Meike 6.5mm f2.0 fisheye – good value surf photo lens?

There’s a new fisheye available for Sony e-mount cameras like the Sony a6000, a6300 and a6500. It’s from Chinese manufacturer called Meike (not to be confised with Meikon – the Chinese water housing maker).

UPDATE: The Meike 6.5mm f2.0 fisheye is probably not going to be a good option for standard surf photos. That’s because it’s (probably) a circular fisheye on an APS-C sensor. Not that Meike make this clear, or mention it in any way, on their website or in the Amazon listings.

There’s a review on Amazon.de for the Micro Four thirds version, which includes some sample images. The images show a circular image cropped slightly at the top and bottom. The Sony a6000 series has an APS-C sensor, which is larger than the Micro Four Thirds sensor size, so it should mean the circular image is complete on an APS-C sensor camera.

This is bad news for general surf photography but good news if you want to shoot full 360 degree photospheres, something I’m actually quite interested in.

You could either crop out the central part of the image or correct for some of the fisheye effect in software, I’ve already had a little play with the sample images in Lightroom and I’m getting OK results with some quick tweaks. Neither of those options are great for surf photography, so I have a very strong feeling I’m going to still be recommending the Samyang 8mm fisheye, but I’m still intrigued by this good value lens and I’ll definitely report back as soon as I get it and take some shots with it.

Meike 6.5mm fisheye

It offers a wider fiocal length and a faster aperture than any other native fisheye for the Sony e-mount so I immediately thought about comparing it to my favourite fisheye, the Samyang/Rokinon 8mm f2.8.

 

Happily this lens is also very affordable – $149.99 in the US and £125.99 in the UK, so I ordered one straight away and now I’m waiting for it to be shipped from China. The delivery estimate is around a month, so it’ll be a while before I can do some tests and comparison shots.

It’s got a wider field of view than the Samyang apparently – 190 degrees vs the 180 degrees of the Samyang 8mm. That means it’s going to be really hard to get a dome port that doesn’t show up in the photos. I’ve got a good feeling about the Liquid Eye C6000 port though, it’s about as close as you can get to the camera body, so I think that’s my best shot of getting this in the water.

The price is a fair bit cheaper than the Samyang/Rokinon 8mm fisheye and if the image quality is comparable it could be a really good option for surf photographers.

Meike 6.5mm fisheye specifications

Some more detailed information on the lens:

  • Aperture range: f2.0 – f22
  • Optical design: 6 lenses in 5 groups
  • Focus: Manual
  • Aperture: Manual
  • Diameter: 61mm
  • Length: 51.5mm
  • Weight: 300g

Will the Meike 6.5mm fisheye work in a Sony a6000 water housing?

This is a good question. I’m confident I can get it working in at least one of my a6000 housings, and I’m most hopeful for the Liquid Eye C6000.

I’m almost certain it won’t work perfectly in the Salty Surf Housing because it’s a bit short, like the Samang 8mm f2.8 V1.

As soon as I get hold of it I’ll be doing some test photos to compare to the Samyang and trying it out in all the various housings that I have available too.

If you’ve used the Meike 6.5mm f2 fisheye lens before let me know how you found it in the comments below or by email at ben@learningsurfphotography.com