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Old School Meets New School, Part II

Jun 23

In Gear, In The Field at 1:51pm

On vacation, I will often take an exotic lens with me.

You know, those rarely used lenses you were mightily inspired to get at some point in your career that have largely functioned as paperweights around the studio. This is much to the chagrin of your long suffering studio manager who most likely looks upon them and sees the dough for the electric bill for the year just sitting there idly, all glass and black metal, near preening in their lovely, specialized uselessness, damn near mocking her resolutely practical attempts to actually stay in business.

It’s not my fault. Blame Efraim Nussbaum, the don of camera sales on the floor of Adorama, the capo di tutti capi of the New York camera marketplace. ( He wields his encyclopedic knowledge of all manner of gear and SKU’s, and combines it with his Siren-like description of the beauty of the elements of said lens, or the majesty of the pixels collected inside a newly indispensable piece of photo machinery. Us photogs are unprepared, of course, when we sail near Efraim. Odysseus had the foresight to have his crew chain him to the mast, so he could resist the Siren song. We just throw ourselves overboard.

The Nikkor 8mm circular f2.8 fisheye is not a lens you throw in the bag too often.  (It’s also not a lens that has been available new for quite some time, but once again, the Nikon F mount to the rescue!) But when you want to play around over a Hawaiian volcano, hovering about 8′ above a mini-volcanic plume, coupled to a D4S, driven by intervalometer, hanging off of a severely stressed monopod, it’s fun. I’m just gadding about here, and I did not mean to get my Burj Khalifa boots in the pic again, but there they are, courtesy of the coverage of this lens. It’s the type of lens that is so wide that if you really are going to get serious, you need to work out the rigging before hand for a clean POV. For a vacation gadabout, it’s as I say above, fun.

As Ken Rockwell mentions in his typically thorough review, “This is a weird lens for people with special needs.”

Nikon D4S, 8mm circular fisheye, Lexar CF card, Gitzo monopod.

More tk….








Brian says:

on June 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Nice to see you have your trusty hiking boots on again! Enjoy your work and your blog. Thanks Joe.

Mr Nerdy says:

on June 23, 2014 at 2:28 pm

great post, AS ALWAYS. let me say, i LOVE LOVE LOVE your energy and talent and willingness to share, and your writing, i really really REALLY respect your writing.

now the other shoe falls:

you made a mistake here, and you’ve made it before, and GOSH if it doesn’t really bother me!

It’s WE, not US. WE photogs. ” Us photogs are unprepared”

ok, carry on! i’ll be reading, ’cause your the best.
oops!!!! YOU’RE the best.


Fotodog says:

on June 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm

What a fun lens.

I haven’t shot that since college (1980s). I didn’t know anyone still photographed with them.

As always, I’m truly enjoying your blog!

Robert Emunds says:

on June 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm

So, you were hanging out of an helicopter for this? Not sure I got that.
Love your stories, keep them coming!

Keith Maguire says:

on June 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I love it!

Brad says:

on June 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Love the shot! Thanks for sharing…

C Stro says:

on June 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Love the shot… Ken is correct-that lens is for the special needs photog.

Tina B says:

on June 25, 2014 at 1:31 am

Yeah, I always thought you were a little ‘special’. 😉

Richard Hales says:

on June 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Yikes, I’m off to New York in the summer I’d better stay clear of Efraim for the sake of my bank balance and marriage!

Hugo Carlone says:

on June 30, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Oh Dear! Seriously you cited Ken Rockwell??? He should be honored.
Great post as always. Love your writing style as much as your pictures .

Mike Kalibabky says:

on July 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I have an old Nikon fisheye converter lens — FC-E9 — that was made for early Coolpix cameras. I call it my “Hitchcock” lens because if I angle it properly, I can put myself in the photo when holding it and the camera it’s attached to, overhead. The goofy thing can actually see behind itself. And, it’s HEAVY.

Luis Miguel says:

on August 16, 2014 at 5:58 am

Hi, Joe!

Since that lens is not for sale anymore, I think you can take the same shot with a Nikon 10,5mm or a Tokina 10-17mm (both DX lens) on an FX camera, Isn´t it?

As always, amazing job!

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