the ultra fisheye guide
Ultra fish-eye video camera lenses - unexceptionally produced by Century Optics - are essential for skateboard videography: You get the widest view possible, with extreme barrel distortion.
Ultra fisheyes exaggerate depth, pull the filmed skater closer, and cause distant objects to recede into the background.
This ultra fisheye guide shall get you a general idea about Century's lenses:
Century Optics .3X Ultra Fisheye MKI (Mark 1) a.k.a. "The Death Lens"
Among skateboard filmers the Century MK1 Fisheye with bayonet mount is known as the "Death Lens" and is the most sought-after fisheye. It features large barrel distortion, wideness and the bayonet mount enables a single twist attachment to your camera. If you put this Century fisheye on properly you shouldn't get any vignetting (means the edges of the image don't get cut off). However Century Optics replaced the Century MK1 Death Lense with a MK2 version which is actually a step back (see description below). Hence both new and used Mark 1 Death Lense Fisheyes are pretty hard to find nowadays.
Century Optics produced different bayonet mounts to fit certain camera models: The VX1000 MK1 bayonet fits on Sony's VX1000, DSR200, DSR200A, DSR250 and PD150. The VX2000 bayonet works on Sony's VX2000, PD150 and DSR250 video cameras. And the GL1 bayonet fits on the GL1 and GL2 models from Canon.
Same as the Mark 1 Century Fisheye above, only as a screw on for 58mm lens diameter cameras. Unfortunately it is hard to get and as a screw on it causes some vignetting (which varies but will probably be seen on most cameras and be slightly noticeable on a tv screen). This Century MK1 Death Lense can be screwed on Sony's VX2000, DSR250, PD100, PD150 as well as Canon's GL1 and GL2 and generally all cameras with a lens diameter of 58mm. For all other video cameras you would need 58mm step up respectively step down rings.
Century Optics .3X Ultra Fisheye MKII (Mark 2) a.k.a. "Jaws" or "The Bear Claw"
This adapter achieves a 180° diagonal and 125° horizontal angle of view. Originally designed to improve the Mark 1 Death Lense this version is actually a setback: Bigger, heavier, less barrel distortion and produces a red dot on your screen whenever the lens gets sun glare. Plus with most video cameras you have to unscrew and turn the sunshade so it's edges don't poke into the shot! At least this metal sunshade protects the expensive fish eye from flying boards. And the Century Mark 2 Death Lens is easy to get and there is no vignetting at all. The VX2000 bayonet model fits on the Sony cams VX2000, PD150 and DSR250. The GL1 bayonet model works on Canon's GL1 and GL2.
Same lens as the bayonet model, only as a screw on for 58mm lens diameter video cameras. Vignetting might occur when using a step up or step down ring. This Century Fisheye can be screwed on Sony's VX2000, DSR250, PD100, PD150 as well as Canon's GL1 and GL2 - generally all cameras with a lens diameter of 58mm. For all other video cameras you would need step up respectively step down rings.
Century Optics .4X ULTRA FISHEYE 37MM MKI (Mark 1) a.k.a. "The Baby Death Lens"
The so called Baby Death Lense Fisheye is only .4x wide and was made for smaller video cameras with a 37 mm lens diameter. For other diameters a step up or step down ring would be required, what might produce slight vignetting.
Century Optics .3X Ultra Fisheye 37MM MKII (Mark 2)
The new version of the Baby Death Lense is .3x wide, however - like all Mark 2 ultra fisheyes - sun glare produces a red dot on screen. The Mark 2 Baby Death Lense fits video cameras with a 37mm lens diameter. For video cameras with other diameters a 37mm step up respectively step down ring is a good idea which might cause vignetting.