I had the chance to play around with a fish-eye lens a couple weeks ago (thanks Devon) and really enjoyed it. It opened up a whole new world… actually that’s not quite true, in fact it’s kind of cliche. However, I really liked the effect. The ability to ‘see’ so much, in a photograph, was appealing to me.
As happens with so much in my life, when hooked, the research begins. I decided that I really didn’t want a fish-eye lens but an ultra-wide zoom lens which gives the wide angle views I was looking for minus the fish-eye distortions (there is still some distortion, just easier to control).
I narrowed the search to three lenses and then bought something completely different.
My first choice was the Nikon 10-24mm, which had great reviews, but priced way out of my range…too bad. Second choice was the Tokina 11-16mm which is close to half the price of the Nikon and also has great reviews, unfortunately this lens is hard, if not impossible to find in my area (Ontario). My third and last choice was the Tamron 10-24mm, priced right, but reviews were not glowing.
The interesting thing about reviews, and it doesn’t matter what you are buying, is that if you search long enough (5 minutes on Google) you will probably find a review that says what you want to hear. I decided to keep searching…
I was parked downtown Guelph the other day, working, and looked out my window only to have a camera shop begging me to come on in… so I did. I spoke to the salesman, very friendly and knowledgeable, who suggested the Sigma 10-20mm. I tried it in the store and was really impressed so I bought it… just like that, without even reading any reviews! So much for my research.
Once back in my vehicle I checked the reviews on the lens and found them to be very good… we’ll see. I will be playing with it over the next couple weeks and pass on my comments (from an extremely-non-professional point of view).