< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF-M Mount
Venus Optics Laowa 4mm ƒ/2.8 Fisheye EF-M
I bought the Venus Optics 4mm ƒ/2.8 Fisheye in April, 2020, shortly after the manufacturer announced that this compact lens was coming to the EF-M mount.
Amazingly this is only the second third-party lens I have ever purchased (not counting Lensbaby). The other is my Tamron 150-600mm super-telephoto. I’m a person of extremes I suppose.
I have always been intrigued by fisheye lenses. Even though I consider them a hyper-specialized lens category, I own more than my share of fisheyes: an Olloclip Fisheye for iPhone, the Lensbaby 12mm Fisheye Optic, and the Canon EF 8-15mm ƒ/4 L Fisheye USM.
I wanted to add the Venus Optics Fisheye to my collection because it creates a full circular image on APS-C. It has a unique 210° field-of-view and was quite cheap at $199US (that’s less than 1 dollar per degree!)
The Venus Optics Fisheye is like a jewel. It is tiny, but it must have the highest weight to volume ratio of any lens I own.
It is a bit tricky to use, being manual focus and manual aperture. The aluminum lens cover is a friction fit but I have never had a problem with it slipping off.
I use this lens on the Canon EOS M3 which has the same sensor size and quality as the EOS M5. It lacks Dual Pixel CMOS AF, but that doesn’t mean anything in manual focus mode.
The reason I don’t use it on the M5 is that the M3 grip is much smaller and it is easier to avoid getting my knuckles in the frame. Getting my toes in the shot is pretty much a guarantee.
The Venus Optics Fisheye is relatively sharp when stopped down to ƒ/5.6 or ƒ/8. Stopping down also improves the quality of the edges of the image circle. Still, there is often a lot of fringing at the edges, so I usually add a sharp circular vignette to blackout those edges (I have a Lightroom Preset for this).
A fun lens to experiment with.