Shiny New Glass...

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They say in photography that the better the glass, the better the picture. That's true and it is the single biggest reason why photographers are broke and their lenses are big. However, not all lenses need to be honking huge to be good and most importantly, fun to take pictures with.

SIGMA 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

The SIGMA 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM is a wide angle ZOOM lens built for Digital SLR Cameras. This particular one works with Nikon DSLR's and is a great match for my Nikon D50. It is also unique because unlike most wide angle lenses that have a 12-24mm focal range, this one is even wider at 10-20mm. I chose this lens because based on all the reviews of it from the Digital Photography Sites, it was not only a great value at half the price of the NIKON unit, but it also went wider. In fact, it's the widest angle lens on the market for DSLR.

A wide angle lens, unlike a "Fish Eye" lens, does not distort the picture to give you a fish eye effect. It allows you to pull back without actually moving back. For example, if you're out in crowded spaces where you want to take pictures, a conventional lens would have you quite far back, as people move back and forth in front of your shot. Instead of spending the time to compose your shot, you are concentrating on when the next person is going to stand in front of your camera and ruin your shot. Let me illustrate with the following pictures...

Regular Nikon 18-70mm lens.

The above is a picture taken using my NIKON 18-70mm DX ED lens. I'm taking the shot at 18mm and I'm about 5 feet away from the bikes.

SIGMA 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

The shot above is taken the same distance away, from the same spot. The only difference is that I'm now using the SIGMA 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM at 10mm. Huge difference huh? The lens is an absolute life saver in places where you just can't pull back far enough to take the shot. This will probably be my lens of choice for any trade shows or parties I go to simply because there is just not enough room to get a good shot using a more conventional lens like my NIKON 18-70mm. Especially when it is super crowded.

The picture used in my Blue Fur PHO post could have easily included everyone had a wide angle lens like this one been used. There wasn't very much room in the restaurant so it was tough for any conventional fixed lens camera to be able to get the shot. This is a great lens that's an absolute must have for any photographer that shoots portraits or in crowded environments. That and the Nikon 18-200mm DX VR that I'll be playing with soon. I'm not a pro photographer by any means, but I know that this was money well spent based on the results. I know that I'll be able to take many great pictures without worrying about someone walking in front of my shot.

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  • I'm using a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 right now as my primary lens for my 400D. It's a great lens for the price and suits my needs...I love shooting WA so I might have to consider a 10-22 for later!

  • Well I just bought a Canon S3 IS. I might have to look into something like this for my new camera before the next CES. Will save me the temptation of grabbing and moving people manually when they just decide to stop and stand right infront of my camera. Last time I checked I wasn't invisible (I'm not exactly a small guy) so I failed to see how they could miss me, but they were doing it.

  • That looks like a really cool lens. Photography is something I have as a goal to get more involved with but right now I just cannot swing the cost of a nice camera and lens, so I put up with my old Canon Powershot that has some issues.

  • Ed: Yup, the Tamron 28-75 is exactly what I use as a backup.

    Michael: At 28mm the S3 IS is already quite a bit wider than most point-and-shoot (which are usually 35mm). My point and shoot is also 28mm, and it really helps with shots! 35mm is far too narrow for a point and shoot camera, IMO, so it's pretty stupid that most cameras use this range.

    BTW: Your Inline Comments thingy is broken Stephen

    • Strange. I'm replying to your comment right now. Where are you commenting from? It doesn't work on the inline comments. It's an issue with the template. I might just remove the inline.

    • I've noticed that (that the S3 is wider than the average P&S), but I want even wider! I already have the ultra zoom going on, now I want the opposite (I'm enjoying the macro mode on it, though)

  • I also have the Canon 10-22 but I find it's a bit too wide for a walkaround lens. I'm going to go find a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 sometime next week.

  • Wow, the difference is like night and day. I struggle with getting these kinds of shots in close proximity. I don't have a DSLR, but I have a Canon S3 IS and was considering getting a wide angle lens for it. Worth the investment, it seems.

    • You have to watch it with using a wide angle adapter for those cameras. Sometimes they can distort the picture.

      • That's why I haven't done it yet. It's not worth going wide angle if the result is fisheye.

  • I guess you will just have to bring that along to the next Pho and take a picture of all of us. That should be a GREAT comparison picture we can all relate to.

    • I'll see what I can do 😉

  • Very nice illustration of the difference between the two. My father was a professional photographer for quite a few years, too bad he sold the equiptment rather than give it to me (jp!)

  • that is amazing how different they are. I really like that lens. Too bad i dont have a nice camera to put it on. 🙁

  • That lens looks cool. I hate it when I want to take a picture of a room in my house and cannot get everything I want to in there.

  • Hmm, I think my reply got busted by your spam filter due to too many links!

    • Yeah, you got busted, but I let it out of jail 😆

  • Wide angle is the way to go man, especially on digital cameras where 10mm is really 16mm and 24mm is really 38.4mm!

    I have been using Canon's 10-22mm for over a year now, and I LOVE it. It's my main lens for outdoor shots, and I even use it for some pretty dramatic product photos in my hardware reviews.