The Pentax 03 Fish-Eye ($129.95 direct) is an ultra-wide lens for Q-series cameras that captures the world in a unique, curved perspective. It’s very small and light, and like the toy lenses in the Q lineup it features a plastic mount, but it’s not classified as such. Its optics are more impressive than the Lomo-inspired toy lenses, but it’s also more expensive. If you’re a fan of the fish-eye look and invested in the compact Q system it’s a worthy add-on to your camera, but it’s not for everyday shooting.
The lens measures just 1.6 by 1.2 inches (HD) and weighs only an ounce. It’s a manual focus design, but the wide perspective and relatively narrow f/5.6 fixed aperture make it easy to get objects near and far in crisp focus. It’s a 3.2mm lens, which is roughly equivalent to a 15mm fish-eye when paired with the Q7, which has a slightly larger image sensor than earlier models. It’s wide to the point where you’ll have to be careful not to get your fingers in the frame when snapping photos.
We normally check lens sharpness in Imatest, but our standard SFRPlus test isn’t capable of accurately measuring fish-eye lenses. We were able to look at the center sharpness, which is about 1,600 lines per picture height. That’s a bit shy of the 1,800 lines that we use to call an image sharp, but images are by no means murky. You won’t have any issues sharing properly focused images on the web, or making prints from the 12-megapixel files that the Q7 delivers for that matter.
If you’re a fan of the distorted look that this lens produces, the Pentax 03 Fish-Eye is a solid addition to your Q kit. It’s likely not something that you’ll use on a daily basis, but for the right shot it can provide a perspective that can create a more impactful image, especially when coupled with its absurdly deep depth of field. Fish-eye isn’t for everyone, though, but if it’s for you, and you’re a Q user, the lens is worth the asking price.
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