Review: My Fisheye Lens Opteka 6.5mm for my Travels

Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye Lens Review

I recently realized that I’ve been using my smartphone to take pictures and have barely touched my camera. I love photography as a hobby but I feel like I’ve lost my photography mojo ever since my work hours increased.  It’s easy to become complacent when you wake up every day to the same routine.

Having a stable job isn’t enough to sustain my dream lifestyle, which mainly consists of being able to buy new photography toys. Honestly, I don’t even know where my money goes! I’m guessing a significant chunk of my savings goes to transportation and shopping for work clothes… Japan, why are you so expensive??

Somehow, I still managed to save some money to buy a new lens; I really hoped that this would help get my photography mojo back. I want to have fun shooting again!

I spent hours browsing online retailers for an affordable lens and was able to find the Opteka 6.5mm for Nikon on Amazon averaging at around $150. Because of the product reviews, I ordered it without a second thought.

Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye Lens Review

Product Info

I would recommend that you read the product description on the Opteka website and read through the reviews of verified buyers on Amazon; this will help you decide if this fisheye lens is right for you. It’s compatible with Canon, Sony, and other cameras as long you get the right mount.

Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye Lens Review

Things to Consider

Keep in mind that the Opteka 6.5mm is a manual lens; whether or not your camera has a built-in autofocus motor, with this lens attached, it will operate as manual. The lens does not communicate electronically with the camera so you may come across an error message “Lens not attached.” All you have to do if this pops up is to set your camera to Manual mode.

Don’t be scared by this! This is a great opportunity for you to master your SLR’s basic “exposure triangle” — ISO, shutter, and aperture as you use the Manual mode instead of P or Auto mode.

Bonus Tip

If you have decided to purchase this lens, I would strongly suggest you install a Light Meter app on your smartphone device. For Android devices, I recommend the Light Meter Free app from Playstore, and Pocket Light Meter for Apple devices.

These apps tell you the ISO, shutter, and aperture settings to use when shooting in manual mode. You’re welcome!

Side-by-side Comparison

Now let’s check a side-by-side comparison using the 18-55mm kit lens at 18mm (left) and Opteka 6.5mm (right). Take note that I didn’t move the tripod during all the test shots.

Side-by-side comparison of Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye Lens
Left: ISO 200, Exposure 1/500, Aperture 3.5 | Right: ISO 200, Exposure 1/400, Aperture 5.6
Side-by-side comparison of Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye Lens
Our bedroom. The Opteka 6.5mm was almost like 180 degree.
Side-by-side comparison of Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye Lens
The difference!
Opteka 6.5mm Lens Review
What it looks like when you use Lens Correction in Lightroom. I still like the fisheye effect here.

The Cons and the remedy

From my own experience, you may encounter some issues as you adjust to the new lens. Here are some tips on how to minimize if not totally avoid these issues.

  1. Fringing or chromatic aberration.  The only solution: Lightroom fix. Lightroom Color Correction > Remove Chromatic Aberration and adjust the Defringe
  2. Ghosting or blurring effect around edge of the image.  I have noticed that this happens a lot when the sun is especially bright, like around noontime. The work around: Stabilize your hands more or use a tripod and underexpose to 2 stops. It does the trick!
  3. Lens flare.  Adjust the hood positioning or hold an umbrella above you to completely avoid the lens flare.
  4. Not sharp images.  To achieve a sharp image, set the focusing distance to 2-5 ft or 0.7-1.5 m, and the aperture ring between 5.6 to 11.

More sample images

Opteka 6.5mm sample images

Or check out these blog entries where I’ve used this lens:

  1. Enoshima Sightseeing
  2. Bucksport, Maine Short Spree
  3. Exploring the Quaint Town of Frenchboro
  4. A Moment in Seawall, Acadia National Park
  5. Last Minute Trip to Zama Sunflower Field
  6. From Tokyo to France: Visiting the Little Prince Museum in Hakone

Final verdict

It’s very easy to take selfies with this lens! I don’t take many selfies, but it’s still fun from time to time. The 180-degree wide angle view similar to the GoPro, and is a great alternative.

For beginners, the full manual mode might scare you off but if you play around with it, you’ll find that it’s easy to get the hang of it. Manual settings can also your gateway to becoming a serious photographer.

What do you think of this lens?

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