For $39,000 USD, you can now purchase a 4.9mm F3.5 Hyper Fisheye lens for Sony’s full-frame E mount. This wild lens offers a 270-degree field of view, meaning that it can photograph the area behind the focal plane. For the curious photographers and videographers without nearly $40,000 burning a hole in their pocket, the lens can be rented from Lensrentals for around $1,250 a week.
The 4.9mm F3.5 Hyper Fisheye lens has unique origins. Back in 2015, Roger Cicala and the Lensrentals team announced the launch of C-4 Precision Optics as an April Fools’ Day prank of sorts. There were various lenses discussed in the article, including a 66.6mm F0.666 Micro Four Thirds lens, a 150mm F1.0 full-frame prime lens and a full-frame 4.9mm F3.5 270-degree fisheye lens.
The lattermost lens was nicknamed ‘The Light Bender’ by Cicala and the C-4 Precision Optics team. Unlike most April Fools’ Day pranks, however, this one is no longer a laughing matter. Of the lens, Cicala wrote on the Lensrentals blog, “That means this lens not only shows everything from one side to the other (for the mathematically challenged among you, that would be 180 degrees), it actually shows stuff that’s behind you.”
In February 2019, Cicala and the Lensrentals team including Aaron Closz, Brian Caldwell and Wilfried Bittner, assembled a prototype version of the fisheye lens. You can see a video of this process below.
The lens is now out of prototype stage and available for preorder and rental. This specialty manual lens for Sony E mount delivers a 270-degree field of view and weighs a hefty 12.97 kilograms (28.6 pounds). Optically, it includes five extra-low dispersion lens elements. To help put into perspective what a 270-degree field of view looks like, you can see a sample image via Lensrentals below.
Comparing the 4.9mm F3.5 Hyper Fisheye lens to other fisheye lenses, Cicala says it most closely resembles Nikon’s legendary Nikkor 6mm F2.8 fisheye, which is very rare and can sell for upwards of six figures (USD). The Nikon lens captures images with a 220-degree field of view.
Physically, the lens is very different from most other lenses. It includes built-in extendable tripod legs and you mount the camera to the lens inside the tripod array. The lens has been designed with immersive video applications and specialty applications in mind. Accordingly, it cannot be set up and used as simply as other more traditional fisheye lenses.
For those interested in learning more about the lens, we recommend heading to Lensrentals to read a full recap of the prototype assembly process, which includes dozens of detailed images. It’s very neat to see a hand-built lens come to life.
The C-4 Precision Optics 4.9mm F3.5 Hyper Fisheye lens is available for Sony E mount and can be ordered via LensAuthority for $39,000 USD.