Fishing for Fisheyes

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The recent appearance of a Hexanon Fisheye lens (that didn't meet reserve at an astonihing $537!) prompts this question:

Does anyone know of any 3rd party Fisheye Lenses (and mounting hardware) suitable for Konicas... ...or are the requirements on these (Very!) short focal length lenes just too prohibitive?

I'd LIKE to see some CIRCULAR format Fisheyes available (the 180 degree diagonals (like the Hexanon) are nice, but I kind of like the "hemisphere on a single frame" types.

Suggestions anyone?

-- tm

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2001

Answers

Konica Fisheye

Tom, try this eBay auction for what I believe is a Russian or Chinese fisheye with a circular 180 degree view. I believe that you will also find that the Sigma 16 mm fisheye and the Konica 15 mm fisheye are one and the same lens!

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2001

Konica Fisheye

I guess I should include the address: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1231726215

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2001

Hexanon 15mm UC lens and options.

Hi Tom, Actually I wasn't surprised the reserve wasn't met at $537. (maybe it was $550?), but I figured it would easily go upto $500 atleast. They are very rare to find and wonderful to use. I have one in mint condition (no, I'm not selling it..haha) that I use everytime I go out shooting, it is just THAT necessary. Infact, if it was stolen or got broke, I would be bidding on that fisheye at eBay too!

The 15mm easily allows me to get shots just not possible and there are SOOO many uses for it too! When shooting downtown I take with me a: 135mm f2.5, 40mm f1.8, 28mm f1.8 UC, 21mm f4 and the 15mm UC. More often than not the 15mm is the most used.

I am not sure about the Kiev ones, I have seen reviews that are not that great for it, what it seems to do is not get any straight lines in the photo at all and the contrast is low too. There are reviews on the internet (1 is very good) for this lens and for 1/2 the price of the Hexanon you can get one. You should shop around for a screwmount to Konica adapter to access these screw types ones.

Also, there is a "fisheye" attachment:

http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1231853385

That you can use as well that might help and its cheap too!

The Sigma 16mm does look close to the 15mm Hexanon, but I've never seen one in person so I have no idea how simular it is. The Hexanon I figure would be UC while the Sigma won't be. UC is something Konica did only for their lenses. (Ultra coated, ultra close focusing and ultra compact). Also, the Sigma's fiters (from what I see in the photo) are different as well. But here is a good picture of one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1230584983

Mike.

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2001


Fisheye Lenses

Don't forget you can use Pentax screw mount or Nikon fisheye lenses with the Konica adapters. I used a 17mm f/4.0 Takumar fisheye lens on my Konica T cameras for many years. There are also a few fisheye adapters around to give you circular coverage. They simply attach to the front of your normal lens (or other lenses) with an adapter that screws in the filter rings. I have a Soligor model which does a fairly nice job. I guess I have to disagree with Mike on the practicality of using fisheye lenses. I used them extensively inside aircraft, and they did a great job. This is because there are few straight lines to distort in airplanes, and the fisheye coverage is great in close quarters. I have used a Hexanon 15mm Fisheye for about ten years now, and it is a fine lens. But distortion is ever present, and if distortion isn't a part of your photography, you may not be pleased with a fisheye. The only lines that remain straight with a full frame fisheye like the Konica are straight across the center of the frame, or straight up and down in the center of the frame. You can keep the horizon straight on a scenic, but it must be dead center horizontal or it will bend. Trees bend, buildings bend, rooms bend, and close-ups of people will make you life long enemies! You will have more barrel distortion than you can imagine. It depends on your photography and expectations. From my perspective, unless I'm going in airplanes, cars, or anywhere else with few straight lines and no room, I have very little reason to carry my 15mm UC Hexanon. It is a fun to use, however, and I won't deny that. But unless your needs are specialized, in terms of results, it probably won't be the best $500+ you have ever spent!

FM

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2001


Some uses of the 15mm fisheye lens (for me)

Well, I guess for the Hexanon 15mm fisheye lens to be useful, you really have to know what to use it for so I thought I would give some examples of what I use my Hexanon 15mm for.

I find it invalueable because it allows me to do photography in a unique way. Most people don't own a 24mm (or lower lens) so seeing a full frame fish eye lens is really something cool for them so my photos are unique right away. Yes it will bend lines, infact almost any wide angle greater than 28mm will do that to some extent. The fisheye does take it to the MAX though in this respect. But that is OK as long as you understand what to look for, take your time in preparing a shot and learn how to use the lens.

I have always loved wideangle photography and I guess you REALLY have to, to love this sort of lens. I started off with a 35mm (ooo, big wide angle lens there!), moved to a 28mm (still wasn't wide enough) and then to a 19-35mm zoom. The 19mm I LOVED but wanted WIDER! I was starting to do almost all my photography either on the long end (200mm+) or the short end (28mm or wider) with rare moments in between. My 28-70mm f2.8 zoom I paid a lot for I don't even use anymore other than weddings, and it almost never comes with me shooting. Instead I pack the 19-35mm f3.5, the 50mm f1.8 and the 80-200mm f2.8 (for my Nikon).

Oh ya, sorry I was supposed to tell you HOW I used this lens and not all this "fluff" about me..haha sorry.

