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Sigma 15mm vs. Nikon 16mm fisheye


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#1 chipi

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 04:06 AM

Hi all

 

I shoot with Sigma fisheye on Nikon D700 in Sea and Sea housing with 7.2 inch glass dome.

 

I opted for Sigma 15mm fisheye since I saw it was a preferred lens of some of the leading underwater photographers out there.

 

My understanding of its advantage over Nikon's fisheye is its ability to focus on shorter distance from the lens which gives me better CFWA capabilities. This is what I need and I am happy with this. 

 

But, what about sharpness between these 2 lenses? Based on what I have found out, in general Nikon should be more sharp, but no sure if and how much exactly.

 

So, does anyone has a practical experience with both lenses and opinion on props and cons and a recommendation.

 

I am trying to see is there a space for improvement gear wise for fisheye setup I have.

 

Thanks,

Marko



#2 Bobu

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 04:49 AM

From what I've read and seen the Sigma should be a bit sharper than the current Nikon 16mm Fisheye. But you have to find a good one, which is not easy.

I just got my third Sigma 15mm FE (all bought new!). The first one was really bad (soft), therefore I decided to exchange it against another one. This one was slightly better, but still not great. Even stopped down to f/11 the corners were soft and the contrast at every aperture was rather low. I thought that maybe the lens is just like this and kept this version.

 

After reading some more tests, where most people were really happy with the performance of their Sigma 15mm FE I decided to make another trial and ordered my third Sigma 15mm FE. It arrived two days ago and is signficantly sharper than the other two. I will now send the second one to Sigma to get it repaired (and keep the third one in addition).

Summary: If you buy Sigma lenses don't just trust the quality control of Sigma, instead test your lenses yourself. All testing was done with a D800E, which of course shows any lens problems immediately.

 

Regarding the Nikon Fisheyes: The old 3.5/16mm seems to be significantly better than the current f/2.8 version. I got one used in mint condition and it is really great. Sharp in the corners, even wide open. CA is comparable with the Sigma and the colors are much warmer than the Sigma (probably good for underwater use, but maybe a bit too warm for landscapes above water). I'm planning to do a test between these two lenses in the next couple of weeks (first above water and than later underwater). But of course the 3.5/16mm is not an AF lens which is a signfificant disadvantage underwater and the close focus capability is as bad as the current f/2.8 Nikon FE, meaning significantly less good than the Sigma.

 

If this test confirms my first impression I will probably use the old Nikon MF lens for half half shots with manual prefocus and for all other underwater situations use the Sigma.

 

Boris



#3 ChristianG

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 05:02 AM

As an alternative to buying multiple lenses in the hope of getting one good one, would a (very new) Sigma USB Dock for Nikon lenses have helped? Dunno, I'm simply asking the question. At this point ii's also available (or rather will shortly be available) for Canon and Sigma lens mounts. It seems like a pretty good, certainly a much cheaper alternative

  • Update Lens Firmware and Adjust Settings
  • For Use with Sigma Global Vision Lenses
  • Compatible with Nikon F Mount Lenses

and will cost some $US59. Availability is said to be July 11 (according to my favourite US supplier, B&H New York).


Edited by ChristianG, 19 June 2013 - 05:25 AM.

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#4 Bobu

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 08:16 AM

You can adjust the AF with the USB dock (but very likely not with old lenses like the 15mm FE), but it won't help if the lens is unsharp due to bad adjustment (for example decentering).



#5 tdpriest

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:15 AM

http://wetpixel.com/...ard#entry198292

 

Try this link: I remember it from my researches last year, when I opted for the Sigma 15mm on moving to a D800. My choice seemed obvious at the time.

 

It's worth remembering that the performance of a lens in air may not reflect its properties behind a dome port, and that the best lens above the water isn't always the same as the best lens beneath the surface.


Edited by tdpriest, 22 June 2013 - 04:18 AM.


#6 ChristianG

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 11:18 AM

It's worth remembering that the performance of a lens in air may not reflect its properties behind a dome port, and that the best lens above the water isn't always the same as the best lens beneath the surface.

Amen, Tokina 10-17mm anyone? Great lens underwater, lousy above water.


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#7 Bobu

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 12:59 PM

If a lens has strong field curvature this can help underwater behind a domeport, but if a lens has soft corners above water (focused on the corners with LV) it will definately have soft corners underwater.

 

Boris