Lens Wish List

December 30th, 2008, 2:32 pm PST by Greg

I have now had my Digital Rebel XT for almost exactly 3 years. As I have said here before, I do most of my shooting with a Sigma 18–50mm f/2.8 and also have a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 that I should get in the habit of using more. I also have a Speedlite 420EX flash, a decent tripod, and a Kingpano head for panoramas. Realistically, I have all the kit I need for most of the shots I’m going to take.

As with every good hobby/money sink, there’s always more stuff to play with. In my “Stupid DSLR Tricks” post, I talked about a lot of that. Every little while, I start thinking about picking up another lens, but it hasn’t happened since the 30mm for various reasons. Here is my wishlist if money suddenly rained into my life (in the order I could see myself spending real money on them):

Lens 1: Super-wide Fisheye, the Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 Circular Fisheye. As far as I can tell, nobody else makes (or perhaps has ever made) a lens this wide. The Flickr pool for this lens will give you an idea just how wacky it is. As you can see from the line on the ground in this shot, it is a genuine 180° fisheye (for an APS-C sensor).

I like taking panoramic pictures, and would use it for that. It would cut my current 40-ish shots down to 6 for a full 360×180° panorama. Every time I think about actually getting this lens, I think about how much joy I get from taking panoramas and come up with a number less than the US$800 you can get one for.

Lens 2: A Long Zoom. I don’t do a lot of nature or long-distance photography. In general, I figure that if I leave nature alone, it’s probably for the best. (Let’s call that “environmentalism”, not “carpetbagging urbanite”.) Still, there are times it would be nice to get closer to the subject. I have no problems with my Sigma lenses, but in this range, I suspect that going on-brand is worth it so I’d go for the Canon 70–200mm f/2.8 IS. If I had anything longer than that, I know I’d never carry it anyway.

At US$1500, I’m not in any danger of picking one of these up any time soon. The f/4 equivalent is only US$950, so that’s a lot more likely to make it into my camera bag in the distant future.

Lens 3: Something Wacky. I would still like to play with a tilt-shift, or bellows, or a Lensbaby as I mentioned in my older post. I haven’t seen that any of those get a cost-to-usefulness ratio within an order of magnitude of what I’d want to actually drop the money.

Maybe I’ll get bored enough to try a DIY bellows thing at some point. How hard could a bellows setup be? Medium format lens from eBay + body cap to connect to camera + some kind of cloth bag or flexible tube to hook them freely together. Hmmm…

3 Responses to “Lens Wish List”

  1. Kate Says:

    I got a 50-200mm for xmas and am really enjoying it! It’s surprising what you miss out on without the long lenses…

  2. Curtis Lassam Says:

    I just bought a Digital Rebel XS for Christmas, and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it.

    I’m sure I’ll think of something…

  3. Alaska-bound-- Greg and Kat’s blog Says:

    […] for a while, and get some nice pictures of the glaciers, etc. That was lens #2 on my recent Lens Wish List. I already bought lens #1, the 4.5mm fisheye. This is my attempt to stop myself from actually […]