Sigma 8mm fisheye

I don’t talk a lot about camera gear. I think of it as tools for a job. Gear is a very important and costly part of photography and has a specific use in every photo, but for the viewer, it plays a “behind the scenes” role. I’m sure great chefs have amazing pots and pans, but it’s the food people rave about. So here’s a little story about a little lens I used this past weekend, but have decided to return.

The Sigma 8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye is a lens for very specific uses, which I thought I might be able to incorporate into some of my work. But after a weekend with it, it’s not for me. I got to the Philadelphia Flower Show yesterday (and I’ll talk about that tomorrow) and made great use of the lens. 8mm is a very, very wide field of view. So wide that the pictures taken through this lens encompass 180 degree of vision. When holding the camera to your eye, and taking a picture, your feet, as well as what is above you, are in the picture. Since it is circular, this goes from side to side as well, which is great if you’re looking into a big arena:

Photoshop has a quick lens correction button to correct for distortions in most every lens made.  After correcting the picture looks like this.

I think there is still too much distortion to make the picture good enough to use. I will continue to take multiple pictures and stitch them together.  At the flower show, I found a whole new use for the lens.  Pictures can be taken less than an inch away which gives a different dimension to flower pictures.  Here is the uncorrected:

And the corrected:

I think with a bit of cropping I will like the uncorrected picture better.  Check back tomorrow for the Flower Show scoop.