Additional Information on
Fisheye Nikkor 8mm f/2.8s lens


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Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8s

The first Fisheye-Nikkor was a fixed focus Non-Ai
Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/8.0 lens in 1962. The fixed focus 8mm f/8.0 was followed by another similar lens, which has a full f-stop faster lens speed in Fisheye Nikkor 7.5mm f/5.6 in 1965 where the lens has almost similar design (similarly the year where Nikkormat SLR cameras was marketed officially) and followed by an even wider view Fisheye Nikkor 6mm f/5.6 lens in 1967 ! So, the three lenses (10mm OP-Fisheye Nikkor lens that introduced in 1969 differed from the rest of other Fisheye-Nikkor available at that time as it produces an orthographic projection) formed the core Nikkor Fisheye group lenses in the Nikkor lens family during that period of time. A drawback of these series of older Non-Ai version of Fisheye lenses is, in order to use these lenses, your Nikon SLR cameras need to have a Mirror lock up feature before you can mount the lens onto the camera effectively.

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Credit: Two images of the Nikkor 8mm Fisheye lense courtesy of Mr. Derwin Lee Self ® <derwin_lee_self> Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Anyway, Nikon has only the various reflex Nikon F SLR models available during that period and supplemented by the various mid range Nikkormat SLR bodies. Other than the professional Nikon F-class SLRs, which seen a new series of Nikon SLR cameras Nikon FM and Nikon FE being introduced in 1977 to replace the entire Nikkormat series, the useful Mirror Lock Up feature found on all previous Nikon SLRs has been omitted from those mid-size Nikons. This has caused some selective range of Nikkor lenses, such as the Non-Ai Fisheye Nikkor 8mm f/8.0, 7.5mm f/5.6, 6mm f/5.6 and 10mm OP lenses which require a that feature to work effectively incompatible with these new series of camera models.

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As these lenses have a protruding rear section which reach very far inward, the reflex mirror has to be lock upwards so as not to obstruct the mirror movement when an exposure is activated, thus, you will need to lock the reflex mirror to ensure it is not damaging the lens/mirror. Naturally, as once the mirror is locked and flipped upward, you will have a viewfinder black out and there is no way for you to peep through the viewfinder for focusing and picture composing. These series of Fisheye lenses usually are supplied with an auxiliary optical finder which you are supposed to mount it beside (or at the top for Nikkormat) to use it as your visual aid to compose (Not focus). This is essentially the main drawback of the original series Fisheye Nikkor lens.

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By 1969, there was a breakthrough in the design of Fisheye lenses. A resulting of such lens development program was an extremely wide-view circular optic Nikkor Fisheye 6mm f/2.8 lens. It was actually the world's widest optical lens in 35mmphotography which comes with an astonishing lens speed of f/2.8. So, the design was a prelude for an entirely new breed of Fisheye-Nikkor lenses that were designed to replace the entire series of older design Fisheyes that require mirror lock-up and fixed focus design. Obviously, with the new series of SLRs being prepared in the pipeline during that period to enable the cameras expanding a wider scope of applications for such lenses.Thus, in an initial effort of a general lens/camera updating program, Nikon finally upgraded the slow, sluggish fixed focus Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/8.0 lens in 1970 with an extremely fast Auto Fisheye Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 lens.

