Canon EF 8-14mm f/4 USM L Fisheye Lens

Wow, this site might actually turn back into a photography and design related blog!

On Simplicity

When Canon announced the EOS M mirrorless body, I was instantly intrigued. Okay, I instantly knew I was going to get one. I like simple things. I like my Mac Mini. I like canoes. And at some point, in my photography, I switched almost exclusively to my Hipstamatic app. The EOS M works with any EF lens and seemed to be the perfect combination of simple and versatile.

But this post is not about the EOS M.

On Fun

When I started shooting with the EOS M, I instantly missed the fun and creative distortions that I was used to getting from my iPhone and Hipstamatic. To get back some of that spontaneous creativity I decided to pick up a few Lensbaby Optic Swap lenses as well as the Lensbaby Composer Pro and Lensbaby Scout with the fisheye lens. After a couple of weeks I fell in love with the fisheye. After getting a glimpse at the potential of a fisheye lens, I decided to splurge and get a pro-level fisheye.

The Sigma 15mm f/2.8 comes highly recommended, especially if you are shooting with a full frame sensor. The EOS M has a cropped APS-C sensor, so I wanted something a little wider. The Canon EF 8-14mm f/4 USM L Fisheye is the world’s first fisheye zoom, and though a bit bulky and pricey it gives the most versatility. (Also, “pricey” is a relative term — you get what you pay for.)

Simply Fun

Here are some results from my first day shooting with the with the Canon EF 8-14mm f/4 USM L Fisheye. I got some okay test shots. All taken with the EOS M body and available light. Click the images for larger versions.


Chandelier and Shadows

Title: Chandelier and Shadows

Specs: 10mm, 1/60s @ f/5.0, ISO 800

Comment: Fisheye as still-life lens. Oooh, artistic black and white. Very sharp throughout the image, even at f/5.0. I wanted to crank the contrast to bring out the shadow so I ditched colour.


World’s Most Serious Baby

Title: World’s Most Serious Baby

Specs: 15mm, 1/20s @ f/4.0, ISO 1600

Comment: Fisheye as portrait lens. Very little noise even at ISO 1600. A little bit of motion blur at 1/20s, but babies are worse than cats for trying to get them to stay still. The EOS M is not a very fast focusing body, even with USM lenses. A little bit of chromatic aberration on the contrasty edges (like the tops of the curtain in the background), but was totally removed by Adobe Camera Raw. BTW, this lens is not in the Adobe lens correction database. Can’t think why? The old Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye is in there as are my EF-M lenses. I think I’ll be manually removing a bit of vignetting but really the lens seems to be very even. Need to do more testing around that.


Roughing It

Title: Roughing It

Specs: 10mm, 6.0s @ f/7.1, ISO 100

Comment: Fisheye as architectural interiors lens. Go tripod, it’s your birthday. I need one of those hotshoe mounted bubble levels. Getting the lens perfectly level handheld is hard. Easier when you have a tripod with a level. Especially when you want to shoot with a 6 second shutter speed. With the fish-eye, it’s hard to keep light sources out of the shot. I’ve just kind of accepted that there will always be some blown-out elements that I will have to recover in post (thankfully I am getting pretty good at that).