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Some words about Peleng 8mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens Print E-mail
Written by nikon fisheye   

Now I would like to talk about this Russian lens that takes photos like this one. There will be one more article where I will compare how it works with the film or digital sensor.

So, Peleng 8mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens. It is a circular fisheye lens that covers 180 degree field if used with 35mm film. This film is usually bought on eBay or with the help of numerous online and offline sellers, it is not expensive so you will have to pay only about 300-350 dollars. You might have read a lot about this lens which is first of all positioned as the lens for fun and experiments but surfing the russian part of the Internet you will read about its exciting possibilities. Native country of Peleng supposes it to be a serious lens.
I could use this one for about 4 months and yes, it was very interesting to be a Peleng owner so I decided to describe defects just to let future buyers know. But you have to keep in mind that some of these drawbacks depend only n my choice of lens-camera combination and they probably won't appear in another combinations.


1. I mounted my fisheye lens on Nikon D70 which has no informers thats why I took photographs by trial and error method: I tried, I made mistakes and I learned which values of diaphragm and shutter speed were the most suitable. That's what makes me searching for another film camera that will let me know the information required for capturing circle pictures which cover 180 degrees. There are some problems with using film itself, for sure.


2. The lens producer is pretty unknown thats why you will meet some difficulties searching for the information about how to calibrate your camera in the Internet. For example, I found data that peleng fisheye may cover 180-184 degrees if using 35 mm. I used mine with D70 which sensor is about 23.7?15.6mm and it showed 181 degrees horizontally and 119 degrees vertically.

3. Peleng fisheye has one generally acknowledged drawback: it flares. This unpleasant fact doesn't depend on the sun only, it can be caused by every light source that provokes internal reflections. This drawback appears on the corners and may cover the whole image if the light source is very bright. It is important while shooting panoramic images. I found out that intentional darkening and further correction may improve the situation.

4. Almost every picture suffers from chromatic aberration. It is more than evident if you shoot trees and requires significant image correction, blue shift in this case. What is worse, distortion is radial thats why you will never get rid of it even if you improved the picture by shifting blue. Probably, further experiments with settings will approach my photos to the ideal.

5. I have to mention how considering is the number of image processing procedures. You will take photos that you will want to change in one or another way-that is the feature of this lens. And these procedures require a lot of time. Those who prefer working with film cameras, will need to scan film before they will be able to do something with the picture and to remove all these awful color fringes. Those who prefer digital cameras, will be just disappointed with the very picture as it is shot by non-circular lens to the non-full-frame camera. Nothing amazing in this fact that only few producers make 12 mm lenses for film cameras – the majority of photographers prefer buying 8mm circular fisheyes or 16mm full-frame fisheyes because they allow 180 degrees along the diagonally.
The Peleng fisheye is mixed by origin that's why it will give you cropped circle picture of better quality than you could get from 8mm circular and 16mm full-frame lenses. Of course, if you can afford it, you'd rather buy more expensive Nikon 10.5mm fisheye that equals 15.75mm. This purchase is the best choice for Nikon cameras, it shoots fisheye pictures of high quality and is useful if you cant bear all these digital processing procedures.

6. Every photographer is interested in the quality of photos he takes. Most of the beginners start with buying cameras with standard lenses, kit versions in other words. I got my Nikon D70 with kit lens, I took lots of pictures and then scanned them. I must admit, kit lens is very good. But Peleng pictures will seem to you awful and spoiled because of flares and chromatic distortions which are more than evident to the corners of image so that only its center can be shown to someone else.

7.After all you have read, heard and seen, you decided to buy Peleng 8mm fisheye. I understand you: it is cheaper than any other fisheyes, it is extraordinary and fun to experience. So now its time to practice and to enjoy because now all those panoramic shots, curved landscapes and unusual geometric forms are available to you. But come down from clouds: you will save some extra money but you will spend much more time on digital processing and preparing to the shooting.
Further, I will tell you what can help you in saving your time. You will learn how to convert and process images, how to create full panoramas (I mean 360 degrees panoramic pictures).
If you read this article to the end, here is my little surprise for you-this picture was taken by Peleng fisheye. Of course, I did some distortion corrections.
That is how the raw picture looked like:
And this one was corrected. See full-size version to appreciate.