We have seen a massive increase in the number of people showing interest or wanting to get involved in fisheye photography over the last few months with more and more photographers reaching out for assistance on fisheye lenses. For this article, we are going to be specifically looking at what we feel is the best fisheye lens for a Nikon d5200 camera.
Thankfully, the lenses that we have decided to feature are very budget friendly and we feel that they will make an excellent addition to any photographers kit who wants to get involved in fisheye photography. We feel that the first feature lens in the article is the best option but we have decided to feature an additional bonus lens on the off chance the first one is difficult to source in your area.
The Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens
Since its release onto the market, the lens has gone from strength to strength with more and more people choosing to add it to their lens collection. Its build quality is excellent, its design is perfect, it has a low price tag, and it will mount directly to your d5200 without you having to go out and purchase a lens adaptor.
All this makes it the ideal option as a Nikon d5200 fisheye lens and in all honesty, we feel that it is only going to keep increasing in popularity as time goes on. The photograph below shows a great example of the type of image quality that you can expect from the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 when used but you can also slightly tweak the lens to further increase the fisheye effect for your photographs if you wish.
User Interface And Control System
Coming from Rokinon, the control system on their 8mm fisheye lens is as simple as you would expect it to be. You can adjust the focus levels of the lens with the manual focus ring to tweak the image hitting your Nikon d5200’s sensor to exactly what you require. The manual focus ring itself is very responsive in all fairness to it, easy to locate and turn when requiring due to it having a different texture to the rest of the body of the lens, and it also has a nice minimal level of resistance to it to help prevent you accidentally over turning too.
Being a prime lens, there is no zoom functionality available but there are a few other settings that you can manually tweak as and when required to further customize the performance of the lens. This ensures that you are able to quickly and easily capture fisheye photographs when required without having to waste time or sacrifice image quality.
Performance And Functionality
When it comes to fisheye lens, the entry level lens market really can be a minefield with a ton of low-quality lenses available that are a waste of time. The photographs above and below both were captured using the Rokinon 8mm lens and show exactly what you can expect out of the lens and show the type of image quality that you can expect.
Although there are some competing fisheye lenses on the market that are double or treble the price of the Rokinon 8mm, we feel it can easily hold its own considering its much lower price tag. In addition to this, many people get into fisheye photography as a sort of side niche so see no reason to spend too much cash on their fisheye lenses further scoring points for this great bit of kit from the Rokinon range.
In addition to a great image quality, the lens is also very easy to maintain requiring minimal servicing or maintenance between uses. The actual forward lens dome element is also very easy to clean too ensuring that your photographs will be free from smudges and anything else that may spoil your fisheye session with your d5200.
Over the years, Rokinon has managed to build up a reputation for producting lenses that are low in price while also coming with a great build quality and their 8mm fisheye is no different. The lens mount is made from a solid metal rather than the cheap plastic some entry-level competitors use. This ensures that the lens mount will hold its shape for many years to come without warping and risking any potential damage to your Nikon d5200.
The actual lens elements on the 8mm are great too considering the price and can take their fair share of punishment too. No matter how careful you are during your photography session, sometime in the future you are bound to have an accident and it is good to know that your lens of choice is able to take any punishment that may come it’s way.
Many parts of the body of the lens are made from plastic but it is a fairly high-quality plastic considering it is an entry level lens that is solid. The rubber textures allow you to quickly and easily locate your manual focus ring too while also making it easier to turn if your fingers are cold or wet.
Question – Will the Rokinon 8mm mount directly to my Nikon d5200?
Answer – Yes, the mount on this lens will attach directly to your d5200.
Question – Can I add additional filters to the Rokinon 8mm such as a neutral density filter?
Answer – Although there are some specialist filters available that will fit the lens, the regular flat rotary filters will not mount on it due to it having a forward dome element to provide the fisheye effect.
Question – Will the auto exposure chip tech work with my d5200?
Answer – We have actually seen mixed reports on this one but provided your firmware on your d5200 is the most recent build then you should have no problems.
Third Party Reports
This independent review of the lens from another Nikon d5200 owner comments on how the lens is “gorgeous” and “great for low light”. They also mention that f/5.6 seems to be the aperture sweet spot for the lens getting the best image quality in their experience. They then finish their review by recommending the lens to anyone else looking to get involved in fisheye photography too.
This third-party review of the lens goes into a fair bit of detail and is well worth reading for an independent insight into the performance of the lens. They also use the lens with their d5200 and comment on its performance while specifically commenting on how good quality the lens is considering its low price tag.
We feel that the low price, great performance, and large amount of functionality on the Rokinon 8mm push it out ahead of the competition when it comes to fisheye lenses for your Nikon d5200. It can provide you with an excellent level of image quality without you having to break the bank to get it either. In addition to this, the lens has held an excellent reputation within the community since its initial release all the way through to the time of writing and we don’t see this changing any time soon. All in all, a solid little fisheye lens that really is worth every penny.
The Lensbaby Circular Fisheye 5.8mm f/3.5 Lens
It is another great quality fisheye lens option on the market that has managed to earn itself a solid reputation within the fisheye photography community over the years. The only reason that it is second on our list is that it comes in at a higher price point without actually offering anything in addition to the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 or having any major build quality upgrades to justify the price hike.
User Interface And Control System
The control system on the Lensbaby 5.8mm is solid and very easy to pick up quickly. The manual focus ring helps you quickly and easily adjust the focus level of your image to get the exact fisheye photograph that you need. The focus ring is also texturized to help you find it using just your fingertips without having to take your camera out of the aim. The texture also ensures that you can also accurately turn the focus ring if your fingers are cold or wet without issue.
The build quality of the lens is solid but as we touched on earlier in the article, the Lensbaby 5.8mm has a very similar build quality and level of performance to the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 while being more expensive. Although its build quality ensures the lens can take any knocks and bumps coming its way to ensure that the lens will last you for many years to come.
The lens elements in the Lensbaby 5.8mm are solid and are very easy to maintain and clean when needed too. We would also like to point out that you are able to attach regular lens filters to the Lensbaby 5.8mm due to it having a slightly different design to the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 and its dome head being concealed within the body of the lens rather than left exposed.
The lens mount on the Lensbaby 5.8mm is solid and will hold its shape for many years without warping or losing its shape and risking damage to your Nikon d5200. This ensures that you will always be able to quickly and easily switch between your lenses when needed without having any problems.
Question – Will the Lensbaby 5.8mm attach directly to the Nikon d5200?
Answer – Yes, this lens will mount directly to your d5200 without you having to pick up a lens adaptor.
Question – Does the Lensbaby 5.8mm use an aperture kit?
Answer – No, all controlling is done via the manual ring.
Third Party Reports
This independent review of the Lensbaby 5.8mm comments on how fun the lens is to use as well as how great it is as a fisheye lens. It also offers some excellent detail on the lens and their experiences when using the lens and it is well worth reading in full if you have the time available.
Like we said at the start of this section of the article, the Lensbaby 5.8mm is a solid option but we feel the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 comes in ahead of it due to it coming in at a lower price point while offering almost identical performance and image quality too. If for whatever reason the Rokinon lens is not available to you then the Lensbaby option should be considered.
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
mangMangW – Use fisheye to look at fish 🙂 – https://flic.kr/p/AmhEQW
m01229 – Times Square in Fisheye – https://flic.kr/p/dEi73L
m01229 – Pulling cookies out of the oven – https://flic.kr/p/ios9za
Don DeBold – Apple store on 5th Ave and Central Park – https://flic.kr/p/nFM4Jx