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New Sigma 15mm f/1.4 fisheye - a massive disappointment?


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Well, it is for me, after reading the specs, even tho I would kill for an AF fisheye. Specs:

Min focus 38.5cm (!)

Weight: 1.36 kgs

Dimensions: D 104mm x L 158mm

It comes with a tripod socket which obviously you couldn't use in a housing. How would all that weight go supported by just the lens mount? Imagine bumping it on the dive boat.

So, completely useless for U/W, IMO.

What do others think?

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Looks like an astrophotography lens; not meant for us amphibians. For underwater purposes, Sigma's own 15mm/2.8 fisheye works much better for 1/5th the cost including an adapter. Native-schmative, autofocus with adapted lenses works fine on reasonably modern bodies; even my fairly old now Sony a6300 works quite well with a Metabones IV and a Canon 60mm macro.

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1 hour ago, dentrock said:

Well, it is for me, after reading the specs, even tho I would kill for an AF fisheye. Specs:

Min focus 38.5cm (!)

Weight: 1.36 kgs

Dimensions: D 104mm x L 158mm

It comes with a tripod socket which obviously you couldn't use in a housing. How would all that weight go supported by just the lens mount? Imagine bumping it on the dive boat.

So, completely useless for U/W, IMO.

What do others think?

Well the tripod collar looks to be removable, but it is a big lump for sure.  The killer for UW use is the size:  104mm diameter won't fit through an N100 mount, presumably it would get through the ID on an N120 extension/dome. but the minimum focus is certainly a problem, close focus is 207mm from the front of the lens.  The Sigma lens adapted is definitely more interesting as it is reported to AF quite well.

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13 minutes ago, Chris Ross said:

Well the tripod collar looks to be removable, but it is a big lump for sure. 

It's not the tripod collar in and of itself that is the problem; it's the 1.36kg of lens cantilevered off the camera mount, in turn cantilevered off the tripod socket, not supported by anything else, and potentially bouncing around on dinghies, in rinse tanks, etc. This is no small amount of stress getting put on fairly fragile hardware.

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And the 38.5 MFD... is there a dome with a big enough radius?!

 

Slightly off topic, but reviews of the new Laowa 10mm FF AF lens are now around. I looked at those by Christopher Frost and Dustin Abbot. Quite complimentary, except for soft-ish corners, I think only at wider apertures; and heavy vignetting, again, more at wider apertures.

 

So... is 130 degrees "enough"? The perennial question!

Price is USD 799.

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On 2/21/2024 at 2:55 AM, dentrock said:

It comes with a tripod socket which obviously you couldn't use in a housing. How would all that weight go supported by just the lens mount?

 

Many lenses come with tripod collars - these are almost always easy to take off. 

 

This is also a light lens compared to big telephotos - the camera mounts are designed to take such heavy lenses. And these also go on boats/safari trucks.

 

Sadly I agree with @Nikolausz - that this lens is useable underwater - but far from ideal in terms of close focus and aperture range. 

Edited by Alex_Mustard
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The 38.5cm MFD is measured from the sensor. Given the lens itself is 16cm long, we're really only talking a MFD ~20cm in front of the front element. So.. it might work fine in a 230mm dome? Dunno. 

 

Anyway, still not clear that it has any advantage over more traditional 15mm F2.8 or F4 fisheye lenses/fisheye zoom lenses underwater.

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17 hours ago, Alex_Mustard said:

This is also a light lens compared to big telephotos - the camera mounts are designed to take such heavy lenses. And these also go on boats/safari trucks.

Does anyone ever handhold a big tele without supporting the lens with your other hand? As someone who shoots teles occasionally, I can't see it...

If you took this fisheye underwater, the lens would be unsupported in the housing, although I suppose you could chock it in the port somehow (yuk for changing lenses!)

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19 hours ago, Alex_Mustard said:

This is also a light lens compared to big telephotos - the camera mounts are designed to take such heavy lenses. And these also go on boats/safari trucks.

Aren't the tripod attachments on those big telephotos specifically there so that you don't load the mount bayonet? You mount (or handhold) the whole thing by the lens, so that the lens mount is loaded by <1kg of camera on a very short lever, instead of 3-5kg of lens on a long lever. Does anyone mount any such rig by the camera tripod socket instead of the one on the lens, when the latter is available?

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2 hours ago, Barmaglot said:

Aren't the tripod attachments on those big telephotos specifically there so that you don't load the mount bayonet? You mount (or handhold) the whole thing by the lens, so that the lens mount is loaded by <1kg of camera on a very short lever, instead of 3-5kg of lens on a long lever. Does anyone mount any such rig by the camera tripod socket instead of the one on the lens, when the latter is available?

