Don’t forget, you can also watch the Canon 15mm Fisheye video review
The Canon 15mm Fisheye lens is compact, well built and offers the opportunity to take some pretty stunning yet unconventional images.
Weighing 330 grams it’s light and very portable making it easy to carry around in your kit bag. A slight drawback however being that the accompanying lens cap does not fit all that tightly around the lens resulting in it easily falling off. It is important to note that the image recorded to the camera will vary depending up whether it is a full frame or cropped sensor camera. With a cropped sensor camera like the Canon 60D for example, the extremities of the image will not be recorded. To take a picture which exactly reflects what is observed through the viewfinder, a full frame camera such as a Canon 5D or Canon 1DS would need to be used. This is even more important when using a fisheye lens, as on a cropped sensor camera, a large amount of the circular effect will be lost to regions outside the recordable zone of the image. The fisheye effect will still be noticeable if you do use a cropped sensor camera, however it will be more subtle compared to taking an image using a full frame alternative.
Canon 15mm Fisheye lens construction
There are not many bells and whistles with the 15mm Fisheye. No USM motor, no image stabilisation. It’s pretty basic in construction, however this doesn’t hinder the ability to take stunning images with it! The lowest aperture possible is F2.8, which is perfectly respectable allowing images to be taken at lower light levels yet still maintain a suitable shutter speed. Due to the lack of a quiet USM motor, the 15mm Fisheye is a bit noisy as it focuses down, but does so quite rapidly.
Fixed focal length Vs zoom lenses.
Fixed focal length lenses don’t have the same range of magnifications that a zoom lens have, therefore a slight sacrifice in usability, however on the upside it is often noted how they provide a sharper image. A second benefit to fixed focal length lenses is that they tend to focus slightly faster than the zoom lens alternatives.
Canon 15mm Fisheye sample photos
Below are a few examples of photos taken with the Canon 15mm Fisheye lens on a cropped sensor camera. Although the fisheye effect is somewhat prohibited on a cropped sensor, the effect is still clearly visible These photos are un-edited and hopefully will provide a good idea of the sort of picture quality that can be expected when using this lens.
To see examples of the fisheye lens on a full frame camera, view Gary Hayes’ Flickr collection using a Canon 5D
Alternative lenses to the Canon 15mm fisheye
Another Fisheye lens worth considering is the Canon 8-15mm F4. This is a zoom lens that adds further flexibility. It is also an L grade lens. L grade lenses provide superior image quality. On the downside, the lowest aperture is F4 as opposed to F2.8 on the 15mm Fisheye. Sigma also produce a number of Fisheye lenses ranging from 15mm down to 4.5mm and Sigma lenses can often be slightly cheaper than Canon lenses.
This lens is a lot of fun, it’s not a cheap lens to buy – especially brand new – but it is surprising how often I take it with me when taking photographs. A compact and useful lens which provides a good quality image.
Current best prices for the Canon 15mm Fisheye.