Sunday, June 21, 2015


Last fall, during a gap semester before college that I personally dub my "East Coast Adventure,"  I took the opportunity to acquaint myself with the intriguing world of fisheye lenses.  Thanks to friend Gary Farber of Hunt's Photo and Video, based out of Melrose, Massachusetts, getting my hands on one was no problem.

The fully-stocked Nissan Versa in Fontana Village, North Carolina.  My first application of the Sigma fisheye lens.
Photo by Matt Reilly

    My tool of choice was the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 autofocus diagonal fisheye lens that fits the mounting ring on my Nikon D3200.  It performed well, with little in the way of a learning curve due to the fixed focal length and auto-focus features.

    While the Sigma Fisheye Lense was tucked away safely in my Lowepro camera bag, another field-test product was enjoying a position as my new favorite and go-to fly rod--the Scion Series Tycoon Tackle fly rod in a 9' 4-wt. model.  The Sigma lens enabled me to capture a few quality shots for my review, while emphasizing one of the novel considerations that shooting with a fisheye lens poses.

The Tycoon Tackle Scion riding shotgun.  Photo by Matt Reilly.

    In case you didn't notice in the photo above, the photo above has dark corners, and when I tried to crop them out using Photoshop, it negatively altered the composition of the photograph.  This taught me a valuable lesson about fisheye lenses.

The Scion flexin' on a Rose River rainbow.  Photo by Mat Reilly.

    There are two types of fisheye lenses--circular and diagonal (or "full-frame").  Both lenses achieve the same end--a wide-angle, barrel distortion to images.  However, they achieve this end by different means.  A circular lens features an image circle that is smaller than the sensor.  A diagonal lens's image circle is larger than the sensor, and thus the resulting image is captured with dark edges.  I had the latter.

Marabou Roadrunner jigs made for an exciting evening of fall crappie fishing, and a tasty dinner too!  Photo by Matt Reilly.
    Now I know.  After a full-immersion crash course in fisheye lenses, I now have a slight clue as to what I'm looking for and how to use them.  Regardless of what lens I purchase in the future, the Sigma is a solid option and performs well.

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