SLR Magic have today announced a 8mm F4 ultra wide angle Micro 4/3 lens designed with drone, gimbal and virtual reality applications in mind. Like other SLR Magic lenses this is an all manual affair with no electronics or autofocus. When used on a Micro 4/3 camera like the GH5 it has the approximate field of view of a 16mm lens on full-frame cameras. The lens has a 43mm filter thread, with a hood/filter adapter that takes it up to 52mm – a much more friendly filter size.
This is not a lens that is designed to be manually focussed on the go. Instead it is designed to be preset at a distance and left. There is a locking screw that can hold the focus in position to prevent accidental movement. With focus set at f4 it is said to be sharp from 2.8m to infinity – which should be fine for drone work. For handheld gimbal work it can be stopped down, or left at F4 the focus can be set closer, with it not extending to infinity.
The unique design of the SLR Magic 8mm F4 means that is it much lighter than other ultra wide angle lenses. Weighing in at 110g it is light enough to be carried by the DJI Inspire 1 and Inspire 2 drone cameras, as well as handheld X5 series camera/gimbals. Many popular Micro 4/3 lenses needs small counterweights or filter rings to balance properly with a DJI camera/gimbal.
The SLR Magic lens only needs a single 52mm filter fitted to the front hood to balance properly. I suspect if you use a heavier variable ND filter I suspect you will still need to add a coin or similar counterweight to the back of cameras like the X5 however.
It can also be used for regular photography and videography and should prove especially useful for interiors and landscapes. It is said the have low distortion and good corner sharpness, especially when stopped down to f5.6 an beyond. This should make it suitable for VR setups as well. It should be possible to construct a high quality VR rig using six MFT cameras and 8mm F4 lenses (plus an additional camera pointing upwards for coverage if desired).
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this lens is its price. It has an affordable MSRP of just $349 US. It will be available from authorised SLR Magic dealers in March.
Lens Type: Ultra wide-angle lens
Compatible Cameras: All micro four thirds mount cameras
Optical Design: 9 elements in 8 groups
Distance Settings: Distance range: 0.10m to ∞ with metric markings
Aperture: Manually controlled diaphragm, 7 aperture blades , Lowest value 16
Angle of view: 108 degrees
Bayonet: micro four thirds
Filter Mount: Internal thread for 43mm filters; filter mount rotates while focusing. Filter adapter (included) for 52mm filters
Surface Finish: Black anodised
Dimensions: Length to bayonet mount: approx. 41.4mm (approx. 1.63in) Largest diameter: approx. 46.1mm (approx. 1.81in)
Weight: approx. 110g (approx. 3.9oz)