Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye Lens Review

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye Lens Review
1992 MasterCraft ProStar 190 Bow and Windshield 1992 MasterCraft ProStar 190 Bow and Windshield
To get this shot, I held the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens just above the 1992 MasterCraft ProStar 190 ski boat's windshield.
The circular fisheye field of view causes the lettering across the top of the windshield wrap nicely around the image border.
I had my bother drive the boat toward the sunset while I shot handheld in this awkward position. The sunset and clouds of course provided lots of color reflections from the water, boat bow and windshield (and combinations of those).
8mm  f/8.0  1/100s  ISO 250
Honey Bee on Sunflower Honey Bee on Sunflower
With a wide angle lens, get close to your subject. With the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens, get REALLY close to your subject. Well, you might want to be careful when honey bees are your subject, but this one did not mind my presence.
This particular composition reasonably-well hides the fact that this is a full frame fisheye image.
15mm  f/16.0  1/60s  ISO 100
Fisheye Perspective of Horse Jumping Fisheye Perspective of Horse Jumping
This is a 15mm full frame fisheye image taken with a full frame body. You can get this same look from the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens using a Canon APS-C or APS-H body by using a wider focal length.
15mm  f/5.6  1/1250s  ISO 200
Sunset Reflections on a Mushroom Sunset Reflections on a Mushroom
To prevent all of the details in your ultra wide angle shots from becoming tiny, move in close to a primary subject(s). Let the tiny background details support your primary subject.
8mm  f/11.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Meteorites during Perseid Meteor Shower Meteorites during Perseid Meteor Shower
A pair of meteorites, AKA shooting stars, streak through the northern Maine sky during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower.
If you want to cover a lot of sky, a 15mm fisheye lens on a full frame camera body is a great choice. Not as great of a choice is the max f/4 aperture the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Zoom Lens has. I used ISO 3200 for a 30 second exposure and still added some brightness during post processing.
Still, I like the results and have no regrets from using this sharp lens for this task.
Leveling a lens in the dark is tough. Leveling a fisheye lens is difficult even in daylight. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III's electronic level rocks in this situation.
15mm  f/4.0  30s  ISO 3200
Walking Bridge Walking Bridge
In this image, the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens' barrel distortion reduces the typical perspective distortion (converging lines) a rectilinear wide angle lens would deliver from the hand rails. The wooden floor boards, however, make it clear that a fisheye lens was behind this picture.
With an angle of view this wide, the sun frequently becomes part of the composition. I like to partially hide it behind something - the rope in this example.
15mm  f/11.0  1/250s  ISO 100
Charter Boat Snorkeling in the Florida Keys Charter Boat Snorkeling in the Florida Keys
Need to get the entire small boat in the frame while you are in the boat? This task is no problem for the Canon 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens. Removing my left arm from the picture in post was much more difficult - thanks to the transitioning black circle. I used Photoshop to copy and flip an area of the right side to paste over my arm. I then used a soft eraser to remove the copied portion that was not needed. Yes, it would have been easier to remember to keep the arm out of the frame in the first place, but the issue is not unexpected when using this lens.
8mm  f/11.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Driving the Sport Boat Driving the Sport Boat
Need to shoot in tight spaces? Try an 8mm fisheye lens.
For this composition, I tried to align the sun near center and partially blocked, to include all of the windshield lettering, to include the driver and his reflection on the mirror balancing each other, the entire back edge of the driver's seat and some nice near-sunset clouds.
8mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 200
Sunflower Field Sunflower Field
When used to photograph a round subject, a fisheye lens does not so-readily show its barrel distortion properties.
This full frame fisheye lens image also shows the normal gradation found in a blue sky - no circular polarizer filters are available for this lens and therefore are not the cause of the uneven blue sky seen here.
15mm  f/11.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Horse-Coat Wire Fence Horse-Coat Wire Fence
Straight lines running through the center of a fisheye image are rendered straight. The same cannot be said of the lines running through the mid and outer-frame areas.
8mm  f/8.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Saddled-Horse Picture Saddled-Horse Picture
A saddled-horse stands near center-of-the-frame with its shadow running through the circular bottom edge of the frame while its rider adjusts a jump standard. Another horse and rider and a barn complement the composition by adding another layer of interest.
8mm  f/11.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Fisheye Zinnia Closeup Fisheye Zinnia Closeup
This Zinnia picture represents the near-minimum focus distance and the near-max background blur the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens is capable of.
15mm  f/4.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Ski Boat Picture Ski Boat Picture
If you can't keep yourself out of a circular fisheye image, become part of the composition.
8mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 200
Circular Fisheye Lines Circular Fisheye Lines
A circular fisheye lens excels at making arcs out of lines. This primary subjects in this composition are a pleated shade and window trim. Only the center-most line remains straight.
When shooting a full circular fisheye, your shadow is going to be in the frame of the light is behind you. Sometimes embracing your shadow works best.
8mm  f/8.0  1/400s  ISO 100
Reflections on a Boat Reflections on a Boat
Clouds reflect from the water, boat bow and windshield in this sunset shot. Keeping a level horizon is very challenging when using a lens with barrel distortion. I obviously didn't attempt to do so in this image.
15mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 400
Florida Keys Fisheye Picture Florida Keys Fisheye Picture
A fisheye perspective of the inviting shallow water in the Florida Keys.
Shooting with water on the horizon is always a challenge for my HLDS (Horizon Level Deficiency Syndrome), and barrel distortion elevates this challenge significantly. With a fisheye lens, the challenge comes down to making the water leave the frame at the same height on both sides.
15mm  f/11.0  1/200s  ISO 100
How to Hide Fisheye Barrel Distortion In-Camera How to Hide Fisheye Barrel Distortion In-Camera
Want to hide the strong barrel distortion fisheye lenses are defined by? Place the straight lines through the center of the frame. Unless there are other distortion indicators in the frame, it will be hard to tell that a fisheye lens was used to take the picture.
15mm  f/11.0  1/200s  ISO 100

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