Hands on (Part 2): Canon 8-15mm f4 L Fisheye

About a year ago, we had our first hands on with the Canon 8-15mm f4 L Fisheye zoom lens. Recently, we had the opportunity to try it out on the Canon 5D Mk II with a 430 EX II attached. So how did it perform?

FYI: We’re getting the lens in for a full review.

Tech Specs

Borrowed from B&H Photo’s listing of the lens

Performance
Focal Length 8 – 15 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/4
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Canon EF
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Canon (APS-C)
Angle of View 180°
Minimum Focus Distance 6.2″ (15.75cm)
Magnification 0.39x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:2.56
Groups/Elements 11/14
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread None
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.1 x 3.7″ (7.87 x 9.40cm)
Weight 1.19 lb (540g)

Ergonomics

The Canon 8-15mm f4 L is a very, very small zoom lens. As seen in the opening photo, the entire lens fits in my hand; and I don’t have such big hands. When cupping the lens, it feels much like a prime lens due to the way it has been constructed. However, you know that you’re holding a zoom lens because of how small the rings are. They’re small compared to my 35mm f1.4L.

That bulbous front element doesn’t protrude much when zooming. However, you do indeed need to be careful with it because a filter can’t cover it.

On the 5D Mk II, the lens feels balanced. In fact, it ordinarily is really quite light.

Image Quality Samples

At 8mm, the scene you see both through the viewfinder and in the image is a circle with a heck of a lot in it.

But when you zoom in, it changes. The distortion control for a lens like this is very, very good. But like all fisheye lenses, it all depends on how close your subject is to the lens due to the construction and nature of the lens.

At the longer end of the lens, it doesn’t seem to vignette at all either.

From a quick judgement of how this lens performs, it captures skin tones very accurately. Canon perhaps thought about event photographers that love to get super up close and personal in order to have a creative edge.

Using this lens at 8mms will be very interesting; but personally, I’m not sure how I’d use it creatively. However, that’s just me.

When shooting, you also need to be wary because you can easily get yourself in the shot.

For those of you that like to shoot in square format, the good news is that you might be able to get a great square crop image out of this lens at 15mm. Here are some more samples.

A full review for this lens is coming soon!

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