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 – conclusion
I only had a few days with the lens prior to its official launch to try it out, but suffice to say that on these first impressions, it’s a very decent performer. There’s not a lot to complain about optically, although as you might expect for any kind of wide-angle lens, you’ll get best results if you process out lateral chromatic aberration. Not only does this remove unsightly colour fringing, it will give improved apparent edge sharpness into the bargain.
In terms of design, build and operation, the 8mm f/1.8 is almost everything we’ve come to expect from an Olympus ‘Pro’ optic. I’d have liked to see the push-pull manual focus ring with a marked distance scale, as used on the other lenses in the line, but it’s not really a big deal. Most of the time I used autofocus, anyway, which is quick, silent and decisive.
The bigger question, really, is who needs a weather-sealed f/1.8 fisheye? If you’re OK without sealing, and don’t need the fast maximum aperture, then the alternative Micro Four Thirds fisheyes from Panasonic and Samyang are much cheaper, as well as being smaller and lighter. Both are very good optically too, so you really need to have a specific use for the extra features on offer from the Olympus for buying it to make much sense.
Overall this means that the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm Fisheye 1:1.8 PRO is undoubtedly a niche lens, with rather limited practical appeal to the vast majority of Micro Four Thirds users. But those photographers who can make use of it are most unlikely to feel let down by its performance.