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Deciding on a Fisheye Lens Purchase


Toward the end of last year I decided that I needed to purchase a fisheye lens. The question was, which one? No, I don’t mean that I had to decide whether to purchase a Nikon lens or something else. I started buying only Nikon glass a few years back and have not regretted it at all. The question that I faced was whether to buy the DX fisheye or not.

The DX lenses from Nikon are intended to be used with their digital cameras. In a nutshell it means that the lens is designed for the smaller focal area found in most current digital camera bodies. Until now I have always decided to get the full-featured “film” lens because they work just fine on my film cameras. The will also work on the digiital cameras but the focal length is effectively increased due to the smaller sensor. This is great for longer lenses (a 300mm becomes a 450mm on a digital camera with the smaller sensor) and stinks for wide angle lenses. :)

So why would I even consider it for the fisheye? It’s because the fisheye lens geometry is so precise that it will only work properly on one type of camera or the other. Decisions, decisions… what to do?

Experimental DX

Ultimately I decided to get the DX fisheye lens. Why? Mainly because I felt like I would get more use out of it (at least initially) since I carry my digital camera with me almost all the time. I wasn’t sure how much use I would really make of it. The fisheye look is certainly fun and interesting, but it gets old after a while. I would not want to have this lens as my only lens, or even my second (or possibly third) lens. There are so many other choices that are much more useful for a wider range of subjects.

So I decided that getting a lens that I would use more often would allow me to decide whether this particular technique was interesting to me or not. After that I would decide if I wanted to purchase a film fisheye as well.

It turns out that I didn’t even last a month before I decided to pick up the film version of the fisheye lens. :-D If I could only get one of the two, I think I would say that getting the digital would be the better choice. The main reason is what I mentioned earlier: I would use it more often.

Today I am still a bit of a film snob. Or at least that’s the way I like to put it. :lol: I use my digital camera for taking pictures. I use my film camera for photography. I don’t envision that changing for another couple of years. In fact, I just bought two more film cameras last year as well. But I’ll tell you more about them in another post. 8-)


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