Spend Your Money Better: The Funleader 18mm F8 Lens Review

The Funleader 18mm f8 lens can surely be a joy to use, but you’ll use it maybe once and then give it up.

We’ve been asking manufacturers for something different for a long time now. And thankfully, we’re experiencing a lens renaissance. So the Funleader 18mm f8 seems like just the right tool, right? It’s a pancake lens for a variety of lens mounts. It’s got an 18mm focal length with a fixed f8 aperture. Plus, you can’t even focus the lens. It’s got a fixed focus to a certain distance away. Best of all, this lens packs in character to it that’s beautiful.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Funleader 18mm f8 is a lens that basically makes your dedicated camera function sort of like your phone’s camera. It’s also incredibly limiting, a bit too much for our liking. Move on. Personally speaking, the lack of weather sealing, fixed aperture, and fixed focus is just too much for me not to take this lens seriously. At the same time, you’re not really supposed to take the Funleader 18mm seriously at all.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Super small
  • Fun to play with: this is the closest thing to a modern toy lens you can find.
  • Can be very sharp

Cons

  • It’s super affordable, but you’re probably going to use it only once.

Gear Used

We tested this lens on the original Sony a7, just for fun!

Innovations

There’s nothing particularly innovative about the Funleader 18mm f8. Many other lenses have done similar things. Not many of them have metal bodies, though.

Funleader 18mm f8 Tech Specs

Specs are taken from the company’s website listing.

  • Focal length: 18mm
  • Frame: Full-frame / Specific APS-C
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Field of view: 100°
  • Closest focusing distance: 2.62ft (0.8m)
  • Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
  • Coating: Multi-coated
  • Body material: Aluminium
  • Weight: Approx. 80g
  • Size: 2.56in Ø x 0.59in (62mm Ø × 15mm)

Funleader 18mm f8 Ergonomics

The Funleader 18mm f8 is super small. Ergonomically speaking, this is the front of it. There’s not much to speak of. You can’t even attach a filter to it.

When you look at it from up top, you won’t see a whole lot. It doesn’t have a focusing ring, nor is there any aperture ring. And because it doesn’t have any electronics on the inside, it’s purely analog.

Funleader 18mm f8 Build Quality

The Funleader 18mm f8 isn’t weather-sealed at all. And the body is metal. So it’s totally in this oddball category of lenses. Of course, since it’s metal, it’s very durable. But you also can’t take it out into the rain and expect that your camera’s mount will be protected. Further, it’s also pretty small. So you’re going to need to be careful taking it off at times. For example, if you have bigger fingers, getting a grip might be tough. 

Personally speaking, I like the metal build. But I also understand that every lens can’t be weather sealed. So overall, the build quality isn’t anything to majorly complain about at this price.

Ease of Use

Slap the lens on your camera, point, and shoot. That’s it! There is no focusing. You’ll be best off setting your camera to focus peaking and then just walking up or away from your subject. That’s the only way you’ll get the shot. You also can’t change your aperture.

Does all this sound familiar to you? Basically, it works the same as a phone. Pretty much most of the scene will be in focus. You can’t change the aperture. But you can change the ISO and the shutter speed.

Focusing

You can’t focus the Funleader 18mm f8. Instead, it’s got fixed focus to a certain distance away.

Funleader 18mm f8 Image Quality

Our tests with the Funleader 18mm f8 we’re for shooting anything serious at all. Instead, we just tried to be experimental with it. Overall, it delivers a pleasantly lo-fi look. Your best bet is creating custom profiles in-camera to embrace the possibilities. Go super vivid for something more painterly. Or go high contrast black and white if you’re into that.

Bokeh

The bokeh from the Funleader 18mm f8 is…well…what bokeh? It’s a wide-angle f8 lens, and you can’t even focus closely with it. Don’t bother buying this lens for bokeh.

Color Rendition

Colors from the Funleader 18mm f8 are absolutely fascinating. It will take normal colors and make it into this sort of different thing. I like to call it a vivid pastel type of look. It’s tough to describe properly. But the colors are great. If only this lens had a working aperture and focus, I’d probably like it even more.

We’ve got tutorials on how to make images from your Sony camera look like Kodak Portra 160 NC and Ilford film.

Lens Character

Of course, this lens has character. It will flare. There’s definitely a bloom effect. But you won’t experience color fringing. And that’s awesome to know. It’s also surely just a bit distorted. You have to expect that, though.

Sharpness

Believe it or not, this lens can be very sharp. Set it down and let it do a long exposure, and you’ll be stunned. It’s not sharp and contrasty like modern lenses. But instead, it’s more like pure sharpness akin to medium format film lenses.

Extra Image Samples

The Phoblographer is huge on ethics. That’s why we’re super transparent about our photos. The photos in the edited section were edited in Capture One using the RNI Film styles. They’re amongst my personal favorite and the only ones I use. The unedited photos are straight RAWs converted to JPEG.

Edited

Unedited

Funleader 18mm f8 Conclusions

Likes

  • Small
  • Fun, of course!
  • Something different

Dislikes

  • I’m not sure I’d ever buy one.

Here’s the truth; the Funleader 18mm f8 is incredibly unique. You’ll get unique image quality, lens character, sharpness, etc. Plus, it’s tiny. But the truth is that very few people will buy one. It’s too limiting without aperture or focus control. On top of that, I personally don’t want any lens that’s not weather sealed.

The Funleader 18mm f8 receives three out of five stars. Want one? Check Amazon.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.