$160,000 Nikkor 6mm Fisheye in Action on a Nikon D800

A few weeks back an amazing Nikkor 6mm fisheye lens resurfaced for sale in London for an eye-popping $160,000. The lens was quickly snatched up by a camera collector. For those of you who missed out on buying the lens but would still like to see how 160 grand worth of fish-eye performs in real life, the folks who were selling it at Grays of Westminster put together a video just for you.

(via Nikon Rumors)

  • Can Ertekin

    what a masterpiece…

  • Adam Cross

    pretty sure the only thing that lens would be good for is underwater or aerial photography – unless you plan to use it for odd creative purposes this lens is basically useless and impractical to most people. Pretty sure that lens will be gathering dust for quite some time in a collectors cabinet – what a shame.

  • Zta

    You call that action?

  • peweczka

    perfect to skateboard movies yeah

  • Julian Maytum

    For $160k they could have commissioned someone to make this lens and had lots left out of their $160k.  This.. is a celebration of crazy :)

  • Merv

    Well at least now I know I don’t need, or want one.

  • Gary Day

    How stupid….give me break….Canon makes better lenses anyway so give it up Nikon LMAO

  • Dave

     You would have to have nearly zero% creative drive to say something like that, this lens would be a dream to use. You are right about it languishing in a cabinet though.

  • stanimir stoyanov

    Is it even possible to design < 6mm lenses with modern-day optics?

  • wickerprints

    It would be impractical to design an underwater housing for a lens with a 220 degree angle of view, I think.  But yes, it is certainly a specialty lens with very limited application.  It’s important to note that its size is not merely due to its wide angle of view, but its relatively fast f/2.8 performance at that focal length.  Nikon also designed a 6mm f/5.6 that is significantly smaller (although it requires mirror lock-up).  So the f/2.8 design is even more specialized in the sense that you’re lugging this huge lens around to get f/2.8 light-gathering ability.  It’s actually a “low-light” fisheye.

  • wickerprints

    That depends on the desired criteria.  If it has to (1) project a minimum image circle diameter of 24mm, (2) fit inside the mirror box of a 135-format (D)SLR, and (3) have acceptable optical performance, then yes, it is possible.  Along with the 6/2.8 Nikkor, Nikon apparently designed (but never produced) a 5.4mm f/5.6 lens with a 270 degree angle of view, for example.

    Note, however, that all these lenses are fisheyes, which permit angles of view in excess of 180 degrees.  If we are talking about rectilinear projection lenses, then even 6mm would be too short for the above conditions to be satisfied.  Nikon did produce a 13mm f/5.6 rectilinear, retrofocus lens that is highly regarded even today.  Before the autofocus era, Nikon had a reputation for designing and building unusual optics for the F-mount.  Nowadays, however, both Canon and Nikon seem more interested in making cheap, consumer-level, plastic crap lenses, rather than the beautiful precision glass they used to make.

  • Michael Hanlon

    The music was terrible. 

  • HoltJerome77

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  • Dave

     Actually, Canon has never (been able to) make a lens in this category  so there is no way to compare the two brands. Nikon has always pushed the limits in optics and have always had a greater repertoire than any other slr lens maker. Being a fanboy doesn’t turn what you say into the truth.

  • coolpatj

    The music was my favorite part!

  • George

    You mean… We’re not all in this together?

  • Joshua Morin

    Did anyone notice the barrel distortion or was it just me :)

  • wickerprints

    To be fair, Canon most certainly is able to design and produce such a
    lens; they simply chose not to.  There are numerous examples of designs
    by either manufacturer that have no competitor.  Some are just formulas
    on paper; others made it to prototype stage; still others became
    made-to-order specialty lenses; and some became full production
    products.  It is ironic that you attempt to rebut someone’s obviously
    flamebait comment with an equally unsupportable claim.

    Canon has
    been a pioneer in numerous optical technologies that have seen
    widespread adoption.  They were first to use USM technology (called AF-S
    by Nikon) for AF; first to use optical image stabilization (aka VR);
    first and only manufacturer to use pure fluorite crystal in photographic
    lenses; and first to mass produce diffractive optics.

    Of lenses
    that were actually produced, the EF 50/1.0L, EF 85/1.2L II, EF 800/5.6L
    IS, EF 1200/5.6L, MP-E 65/2.8, TS-E 17/4L all have no counterpart in the
    Nikon line as of this writing.  Of lenses that were designed but never made, Canon filed
    patents for a 200mm f/1.4 and 300mm f/1.8.

    Again, this is not to say Canon is better than Nikon.  Each company has
    made advances in optics and camera technology.  Nikon made a 300mm f/2
    Nikkor, the 13mm f/5.6 I mentioned earlier, an AF-S 14-24/2.8 that is
    highly regarded, and a 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8 super-telephoto zoom.  To
    claim that one company has a larger lens repertoire and is therefore “better” is just as much fanboyism as the comment you’re replying to.

  • Markci

    Please stop overstating the value of this lens. There has been one on eBay for some time for $12,000. It’s rare, but not that rare, and there is no way anyone paid that asking price, or anything close.

  • Markci

    Uh actually dimwit, Canon has produced several lenses that Nikon has been unable to. An f/1.0 lens,for example.

