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Peleng 8mm F/3.5-16 fisheye lens review Print E-mail
To tell you the truth, there was no real necessity in fisheye lens as far as photography is my hobby. But I found it interesting to fill up my lens collection with such a lens. All in all, fisheye lenses like this may be useful in architecture or landscape photography. Moreover, they are good at shoting of knives, kukris etc. In other words, I thought that I won't have any difficulties with fisheye lens. So, I decided to purchase this lens and to try it. However, buying became the first problem. The cheapest models Japanese fisheye lenses made by Sigma costed about 800$, and all others were about 4000-5000$ For me it was inadmissible to waste such a big amount of money on the thing that I would use pretty rarely. Then I discovered Peleng and other russian lenses. To sound proofless, Peleng fisheye lens can be bought for 100-220$. 100$ on eBay and 200$ - if you will address to official dealers. Mine came to me from peleng8.com. This firm is situated in Belarus so you will have not to wait for a long time to fisheye lens to be shipped. I ordered my fisheye lens and after two weeks I received my parcel.
Peleng. Enjoy the front view with and without cap, view from the rear itself and the rear view with mounted M42 adapter for Canon.
Nowadays, Peleng is produced in Belarus. Of course, there's no problems in buying it in Russia, too. The factory that made it, has untranslatable name BelOMO and is called after scientist S.I. Vavilov. The abbreviation GP MMZ doesn't tell me anything. You may be disappointed by the web-site of BelOMO as far as it looks like someone was running up but I promise you will forget about it. However they'd rather do something with their site.
My word is that Peleng is an excellent lens. First of all, not many fisheye lenses may be found there. Secondly, prices are so nice: the lens itself, M42 mount for Canon and delivery costed me only 250$. And final point is the focal length. 8mm Peleng lens turned out to be a really good finding. Lenses with shorter lengths cost the earth. So, Peleng 8mm fisheye lens seems to be the best choice not only for the amateur but even for the professional photographer. No other lenses with such a price/quality ration. Peleng lens is doing 90% of what should do an ideal lens. Missing 10% will cost you 80% more. But I'm sure, you will be satisfied.
I have to reveal you the only drawback: Peleng Lens is manual. Which means that you will have to forget about auto-focus and you will keep in mind that you need to close the diaphragm before shooting. Rather difficult for those who dont like odd movements while taking pictures. But if you forget about the diaphragm, your photo will be overexposed.
General. I didn't find any damages during the first examination. It's hard to believe that such a fragile thing as the lens is inside this soviet-styled box. I had no worries about the lens quality but packaging... I won't be surprised if some foreign byers will prefer other models to this one only because of the box. But let's leave it to the producer. All in all, lenses from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are doing their best however they are not so good-looking and comfortable as their foreign brothers. Moreover, like all ex-USSR made lenses, Peleng lenses are made of metal. No place for the cheap frail plastic. Heavy seems to be reliable. And it is. You can always throw it if it doesn't work. But of course it will be damaged. So, Peleng lens weighs a lot as it is made of glass and metal.
If Russian lenses are close to you, you might be interested reading this. This one is not the best because of some thoughtless workers. But this one is really something more than you might expected for this price.
Some words about the quality. Like every other modern lens, Peleng's is multi-coated. This should reduce reflection and glare. My own Peleng lens' issue is very similar to this described in the article. Here are three pictures 1, 2, 3 The coating is uneven? Hard to believe it was made intentionally. Well... it's consistent.

Package Contents. In the box I found a brief manual, leather boot, the lens itself, 3 filters, M42 ring for Canon, Nikon adapter ring and two different caps for the lens rear. Canon adapter ring was already screwed. Take a look at the picture of the contents.
You may see Peleng with the clear filter. You can easily replace it with one of three other filters: light red, light yellow, dark yellow. And here is a picture of the lens without filters at all. Filter diameter has to be mentioned: it is 26,5 mm.
I wrote about the manual. For those who order Peleng lenses from American dealers, there are Russian and English copies. I addressed to the Russian dealer and I got only Russian version. But I dont think I missed a lot it's pretty useless. All useful information took about half a page where I read that I had to focus with an opened diaphragm and then to close it. The other half explained me that I should be careful with this lens, throwing, heating it is harmful.

Operating. However I have already described it, I decided to dedicate to it one more paragraph. You might have read in some articles about incompatibility of Peleng fisheye lens with EOS 40D or Canon Rebel 300 because of shorter gap between the lens rear and the mirror. It's not true. Don't worry about lens and camera. Some articles also described problems with focusing. It seemed to someones that it was not possible to focus through the viewfinder. They were wrong and there's no problems with using viewfinder while focusing however focusing is manual. Another thing is Peleng's short focal length-8mm. Depth of field is very long that's why focusing is very easy. Problems may appear if you want a shallow depth. But then for what do you need 8mm lens?
Look at this graph for 8mm lens with APS sensor digital camera. Focusing was made from 1 meter. Limits of sharpness are from 31 cm to the infinity. It allows you to capture a lot. Easy things to do: just mount the lens on the camera, open diaphragm, focus, close diaphragm and shoot. Here it is!

Peleng fisheye 8 mm as every other fisheye lens makes a circle in the dark rectangle. All I did with photos I reduced them. These ones were taken outdoors, with ISO 400, F8. It was a cloudy day. This effect of circle so peculiar to fisheye lenses is very extraordinary and impressive, so sometimes you may only crop dark corners and the picture is ready. But sometimes you will need to make a normal picture, de-fish it, in other words.

De-Fishing software. Everyone can find suitable software to de-fish photos as far as there's plenty of different programmes. My choice is Panorama Tool by Helmut Dersch and RectFish by Kjeld Olesen.
Panorama Tool. It is frequently mentioned in the Internet. Some sites even tried to teach how to use it but I didn't succeed in following these instructions. Possibly because they are not specified for Peleng owners. This soft has lots of options. It is good but sometimes work with 3 simple buttons is more preferable. Moreover, it seemed to me that the original version has unpleasant limitation of projection to 160 degrees. Unknown do-it-himselfer improved it, so there's a version without limitation.
RectFish. Opposing to Panotools, this software wraps circular pictures to the rectangular one. What else is dissimilar with Panotools? It supports my Peleng 8mm lens and I like it very much. Some days of trial proved to me that RectFish is the right choice for the rectangular projection. It allows to preview changes you make so you can try different options. Rather useful if you have HD-photos. I wish Mr. Olesen told a little more about him and his creature.
DXO. I have no big experience with DXO, but it also de-fish photos. Need to say that there's lens section, it is a good thing if it functions. But there's no Peleng lenses in the list so try something else.