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Background: I'm an amateur photographer who wants to start taking pictures with a fisheye lens, my gear is a Nikon DX D5100.

I would like to buy a fisheye lens, I know the Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye Nikkor Lens is reat but it cost arround $700 which I can't afford expending right now, I got 3 other options but I just don't know which is best:

Could I get an advise in terms of quality, perfomance, or in general?

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Is there anything in particularly you are looking for that a review site can't tell you better? We generally shy away from equipment recommendations and focus on answering more specific questions about what parts of comparisons apply to a particular situation. Also, didn't you ask this same question the other day? What happened to the previous version? –  AJ Henderson Aug 28 '13 at 15:24
Note that the first two are the same Samyang lens under different label. –  mattdm Aug 28 '13 at 16:25
Wait, actually, the third one is apparently also the same lens, but they've arbitrarily knocked 1.5mm off of the nominal focal length -- the optics are actually the same. –  mattdm Feb 25 at 21:35
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Based on the reviews and sample images, the Bower and Rokinon seem pretty comparable. The Opteka is a wider field of view, but also seems to distort far more significantly. (This may be a good thing or not depending on what you are looking to do with the lens and your stylistic choices.)

I don't know if there is truth to it, but it is worth noting that one of the reviewers for the Rokinon claims that it and the Bower are actually the same lens and that both are made by Samyang. One of the Bower reviewers also mentioned that it is made by Samyang, so there may be some truth to it.

It's a cheap lens, so it will have cheap quality, but if just getting your feet wet in fisheye lenses is your goal, honestly, any of them would let you do it cheaply while none of them are going to be the greatest quality.

Personally, I would probably save for a better lens, but if you want to buy in that price range, I'd probably go with either of the first two based on the better available price, though I'd make sure to get the AE version to get focus confirmation, just for ease of use.

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By and large, Bower, Rokinon and Samyang lenses are identical, since they are all manufactured by Samyang Optics. Roger Cicala from lensrentals.com tends to refer to them as RokiBowYang lenses in his blog. –  Chinmay Kanchi Aug 28 '13 at 16:05
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This is actually all the same lens. Samyang makes them and they are sold under different brand names. The identical nature of the first two is kind of apparent from the specs, but actually the "6.5mm" is too — and apparently there's also a Vivitar 7mm. (See this web page for more.)

All of these companies have names which were historically legit camera gear manufacturers which went out of business and sold their names to more-shady companies that import and relabel generally-junky low-budget junk. However, sometimes there's actually a good deal to be found, and the good news is that Samyang lenses are generally well-regarded for the price, particularly for build quality. See this review of the for-Canon version from photozone.

Because these companies are shells, you won't really get good support from any of them — so, if the lens looks interesting, just pick the cheapest label.

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I have the Bower lens and use it on a Nikon D90. It's extremely sharp edge to edge, and the color rendition is amazing. Despite being fully manual, its dead easy to use and produces pictures way beyond its very cheap price tag. The construction is solid, and the only real issue I have with it, is that the distance dial rotates a little too freely. Not really a big deal most of the time because it always seems to be in focus, but it can creep off infinity if you don't check it often.

Initially I was a little concerned getting a fully manual lens, since I've never used one before, but its really dead easy when its this wide angle.

I've bought a few Samyang pieces this year, including this lens, flash and wireless flash triggers. I've been very pleased with the operation, quality and features of all of these products for a very low price.

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As others have mentioned, the Bower and Rokinon are exactly the same lenses and were manufactured by a South Korean company named Samyang.

Also, keep in mind that all three of those lenses are manual focus fisheye lenses. If you're getting the Bower/Rokinon/Samyang, look at getting the one with the additional CPU (usually contains the letters AE in the name). With your camera, I'd certainly recommend getting one with the CPU contacts as it'll help with metering.

I'd also highly recommend looking for a second hand copy of that Nikon 10.5mm fisheye. You can find some decent samples on keh.com half the price of buying brand new.

Here's a link that shows the lens with the CPU contacts - http://www.dpreview.com/news/2011/11/25/samyang8nikon

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