The founder of LensRentals, Roger Cicala, is known for dismantling his photographic equipment and sharing his findings on his company's blog. Now he has done the opposite: he explains how he built (from scratch) a prototype "hyperfisheye" lens of 4.9mm f / 3.5, the largest fisheye lens ever made. It's such a broad goal that it can literally see behind him.
This is a purely mechanical purpose, so you will not find any sophisticated engine or stabilization system on the inside.
"But even a simple goal is a very complex structure," writes Cicala, stating that his behind-the-scenes look "will probably give you a good idea of the amount of mechanical design needed to achieve a very basic goal."
Previously, Nikon had made an ultra-rare 6mm fisheye lens that could also see behind him, but Cicala's lens is superior in every way.
"To give you an idea of what 270 degrees means, the lens sees itself behind," says Cicala. "An ultra-wide 15mm fisheye lens provides a 180-degree field of view, while a 11mm straight lens is less than 120 degrees."
"The closest thing that exists in this regard is the classic Nikkor 6mm f / 2.8 fisheye from the 1970s, which gave a field of view of 220 degrees, weighed 5 kg and could rarely be found for $ 100,000 and more, "says Cicala. "The C-4 optics weighs as much as the Nikkor, but should be much sharper, have less distortion and vignetting, and cost a little less than today. ("A little" being defined as "less than half".) "
The first element of the lens alone costs about $ 5,000.
This is what the fully assembled C-4 Precision Optics 4.9mm f / 3.5 lens looks like:
You will find a detailed overview of the assembly of this lens here.
Here's a video in 46 seconds of the process:
Cicala announced the precision optics C-4 nearly four years ago on April 1, 2015, but – perhaps largely because of the April Fool's Day announcement – it seems like no one was taken seriously at that time. Well, it is clear now that the startup of the new lens is real. Cicala and Brian Caldwell, who previously worked as a designer at Metabones and Coastal Optics, lead this joint venture in their spare time.
C-4 has only developed two lenses so far and Cicala has not revealed its long-term goal with these creations. If you want to know what this hyperfisheye lens can do, Cicala expects to receive the first set of sample photos from here a week or two, so stay tuned.