This is a quick review of the Funleader 18mm f/8 Cap Lens Pro. Sound familiar? Like I might have reviewed this lens before? Well, you’d be right, though the version I last reviewed was the non-pro version. This is the new Pro version. There’s actually not a great deal of difference between the two lenses, though there is one key difference that will definitely make it appeal to a few more people.
I really liked the previous non-pro version of this lens. An ultra-wide 18mm f/8 full frame lens in a tiny package for next to no money (~£100). What’s not to like? Well, actually there were a few things I didn’t like, or at least a few things I made slightly negative comments about. Those were the slightly questionable image quality, the lack of ability to focus the lens at anything other than the hyperfocal distance and the garish branding on the front. None of these “issues” were deal breakers, but when Funleader got in touch to ask if I might be interested in reviewing a new Cap Lens Pro with focus adjustment, I was definitely happy to give it a go.
A couple of weeks later, the new Cap Lens Pro lens arrived, and taking it out of the box, I was happy to find that they had toned down the branding. Above you can see the first version and new Cap lens pro next to each other for comparison. As you can also see, the size of the lenses is basically the same too. The Cap lens Pro is slightly bigger, but not to any extent that it detracts. It is still very much a pancake lens, and still very little different to a body cap in terms of its dimensions.
Build and Feel
As with the first version, the Cap Lens Pro also made entirely of metal. I commented in my previous review that there wasn’t much else to say about it since it had no focus control. Well, this one does, and surprisingly for the ~£100 it costs, actually the feel of the focus is ok. It’s not silky-smooth really, but it doesn’t feel cheap. It also has click stops at the focus distances which have a nice definite click without being too sticky. Finally, it’s a good fit in the camera – not too tight, not too loose, no play once it’s mounted. All in all, a pretty good quality feeling product. Remarkable for the money, really!
Focusing with the Cap Lens Pro
In my previous review, I mentioned that I felt that I would appreciate a close focus option. With the first version of the lens limited to its hyperfocal distance of about 2m, it provided a depth of field that covered around 0.8m to infinity. This is a huge range, but does rule out dramatic close focused images. I should say that because of the fact that I often shoot rangefinders, I didn’t find this to be too much of a limitation. A close focus option just felt like it would be a nice to have feature.
This new Pro version probably goes a step further than I had thought necessary. When I made that comment, I’d imagined a focus range with a click stop for the hyperfocal distance. What they have actually made is a lens that is focusable between 0.3m and infinity with focus click stops at 0.5m, 0.7m, 1m and 2m.
In shooting the lens, I found it useful to have the ability to focus, but I didn’t really spend too much time thinking about focusing. I found shooting at 2m for street snaps worked fine, infinity works best for landscape type shots and then then for closer-up shots I might put a bit more thought into the process but found it didn’t matter too much. It doesn’t feel like it’s a lens to fret about perfect focus with anyway.
I expected the optics in the Cap Lens Pro to be the same as the previous version, but had hoped they were different. I’ve even read reviews where people claim there’s a difference, but I can’t really discern one. Any differences between this version the first version and the m-mount version I would probably just put down to copy variance. I can’t see any claims by Funleader that it’s an upgraded optic either. To my eye, the images need the same amount of post processing to get a look I’m happy with. That might put people off, but it’s fine for me.
Final thoughts on Cap Lens Pro
In reality, my problems with the first version of this lens were probably nitpicks. It was ~£100, and as such it has every right to be limited in terms of its functionality for that sort of money. I also don’t really care that much about the branding on the front, and actually – as I reported in my first more in depth review – with a bit of heavy post process it’s perfectly possible to get some really nice black and white results and indeed enjoy the process of taking them too.
Nitpicks or not, Funleader have set out to improve the lens when it comes to 2 out of 3 of the issues I had. The branding on the Cap Lens Pro is much less garish and, more importantly, it can now be focused. It’s fair to say that given the optical quality of the lens, the need for all the focusing stops is a little debatable. I’d probably just rather have a single click at the hyperfocal distance as I think this would make it slightly easier to use by feel.
But really, this is just me trying to find issues again. The clincher here is that this new Cap Lens Pro is also around £100. That is to say, it’s no more expensive than the first version, despite the added focusing. I can’t really argue with that – especially as I had just as much fun shooting it as the first version, and again got some photos I really like.
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