Olympus bills the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm Fisheye 1:1.8 PRO as the brightest lens of its type. Andy Westlake investigates whether it lives up to its Pro tag.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm Fisheye 1:1.8 PRO Review – Image quality (2)
Aside from sharpness and chromatic aberration, other factors are important in overall image quality. Here I’ll take a quick look at some of them.
Flare handling is a pretty important property of a fisheye lens; when you’re shooting outside, that huge angle of view means that the sun can often end up on your shots. My initial impression is that the 8mm handles this very well, with minimal loss of contrast. The shot below has the sun towards the centre of the frame at f/5.6, and aside from a small red flare mark diametrically opposite, there are no ill effects at all.
The word ‘bokeh’ refers to the rendering of out-of-focus regions in an image, with specific consideration to their aesthetic quality. Some lenses do rather better than others in this regard; it’s not just a matter of focal length and aperture. I wouldn’t usually even think about looking at this with a fisheye, but the 8mm f/1.8 has a sufficiently large maximum aperture that, if you get in really, really close to the subject, you can get quite strongly-blurred backgrounds:
By focusing on the closest flower, just a few centimetres in front of the lens, the rest of the scene has been thrown out of focus. The background is quite smoothly and attractively blurred too. For a lens this wide, it’s a pretty good performance. Note also that the sun is in the bright area of the frame where, and while it’s veiled behind thin, high cloud, again there’s no flare problem at all.