Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Review

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Review ImageOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Review Image

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Introduction

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro is a professional fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds compact system cameras. Providing a focal range of 16mm in 35mm terms and a 180° angle of view, the fully weatherproof 8mm lens features 17 elements / 15 groups, including one aspherical element, three Super ED (extra-low dispersion) elements, two ED elements, one Super HR (high-refractive index) element, and two HR elements. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro currently retails for £799.99 in the UK and $999.99 in the US.

Ease of Use

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro is a weather-sealed fisheye lens with a dedicated Micro Four Thirds mount. Note however that in order to take full advantage of the weatherproofing, you will need to mount it on a similarly sealed body, like the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II that we tested it with.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProThe Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens mounted to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II body

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProThe Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens mounted to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II body

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProThe Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens mounted to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II body

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProThe Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens alongside the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Tipping the scales at 315 grams and measuring 80mm in length and 60 in diameter, the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 25mm f/1.8 is quite a substantial prime lens, but given the constant f/1.8 maximum aperture, that’s perhaps no surprise.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProFront of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II used for this test is a good match for the lens, offering good balance, fast auto focus, and full environmental seals. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens itself is very well built, fully living up to the Pro designation that Olympus have given it.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProFront of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProRear of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens

In terms of features, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens doesn’t have a great deal to offer. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens comes with a standard Micro Four Thirds mount that is, as you’d expect, made of metal, with a rubber seal around the mount. Communication between lens and camera body is provided through eleven electrical contacts.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProSide of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProSide of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens

As with all Olympus M-Zuiko lenses, the 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO does not offer image stabilisation. Instead this is provided by the camera body, in this instance the excellent 5-axis system in the OM-D E-M5 Mk II. So while the lack of in-lens image stabilisation is a non-issue for Olympus camera owners, other manufacturers who don’t offer in-camera image stabilisation, like Panansonic (except for the DMC-GX7) may want to consider a different lens.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProThe Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens in-hand

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro is supplied with lens caps and a non-removeable petal-shaped lens hood – there’s no bag included. Note that you can’t use traditional screw-on filters, or filters behind the rear element, with this lens.

Focusing

On the Olympus PEN OM-D E-M5 Mark II body we used for this review, the lens focused quickly and quietly. AF speeds were fast, with the lens locking on to the subject almost instantly in most cases. Focusing is fully internal, meaning the length of the lens barrel does not change.

Manual focusing works just like it does on any other Micro Four Thirds lens. In MF, S-AF+MF or C-AF+MF mode – as set on the camera – you can simply grab the focus ring and rotate it to focus on your subject. Focusing is done “by wire” as the ring is not mechanically coupled to the moving lens elements. The focus ring has no stops, hard or soft, at either end of the focus range – which is again typical of an MFT lens.

Focal Range

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro has a diagonal angle of view of 180°.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro

Chromatic Aberrations

Lateral chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, are a sligh problem with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro. While not as pervasive as with some other ultra-wides, they are still a little too evident in areas of high contrast for a lens that costs this much.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro

Light Fall-off

With the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro wide open at f/1.8, you can see a little light fall-off in the corners, but it’s pretty negligible. Stopping down to f/2.8 cures this problem almost entirely.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro

Macro

Offering 0.20x magnification and a close focusing distance of 20cm from the sensor plane., the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro can actually get pretty close to your subject. The following example demonstrates how close you can get – in this case, to a Compact Flash memory card.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye ProClose-up performance

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Review ImageOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro Review Image

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Sharpness at 8mm

For this test, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens was attached to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera, which in turn was mounted on a sturdy tripod. The self-timer was used in order to avoid any vibrations that may result from tripping the shutter. Slight tonal changes are due to slight changes in natural light during the session.

The full frameThe full frame at 8mm

In the frame centre, the lens is commendably sharp wide open, and reaches excellent levels of sharpness at f/4. Peak performance is achieved in the f/4-f/8 range. At the f/11 setting the lens is still very sharp but f/16, while usable, is starting to show the effects of diffraction rather obviously. The f/22 setting is best avoided. The corners suffer from light fall-off wide open but are otherwise quite sharp – very sharp for such an ultra-wideangle lens –, and follow a similar pattern to the central area as we go through the aperture range.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
     
f/1.8
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6
f/8
f/11
f/16
f/22