Thanks to Jonathan Dixon from the PFRE flickr group for pointing out that Sigma now has a another ultra wide lens in it's line up that is appropriate for real estate photographers that use cropped sensor DSLRs. It is the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF Ultra Wide Zoom.
Probably the first thing that comes to mind when you see this lens is why does Sigma need another ultra wide lens when they already have the popular Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6? The answer is that this lens has higher image quality and those 2 less millimeters of focal length give it almost 12.1 degrees wider maximum field of view than the Sigma 10-20mm. All for around $200 more. Sigma claims this is the widest field of view (114.5 degrees) lens for APS-C sensor DSLRs. For what it's worth, Slrgear.com rates the image quality of this lens the same as the Nikon 14-24mm but rates the build quality less. But Ken Rockwell is not that impressed with this lens because the autofocus is slow and you can use filters on it. He likes the Nikon 10-24mm better.
Before you get too worked up about this 114.5 degree field of view, this feature brings with it some really heavy geometric distortion. The eye doesn't notice geometric distortion so much when you are shooting landscapes because you typically don't have expectations about what the image is suppose to look like, but when shooting interiors the viewers brain/eye has a visual model of what interiors look like and when an image gets too different from that visual model viewers start to use terms like weird and wacky. I had one very polite home seller that characterized my photos shot with my 16-35mm set at 16mm as "cartoon like". The Sigma 8-16 can go down to 12mm effective focal length on Nikon APS-C bodies. All I can say is use restraint!
I've added the Sigma 8-16 to my list of suggested lenses for real estate photographers. By looking at this table of lenses it is interesting to note that the Sigma 8-16 may be more significant to Pentax and Sony DSLR owners because both Nikon and Canon has a lens that is very close in quality to the Sigma 8-16mm whereas the Sigma 8-16mm appears to be rated higher in image quality than any other ultra wide angle lenses available for Pentax and Sony DSLRs.
Here are some reviews of this lens:
Is anyone using the lens for real estate shooting? What do you think?