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. (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.”