I am new to Panoramic photography, have a Canon 450 D, and NN5. My current widest focal length is 17mm equiv to 28mm full frame. I see two ways to go - super wide zoom like the Canon, Tokina or Sigma 8-16mm, or fisheye with either the Sigma 8mm or 10mm. I have PTGUI to assemple the images. From a utilitarian point of view I feel an super wide would be more overall versital than the fisheye, which I think would be used only for panoramas, but at the same time I do not want to spend hours at my computer wrestling with assembliing Panos. So what are your preferences and which do you find easier to manage in assembling the final product? Unfortunately I do not have the luxuray of both types of lenses - it is one or the other for right now.
Without knowing what type of panoramas you want to make, it is hard to advise. Wider angle = fewer shots but lower resolution. Panoramas for printing generally require more pixels than those intended purely for web display. You should also consider the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, which is more versatile than the Sigma 10mm fisheye. And there's the affordable Samyang 8mm fisheye (180 degree diagonal - also sold as Falcon, Vivitar, Bower, Rokinon and others).
Thank you for good advice. I should have prefaced my question with I would like to make Both Spherical Panoramas and normal horizontal ones (not even 360). I rialize that for making horizontal ones for printing the question of what type of lens is less of a consideration and probably can use the 17mm for horizontal ones that are to be printed. But my question was geared more to making spherical panos which must be displayed on the computer.
Your suggestions of the fisheye zoom and the other 8mm fixed lens are good lower cost options which I had not considered where I can start off with Spherical panos and not kill my photo budget for the next year. Between the fisheye zoom and the fixed focal length fisheye you recommended do you have a preference?
If I had to restrict myself to only one of the fisheye lenses mentioned, my preference would be for the Tokina 10-17mm. As it is, I also have the Sigma 8mm, which I have used for most of my handheld panoramas. You can see samples at http://www.johnhpanos.com/sphericl.htm.
Thank you for the advice. I did a little investigating and found examples on the web from both the Tokina and the other, and both look to be very good value for money.
I already viewed your panos yesterday because it is a commonly quoted reference by Nick Fan and others on the forum. The Panos are beautiful. Besides the subject matter which I love - particularly the old churches with the wonderful woodwork, what stuck me was how distinct the colors appear and of course the sharpness of the images. Handheld? Wow. I've never been lucky enough to travel to U.K. and am located in USA in New Jersey.
Even though the two lower cost lenses are definitely good value, if the Sigma is what it takes to get those colors and that crispness - it may be well worth it. Thank you for your advice. Probably more research in finding exampples taken with the other two are in order.
what stuck me was how distinct the colors appear and of course the sharpness of the images. Handheld? Wow.
The interiors are generally taken with a tripod and NN5. Many of the exteriors are handheld. The Sigma 8mm can't really compete with the Tokina used at 14mm (as in the church interiors), but careful sharpening produces results that are not much different at the final equirectangular size of 6000x3000.