Sigma 4.5mm F2.8 Fisheye EX DC HSM Circular A-mount lens review by jvsanchez

reviewer#11622 date: Jan-19-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 2
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nothing really. The widest lens I own after this is a 24-135, and it's nothing like the fisheye. All I have to compare it with are flickr images.
price paid:549 USD (KEH: LN-)
positive:- Unique perspective
- Huge 180 degree FOV
- Stellar build
- Plenty sharp
negative:- gel filters only
- two piece lens cap
- highly exposed front element
comment:This is an incredible lens. The hemispherical field of view coupled with the right scene can result in truly breathtaking images. The circular output is unique, and not something seen often, and in fact this is the *only* circular fisheye for any APS-C Sony rig.

The build quality is top notch, plenty of weight and a premium feel. The mount is stainless, the distance scale is behind a window, and the focus ring stays put during AF. Even the AF/MF HSM switch feels good, with a nice positive click when moved to either position. My only complaint with the design of the lens is the odd lens cap. It's two pieces... a circular "adapter ring" and a matching 72mm standard Sigma lens cap. This apparently leads to quite a few users leaving the adapter ring on, which significantly cuts down on the FOV, ruining the overall effect. Why Sigma didn't just make it all one piece, I don't know. The other negative is the super exposed front element. It has no hood petals or anything to protect it, so you've really got to watch it when you're shooting. And of course due to that same front element, filters are pretty much out of the question, except for cut gel filters behind the rear element, though sigma does include a nifty template for that purpose.

As far as image quality goes, my copy seems to be plenty sharp wide open, and even moreso stopped down. The colors are nice, and the distortion is, of course, plentiful. Though I have to admit, seeing the lens warp solid buildings and bend trees is really neat. The lens suffers most with flare control, with obvious purple rings at the edges of the frame when it contains the sun, and other flare blobs floating around depending on where the sun is in the frame exactly. It doesn't particularly bother me, but YMMV. Other than that, IQ is excellent.

I've been wanting to get this lens for a few years, but kind of lost interest in any kind of wide angle photography for awhile. My widest prime after this one is a Minolta 28/2.8, so the drastic change in both FOV and distortion has really gotten my creative juices flowing again, far more than I expected. It's definitely been a blast using this lens for the past couple of weeks. I say that if you can snag it for a good price, you can't go wrong.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 5
  • sharpness: 4.30
  • color: 4.40
  • build: 4.80
  • distortion: 3.80
  • flare control: 3.20
  • overall: 4.10 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania