Review - Pergear 10mm F8 pancake fisheye lens - early prototype

The Pergear 10mm F8 lens sample reviewed in this article is one of early prototypes. I received this lens for testing purpose directly from Pergear.

There are quite few pancake fisheye lens on the market, and the first one I personally recall is the Olympus M.Zuiko 9mm F8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. But that time I was shooting with Panasonic GF1 and Lumix 20mm F1.7 lens all the time and didn’t look for fisheye options at all, just because didn’t know how to use them properly : )

If you learn how to master fisheye distortions (and it’s not easy) it can be very good tool for taking interesting pictures. I keep practicing with such type of lens periodically, however used to shoot with larger size optics and variable apertures. With this Pergear 10mm F8 lens fisheye prototype it comes to brand new experience level for me – because this lens is so small!

You may learn from my other posts that I’m huge fan of small lens form factor, so this new pancake is a very interesting lens to try! It really looks like a camera cap (just a bit thicker) on Fujifilm X-E2s camera.

Lens frame body is machined from solid aluminum piece and looks very durable. Surfaces are anodized and lens mounts on camera nice and firm – level of mount precision precision of this prototype is very good. Borders are nicely textured in a classic diamond shaped grip that nicely fits X-E2s control dials design : ) It also allows to conveniently grip this tiny lens when mounting on camera or removing it.

The thing I was most interested regarding mechanics – how is the focusing implemented. Looks like there is a solid lens metal core frame with all embedded optics (5 elements in 4 groups). The lever on the lens bottom is positioned in the slightly angled slot. So when you move lever in a CCW direction – it is elevating lens core and focusing it to closer distance.

You may ask question “Why should I even bother focusing?” Yes – it’s 10mm and F8 provides huge depths of focus area. In most cases you’ll keep such lens always focused to infinity and having everything in focus. Though in some cases for close up shots it will be useful to shift that huge DOF to closer areas.

Image samples

One thing I like a lot about more narrow Fisheye lens (in this case it’s 10mm focal length) – it is much easier to frame the shot without too much worrying about spherical distortions. With this Pergear 10mm F8 lens prototype it is fun to take pictures.

By tilting camera up or down you can immediately change everything in the frame and forming curved horizon.

Or make it look closer to globe : )

Of course when properly aligning straight lines the image will look more natural, and also capture huge field of view area.

Pergear 10mm F8 lens is catching noticeable flare level, though the glass coating is very good and it does not impact the image contrast much. I need to learn how to utilize that flare, they look interesting each time.

For some shots I like the focusing option, this one definitely required closer focus and it also helps to slightly isolate the foreground in spite of small F8 aperture.

Another thing I like Fisheyes for – is ability to fit huge nature objects like trees into a single frame, and keep it looking not very much distorted.

I also like the colors from this Pergear 10mm F8 lens. Sharpness level is noticeably degrading in the corners even taking into account it’s at constant F8, but that is the cost of compactness (and more fun as a result).

With this Pergear 10mm F8 prototype it’s very easy to make any relatively small area look like an airfield : )

More shots…

I also had chance to take some night time and indoor shots. Sure thing you should use very high ISO to keep shutter quick enough for hand hold pictures.

I also tried Pergear 10mm F8 lens prototype for sky pictures by laying camera on the ground (on the backpack actually). I think exposure was 30 seconds, with post +3EV in camera RAW editor.

Brief conclusions

Generally speaking this Pergear 10mm F8 lens prototype is a very fun tool to use on Fuji X camera. Excellent high ISO performance of Trans X sensor provides comfortable shutter speed range even when shooting at constant F8, though night and indoor shots are challenging. Personally I like it and going to keep it as a spare lens for most photo walk moving forward (mostly during daylight time). It’s so small that it takes time to recall which pocket I put it to.