*disclaimer - this lens is a loaner from SGcamerastore, the authorised distributor of Samyang lenses in SG. while the lens is their's, the comments are mine and i am not obliged to apple-polish. approval has been given by our Admins for me to do this.*
fisheye lenses are one of those lenses that virtually all photographers will have in their bag/cabinet at some point in their life, even if such lenses have rather limited everyday use. reason why this is so is because, once it a while, you just need a fun perspective in looking at the world, and fisheye lenses have loads of it.
Samyang has been producing a number of good, and competitively priced lenses in the last few years. frequent ebayers will see them being marketed as Rokinon OEM lenses. i had the opportunity to own one when i was using my Nikon DSLR a couple of years ago - the 14mm/f2.8 UWA, and am suitably impressed by the quality of the lens. the only downside is that Samyang lenses are manual focus, so a little patience is needed when shooting.
when it comes to m4/3, AFAIK, the only game in town for fisheye has been the panasonic 8mm/f3.5 lens so far. now, we have the Samyang 7.5mm/f3.5 UMC. this lens is a 180-degree fisheye lens, not circular fisheye.
it is not too big a lens (above L-R: panasonic 14-45mm, samyang 7.5mm, panasonic 20mm), typical of m4/3 lenses. it is solidly constructed, which has a built-in lens shade. the lens cap is the slide-on/clip type, similar to the nikon AFS14-24mm design. unfortunately, as the front element bulges out a bit, it precludes any use of conventional filters.
this is not your pixel-peep, MTF chart busting kind of review. if you want, can refer to this. rather, i am going to share with you the experiences of using this lens over the last 3 days (and counting).
because of its size, it is actually quite a joy to carry around and it is small enough that doesn't raise too many eyebrows when i was snapping on the streets. but... it is definitely not your 'shoot from the hip' kind of lens. there is no distance scale, and the infinity mark on the focusing ring doesn't exactly mean that i can do a 'f8 and be there' kind of shoot. more often than not, i will get out of focused pics on anything 2-3m in front of me, if i do it this way.
if you can work with it, this lens does give you plenty of bang for the buck. i took the following pics using my EP2 (ok... don't quibble about me not using the latest sheebang of the EP3... i don't have it.) unless otherwise stated, all pics are straight from the camera.
the fun thing (if you can take it) about shooting people is the crazy distortion it creates. now, manual focusing on my EP2 is not the easiest of task since i do not have the EVF (hate it cos it gives unnecessary bulk to the camera). but the nice thing is that the EP2 will still meter in M-mode. once you get it focused, the pics are actually quite sharp.
the lens itself is quite flare resistant. even when shooting at the sun slightly off-centre, i do not get nasty flares. chromatic abberation is virtually absent. the original sized pic will be provided at the end of this thread so that you can pixel-peep.