The Walimex Fisheye – Review of an excellent lens

posted in Gear Review

The Walimex Fisheye – Review of an excellent lens

Walimex Fisheye

Fisheyes are a lot of fun but they belong to the category of lenses that you won’t take out of your camera bag on a daily basis. If overused, the distinct look of the fisheye can easily get on your nerves. It was that paradox that created a bit of an investment problem for me: should I purchase one of the pretty expensive Nikon lenses or is there a cheaper alternative? Research quickly surfaced a solid alternative: the Walimex 8mm F3.5 Fisheye. It had received very decent reviews. It is also sold under the Samyang and Rokinon brands. You can purchase it for around 350USD. A great deal. If it works. So, does it work? My short answer is: Yes, it does. Not only that. It actually works great on my 36MP Nikon D800.

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Fisheyes are a lot of fun and can be quite useful in some situations

First impression

The Walimex Fisheye is a very solid lens. I had expected a plastic toy when I saw the price but ended up being pleasantly surprised: The fisheye feels great and the focus ring is really smooth. Speaking of focus, the Walimex Fisheye does not support autofocus. That’s not a problem, however. Focusing a fisheye is rather easy and almost foolproof due to its amazing depth of field. I recommend playing with the focus at home before taking it out on a real photo shoot.

Walimex Fisheye D800

Manual focus ring, solid body

A DX Fisheye on Fullframe?

The Walimex Fisheye is a DX lens. Nevertheless, you can still use it on a fullframe (FX) camera like the Nikon D800. The resulting images need to be cropped in post-production.

Walimex Fisheye

This the resulting image if you use the Walimex Fisheye in regular FX mode. You will have to crop your images in post-production.

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The resulting crop. I prefer to shoot this lens in DX mode. It saves a lot of time and the photos seem to be ‘cleaner’.

Alternatively, you can also switch to the DX mode which basically allows you to use any DX lens. The D800 produces 18MP photos in that mode. I have found that the DX mode is my preferred way to use the Walimex Fisheye.

Nikon D800 DX Mode

The results

So far so good. What about the really important stuff – image quality. My personal verdict: the lens rocks. The resulting photographs are surprisingly sharp (see the two images below). There is some chromatic aberration (those nasty purple de-colorations) but it can easily be controlled and removed in post-production. The only thing I have found is that you need to tune up the clarity slider in Lightroom. Below are some sample photos.

Passo Stelvio

Capture amazing views

Passo Stelvio

A crop from the photo above

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The size and weight of the lens make it a great travel companion

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Capture the entire scene. If overused, one can get tired of the specific look

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Very decent colours

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Fisheye distortion!

 

Walimex fisheye review


I can highly recommend the Walimex fisheye. It provides excellent value for the money. Image quality is very good – even on the Nikon D800. It’s light and small without feeling flimsy. I actually really enjoy this lens and use it more often that I had initially expected. Is it better than the more expensive Nikon or Canon equivalents? I doubt it. But you need to ask yourself whether it’s worth spending more than 400 USD on a lens that is typically used infrequently.

You can purchase the lens here:

Rokinon FE8M-N 8mm F3.5 Fisheye Lens for Nikon (Black)

Walimex Pro 8 mm f/3,5 Fish-Eye II Objektiv

2 comments

  1. Pingback:Fun with the Fisheye | Christoph Papenfuss PhotographyChristoph Papenfuss Photography

  2. Pingback:Part 2: A review of the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye for Fuji X - Christoph Papenfuss Photography

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