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Updated 06-12-16

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Series 11

PK031

PK032

PK033

Peleng 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye

Of the two basic types of fisheye lenses (see below), the Peleng lens exemplifies the second type. However, even in a normal film camera, the circular image does not quite fit inside the width of a 35 mm camera strip, perhaps because USSR cameras used the film differently. In the DSLR, even less of the projected image is caught by the APS-sized sensor, of course, but the 180 degree limit of the lens is still visible in the corners of the images!
a. Full frame fisheye lenses capture a hemispherical image across the diagonal of the 35 mm frame. These lenses range in focal length from 14-16 mm.
b. Circular image (hemispherical) fisheye lenses capture a full 180 degrees within the narrow height of the 35 mm film frame. The lenses in this class have effective focal lengths ranging from 6 to 8 mm.

Peleng Fisheye

Sumire and Rui is flanking my Peleng 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens.

Peleng practicalities

The Peleng lens always require an adapter for the camera mount in use. All lenses come with a threaded M42 adapter, in addition, my sample had a Nikon adapter. Using a M42 lens with the DSLR requires an additional M42 to K bayonet adapter. I had bought this separately for eventual use with Pentax Takumars; you can get this together with the Peleng lens at a slightly higher price.
The front lens cover should stay on the lens with the help of a felt lining on its inside rim. The felt is too thin, however, and the cover easily falls off, raising the fear that it may damage the lens surface. I use a rubber band to hold the cover in place, not ideal, but enough for casual work.
The lens illustrations show an unusual feature of this lens – the LOCK/UNLOCK aperture ring that opens or close the aperture to the magnitude set by the actual aperture ring. This is a very manual lens!
Some users have reported problems with the long back of the USSR lenses protruding too far into the camera and damaging the mirror. I found a user online who had used the Peleng with a Pentax DSLR without problems. Just in case, I measured the lens and mirror position before actually trying this at home. When focused at infinity the lens protrudes about 8.5 mm behind the bayonet flange. The mirror is 10 mm behind the same flange when fully raised. So there is a considerable safety margin in this combination.

Peleng and adapter

The M42 threaded adapter on lens and the third party bayonet K mount adapter.

M42 Adapter The screw mount to bayonet adapter is easy enough to insert in the camera, removing it turned out to be more tricky. If you study the adapter closely, you see a small spring steel spring that is screwed on to the adapter proper. When this is in the camera, the spring will engage a small catch inside the lens mount, preventing the adapter from rotating when the lens is unscrewed. To remove the adapter it is necessary to disengage the spring by inserting the tool that comes with the adapter in the right place, that is outside the spring. However, when subsequently trying to turn the adpater clockwise, the tool easily cathes on to the bayonet flange, preventing removal.
Here is how another user describes the procedure: “First unscrew the lens from the adapter. Then insert the removal tool into the two holes of the adapter. Turn CCW until you hit a stop. Lift the removal tool until it just clears the stop but will continue to turn CCW. The M42 adapter should then come off very easily.”
Obviously, this procedure requires training, preferably in a dust free environment, before trying it in the field. I am tempted to purchase one of Pentax superb prime screw mount lens to use in the field together with the Peleng, just to avoid having to fiddle with the adapter! An easier solution would be to simply remove the little spring from the adapter, of course.

Examples

Peleng wide

The Peleng bends the tracks of this crawling Liebherr crane outwards.

Peleng high

The feet of the photographer are just outside the nearly 180 degrees FOV of the Peleng.

Peleng twisted

Turning the camera allows the Peleng to see sideways.

Specifications

Lens construction: 11 elements in 7 groups
Angle of view: 180° diagonally on film camera
Number of diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum aperture: f/16
Minimum focusing distance: 0.22m
Filter size: 26.5mm rear mount (three filters included)
Maximum magnification: 0.13X
Dimensions (diameter x length): 73mm x 65.5mm
Weight: 370g

Sigma Fisheyes

Sigma now offers a new fisheye lens that looks similar to the Peleng but with modern features such as autofocus. The 8mm F3.5 EX DG CIRCULAR FISHEYE autofocus lens will produce a 180 degree circular image on 24 mm film (or sensor). It will be available with a Pentax mount. Sigma info in Japanese, English. DCWatch review (Japanese) with many images, including a PTLens correction and a 360 degree panormama!
Pentax recently introduced its second fisheye zoom lens, the smc DA 10-17 mm/3,5-4,5 ED (IF). Product page German, US. DCWatch first look (Japanese).

Links

Factory store Peleng8.com
Wiki entry Fisheye Lens
Quick Review by Jarnell with De-Fishing tips (Canon) Peleng 8mm F/3.5-16 Fisheye
German test (Canon EOS) Objektivtest Peleng 8mm/3.5-Fischauge
Review by Marco Pauck (Nikon) Experiences with the Peleng 3.5/8 mm Fisheye.
Matt Mueller reveals the DSLR crop factor (Nikon) Peleng 8mm f/3.5 180° Lens
User reviews Belarus MC Peleng 8mm Circular Fisheye

Fisheye lenses are fun.