The Pergear 10mm f/8 pancake fisheye lens sample reviewed in this article is one of the early prototypes. I received this lens for testing purpose directly from Pergear.
There are quite few pancake fisheye lens on the market. The first one I personally recall is the Olympus M.Zuiko 9mm f/8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Back then I was shooting with a Panasonic GF1 and Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens. I didn’t look for fisheye options though – just because didn’t know how to use them properly.
Pergear 10mm f/8 mechanics
If you learn how to master the distortions, fisheye lenses can be a very good tool for taking interesting pictures, but it’s not easy. Periodically, I have a go with such lenses, however I’m more used to shooting with longer optics and variable apertures. Despite my experience with fisheye lenses, this Pergear 10mm f/8 prototype brings a new shooting experience me – this lens is just so small!
You may learn from my other posts that I’m huge fan of small form factor lenses. As such, this new pancake was a very interesting lens to try for me! It really looks like a camera body cap on Fujifilm X-E2s camera, though is perhaps a bit thicker.
The Pergear 10mm f/8 lens body is machined from a solid aluminum piece and it looks and feels though it would be very durable. The surfaces are anodized and the lens mounts on the camera nice and firmly – the level of mount precision of this prototype is very good.
The outer edge of the lens is nicely textured in a classic diamond shaped grip that nicely fits X-E2s control dials design. It also allows a good grip when mounting and detaching the lens.
The thing I was most interested regarding mechanics is how the focusing is implemented. It looks like there is a solid metal core with all the optics (5 elements in 4 groups) embedded into it. The lever on the lens’s bottom edge is positioned in a slightly angled slot. When you move lever in an anti-clockwise direction, it moves the optical core forward focusing it to closer distances.
Looking at the Pergear 10mm f/8 specification, you might ask why you would even need to bother focusing? Yes, it provides huge depth of field, and in fact, in most cases you can keep it focused to infinity and still have almost everything in focus. Though in some cases for close up shots it’s still useful to be able shift that huge DOF closer to the camera.
The Pergear 10mm f/8 lens it is fun to take pictures with. By tilting camera up or down you can immediately change everything in the frame and form a curved horizon.
The Pergear 10mm f/8 does flare, though the glass coating is very good and it does not impact the image contrast much. I need to learn how to utilize that flare as I think it looks interesting. I also like the colors from the lens too.
For some shots I like the focusing option. This next one definitely required closer focus. It also helps to slightly isolate the foreground despite the small f/8 aperture.
Another thing I like fisheyes for is the ability to fit huge natural objects like trees into a single frame, whilst keeping them looking not too distorted.
The Pergear 10mm f/8 pancake sharpness levels are noticeably degraded toward the corners, and there is no stopping down to improve it. But that is the cost of its compact (and fun) nature.
With this Pergear 10mm f/8 it’s very easy to make any relatively small area look like an airfield!
Low light shots
I also had a chance to take some nighttime and indoor shots with the Pergear 10mm f/8. Sure, you might have to use very high ISOs to keep shutter quick enough for hand hold pictures, but good results can still be had.
Generally speaking this Pergear 10mm f/8 pancake lens prototype is a very fun lens to use on Fuji X cameras. Excellent high ISO performance of Trans X sensor provides comfortable shutter speed range even when shooting at constant f/8 – though night and indoor shots are a little challenging.
Personally I like the Pergear 10mm f/8, the image quality is good for the money, and it’s tiny and so easy to just have with you all the time. I’m going to keep it as a spare lens for most photowalks moving forward – though it’s so small that it sometime takes time to recall which pocket I put it in…
You can now get the Pergear 10mm f/8 off their website here
You can also find more of my experiences with lenses on my website.