Sigma 15mm & Tokina 10-17mm fisheye for full-frame

Comparing sharpness, deciding which is better for your full-frame camera

By Scott Gietler

 

 
SHARE THIS STORY

The Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens is by far the most popular lens choice for underwater photographers who own a cropped-sensor dSLR and want to do wide-angle underwater photography.

For full-frame shootings using a camera like a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mark II or Mark III, the Sigma 15mm fisheye is often chosen over the Nikon 16mm or the Canon 15mm fisheye lenses, because of its great close-focusing ability.

However, many full-frame users are unaware that the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens is a very viable option for a full-frame camera, and may be preferable to the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens.

sigma 15mm fisheye lens review
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, pool photo, 180 degree diagonal angle of view

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens on a full-frame dSLR camera
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens at 15mm, on a full-frame Nikon D800 camera. 180 degree angle of view, same as the Sigma 15mm, and no vignetting.

 

Sigma & Tokina Fisheye lens on a full-frame camera

As you can see, the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye and Sigma 15mm fisheye lens produce identical images on a full-frame camera like the Nikon D800, when the Tokina is set to 15mm. There is no vignetting, and you do not need to go into a special "DX" mode.

So does this mean that the Tokina 10-17mm lens is a full-frame lens at 15mm? I would say so, even though it is marketed as a DX lens. The Tokina does vignette from 10mm - 13mm, but it does not at 14mm to 17mm. So in some respects, you have more flexibility with the Tokina that with the Sigma, although the field of view from 14mm to 17mm does not change dramatically.

 

Image Tests

A wine bottle in the pool made a great test subject. We took images at different apertures with the wine bottle at the center of the image, and at the corner of the images, in a 6-inch dome. You can view the images below, or skip to the bottom of this article for our conclusions.

 

Corner image sharpness

Sigma 15mm fisheye lens tests

Sigma 15mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F4

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F5.6

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F8

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F11

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F14

 

Corner image sharpness, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens

 

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mmm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F4

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F5.6

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F8

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F11

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F14

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F4

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F5.6

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F8

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F11

 

Sigma 15mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Sigma 15mm fisheye lens, corner sharpness, 100% crop at F14

 

 

Center image sharpness, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens

 

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mmm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F4

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye corner lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F5.6

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F8

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F11

 

Tokina 10-17mm fisheye center lens sharpness underwater photo
Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, center sharpness, 100% crop at F14

 

Sigma and Tokina fisheye lens on a full-frame camera - conclusions

  • Center sharpness for both lenses was very good at F4 and F5.6, excellent at F8 and higher. 
  • Corner sharpness for both lenses was poor at F4 and F5.6, ok at F8, and good at F11 and F14. I would expect corner sharpness to improve slightly in an 8-inch dome, and degrade in a 4-inch dome.
  • If you are moving into a full-frame camera, and already own the Tokina 10-17mm lens, then I see no reason not to keep using it. If you don't own a fisheye lens, then it appears that you can get good results with either lens.   I also tested both lenses on a D800 while diving at Catalina island earlier this year, and at that time I also found the results to be similar
  • If you don't own either lens, then you have a choice. Both lenses are similarly priced. If you want to own a 4-inch glass zen dome, you'll need to shave the hood of the Sigma fisheye, which is a disadvantage. Ikelite users will also experience vignetting. However, users of 6 or 8 inch dome ports on non-Ikelite housings may be able to avoid purchasing an extension ring by going with the Sigma.

 

About the Author

 

Scott GietlerScott is the creator of the Underwater Photography Guide and owner of Bluewater Photo Store. An avid marine naturalist, Scott is the author of the Field Guide to Southern California Marine Life. He was the LAUPS photographer of the year for 2009, and his photos have appeared in magazines, coffee table & marine life books, museums, galleries and aquariums throughout California. He enjoys teaching underwater photography locally on a regular basis.

 

 

Further Reading

 


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


 

 
 
SHARE THIS STORY