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Brian Tobey
Nikon NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8 AF G

NIKON 10.5mm FISHEYE f/2.8 AF ED

UPDATED: FEBRUARY 10, 2011 (NEW $660)

SHARPNESS:
 
8.4
BOKEH:
 
7.2
BUILD:
 
9.0
VALUE:
 
7.0
OVERALL:
 
8.0


PROSCONS
LOW LIGHTEXPENSIVE
SHARPLACKS AF-S
BUILT WELL


SUMMARY


Nikon NIKKOR 10.5mm FISHEYE f/2.8D AF

INTRODUCTION:

Nikon's 10.5mm fisheye works great for Nikon's DX cameras. It is built well, mostly metal parts with a built in plastic hood. It has a depth of field indicator which has limited use. It is a fairly pro build quality which is unusual for a DX lens.

DX CAMERAS:

The field of view is equivalent to Nikon's 16mm FX fisheye lens for DX cameras. The FX 16mm does not provide the same full effect distortion when mounted no a DX camera body. The 16mm is a bit of a better performer then this 10.5mm but not by much and it costs a few hundred more.

The lens is pretty much limited to DX digital cameras. Currently Nikon is the only camera manufacturer to put out a lens for small format digital sensors. This lens will not work for film. It does work with full frame digital cameras using DX crop mode (not recommended).



- NIKON SPECIFICATIONS -
GLASS10 ELEMENTS / 7 GROUPS
DIAPHRAGM7 STRAIGHT BLADES
MINIMUM APERTUREf / 22
CLOSE FOCUS0.45 FT (13.7 CM)
DEPTH OF FIELD SCALEYes
WEIGHT305 GRAMS (10.76 OUNCES)
DIMENSIONS64.5x46mm
FILTERS
MAXIMUM REPRODUCTION RATIO1:5.00

PURPOSE:

The lens purpose is to distort subjects with its ultra-wide non-rectangular field of view. All lines which pass through the center remain straight. All other lines become curved due to its distortion. It provides 180 degree field of view on the diagonals.


LIMITATIONS:

It only makes sense to purchase this lens for DX cameras which provide an autofocus motor such as the D90, D300 and D7000.



PERFORMANCE


- SAMPLES -

Sample Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye f/2.8 AF NIKKOR
Sample Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye f/2.8 AF NIKKOR
Sample Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye f/2.8 AF NIKKOR

SHARPNESS:

The 10.5mm fisheye is sharp as expected from a well made f/2.8 lens. It is sharp wide open in the center, and sharp everywhere by f/4. Below is the modulation transfer function plot published by Nikon. MTF Measurements describe only a sub set of overall lens performance and should be used cautiously. See why.

MTF - Published by Nikon

DISTORTION:

Distortion is expected with a fisheye. That's why people buy them. Again, this is not a circular fisheye, there is minimal vignetting and the picture fills the entire frame. See the sample below.


VIGNETTING:

There is minimal light fall off for DX cameras wide open.


BOKEH:

Bokeh is the quality of the out of focus area of an image. Because it is so wide, you dont notice much Bokeh with this lens because it has such large depth of field even at f/2.8.


MECHANICS:

The focus ring is plastic. It fairly smooth and moves easily without much displacement, only a quarter turn and your at infinity from 14cm. No external parts move when focusing except for the front element which moves in and out.


FILTERS:

Using filters is difficult. There is no thread for screw in front filters because it is so wide. This means there is no real way to protect the front glass element. It does take a rear gel filter. Forget polarizers and ND-Grads. It is not recommended to use polarizers on wide angle lenses.

HOOD:

The hood is built in to the lens. It comes with a lens cap which goes over the hood when placed on the lens. The cap is unique to this lens.


FOCUS:

It utilizes Nikon's close range correction (CRC) allowing this lens to focus incredibly close. It has a minimum focus distance of 14cm (5.511 inches) from the rear element. Which means you can get even closer relative to the front glass element. Further, it has a tremendous depth of field. At f/5.6 everything from 1.7ft to infinity is in focus, if focus is set to 3.3ft.

The 10.5mm FISHEYE f/2.8 AF lacks a focus switch. Which means you can only turn to manual focus using the switch on the camera body. Auto-focus can not be overridden by grabbing the focus ring as much modern Nikon lenses provide, using "M/A" mode.
Nikon D90 10.5mm FISHEYE f/2.8D AF
Auto-focus is always right on and quick. It is not AF-S which means it does not have a built in motor for quick silent focusing on Nikon's small camera bodies. It will not auto-focus on the D40, D60, D3100, D5000. The lens has narrow selection of camera bodies which make it useful.

This fisheye lens lacks a focus switch. Which means you can only turn to manual focus using the switch on the camera body. Auto-focus can not be overridden by grabbing the focus ring as much modern Nikon lenses can using "M/A" mode.



CONCLUSION



RECOMMENDATIONS:

This is clearly a special effects lens. Those that will use this lens usually have a specific task in mind. Although one could use this lens for a wedding, it is more common to see it used for skateboarding, rock concerts, extreme sports where its distortion can be used to emphasize depth and angle of view. Be careful, objects definitely appear farther than they are.

It works great on a D90, D7000 or D300. Personally I would use it on a D90 or D7000 because it is lighter. The lens has good balance on a D90.

USED OR NEW:

If you are not a pro then I would buy this lens used. Pros will buy the slightly better Nikon 16mm FX lens. Make sure if you do buy used to verify the front glass element is free of scuffs and scratches! Keep in mind that this lens has few camera bodies which make it useful. Resale value of a new lens is not as good as other lenses. I think DX will be around for a while because of its lightweight camera bodies and lenses. If you want a cheaper alternative than the 16mm fisheye, go get this Nikon 10.5mm DX AF fisheye.



Nikon D90 10.5mm Fisheye f/2.8 AF NIKKOR

10.5mm FISHEYE Mounted on a D90


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