  • Dave

     He mentioned the 1.0……

  • Dave

     I never said Nikon was better. I have never been a Nikon vs Canon type as I know each manufacturer produces equipment that can out-perform 99% of the people that use them. But when I see someone foolishly say that Canon ‘makes better lenses’ they are fair game. ESPECIALLY after visiting their site and seeing they are in NO WAY using their camera to its fullest potential if-you-know-what-I-mean. What I said, or meant to imply, and I feel I was correct, though I would have to actually line up all lenses from both camps is: the range of Nikons repertoire is greater. 6mm-2000mm and more choices. Yes Canon has a few that Nikon doesn’t have, I have always wanted to use a wider PC lens than Nikon has offered…..ok I’m running out of things to be jealous about, so you get my point. Just don’t make a false statement about Canon lenses being better when the images on your website are so bad that it is obvious you wouldn’t know the difference as Mr. Day has done here.

  • Dave

     You probably saw one of the f/5.6 versions…..BIG difference.

  • Dave

     Also to put things in perspective: Minolta first came up with Auto focus but never really produced a competitive performing af system, Canon and Nikon improved their invention. Yes Canon was first in usm and IS technology but Nikon was able to produce a competitive version of both of those technologies. There is no evidence that Canon was ever able to produce a 6mm 220 degree fisheye. You and I can speculate, but if you read my reply to Mr Day, you will see that it is correct in saying; you can’t make a comparison when only one manufacturer has produced that category of optic. The same way that, until recently, Nikon could not compete with Canon on their video specs.

  • 9inchnail

    But that wouldn’t be a collector’s item. That’s the whole point of buying one of these babies.

  • 9inchnail

    What was the original pricing of this bad boy when it came out in the 70s? Is it possible to create a regular panorama with this kind of focus length by correcting the distortion or is that impossible to do with software?

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    What an incredibly useless lens.

  • kendon

     so if they sell this, will they take some of the money to make better videos of the stuff they sell?

  • ReyesRamon89

    as Lee said I cannot believe that any one can profit $9238 in 1 month on the internet. did you see this web page===>>⇛► 

  • Julian Maytum

    Oh, so more about collecting than actual photography.  Still crazy :)

  • wickerprints

    You write, “Canon has never (been able to) make a lens in this category,” followed by “Nikon has always had a greater repertoire.”  Then you write in a subsequent post, “I never said Nikon was better.”  You may not have explicitly stated it, but you most certainly insinuated it, and you clearly make an unwarranted assumption–that Canon never offered a competing design because it doesn’t know how to do so.

    Applying the same “logic,” then, Nikon would not be able to make any of the other lenses I described earlier.  Have you ever seen any indication of a 200mm f/1.4 from Nikon in their patent filings?

    The Nikkor 6/2.8 fisheye is a beautiful and rare lens–very few were built and it does serve as a showcase of Nikon’s interest in unconventional 35mm SLR optics.  But from a technological perspective, it is an especially difficult lens to manufacture?  No, not really.  There are no aspherical elements and no super-soft glass, and the f-number is not so fast that the tolerances need to be insanely tight.  Aberrations are not a significant issue because it’s not rectilinear and its angle of view is so wide you basically don’t need to focus it.  The only issue is dispersion and that’s handled by the three low-RI elements.  Modern production methods have come a long way since this lens was designed.

    Given the lenses that Canon is able to make, it is absurd to think that they cannot produce a competing design.  Considering that Nikon made these on a built-to-order basis and stopped doing so a long time ago, it is much more reasonable to conclude that Canon simply never saw fit to make one, because it wouldn’t be in their economic interests.  How many of you would buy one at such a price and for what purpose could you justify doing so?

  • Kyoshi Becker

    They’ve done an f1.0 for their rangefinder system….

  • Kyoshi Becker

    What an incredibly useless comment. I would absolutely use it if I could get my hands on one..

  • Kyoshi Becker

    Canon could produce a competing design but given their track record with wideangles I doubt it would be at thew caliber of this lens. Canon does have their fair share of innovative ideas for lenses…

  • Dave

     “You may not have explicitly stated it, but you most certainly insinuated it,”

    What is happening here (repeatedly) is that you are interpreting what I have said. There is no need to do that. Take what I have said at face value. If I want to state that Nikon is better, I am perfectly capable of writing those words. Stop confusing your opinions for facts please.

  • Adam Cross

    I have plenty of creative drive – fisheye lenses just aren’t my thing

  • Chris Boulden

    made to order for good reason…pfff

  • dave’s a joke

    “Nikon has always pushed the limits in optics and have always had a greater repertoire than any other slr lens maker” Tell me how that’s not saying Nikon is better fanboy?

  • Dave

    What I said was true. Nikon does have a greater repertoire than Canon. Their focal range has exceeded Canons on both the wide and long ends. And they have pushed the limits. They were the first to create an amphibious camera and the only to create an underwater slr. They have also ruled in the development of cameras in space. Look, I don’t care if you were miffed by my statements. But because you were butthurt has no bearing on the fact that my statements are true. Maybe you can respond with something that refutes it? I don’t think we will be hearing from you soon. I will reiterate this: Both Canon and Nikon produce cameras that can outperform 99% their users. Please learn to read before you melt down in front of everyone.

  • Martin

    If i hade a nikon 6mm f/2.8 how much can i sell it for and who worna bay it??

  • Midnight Runner

    First of all English would be a good way to start. Or even back to Primary school.

  • LifeStory

    Good luck with that. The front lens elements are ridonculous and tolerances would be tight. Perhaps they could be mass-produced (~10 copies) for $160k each, but not for a one-off. Not in the states, anyway. – BP, Optical designer.

    Now you’ve got me thinking… what could it be done for if I contracted overseas?

    BTW. Collecting = Investing. Sell it in a decade for $360k = 8% return. Sure you have something stashed away of value, but otherwise useless. This is just what people with more money do the same thing with.