Additional information on Olympus Zuiko Lenses
ZUIKO Circular Fisheye 8mm f/2.8

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Fisheye lenses and its optical properties

Originally designed for scientific studies such as astrophotography and astronomical observations - Fisheye lenses were once called "full sky lens". The fisheye lense produces some extremely unusual photographs. Deriving its name from an angle of view closely associated with that of a fish's eye, this type of lens was originally manufactured because its 180° angle could record celestial observation of an entire hemisphere. With a fisheye lense, the horizon appears farther away, objects bulge into a barrel shape and the picture itself replete with deformed images peculiar to the super wide-angle lens-produces a weird, circular effect. This exaggerated fisheye world can be seen in the finder system of the SLR cameras and this lens is now commonly used for creative photography. Imaginative use of the various optical characteristic of a fisheye lens can create a world of mystery from the most conventional subject matter. Generally, you can safely classified these lense type into a two main categories: Full frame or Circular Fisheye lenses.

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Looking through the viewfinder of a camera equipped with a fisheye lens can be quite an experience. You see everything from the ground at your feet (Some lenses even have your feet covered in, too), to the sky overhead and virtually everything to your right and left within a radius of either 220 -180° depends on the lense type, in the case of Olympus Zuiko lense family, both fisheye lenses cover a view field of 180°. All the images in the viewfinder produced by such lens type are circular in the middle of the picture frame and that's the way it will be reproduced on film (Except the 16mm fisheye which is a full frame fisheye lense that will generate an image that will fill up the entire 24mm x 36mm picture frame).

<<< --- Credit: Image scanned from an early OM system catalogue.

The fisheye lens' view is like that of a fish looking through the water to the surface as shown in the illustration below. Because of the refraction between water and air the fish has a tremendously wide angle of view. The front element of a fisheye lens has an extreme amount of curvature which accounts for its 180° vision. As the nature of these lenses does not facilitate the use of filter attachment at their front, so they have a built-in filter turret for normal shooting and/or if other visual effects via special filters are desired and the camera's TTL metering will be able to compensate any changes in exposure measurement. The eventual captured image will be projected in a circular fisheye image at the center of the picture.

The large, concave lens in front covers the subject area and then bends the light into approximately a 90° cone. The convex lens at the rear then forms the image on film. The same degree of coverage in a conventionally designed lens would require a much larger image area. Instead, with this lens, a limited circular image is projected on film. Due to the small image area, straight lines are rendered in a barrel or arch shape.

Fisheyes are different from ultra-wideangle lenses, since their most obvious feature is perspective distortion that caused the bending of straight lines, especially those near the edges of the frame. Other factors are the exceptional depth of field and stretched out perspective. The construction of the fisheyes is similar to the retrofocus type lens in which rays of fight from a full 180° angle are first refracted into a cone by the concave front element and next formed into a circular image by the convex rear element. If a subject covering an angle of 180° were to be photographed by a super wide-angle lens having no distortion. theoretically the peripheral image would be infinitely large- regardless of the focal length and an infinitely large flat film could be needed to record it. This is where the fisheye differs from the super wide-angle lense. Because of the - 100% distortion, the lense is not affected by the cosine law and uniform illumination is distributed over the entire lense surface.

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Recently, I came across a facinating image with a creative use of the unique optical characteristic in a Zuiko 8mm Fisheye lense by Mr Skip William - Wait till you find out how the image was created. | CLICK HERE |

<<< -- Credit: Image courtesy of Mr SKIP WILLIAM <>. The original image was appeared and archived in Bob Gries's website as OM contributers. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. A warm reminder: Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


There are different types of fisheye's distortion. ZUlKO Fisheye Lenses use equisolid angle projection. The advantage of this type is that the cubical angle of the image is easily calculated based on image size making it an excellent choice for scientific and technical application Because of the distortion, a circular picture is formed and the film format is not fully utilized. Another fisheye is designed to crop a rectangle out of the circular imago.

<<< --- Credit: This image was specially taken by Mr. Jone Quinn <> for this OM project. Jone Quinn runs a popular Ebay Store and he specializes in selling OM photo gears. Image copyright © 2003 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Fisheyes of both kinds are available in the ZUIKO Lens Group: - the 8mm Fisheye which forms an image 23mm in diameter, and the 16mm which produces images covering the full film size by cropping a circular image of 44mm in diameter. Because of the extraordinary angle of view, the photographer has to take certain precaution when using a fisheye lense, Naturally, the Protruding front surface must be protected with a cap when changing lenses and film, But more important, before taking the picture he must check the viewfinder to make sure the legs of his tripod. his head and his feet do not appear.