Ok, well I do lots downtown shooting (buildings, things, people), landscapes and object shooting. Now, I don't recommend this lens for portraits..though.. it is FUN!, but make sure you show the subject what they will look like BEFORE you shoot! haha. Landscape is HARD to do with this lens because its SOOO wide and you almost always get the sun in there somewhere, plus no polerizer either (though the grad Blue built in filter helps). So, I use it mostly in areas that a 21mm or a 17mm just isn't wide enough, or I'm too close to what I want to get or I want EVERYTHING in there. The 15mm is VERY useful for me, infact its my most used lens and I always bring it with me.

To use this lens well, make sure (underline that) you have SOMETHING in the foreground! (read it again). Or photos will look TOOO far away. That is the REAL trick with wide angle lenses. Also, pay close attention to what is in your photo as well. With 180 degrees, some photos are NOT possible because you get TOO much in there.

I love the 15mm f2.8 because its FAST in low light. Like REALLY fast. Try 1/15th sec at f2.8 (i.e. dead of night and still get a shot!) photography. Super for astrophotography, downtown intersections and standing in front of a building/tree and getting it ALL! haha. I love it.

Ok, guess that is enought positives about the lens.

The negatives is that it can be TOO wide! That you have to PLAN and Compose your photo and watch out for that sun!

And yes, you can ofcourse disagree with me Fred, I don't mind. :)

Mike.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001



Konica friendly Fisheyes

Hi Tom, I have a friend of mine who has an M42 (Pentax) screw-mount 8mm circular fisheye that he uses on a Canon EOS via an adapter. I have one of the M42 adapters for my Konica system and have used this 8mm lens, and it is pretty good. As well, there are a number of Russian Fisheye lenses available from a company called SRS Photographic here in England. They have 15mm and 16mm lenses for about 100 to 150 pounds (about $160 to $240 U.S.) which are quite good. In the slightly longer focal lengths, they offer an M42 screw-mount 20mm f/3.5 Mir lens (Russian made) which is excellent (I bought one a few weeks ago). The address and details to contact them are here: SRS Ltd. 94, The Parade, High Street, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD1 2AW. United Kingdom

As well, there is an e-mail for their company: sale@srsmicrosystems.co.uk

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate a web page for them. They are however, very helpful, and if you are interested in a fisheye lens, talk to these fellows and they should steer you in the right direction. Best of luck,

Tom Hulit

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001


Screw Mounts, etc.

I've seen various "screw mounts" such as "T" mounts, "M42", Extension Ring screw mounts and "Pentax" mentioned from time to time -- are any of these "common nomenclature" or are these very separate beasts?

I have two screw mounts: A "T" mount I've had for 25 years, used to adapt my Konicas to a Meade Telescope and a Screw Mount for my extension ring set. (These two types do not "interchange" or match up with eachother).

I'm a little concerned about using my T-ring (I'd guess the most likely candidate I own for adapting other lenses), because it is rather "thick" -- it's probably 5/8 of an inch high. I don't want to wind up moving the focus very far "out" (away from the film-plane)and thus "lose infinity".

With the Very Short focal lengths involved with the Fisheyes, I'm very concerned about this...

...can anyone shed some light on the issues of mounting non-Hexanon hardware on the Konicas?

Tom

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2001


Konica Mount Lenses

Tom,

Any T mount lens should work well with T/Konica adapter. Your best bet is always to find a lens actually made for the Konica AR mount. The T mount (T2)threads are specifically for the T mount lenses, I believe, and are not compatible with Pentax screw mount. Pentax screw mount, Practica screw mount and M-42 screw mount are all basically the same thing. Extension rings have screw threads but don't interchange with anything that I'm aware of. Konica made four adapters for the T series lenses: Practica, Nikon, Exacta, and an adapter to mount older Konica F series lenses on the Auto Reflex and T models. Your T mount, if it is a T2 (and I would guess that it is) won't be a problem for a T-mount lens made specifically for these adapters. The mount provides the proper distance from the lens for accurate focus to infinity.

FM

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2001


Fisheye lenses

Hi Tom,

As noted in some of the other posts, I find a fisheye to be a very specialized lens. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to use, but just doesn't get out as much as some other lenses of mine.

I am using the 16mm f2.8 Sigma, early version. I paid less than $200 for it.

No, I don't believe this is the same lens as the Hexanon, which I don't own, but have seen. It's very close to the same coverage, and, like the Hexanon, a "full frame" fisheye. The Sigma has a "lens cap/hood" with a central portion which can be removed to make the lens act just like the classic round image fisheye, if you choose.

The early Sigma 16mm has a removable front element, allowing tiny 22.5mm filters to be interchanged on a mount on the back of the element (therefore in the center of the lens). It's a K/AR mount lens and so works fine on any of my Konica cameras. It is not an interchangeable mount, so you would have to find one specifically in K/AR mount.

Sigma made several other ultra-wide/fisheye lenses, including an 18mm (which I found and seriously considered purchasing, like new condition, at $185), a 14mm and an 8mm 180 degree lens. There is a later version of the Sigma 16mm had built-in filters that you rotate into place, like the Hexanon has. This limits the selection of filters to just what is built-in, but I can tell you 22.5mm filters of any type are rare anyway, so this may be a moot point.

I haven't had any experience with the Russian fisheye lenses, but have heard they are pretty neat. I think with those and most other options, you would be metering and setting the lens aperture manually.

Hope this helps with your fishing expidition.

Alan Myers, San Jose, Calif.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001


Correction - 16mm Sigma

Checked my records and found I paid $105 + shipping for this lens, excellent cond., with orig. caps & case. This was off eBay, so probably a fairly accurate value. fyi

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2001


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