More redux, yet again, repeatedly, on less-costly fisheyes

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by JDMvW, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. I threatened this so here is a more abbreviated report than I usually do (cheers from the peanut gallery, I suppose). I am trying to clean up some old, not finished posts that have been lying around, gnawed by the electronic mice.


    In my middle years as a photographer, I had imagination bigger than my budget. Like a kid poring over the Johnson-Smith ads on the back of the comic books, I always read the Spiratone ads in great detail. I could afford some of the Spiratone items, but so many of the objects of my desire there, and elsewhere, were just beyond or vastly beyond my financial ability.

    Most of us try to to reclaim our youth, don't we? So instead of buying a motorcycle, I started to collect old cameras and photographic gear.

    Many of you know of some of my obsessions-- catadioptric (mirror) lenses, old East German cameras and lenses, early AF cameras, and so on.

    Of course, I started to see Spiratone items for sale on eBay. So.....


    Items available under Spiratone brand, but not all actually from Spiratone

    Also included in these views are the auxiliary X0.15 (optimistically:)) lenses I've discussed previously.

    12mm fisheye
    One of my coveted Spiratone items was a 12mm fisheye.
    12mm lens 1970-02 MP.jpeg
    Modern Photography 1970-02​

    So many of these items were offered by many vendors under many names, and the one I found was a "Berolina" lens, presumably named after the former statue in Berlin. Probably one of the German equivalents of Spiratone.

    Berolina Fish-Eye 12 mm 1:8.
    Lens T-mount.
    ~150ยบ field of view
    Lens focusing is pre-set for about 2-3 m distance, because of that, infinity is always a little iffy at F/8.
    3 apertures: 8, 11 and 16.
    This was perhaps made by Sigma, who did do a number of items for Spiratone (ca. 1968)

    Like others of this ilk, it is best to accept a certain amount of diffraction and shoot at f/16 on a tripod. My examples do not meet this criterion, and are not quite as good as the best this lens offers.

    The 12mm does not quite fit on the normal 35mm view, so there is cutoff top and bottom or side to side.

    (would any post of mine be complete without a watertower?)

    the ceiling of my office

    also see The Strange Case of the 12mm Fisheye

    7mm fisheye- Spiratone 7mm f/5.6

    7mm Spiratone 1970-02 PP.jpeg
    Popular Photography 1970-02​
    Another was the rare Spiratone 7mm f/5.6 "prime" fisheye. I know virtually nothing about the origins of this one. It, like so many other of these sorts of things, was sold by a large number of vendors such as Hanimex, rebranded.

    Again, like the 12mm, best (if the word can be used) results would be with tripod at f/45. Not here, though.

    Here are a couple of my attempts, hand held.
    back yard and my live model

    my office and scanning setup

    These are not lenses that are suitable for whatever "real, professional" photography is in the normal sense, anyhow.

    If, like me, you like the idea of fisheye, but not the normal price, these are fun to play with, and I do so at odd or odder occasions.

    Just so your vision won't be permanently 'set' to extreme fuzzy, here is a real Nikkor 10mm on a Canon 20D picture

    more discussion at Widest lens on 20D?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
    James Bryant likes this.
  2. About the "Sorry, Dave" comment.

    Claims have been made that one of these fisheye (auxiliary) lenses was used as HAL's eye in the film 2001, A Space Odyssey.

    And, yes, I am feeling better. I'm not what I was when I was younger, but I'm a lot better than I was a couple of years ago.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  3. AJG


    I rented a Sigma fish eye lens once when I had been hired to go up in a tethered hot air balloon to photograph a crowd for a travel agency anniversary celebration. That cured me of any desire to own a fish eye lens, and best of all, I got to bill the client for the rental!

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