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OM Zuiko AUTO Circular Fisheye 8mm f/2.8 lense

This lense establishes the relationship between cubical angle and area size of images in equisolid angle projection. Despite a lens speed of f/2.8. it is designed to be extremely compact and requires no mirror lock-up. in use. the automatic diaphragm enables the photographer to compose on the bright focusing screen. Covering an angle of 180 degrees the picture is formed in a circle 23mm in diameter. The distorted, special effect peculiar to the fisheye can be used effectively for highly creative photographic results. Because of the refraction between water and air the fish has a tremendously wide angle of view. The front element of a fisheye lens has an extreme amount of curvature which accounts for its 180° vision. The pronounced barrel distortion effects can be used for exciting creative photography.

<<< -- Credit: Image scanned from a published 1986 OM system Sales Manual.

One of the optical characteristic of fisheye lenses is, due to the small image area, straight lines are rendered in a barrel or arch shape. Using the equidistant projection method, this circular image fisheye with its 8mm focal length compresses the 180° field into a 23mm diameter circle.

Technically, most modern full frame fisheye lenses are using a retrofocus design to enable convenience of direct viewing/focusing/composition. Unlike many older versions of the fisheye lenses where there was no focusing mechanism (Fixed focus type) in such lenses, an amazing feat Olympus provides was, this Zuiko fisheye does not require a mirror lock-up to enable it to use on any of the OM SLRs ( Note: Olympus OM-1(n) is the ONLY OM SLR body that equipped with a Mirror Lock-up feature). This allows uninterrupted viewing and is especially valuable given the unusual perspective inherent in this lense.

<<< --- Credit: This image was specially taken by Mr. Jone Quinn <> for this OM project. Jone Quinn runs a popular Ebay Store and he specializes in selling OM photo gears. Image copyright © 2003 All rights reserved.

The lense provides a close minimum focusing distance of only 0.2m (0.7 ft) and features an ingenious built-in filters design via a revolving filter turret located at the middle section of the lense (early version of the Zuiko circular fisheye has L39, Y48, O56 and R60 as standard while later version provides a combination of L39, Y48, Y52, 056 & R60). However, its extremely wide angle of view and the protruding front lense element at the front section does not permit the use of a lense hood. Introduced in 1977, the OM circular fisheye lense is not the most compact on the market, but it is one of the fastest in it class*. Similarly, the 8mm focal length with 180° is also not the widest you can get - but I doubt you will ever need anything wider than this for your assignment. Focusing with this lense is deemed unnecessary because of the inherently great depth-of-field of this focal length. As admitedly I have little experience with OM Zuiko fisheye lense type and can only confine the discussion around its specifications, I reserved sections for some of the users to input us with better content in the future.

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<<< -- CLICK for ENKLARGED VIEW(s): Image courtesy of Mr Jone Quinn® <> Image Copyright © 2003.

#This Zuiko Circular Fisheye lense commands a quite a high retail price between USD950.00**-1500.00 a unit and even at used, mint condition, it may fetch as high as USD880.00-00 - 870.00. Source: ** Macbroom's Camera Blue Book by Amherst Media, Inc. Next, the first Zuiko 8mm f/2.8 lense that beared "MC" in its lens data was only being mentioned late in 1986.

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* The Canon FDn Fisheye 7.5mm was a fixed focus type and has a very slow f/5.6 lense speed. The Nikkor circular fisheye lense series have a few fixed focus versions to offer, a Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/5.6, Fisheye-Nikkor 7.5mm f/5.6 and a Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/8.0 while reflex viewing type Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8s is also provided. But current widest circular fisheye lense on the market is a 5.2kg's Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8s lense which makes little sense in practicality and neither it is affordable to general users.


Focal length:
8mm (
Note:- shown is the older version, if you have a newer series with an indicative MC (may be produced after 1986), do mail me)
Maximum aperture: 1:2.8 (early series may bear 1:2.8 f=8mm)
Optical construction: 11 elements in 7 groups
Angle of View: 180° (a circular image of 23rnm in diameter)
Projection formula: Equidistant
Image size on film: 23mm in diameter

Diaphragm operation
: Automatic

Focusing: Straight Helicoid

Distance scale: Graduated both in meters and feet up to 0.2m (0.7ft)
Aperture scale: f/2.8 ~ f/22
Filters: Built-in, L39, Y48, Y52, 056 & R60. Early version:
Built-in (L,39, Y48, O56, R60)

Length: 83mm. Early version: 72mm (2.8")
Lens Hood:
not applicable
Maximum Diameter: 102mm (4") (early version)
Weight: 640g (22.6oz). Early version:
690g (24.3 oz.)
Recommended Screens: 1:1#, 1:2#, 1:3#, 1:4#, 1:5#, 1:10#, 1:13#, 1:14#
# Compatible with OM-1(n) and Om-2(n), may be used on OM-3(ti) and OM-4(ti) or equivalent, they provide accurate focusing but exposure error may occur in manual mode.## More info on "Picture Angle" or make use of the Glossary section in PIM site..

