Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX Diagonal FishEye A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 9   
reviewer#7962 date: Sep-12-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 14/2.8 nonFE
Tokina 17/3.5
price paid:usd 410 new
positive:Small
Good colors
negative:None at all
comment:A fun lens.

It's a fisheye, so can't be used overmuch. But it's always been sharp, accurate in color, and remarkably good at depth. I haven't found any noticeable chromatic aberrations, nor any real areas of undesired softness.

A surprise to me was its light-gathering power. Today in a fog, it penetrated hundreds of yards whereas the 70-300G just saw the mist, and stopped at 50 yards. This must be the effect of the fisheye.

It distortions are quite reliable and, while it can be a challenge, when the horizon and verticals are lined up, it takes very interesting landscapes.

I like the double hood, since it can be used for vignetting, while the basic shape attempts to control flare. I think it is a well-designed and useful lens that puts fun back into photography.
reviewer#6381 date: Nov-13-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Zenitar 16/2.8
Minolta/Sony 16/2.8
price paid:400 USD (LN)
positive:Compact
Build quality
Colours
Min. focus distance
negative:Chromatic aberration
Sharpness
Mechanical vignetting (see below)
comment:Not the most versatile lens one can own, but clearly loveable. It is a real killer in terms of optical quality, producing quite sharp images with fantastic punchy colours. The lens is extremely flare-resistant and it is no problem at all to have the sun in the frame. It has a very short MFD of 15 cm, measured from the film plane, which means that the subject can be extremely close to the front element. In a way, it doubles as an extremely funky quasi-macro lens. My only complaint about the optics is that it produces noticeable chromatic aberration near the borders when used on full-frame, but it is easily removed in PP.

One thing that should be noticed is that this lens can produce mechanical vignetting on full-frame cameras when SteadyShot is enabled, in dim conditions when the sensor is shifted towards the extremes. It is not that the image circle is too small, but the built-in hood is visible in the image. Because of that, it might be a good idea to disable SteadyShot in dim conditions and maybe crank up the ISO a little (but camera shake is not much an issue with fisheyes anyway).

The build quality is excellent. Unlike many other Sigma EX lenses, it is an all-metal construction with a sturdy fixed hood that does a good job protecting the front element. It feels extremely robust. However, the lens cap is quite a weird construction with a flimsy regular cap that locks into a metal cap that slides onto the hood.
reviewer#2847 date: Oct-15-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 16/2.8 Fisheye
Tamron 14/2.8
price paid:350 USD (new)
positive:Good price
Good build
Great image quality
negative:Erratic focus issues
comment:Despite its single major weakness, I love this lens.

First the good. This lens has great images quality. It is sharp and fast with fabulous low light possibilities. From my experience it has amazing resistance to flare for this type of lens. The build quality is really excellent.

The ok. In some images in busy fine detailed areas, the sharpness or clarity of detail looks a little weird to me. It may simply be the lack of resolution in my 6MP 5D since I don't see on film. However compared to my Tamron 14/2.8 I would have to say the sharpness in these areas is not quite as good.

The ugly. The only major problem with this lens... the focus. Like some others, this lens has a weird focus issue. In close focusing situation, mine has a tiny bit of front focus, but not enough to worry about. If this was the extent of the problem, I would not even mention it.

However at other times, especially in low light the focus can just randomly be WAY WAY off. So far off that I can't even figure out where the focus point is. It is almost like it is inside of the lens!

On the bright side, the focus problem only shows up a small percentage of the pictures I take, so it was (now sold in favor of Minolta 16/2.8) easy to live with.
reviewer#1972 date: Mar-16-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:KM AF 11-18 DT
KM AF 18-70 DT
price paid:299 EUR (used)
positive:sharp
nice colors
on FF it opens you a new world
good aperture
flare control
negative:MF quite difficult to use
back filter slot not so usable
Not a full fisheye on digital
comment:I have no comparison with other fisheye lens. Compared to wide angle lens on a digital, this glass is quite distorted (but distortion is the key of a fisheye) and wide, sharpness very good. On film camera it 's wonderful to take interior shots. Into direct sun few traces of flares.

On the negative side, MF ring is quite difficult to control in close shots, and the slot for gelatine filters it quite useless. Pay attention to dust on the front element.


reviewer#1900 date: Feb-26-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 16/2.8
Zenitar 16/2.8
price paid:400 USD (new)
positive:Sharpness
Build quality
Close focusing distance
Color rendition
negative:Funky lens cap
comment:This lens has quickly become one of my favourites (albeit not very versatile). It is unbelievably sharp, almost on a par with my Minolta 100/2.8 macro, and the 1:3.8 magnification lets you do fantastic close-ups. Like with other fisheyes, color rendition is stunning. Also, it seems almost immune to flare. Not correcting for distortions obviously gives room for huge improvements in other aspects.