The new fisheye lens has an entirely different optical design from any of the previous Fisheye lenses. Basically, the main difference is, the concept was to restore the original essence of how single lens reflex cameras/lenses should works - where you can view. focus and compose pictures through the lens direct and precisely with metering also via the picture taking lens at any given f-stop you have chosen and set on the aperture ring on the lens. The lens speed of the Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 lens was boosted to a an extremely bright f/2.8 to ensure viewfinder image remains constantly bright for easy focusing. With the new design, a photographer can now focus directly via the viewfinder of the camera and need not have to make use of the auxiliary finder anymore. Further, the lens has other lovely touches as it has being designed with an internal built-in revolving turrets which permits rapid changing of filters. The unusual optical characteristic of a circular Fisheye lens may turn even the most mundane subject into a spectacular image and all the visual difference can be view, fine adjust the focus, recomposed if you liked and see the changes inside the eyepiece. Big deal - you must be thinking... Yea, it was, because previous lens version can only be used to prearrange and position the subject within a specific depth of field zone; next, via the accessory finder, you won't able to see the visual difference as with reflex photography; thirdly, you cannot meter via the picture taking lens and very often either pre-shooting meter is required or using an external handheld meter. So, probably not for some of you - but it was a real BIG DEAL when the new lens was debuted during that era where it was a big hit for those who had experienced all the negative aspect with older versions of the circular Fisheye lenses.

"... The utility of this lens is limited by the imagination of the photographer. This was taken with a Nikon F5, the Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 AIS lens, with Ektachrome 100VS film. site is the cathedral in Nancy, France. You have my authorization to use this picture on your site; I'm the © holder...."

Dan Lindsay Santa Barbara

<<< ---- Credit: Dan Lindsay <> copyright © 2004. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer(s).

Well, other than the supremely wide Nikkor 6mm Fisheye which is so expensive and tedious to setup for use, I think more importantly this 8mm Nikkor fisheye lens is a logical and practical alternative. The current version of the Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 is an Ai-S version which was introduced back in 1982. The Ai-S version differs from the earlier Ai lens slightly with the built in filter supplied with L1BC instead of skylight filter. It is quite compact in its size and lighter in weight at 1.1 kg as compared to the massive weight of 5.2 kg in the 6mm counterpart. The high portability and good lens speed factors alone was a blessing for those who often works in available light or indoor without flash. A word of caution to the potential owner, the front portion of the lens protrudes outwards and need care and attention to avoid the front lens elements getting scratch or damage. Always use the lens cap to protect it when the lens is not in use or unattended.

Technical Highlights: * All-encompassing 180° fisheye coverage produces a circular image on the film; everything in front of the camera is included in the picture. * Bright f/2.8 aperture makes it easy to view and focus, even in dim light. * Close focusing down to 0.3m (1 ft.). *Full-aperture viewing and metering. * Rapid changing of filters - 5 filters (skylight, medium yellow, dark yellow, orange, and red) are built into a revolving turret inside the lens.

*Truly creative pictorial effects impossible with any other type of lens; extreme barrel distortion makes lines bow in, while exaggerated perspective makes objects close to the lens very large indeed. * Used in science and industry for weather and cloud observation, astronomical studies, surveillance work, and for photographing inside confined areas, such as airplane cockpits, tunnels, pipelines, heating or air-conditioning conduits, etc.

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Focal length/Aperture: 8mm f/2.8
Lens construction : 10 elements in 8 groups
Picture angle: 180°
Diaphragm: Automatic

Aperture scale: f/2.8-f/22 on both standard and
aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-Ai cameras

Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-AI cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 0.3m (1 ft.) to infinity (
Weight: 1,100g
Dimensions 123mm dia. x 139mm long (overall) 128mm extension from lens flange
Filters Built-in: skylight (L1BC). medium yellow (Y48), dark yellow (Y52),
orange (056), and red (R60)
Front lens cap Screw-in
Lens hood None
Lens case CL11 hard leatherette
Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200, TC-201 Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections.

Note: The Ai-S version of this lens carries a serial number from 243001 onwards which you can used it as a reference.

Nikkor Circular Fisheye Lenses: 6mm - f/2.8 | f/5.6 | 7.5mm f/5.6 | 8mm - f/2.8 | f/8.0 | 10mm OP f/5.6 | 16mm Full frame Nikkor-Fisheye Lenses - f/3.5 Non-Ai - f/3.5/f/2.8 Ai - f/2.8 Ai-S - f/2.8 AF-D

| Main Index Page | Fisheye Nikkor Lenses

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