A Brief overview on Zuiko Optics
Zuiko Fisheye Lenses
8mm f/2.8 Circular Fisheye | 16mm f/3.5 Full Frame Fisheye
Zuiko Ultra-Wideangle Lenses
18mm f/3.5 | 21mm f/2.0 | 21mm f/3.5 | 24mm f/2.0 | 24mm f/2.8
Zuiko Wideangle Lenses
28mm f/2.0 | 28mm f/2.8 | 28mm f/3.5 | 35mm f/2 | 35mm f/2.8 |
Zuiko Standard Lenses
40mm f/2.0 | 55mm f/1.2 | 50mm f/1.2 | 50mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF
Zuiko Medium-Telephoto Lenses
85mm f/2.0 | 100mm f/2.0 | 100mm f/2.8 | 135mm f/2.8 | 135mm f/3.5
Zuiko Telephoto Lenses
180mm f/2.0 EDIF | 180mm f/2.8 | 200mm f/4.0 | 200mm f/5.0 Auto-T (brief)
Zuiko Super-Telephoto Lenses
250mm f/2.0 EDIF | 300mm f/4.5 | 350mm f/2.8 EDIF | 400mm f/6.3 | 500mm | 600mm f/6.5 |1000mm f/11.0
Special application Zuiko optics:
24mm f/3.5 Shift | 35mm f/2.8 Shift | 500mm f/8 Reflex | AF Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF

Tele-Converters: 1.4X-A / 2X-A

Zuiko Macro/Close focus lenses: Zuiko AUTO MACRO 20mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 20mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 38mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 38mm f/2.8 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 1:1 80mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 90mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 135mm f/4.5

Zuiko AUTO-Zoom Lenses - Main Index page
| S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 28-48mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.6 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AF AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.5 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.8 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-80mm f/2.8 ED | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-105mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.5 | Zuiko AUTO zoom 50-250mm f/5.0 | Zuiko AUTO zoom 65-200mm f/4.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO zoom 70-210mm f/4.5 ~ f/5.6 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 75-150mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 85-200mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 85-250mm f/5.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 100-200mm f/5.0 |

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Maintainers for OM Zuiko Site & Message Board: Rick Oleson (Email: Website:, Bruce Hamm (, John Orrell (, Simon Evans, (; Shaun (, Andy Radcliffe (

Special thanks to: Gregory P. Logiodice, Bob Gries, Erwin Voogt, Joel Wilcox, Rick Oleson, Simon Evan and many others for granting permissions to use their images of either lenses, cameras and own pictures appeared in this Zuiko website.

Credit: My old time buddy, Ahmad Ikram, Dr of Rubber Research Institute (RRI), Malaysia who shares the same passion with me and also lending his OM-1n, OM-4 and the Motor Drive 1 to me for preparing some images in this site; Mark Dapoz <>for reminding some broken links; Mr Poon of Foto Poon, Ipoh, Mr Richard, Ampang Park, Mr Lim and Miss Jenny of Foto Edar for their generosity for their OM1(n), OM2n camera and some Zuiko lenses. Mr Hans van Veluwen for mistakenly using some content earlier from his OM website; J Sorensen for providing some useful images to rectify some technical "flaws"; Mr Gen Holst for helping during the early stages of development of this OM site; Mr KKLow for some of his earlier images on the OM-1appeared in this website; Miss Wati and Mirza for helping me to convert this Operation Manual into a HTML format. Mr MCLau for rectifying some mistakes made on the earlier preview sites. A personal tribute to the creator of the OM system and also a site dedicated to all the fans of Olympuses and Zuiko Optics worldwide. Some of the content and images appeared in this site were scanned from OM official marketing leaflets, brochures and instruction manual(s) for educational purposes. Olympus is a registered trade name of Olympus Optical Inc., Japan. Site created 'unfortunately again with an IMac.