I've seen people do stuff with big heavy lenses that would make you wince, but throwing a mounted 500mm f4 on a Canon pro body into a backpack and driving thousands of km of corrugated roads I've done many a time and it's all still tight - in that you have two big masses joined by the lens mount and the lever arm of the long tele lens is much greater than what you have with the Sigma fisheye. 

 

The Sigma lens is 160mm long and weighs 1.3kg, a lot of that weight in the front element.  The Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens is 130mm long and weighs 1kg - not too different to the Sigma fisheye and people wouldn't think twice about using that lens cantilevered off the lens mount.  Similarly the Sigma 85mm f1.4 is 150 long in Sony mount and 1.2kg and 105mm f1.4 is 155mm long and 1.7 kg and both must be cantilevered to tripod mount. 

 

Regardless of the weight issues, it's all moot as the min focus and probable need for a large dome make it less attractive.

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For me the biggest issues with this lens are that it can't be stopped down past f/16, which makes it unusable for split level shooting (if you want both halves in focus) and does not focus close enough for much underwater photography. 

 

With minimum focus you have to consider the virtual image (from the dome) distance - which gets closer the smaller the dome you use. So a lens like this won't be able to focus near to the dome with even the biggest domes. And probably won't focus on anything within a lightable distance with a 140mm dome or smaller. 

 

I think if you only shoot more distance subjects - and always use 230mm big dome (but don't like split levels) - it could be a solution!

 

That said, I do look forward to someone bringing one on a workshop, so I can try it. But I'll certainly not be getting one.

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18 minutes ago, Alex_Mustard said:

I think if you only shoot more distance subjects - and always use 230mm big dome (but don't like split levels) - it could be a solution!

Yeah, but at $2k, it's not in the territory of an 'impulse purchase - I might use it sometimes for a specific shot' for most people.

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There is an interesting review of the new fisheye lens in Petapixel: https://petapixel.com/2024/02/27/sigma-15mm-f-1-4-dg-dn-art-review-wide-weird-and-wonderful/

 

It seems the lens provides extremely high IQ, but is constructed especially for distant objects and even a very big domeport will not help much: "...The Sigma 15mm is sharp at a distance but when the subject is within a few feet the image can get very blurry in the centers at f/1.4..."

=> Seems that this lens is indeed not fabricated for us...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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46 minutes ago, Architeuthis said:

There is an interesting review of the new fisheye lens in Petapixel: https://petapixel.com/2024/02/27/sigma-15mm-f-1-4-dg-dn-art-review-wide-weird-and-wonderful/

 

It seems the lens provides extremely high IQ, but is constructed especially for distant objects and even a very big domeport will not help much: "...The Sigma 15mm is sharp at a distance but when the subject is within a few feet the image can get very blurry in the centers at f/1.4..."

=> Seems that this lens is indeed not fabricated for us...

 

Wolfgang

To be fair though the centre softness goes away when stopped down which you would do anyway behind a dome, the lens is obviously designed with astrophotography and infinity focus in mind so the minimum focus distance is quite long and correction at f1.4 when at MFD not a priority. 

A rough calculation shows that it could focus at its closest approx 1m from a 140mm dome  but in a 230mm dome could focus on an object about 0.2m away from dome surface, so it could be used for reef scenics with a bigger dome.  However there is probably little reason to do that when an adapted Canon  8-15 fisheye works as well as it does.

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  • 1 month later...

Clearly this lens would not be most folks first choice but a friend has the lens mostly for astro. She also has a Marelux housing for Sony A7R IV and we gave it a try in a 230mm dome with to much extension so it vignettes. This can be resolved with more extension testing. Photos by Nicole Alarid in the North Florida Springs, natural light at F/5.6 un-cropped so you can see the vignette. 

20240416-DSC00497.jpg

20240416-DSC00525.jpg

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13 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

Clearly this lens would not be most folks first choice but a friend has the lens mostly for astro. She also has a Marelux housing for Sony A7R IV and we gave it a try in a 230mm dome with to much extension so it vignettes. This can be resolved with more extension testing. Photos by Nicole Alarid in the North Florida Springs, natural light at F/5.6 un-cropped so you can see the vignette.

 

Very interesting. Can you see better IQ or other advantages, compared to photos made with other fisheye lenses, e.g. Canon 8-15mm?

 

Thanks, Wolfgang

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