First flight: Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye

There are hardly any situations using a fisheye lens is a good idea.

The circular madness of most fisheye shots is more of a gimmick than anything else.

However the fisheye has some good usage in the ocean, especially in waves, where the circular edges made by the fisheye is a natural part of the wave and not so much a disturbing factor.

After selling some footage I thought I might look into the possibility of getting a wide angle lense for water photography. I’ve been happy with the 70-200mm, the 35 mm and the 50 mm, but I felt like having something wider.

I came across an used Canon EF 8- 15mm F/4 at a reasonable price, and decided to give it a go. The 8-15 mm range gives you the opportunity to more of a wide angle shot than a fisheye, and if the need should arise, I could do the fisheye as well.

Good stuff.

You won’t find many fisheye friendly wave days at Jæren in August (you will hardly find any waves at all). So I decided to try the lense with the avid kiters Karl Oskar and Valentin, who depend on wind not waves.

I fixed the focal length to 15mm, to do wide angle shots, and put a dome port on the water housing. The dome port is what you typically use when you want to do the fancy over/under water shots, which fits well with a wide angle lense. One of the downsides of a dome port however, is that the water droplets can be real a pain.

We shot during late afternoon with some good, but sometimes harsh light. The weather was pretty inconsistent though, so I opted for the AV mode (shutter priority). Making the camera sort out the shutter works just fine on days like this.

I fixed my aperture to F/5.6, with fast paced action like kiting you don’t really want to go any higher aperture, unless you want to hit your focus in 1 out of 10 shots.

The verdict? Shooting with this lense is smooth and painless. The focus, which often is difficult in the ocean, worked good. I can’t wait for the fall to show up with some heavy waves, and to take this one for a spin again.

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