Sony Full-Frame Fisheye Options

One of the most asked questions lately is ‘what fisheye can I use with the A7iii/A9’?

 

There are a handful of options out there, however in my opinion, at the moment there is no ‘perfect solution’.

 

If you are after the highest quality option, and have no budget constraints, then go for the Canon 8-15mm + Sigma MC-11 adapter.

 

If your budget can’t stretch for the 8-15mm, and you don’t think you will need autofocus, then the Rokinon 12mm f2.8 is a great option.

 

My top four options:

Lens Price Pros Cons Salty Port
Sony FE 28mm + 16mm Fisheye Converter US750 Autofocus.

Relatively affordable.

Gives you two lenses (16mm + 28mm)

Quality concerns of converter.

Long and heavy with the converter.

M-D6.3

M-D8.3

Canon 8-15mm + Sigma MC-11 Adapter US1400 Canon ‘L’ quality.

Very fast autofocus.

Circular and full frame fisheye options.

Expensive.

Only slightly lighter and smaller than the 28mm + converter.

M-D6.3

M-D8.3

Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f2.8 US500 Cheap.

Good quality.

Manual focus and manual aperture. M-D6.1 + 25mm extension

M-D8.1 + 25mm extension

Rokinon 8mm f2.8 US300 Cheapest.

Super compact setup.

Manual focus and manual aperture.

Only covers APSC size sensor.

M-D4.1

M-D6.1

M-D8.1

 

The ultimate solution

If you want the highest quality fisheye lens, and budget isn’t of concern, then the Canon 8-15mm fisheye coupled with the Sigma MC-11 adapter is the ultimate solution. It is significantly more expensive than other options, however you may already have the 8-15mm if you are a recent ‘Canon to Sony’ convert, or you may be able to find a cheaper second hand one from someone also switching to mirrorless.

 

The 8-15mm range provides opportunities to shoot circular, as well as 180 degree full frame fisheye. The autofocus is amazingingly fast, even though it is not a native Sony lens. It fits perfectly in our M-D6.3 dome port.

 

This is my personal setup, mostly because I also use the lens on my RED Scarlet-W camera for video/cinema work.

 

Why not the Rokinon lenses?

The Rokinon/ Samyang fisheye lenses are definitely an enticing option at the low price point. However the downside to these lenses is that they are manual focus, and manual aperture only.

 

The 8mm is a really nice compact option, however only covers the APSC sensor size, meaning you won’t be taking advantage of the full frame sensor size of the A7iii/A9. However it is the smallest lens of the options, meaning it will give you the most compact setup in a housing.

 

Historically, fisheye is shot in manual focus, mostly to give you reliable results. However, with the speed and accuracy of autofocus on the new Sony A7iii and A9 cameras, focus reliability is less of a concern that it was 5 years ago.

 

The difficulty with manual focus, is that your focus point needs to be set before you close your housing. This limits you in the style of shots during that session. This is because when shooting underwater you need to focus differently to focusing above water (the reason is a whole other lesson in itself – Google “dome port virtual image”).

 

So, if you have your focus point set for shooting above water and you want to shoot underwater in the same session, all your underwater shots will be out of focus. An autofocus lens obviously overcomes these issues.

 

Wide Angle Alternatives

If fisheye isn’t your thing, but still want to shoot wide with your full-frame Sony camera, there are a handful of wide angle lenses. In order of my personal preference:

  1. Sony 12-24mm (requires the larger STANDARD port system)
  2. Sony 10-18mm (No vignetting in full frame mode at 14-16mm)
  3. Sony 16-35mm (not super wide, but is super versatile with the reach to 35mm).
  4. Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero-D

 

There are a few other fisheye and wide angle options out there, however I have not tested them so cannot comment on them. These include the old school Canon 15mm fisheye + MC-11, and a couple of Sigma EF fisheye option + MC-11.

 

Do you have any other recommendations for fisheye or wide angle on a Sony full-frame camera? Email matt@saltysurfhousings.com, and I can include them in this article.

 

Pistol Grip FAQs

A few quick FAQs about our pistol grip triggers.

 

Why shoot with a pistol grip trigger?

A pistol grip is a handle that attaches to the bottom of the housing. The handle is fitted with a button that triggers the camera’s shutter via a cable connected to the cameras ‘remote’ port.

Shooting with a pistol grip allows you to hold (and trigger) the camera with only one hand, which makes it easier to swim with your housing, and easier to position yourself into critical sections of the wave to get the best shot.

A pistol grip trigger is typically used with fisheye or wide-angle lenses, where you would not necessarily be looking through your viewfinder when shooting. You can still use a pistol grip when shooting with longer lenses, although some shooters prefer to use the top shutter button for a more natural grip when looking through the viewfinder.

 

What is the difference between the ‘single-stage pistol grip’ and the two-stage pistol grip?

The single stage pistol grip features a ‘one-press’ button. This button fires the shutter with one press.

The two-stage pistol grip features a ‘half-press to focus’ and ‘full-press to fire’ button. There is a tactile click at the half press and again at full press, making single-handed autofocusing with the pistol grip very easy.

Both grips look exactly the same, it is just the feel of the button that is different.

 

Why would I want a single-stage pistol grip?

If you shoot using back button to focus, or with a manual focus lens, the single-pistol grip is your best option.

It provides a very responsive shutter action, ensuring that you never miss a shot.

 

What happens if I use a single-stage pistol grip with auto-focus lenses?

If you have not deactivated half-press focusing (‘AF with Shutter’ for Sony’s) in your camera settings you may experience a minor delay in the shutter firing as the camera will seek focus before it fires the shutter. Alternatively, the camera may start firing, but take a couple of shots to find focus. It is a similar situation as pressing your camera’s shutter button very quickly without first finding focus.

If you prefer to focus with the back-button you have probably already disabled half-press focusing, as such there will be no delay in firing when pressing the single-stage button.

We will be closed from 5 December until 13 December. Any orders placed after 26 November will likely not ship until we return. Dismiss