By April 17, 2009

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX review

Should I add a fisheye lens to my kit bag ?

This is the first fisheye lens developed exclusively for use with Nikon DX Format, it is equivalent to 16mm focal length on 35mm.

What’s in the box?

  • CL-0715 Soft Case,
  • Front Lens Cap,
  • Rear Lens Cap.
  • Manual

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX

  • Construction – 10 elements in 7 groups
  • Extra Low Dispersion (ED) Lens: 1 ED Element
  • Angle of view – Picture Angle (D1): 180°
  • Focal Length: – 10.5mm
  • F stop range – Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum F stop: 22
  • Closest Focusing Distance – Approx. 5.5 inches
  • Maximum Magnification -Max. Reproduction Ratio: 1/5 (0.20)
  • Filter Size – Rear of lens, Gel filter holder built-in
  • Dimensions (Length x Diameter) -Diameter x Length: Approx. 2.5x 2.5 inches
  • Weight -Approx. 10.8 oz.
  • Notes – Aperture Blade: 7 elements (Rounded)
  • Lens Hood: – Built-In Flower Type


This is a very simple lens, with a good robust built quality. There are few functions to discuss but it is extremely good at what it does, and I think this is the nature of a fish eye lens, simple functionality and guarantee that it will deliver what it was designed to do without complication.


Focusing – The lens focuses through two groups: the front and rear groups both move in and out. There is no rotation. The outside of the lens doesn’t move.

Auto-focus – Typical screw style should be very easy to find focal full focus on this lens. Auto-focus is fast, as you’d expect for an ultra wide lens.

Macro – The 10.5mm is a very advanced fisheye lens. It has a close-range correction system that allows the lens to focus to at 14cm. However more interestingly these ratings are measured from the image plane, (the rear of the camera). And therefore the front of the lens is 10.8cm in front of that. All this means that the 10.5mm fisheye can focus to within 3.2cm from the lens.


Pro’s and Con’s

  • The lens does not have an internal Auto focus motor and therefore relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. This means the auto focus action will generates a small amount of noise.
  • The focus ring operates very smooth but it is not damped.
  • As with almost all fisheye lenses it is not possible use a front filter because the huge field-of-view would cause edge shading. However, according to Nikon you can use a gelatin filter at the rear of the lens.
  • There seems to be some indications of Chromatic Aberration at the extremities of the frame, these can be easily fixed with some basic post production tweaks in simple programs. For example try using the Fisheye-Hemi plug-in for Photoshop ( or Apple’s "Aperture") to fix the distortion
  • The lack of aperture ring is frustrating.


This lens is a great deal of fun to use and offers a lot of new possibilities for photographers of all levels. It is hard to be specific on the best application of fish eye photography. But in my personal case I find the technique useful for two major reasons. Firstly for property photography as it allows for me to get maximum field of view in smaller spaces and with some de-fishing and trimming I can get some amazing results in tight corners. Secondly for urban or sports photography it begs for you to get in close to your subject and this almost always guarantees a host of new and challenging images, and furthermore moves you to use the technology in new and interesting ways.

The lack of filtering options with a fish eye lens may hamper some photographers; I have not as yet found this to be an issue. It is frustrating that it does not have an aperture ring, this is largely a personal frustration as I often use my Nikon lenses when filming as prime lenses on a 35mm lens adapter, no aperture ring means it is relatively useless for this purpose, which is a shame but by no means a drawback as this is not what it was designed for.

I found both the operation and the build quality more than satisfactory and both would suggest a long and fully functional life for your investment. Some may feel the price tag a little hefty for what is a very specific lens with limited practical use, but for me there is always place for this lens in my kit bag.


I would highly recommend this lens to any photographer who enjoys to challenge themselves and develop their eye for the abstract and the original, for those shooting sports or cultural events where that one magical shot that encapsulates the energy or scale of the moment can only be achieved in a ultra wide angle. It’s a good functional lens for shooting property photography and with a little tweaking and trimming you can achieve wonderful results, the lens can be part of a larger creative process in the world of digital photography. From skate parks to concerts halls this lens has great potential. I already own a Nikkor 16mm lens which is the closest lens I can draw comparison to and I found despite the lack of aperture control on the 10.5mm lens it was still a worthy addition and lots of fun.


Review by: Stuart Birchall

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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