I have always wanted a fisheye lens and have always talked myself out of the purchase, confident that it would gather dust when the novelty wore off. Recently, after becoming interested in wide-angle macro photography, I bit the bullet and got the Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye. It’s now been two months and I honestly can’t put the lens down. A few weeks ago, my dad commented that my worldview is becoming warped and I hope he was just referring to the pleasing distortion in all my recent images!
I decided on the Diagonal Fisheye after reading a lot of reviews and finding that the 15mm lens boasts a minimum focusing distance of 5.9 inches. I’ve played with wide-angle lenses and extension tubes for years and have always found the combination to be difficult to use or a little less than razor-sharp. I wanted a lens that would let me get close enough to small insects and flowers to make them an interesting part of the frame. This lens gets me so close that my subjects have poked me in the head when my eyes have stayed too firmly focused in the viewfinder!
The lens is tack sharp and the f/2.8 allows me to shoot in almost any lighting situation. For wide-angle macro, as in the shot of the Indian pipe seen above, I use a bit of off-camera fill flash with a small diffuser to light the foreground. I find this is very helpful for separating the foreground subject from the rest of the landscape. I’ve also been impressed with the sharpness throughout the image. Some of my other wide-angle lenses fall off at the edges quite a bit.
Beyond wide-angle close-ups, I’ve been using the lens for landscapes and cityscapes. It is a great lens for turning an ordinary situation into a fun and interesting image. I take it with me on midday hikes and to festivals, having fun with the slight distortion created by the fisheye. This lens is incredibly versatile and it will give you the shot in the arm you need to make more creative images. I am confident that this is one lens that will never gather dust.