The original was overexposed by 2 stops and was brought down in Photoshop. I haven’t seen enough clear night skies though. 🙁

Interestingly, the lens I am holding in my left hand is used to remove distortion by tilting and shifting the lens; the lens I have in my right hand is its worst enemy.

Yes, it’s the 85mm F2.8 PC Micro-Nikkor tilt-shift lens. I don’t quite get why perspective correction would need such a zoomed lens; a wide-angle tilt-shift would make more sense to the architectural photographers out there.

It is quite challenging to get flare with the Peleng. This was at F16. Because I had to stop it down before shooting, the sun wasn’t too glaring (though it would still be unsafe.)

The Peleng’s wide coverage will make any outdoor shot have extreme highlights and shadows. The Sony A100 chooses to underexpose, in which case it is wise to tap the AEL/Slow Sync button to spot-meter the scene. Alternatively I use Shutter Priority to have a quickly adjustable shutter speed, and use Aperture Priority with +1 exposure compensation.

There is a real macro mode if I remove the rear glass filter, making it short-sighted. Spot my feet!

TTL wireless flash almost certainly causes a spotlight effect, as with ultra-wide-angle lenses, unless the flash is placed far back or bounced to have wider coverage. This was at Cheah Repair, Mutiara Complex, Jalan Ipoh. I was testing my Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan with the Tamron 1.4x teleconverter on a Minolta Dynax 5xi to see if it had the same compatibility problems with my Tamron 1.4x teleconverter.

It didn’t, so I went to Futuromic in Dataran Sunway one Saturday morning to find out if my Tamron could be rechipped. No, it could not, but at least while waiting for it to open I met the managing director, and we had a nice long chat while waiting for the technician. Futuromic brings in Tamron, Pentax, Ricoh and Nikon stuff, among others. Even the Pro Tama 0.7x wide-angle converter I had was brought in by them!

Nope, no scoop on the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 price, though it will not come with any image stabilization so we know which systems will benefit from such a (presumably) well-priced lens.

I pitched to him the idea of having a weekday off and opening on a Saturday (they were only there because there was training) to cater to photography enthusiasts who have day jobs. I think a lot of old-timer camera shops could do with such an approach, getting more casual customers on weekends.

Walking on the moon.

Subtle distortion.

Draw a straight path from A to B…

How does the Sony A100’s Super-Steady Shot fare with such a short focal length?

Or rather, does it even know what the focal length of the lens is, and how does it compensate?

A shot in Aperture Priority, Auto ISO would wield 1/15s, ISO320, or 1/5s ISO100. Auto ISO works by increasing the ISO up to 400 if the shutter speed is slower than the inverse of the focal length.

Thus, the camera assumes that the focal length is 5 divided by 1.5 crop factor, 10/3 or 3.33mm.

Surprisingly, much longer lenses like the Sony 500mm F8 reflex lens on my Tamron 1.4x teleconverter (making a 750mm F11) still get stable at 1/80s despite the camera not detecting the lens (due to incompatible teleconverter.)

I simply have no idea how that works.

Anyway, I have yet to encounter handshake with the fisheye. Then again, I haven’t shot much near 1 second handheld, though the formula for Super-Steady Shot promises 1 second.

Now on to shots with the Pentax P30t on Fujifilm Superia ASA400 film! I brought the Pentax out while picking up the lens so I could test the full-frame glory, but alas the adapter was not in the package as promised!

This was actually overexposed due to the P30t being cranky. Amazingly I could bring it down from its 1 second exposure.

I also tried the Pentax 10-17mm fisheye-wideangle zoom on my P30t!

The Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye has to be one of the best buys I’d ever made. You don’t get any wider than this (except the 6mm F5.6 Nikkor that does 220 degrees and catches your hands holding the camera in the shot). Plus, the immense depth of field means no more focusing lag. The immense field of view means no more pointing. The only thing I’d need to concentrate on doing is to get the camera into the heat of the action, at which point holding the camera on a tripod and aiming it like a mike boom with a shutter release cable would work.

After currency conversion, the lens and adapter came up to under RM1400.

I would not recommend using M42 lenses for auto-focus SLRs, digital or otherwise unless you:

– have changed the viewfinder to a split-prism viewfinder for easier manual focusing
– can live with manual focusing in dark conditions and am not in any hurry
– have no money, but want a 85mm F2.0 lens

If you have to get M42 lenses, get the wider ones like the Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye or the Zenitar 16mm F2.8 diagonal fisheye.

2 thoughts on “Fee Shy!

  1. buck Post author

    hello albert
    im interested to get this fish-eye lens
    do u have any extra unit for sale ?
    how much u bought it anyway ?

    hope to hear from u soon 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *