First Impressions of the Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye Zoom Nikkor

A fun fisheye zoom that will spark your creativity… just be careful not to photograph your feet!

The Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye zoom Nikkor is a fun way to get creative with your photos.

I received a production copy of the new Nikon 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 E ED Fisheye Nikkor from B&H Photo to test and review.

I’m still playing around with this lens, but so far, it’s been fun! At 8mm, you get a circular fisheye with a whopping 180° angle of view when you mount this lens on a FX-format Nikon DSLR. Point this lens straight up and you will get subjects both in front of you and behind you in the frame! Yep, you’ll want to be careful of getting your feet or tripod legs in the shot with this lens.

Point the 8-15mm fisheye straight up for unique 180° views!

Despite the zoom range, there’s really only two settings you’ll probably use with this lens: 8mm or 15mm. At 8mm on a FX (35mm format) body, you get the full circle in your frame. Around 14-15mm your image will cover the entire FX frame. At the focal lengths in-between, you’ll have varying degrees of circular edges in your frame, which you’ll probably want to crop out. Although this lens includes a hood, you’ll need to remove it at any focal length below 12mm otherwise you’ll get it in your image!

At 12mm, the image circle does not yet cover the entire FX frame. You may wish to crop. The blue color fringing at the image edge is normal for this kind of lens.

On  DX Nikon bodies (APS-C format), You won’t get the full circle in the viewfinder. The crop factor is too great to take advantage of the circular frame. The image covers the full DX frame at about 10mm.

Stop down to f/16 to create spectacular sunbursts.

With the sun in the frame, stopping down to f/16 creates really great starburst flares in your frame that can extend beyond the image circle. These images look great when cropped at 1:1 aspect (square).

Expect to see some significant chromatic aberration at the borders of images captured in circular mode. This is normal.  As of right now, Lightroom/ACR has not been update to include a lens correction profile for the 8-15mm fisheye Nikkor. I would expect one soon enough.

Check price and availability of the Nikon 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 AFS E ED Fisheye Nikkor here. 

I think this lens is going to be a great creative option for my urban photography, especially my upcoming cruises and European tours!

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