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Canon 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye

I tried the 8-15mm f/4L out using a rental lens from LensRentals.com (terrific place to try gear). Although my schedule precluded using it extensively, I learned what I wanted to know: it’s a lens that I want in my bag. I have some particular images in mind that I’d like to make in the White Mountains, especially some night shots with the ancient bristlecones on a starry night.

I’ll be doing a full report on the new Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye just as soon as I can get one— I have one on order at B&H Photo.

Most intriguing to me is that it can be used as a regular 15mm fisheye covering the entire frame on a full-frame camera, but can also be used for a full circular image.

On Canon’s 1.3X-crop DSLRs such as the 1D Mark IV, it still provides the fisheye effect simply by zooming in, and on Canon’s APS-C sensors it still yields a fisheye image at 8mm. There are “C” and “H” markings on the lens at which photos can be created without vignetting for APS-C and APS-H image sensors (for infinity focus). There is also a zoom limiter switch for use with APS-C sensor cameras.

Since the 8-15mm f/4L as a full 180° field of view, it’s not easy getting a shot without one’s feet!

Initial impressions are of a very contrasty lens with outstanding color saturation.

Canon describes the 8-15mm f/4L as follows:

For filmmakers and photographers who want the look and feel only possible with extreme wide angle and fisheye photography, the new Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM is a world-class choice.

With its unique focal length range, the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM is the world's widest fisheye zoom lens. It delivers 180° diagonal angle of view images for all EOS SLR cameras with imaging formats ranging from full-frame to APS-C, and provides 180° circular fisheye images for full-frame EOS models.

It features UD glass for suppression of chromatic aberration, a Subwavelength coating for reduced ghosting, a newly developed Fluorine coating that keeps soiling, smears and fingerprints to a minimum, has full-time manual focus for instant switching from AF to Manual operation, and is built to the standards of the amazing Canon L-series of lenses. This means the finest optics, the best construction and the best performance available, all in a lens designed to stimulate creativity and deliver stunning images every time.

• For all EOS SLR cameras with imaging formats ranging from full-frame to APS-C
Delivers 180° diagonal angle of view.

• Provides 180° circular fisheye images for full-frame cameras as well as full frame images when using the longer part of the zoom.

• Zoom-lock mechanism on the lens body allows the range to be limited to the focal length that ensures the best possible full-frame view without vignetting for APS-C or APS-H sensors.

• Rear gel holder holds up to 3 pre-cut filters.

• Focus adjustment is via inner focusing and focus cam plus floating mechanism.

• Features UD glass for suppression of chromatic aberration, a Subwavelength coating for reduced ghosting, a Fluorine coating that keeps soiling, smears and fingerprints to a minimum.

• Full-time manual focus for instant switching from AF to Manual operation.

Canon 8-15mm f/4L specifications
Focal Length 8 - 15 mm
Aperture range Maximum: f/4, Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Canon EF
Format Compatibility full-frame, APS-C, APS-H
Angle of View 180°
Minimum Focus Distance 6.2" (15.75cm)
Magnification 0.39x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:2.56
Groups/Elements 11/14
Diaphragm Blades 7
Dimensions 3.1 X 3.7 inches / 7.87 X 9.4 cm
Weight 1.19 pound / 540g (nominal)

 

Persimmon tree
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye @ 8mm
One of the few sunflowers not decapitated by my neighborhood squirrels
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye @ 8mm
California Buckeye branches
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye @ 8mm
Gopher’s bane
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye @ 8mm

On a full-frame camera, focal lengths wider than 15mm require removing the lens hood, and there will be some vignetting. Also, a fisheye is never a rectilinear lens, so close-range shooting will result in fun-house rendition. Image below is at 12mm, showing how the image circle projected by the lens shrinks as the focal length is shortened.

California Buckeye branches
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye @ 12mm

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