Sigma 8mm f/4 (manual focus) vs. Sigma 8mm f/3.5 AF EX DG
There is some information available comparing both AF versions of this lens. I am specifically interested in someone's experience comparing the newer f/3.5 version with the older manual focus 8mm f/4 Sigma.
What would be the IQ and handling differences to expect in these two lenses? Any other comments? Please and thank you.
My Flickr Photostream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51693447@N06/albums
#1. "RE: Sigma 8mm f/4 (manual focus) vs. Sigma 8mm f/3.5 AF EX DG" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 09-Mar-13 12:33 PM
I own the 8/f4 AFD and have used the 8/f4 manual focus. I found the manual focus version to be a mediocre performer. OK, and acceptable because circular fisheye images are very, very much about the content, rather than image quality. Whereas we perceive most regular lenses as something that we could see with our eyes if only we were there, there's no kidding ourselves with a fisheye - the world just doesn't ever look like that through our unaided eyes. Furthermore, the extreme short focal length pushes details further away from the vantage point, making detail inherently harder to see in the image. The old lens is also even more sensitive than most circular fisheyes to glare and ghosting, especially at the edges of the image. If you have a bright highlight near the edge, it can cause a pretty significant reduction in contrast and a wash out in that vicinity.
Still, more detail is better if you can have it, and there's a pretty big step up from the manual focus to the 8/f4 AFD, which I regard as a good solid high quality lens. It does not challenge the 400/f2.8 AFS-II or any of the macro lenses, but that is hardly damning it with faint praise; most lenses are correctly described the same way.
I've never used the 8/f3.5 myself, but the couple of images from it that I have inspected closely suggest that the newer lens is slightly better than the 8/f4 AFD in sharpness and contrast. The latest model seems to be much better about highlights toward the edge of the image circle. Don't forget that with a circular fisheye, it's often pretty hard to avoid that very bright highlight!
As far as handling... it's an 8mm lens with 180 degree FOV. They ALL have significant liabilities called your feet, legs and tripod in the frame! Despite being a die-hard tripod user, I often just give up with this lens and shoot hand-held, because it's often just too hard to get the tripod out of the way. Other than that, there's not much difference in handling between the three models, assuming a body that does screwdriver AF as the 8/f4 AFD requires.
I am not 100% certain, but there may also be a 8/f3.5 AFD. If so, I've never seen it.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: Sigma 8mm f/4 (manual focus) vs. Sigma 8mm f/3.5 AF EX DG" | In response to Reply # 1