The distortion rating is more or less pointless for this lens. Fisheye means bendy images, and anyone who can't cope with that should not get one. Personally, I see it as a good challenge, since composition becomes everything. It should be noted that this lens won't give a 180° FOV on APS-C, which can be a good thing since it becomes useful for more "normal" scenes.

The build quality is excellent. The outer barrel is in the same kind of sturdy plastic used in other Sigma lenses, and it has a fixed metal lens hood. Due to the fixed hood, the lens cap is a very peculiar construction. It has a rubber-padded metal collar that slides over the hood, and the collar serves as an attachment for a standard 72mm lens cap. Why they didn't make a simple one-piece cylindrical cap is a mystery to me.

As with all Sigmas, there seems to be a bit of sample variation. My lens is flawless, and the AF is spot on. If you are to get one second-hand, make sure to check for focussing issues, otherwise you may end up having to send it to a service centre.
reviewer#1429 date: Nov-16-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 2
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:- 18-70 3.5-5.6
- 24-85 f3.5-4.5 RS
price paid:400 cdn
positive:- Small
- Sharp
- Bright (low-light shooting!)
- Bendy
- Wide!
- Close focus
- Decent price
- Easy to MF closed down
negative:- Focus problems
- Difficult to MF wide open
- Bendy
comment:I hadn't ventured too far into the wide arena before I picked up this lens. I had tested out the KM kit lens for a week and found the lack of sharpness at wide apertures a little annoying, and dropping the light transmission to f5.6 at the tele end just wasn't for me. Besides, I'm not a zoom guy.

This lens is very, VERY sharp. It's hard to compare sharpness at different lengths just because the quality of the images is so different (especially with a fisheye). But either way, I would guess sharpness has got to be near to the 100/2 or 200/2.8, and it's so easy to stop down the lens to slower shutter speeds because of the wide angle. With anti-shake, it is possible to hand-hold shots up to 1/2 of a second. Combine this with f2.8 and you have a KILLER low light lens.

I rated the build quality as 2, even though the lens quality (of the EX ilk) is very good. Mechanically, my copy purchased from Cameta auctions, has been in repair for a month and is still sitting in the shop with the repair techs scratching their heads. Other users have reported this problem as well. Severe front-focus problems meant the lens was useless in AF. This gave me a change to try MF with the lens...not too hard at small apertures, but I'd really want a good AF with any lens this wide to make sure you're locked on. On the plus side, Sigma support in Canada (through Gentec) has been very friendly and supportive.

About distortion: All wide angle lenses are distorted. Rectilinear corrected lenses distort area while fisheye lenses distort lines. Personally I prefer linear distortion (fisheye) as you have the option to correct it, but can also get some amazing atmospheric effects. I have used the lens on many occasions without correcting in post, and with the right composition you would never know it's a fisheye. This is also partly due to the APS crop. Carefully used, this is a VERY versatile lens indeed.

If you can get a used copy of this lens that has been tested and proven to have no problems, I'd be tempted to take that route. Don't get the ebay acution from Cameta, period.
reviewer#888 date: Jun-6-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:None
price paid:
missing
positive:small not heavy but solid construction.
Like the Lenshood!!!!
negative:Filter holder on the back almost useless
comment:Bought is second hand in mint condtion.
Very nice fish eye effect on film cameras and probably in the very near future also on the Sony full frame DSLR. (cant wait for that one)
reviewer#238 date: Nov-24-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 1
flare control: 3
overall: 3.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:N/A
price paid:
missing
positive:Nice and sharp
Small
Good build
negative:Flare can be a problem occasionally (from side when sun out of shot)
comment:I used this lens extensively in August for a vacation to Scotland. It's a wonderful lens to shoot with. Sharp and light weight too. If the distortion from the 180degree view (less on DSLR like 7D) then PTLens has a prfile for correcting, and very well it works too!

See the photos here: http://www.pbase.com/caclark/scotland_2005

Top notch lens, just beware manual focussing is quite tricky at full aperture.
reviewer#29 date: Dec-23-2004
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:none
price paid:
missing
positive:This lens is unbelievable, even if you shoot right into the sun, almost no flares! and it is incredible sharp.
negative:On the 7d it is, due to the 1.5 magnification, not a true fishexy lens. And the distortions are really heavy when shooting architecture. But great for fun portraits dough!
comment:I actually use this lens alot, it is great for closeup protraits, concert and skatephoto's. On my 7d I use it mainly as an extreme wideangle, but the quality of the images keeps amazing me. Supersharp and great in lowlight situations. And the price? unbelievable, how low can you go with quality like this?
reviews found: 9   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 9
  • sharpness: 4.67
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.22
  • distortion: 4.22
  • flare control: 4.44
  • overall: 4.47

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