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  • Andrew JK Tan

Creativity Overload with the new 8-15mm NIKKOR Fisheye Zoom

I had the great privilege to obtain the new AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED zoom lens from the folks at Nikon Singapore to try out for a few weeks in July/August 2017.

First a short introduction on this new lens. It is the widest NIKKOR fisheye lens and the first with zoom capability. At 8mm focal length, this lens can capture an epic 180 Degrees angle of view in both the horizontal and vertical planes. This lens can also close focus up to 6 inches for macro-styled fisheye images. It also has Nano Crystal Coating and is an Internal Focusing (IF) lens so there is no change in overall physical size as you zoom.

Esplanade Mall building surrounding the Outdoor Theatre

I was personally curious at the kind of images I could potentially produce especially at the 8mm focal length. To me, the 8mm Fisheye focal length really sets this apart from the rest of the NIKKOR lineup especially with the circular images that it would produce. I was really thinking hard and wondering if the images produced at 8mm focal length would be a gimmick and in the end be unusable nor appealing to the mass audience.

My first stop with this lens was at Bromo-Tengger National Park which was about 3.5 hours by car from Surabaya International Airport, Indonesia. Bromo-Tengger National Park is a favorite destination for many landscape and astro photographers.

The iconic candy colored 4WD Jeeps that transport the visitors around the National Park

Initially it took some time getting used to composing at the 8mm focal length. I wanted to create scenes which looked different yet appealing and refreshing for the often photographed Bromo landscapes. I wanted to create a 3 dimensional like look and feel with the images and use that fisheye perspective without further modification or correction. Then it "hit" me that I should be looking for scenes that could create "mini" worlds that would look good in a spherical presentation.

Full Milky Way and moon burst above Pura Luhur Poten temple

Once I had my mental attitude established and pre-visualised the image concepts that I wanted to produce, I had loads of fun with this lens concentrating solely at the 8mm focal length.

Pura Luhur Poten temple at dawn with Mount Bromo on the left
a sphere fill with textured clouds, with the small farms at Cemoro Lawang
View of Mount Bromo, Mount Batok, Sea of Sand and the Milkyway from Cemara Indah hotel

After my short stint at Bromo-Tengger National Park, I was back in urban Singapore with all her tall skyscrapers and dense buildings setup. Could I replicate the fun that I had with the NIKKOR 8-15mm fisheye zoom in a city setup like Singapore ? Again with the same mental attitude that I had in Bromo, I went for two short photography sessions and the following are the highlights from both sessions. Enjoy ...........

Worm's eye view at 8mm focal length at Raffles Place
Unusual view of The Helix Bridge "wrapping" around the Flyer with the cityscape reflected at the top of the sphere
Sunset at Artscience Museum
The Esplanade Mall at blue hour
Marina Bay Sand Shoppes Sunset

As you can see from all the images that I have shared, I had loads of fun with this lens at the 8mm focal length. My initial fear was dispelled, I could produce refreshing and appealing images at this focal length. The presentation was unique and I loved it.

In the real world, the 8-15mm NIKKOR was sharp and had excellent resolution. Images produced were crisp with appealing contrast and color rendition. At 8mm focal length the lens had to be used without the customized hood, resistance to flare without the hood was still excellent. Physically the lens was compact and light, easy to handle and a breeze to use.

If you want to have a lens that will challenge your creative juices and produce refreshingly original compositions, then do consider this lens. It just shouts FUN !!!!!

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