Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 on M4/3 and Nikon 1 – A total bust?

A couple of days ago I bought a Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens. Since there are no ultra-fast ultra-wide angle lenses for either Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1, I wanted to try it out and see if it would work. What I wanted to use it for were nighttime landscapes with an emphasis on the sky. I always wanted to try out photographing the stars, Milky Way, etc. Of course, as is often the case with C-mount lenses, there was a chance that it wouldn’t work at all.

A rare lens

There is no mention of the Cosmicar 8mmm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens on either ebay US or ebay Germany – not even under completed listings. There is also very little info regarding the lens on the web. I found a thread on mu-43.com eventually, but this was after I bought the lens. There is a lot more info about Cosmicar 8mm f/1.5 and 8.5mm f/1.5 lenses, though, neither of which are able to illuminate the entire 4/3 sensor.

Since there seem to be a lot of similar lenses – at least with similar specs – I’ve included several images of my Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 down below.

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

A total bust?

As I said earlier, both micro 4/3 and Nikon 1 lack a very fast ultra-wide angle lens. If you need a lens to fill that “wide but fast” gap, you might be tempted to try a fast and short C-mount prime lens. If you are contemplating on getting the Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 for that purpose – don’t do it! As you can see down below it illuminates only a small part of the 4/3 sensor and doesn’t even cover the entire 1” sensor.

On Nikon 1 V1
Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lensShot with: Nikon 1 V1 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens

On Olympus OM-D E-M10

Shot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lensShot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lensShot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lensShot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lensWhat the Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 also can’t do, at least not with standard C-mount to M4/3 or Nikon 1 adapters, is focus far enough. The furthest it can focus on my OM-D E-M10 with my C-mount to M4/3 adapter is around 3cm or a bit more than one inch away from the front of the lens. On the Nikon 1 V1 the furthest distance is maybe 10cm or 4”. The lens isn’t suitable for what I had intended on either of the two cameras.

But let’s not be too hasty and call it a “total bust” right away. Just because a lens doesn’t work as intended, it doesn’t mean that you can’t put it to good use in a different way. Now, what I did before I shot the following image was remove the lens from the camera and use it in a freelensing fashion in retro position*.

Shot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens (reversed + freelensing)

Do you have an idea what that might be? The image wasn’t cropped and it’s a bit soft because of narrow depth of field and long shutter speed. Let me give you a hint.

Shot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens

Yep, the “ent” part of “CENT” fills the entire frame or in other words crazily massive magnification. This goes waaaay beyond the magic 1:1 magnification ratio. After seeing the image on the rear LCD I immediately ordered a Quenox reverse ring. I intend to use the Cosmicar for some seriously tinny subjects. Stay tuned.

* What’s freelensing and what’s retro position you ask? Freelensing is when you don’t mount the lens onto the camera body but hold it in the hand instead and move the lens or lens and camera body to acquire focus. Retro position or reverse mounting is when you mount the lens the wrong way, with its front element facing the lens mount on the camera body.

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3 thoughts on “Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 on M4/3 and Nikon 1 – A total bust?

    • The Nikon is a 10mm f/2.8 lens – it’s 2 stops slower than the Cosmicar. Plus it’s 2mm longer.

  1. Pingback: A few super macro samples with the Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens | Big Street Guns

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