- Beautifully crafted and robustly constructed
- Decently fast and very quiet autofocus
- Extreme close-focus ability
- Fast f/1.8 aperture
- Incredibly sharp over most of the frame right from f/1.8 and sharp to the corners by f/5.6
- Beautiful bokeh
- Outstanding color and contrast at all apertures
- Great control of lateral chromatic aberration
- Some minor longitudinal CA and high contrast edge fringing
- Flare can cause notable ghosting with bright light in the frame
The Olympus 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO is a unique lens: it’s the fastest fisheye lens ever made, and it combines a pro-grade build with outstanding optics that produce exceptionally sharp images with great color and contrast. Even the bokeh generated in close-focused shots is quite good. Flare performance could be better and there are a few other minor lens aberrations, but on the whole the lens produces outstanding image quality. The real issue comes down to price. Fisheyes are a unique group of lenses, and I feel that most photographers should have one in their bag. While not an everyday lens, when you need one, there is no substitute. Because fisheyes aren’t lenses that generally see a lot of use, it’s really hard for most people to justify spending $1,000 on one. And there’s the real rub. It’s definitely the finest fisheye for Micro 4/3, and it’s one of the best I’ve used for any system, but it’s hard to recommend because it’s a lens that isn’t going to see a ton of use for most shooters. Note that I’m not saying that the lens isn’t worth $1,000. It is: the pro-grade build and outstanding optics certainly justify the asking price, but I feel most photographers won’t be able to justify that price for their own kit.
That dilemma aside, Olympus has crafted another wonderful lens here. It’s a unique lens, even among other fisheyes, due to its speed and close-focus abilities, and should you decide to purchase one, you’ll be getting a great optic. Kudos to Olympus.
Click on an image to enlarge. None of these images have been ‘defished.’