Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
My favorite lens.
on October 15, 2012
I am updating this review again after having it for a few years and being around the world with it. Along with sample images..
This is in response to bruce's request for a lens suggestion. I am going to add some of my experience shooting with the Canon 8-15mm F4L lens on multiple cameras (full frame, apc, and 4/3).
I bought the Canon 8-15mm F4 after testing many lenses. The 8-15 lens is the most amazing lens. It is optically excellent and it is also very practical If you want to use it for multiple situations like I do.
HAND HELD 360 PANOS
After a little bit of practice, you can shoot hand held 360x180 panos and the 8mm mode of the 8-15mm makes it easy. On full frame, normally 3-4x shot on one row tilted up slightly + one pointing down for the floor (nadir). Zenith not needed. I use my foot as the nodal pivot point. I will plan out my shots based on the shape of the room and the people in it so i can avoid having stitching lines cross major features like people or art. I use PT GUI Pro's masking feature to do it.
This was hand held in NASA's dark room. (5DMK3 With 8-15@8MM)
Handheld Trick photo as little planet: (5DMK3 With 8-15@8MM)
original 360 pano (5DMK3 With 8-15@8MM)
If you use a APC camera it helps to shoot portrait mode.
When i shoot hand-held 360s at night, i will go with wide aperture and high iso to prevent shake. Since the stitched images are bigger than i need them to be, reducing the size of the pano has the nice side effect of reducing the noise of the image.
TRIPOD 360 PANOS:
You can reduce the number of shots and get better faster stitching and better accuracy by using a pano head + tripod. This was taken with a tripod + nodal ninja pano head. (5dmk3 with 8-15@8mm in desert environment)
I have used this lens on a APC sensor, full frame sensor, and even a Sony Micro 4/3s camera and it really is very versatile and produces very sharp pictures on all cameras. It works great for a walk around lens since you can shoot panos really quick at 8MM then take subject pictures using the 15mm zoom and getting closer. Also if you need super resolution panos, you can zoom in and take take more pictures per row.
If I use it on a pano head, i will stop it down to F9 or so for better sharpness and low iso because the tripod keeps it steady.
HAND HELD NON PANOS + FLASH TIPS:
I have taken this to parties for and I have found this setup works great:
RIGHT HAND: Camera + 15MM. My previous Canon T3i APC camera had a master popup flash built in. for the 5D i am using the cheap Canon 90EX as an ETTL capable master trigger but radio or IR trigger would work too.
Left hand : Yongnuo YN-565 flash set to optical slave with stoffen diffuser.
Pocket: Lens Cap
When i am not taking pictures, I take the lens cap out of my pocket put it on the camera. And put the flash back in my pocket instead. Then I reach for a rum & diet.
sample photo (Canon T3I with 8-15mm at 15mm and flash)
Other notes: This lens focuses really fast. There is a adobe lens profile for the "8-15 on 7D" that is available for free download, that when used with Adobe light room's lens correction can turn the fisheye image to a non-fisheye if you need it. It works amazing for any APC sensor camera. I have tried it with the Full frame sensors, with ok results. I have found for web, you can seriously crop the image and still have great sharp results.
Here are some tips that people shooting video with this fisheye may enjoy:
Canon 5dmk3 + latest magic lantern can shoot square full frame video at 8MM. Amazing!!!! The built in video recorder button does crops the video to be 16:9 so you need to use the Magic Lantern hack if you want full frame video.
Some of the canon cameras (rebel series) can do a digital zoom that crops just the center of the image. This is a high quality digital zoom that just uses the center 1920x1080 pixels so there is no scaling. So its like having another zoom lens range that has pixel perfect quality! This is a great feature to have with this lens.
I have found the 8-15 zoom is optically excellent and extremely practical in multiple real world situations. It works perfect when paired with a pano head, but it is the most fun to shoot 360s hand held. It allows me to get my camera places that a tripod would be impractical. I have so much fun with it and am confident of it when I want professional results. I hope you find my review and tips interesting.
Dr. Clement Shimizu
Director of Software Design
Immersive Projection Design
P.S. I am very passionate about this topic because I work with other peoples panoramic and 360 degree images and video all day for work.
>>>> OLD REVIEW
This is my favorite lens. I use it for 360 VR panos its very sharp compared to other fisheyes I have used. I also use it when I go to parties and want just an easy camera to take pictures of party situations when I'm shooting from the hip. I can just point the camera in the general direction of the action and I get everything. I love it.
I am still loving this lens. I have had a chance to compare it to a prime fisheye lens by Sunex and the sharpness on this blows it out of the water. Its amazing that canon can make a zoom that is superior to a fixed lens.
A few tips for lightroom users:
1) I have noticed in Adobe Lightroom, you can download a lens profile to de-warp the images in the lens correction settings(you need to download it through adobes lens profile downloader). Under lens correction, it will "autodetect" the lens type and zoom settings, but only if you shoot in raw.
2) In lightroom if you choose to dewarp the image, people at the sides of the image circle will become extremely streched. For this reason, if I am un-warping an image, I usually don't do it completely, just a bit. Dewarping faces to one side or the other can be achieved by using "LensCorrection->Manual->Horizontal Offset" in combination with "LensCorrection->Profile->Distortion".