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I am new to underwater DSLR photography and I just got a housing for my Canon 50D. Now I am looking into getting a good all around lens to start with. From what I've read, the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye seems to be a favorite for underwater. I also found a good deal on a Canon 8-15mm fisheye. Any advice on which is the better choice? Taking into account the sensor on the 50D. Or suggestions on a better lens to start with?
Macro is "easier" to start getting lovely results with than wide angle, imho, so I'd probably head towards the 60mm macro, myself.
Haven't used the 8-15 fisheye but wouldn't give up my Tokina 10-17 - it's simply fabulous and I love the baby Zen dome for it
If you want a lens that will give you maximum flexibility and a lot of options during dive, Sigma 17-70. I adore mine. Perfect for when you don't know what you'll find or when you know you'll have tiny things and lovely wide angle scenes. It's also a great starter lens so you can get a feel for what type of uw photos you prefer to shoot. It also is a great topside lens as you can grab it and go with only one lens while traveling or a day out - I just find the range to be really sweet.
I primarily use two lenses underwater, the aforementioned Tokina 1-17 and a Canon EF-S 60mm. The Tokina is a GREAT wide angle lens and is very popular as is the EF-S 60mm for macro on crop Canons. That being said, the most important parts of my gear are the strobes. Without good lighting the lenses don't matter much. Some of my favorite shots came from my EF-S 18-55 kit lens so I am sure you will get some great ones with you Sigma. It really depends what you want to do. The Tokina is useless for macro, and the 60 is useless for WA. A zoom lens behind a dome is a very versatile option. Good luck and happy shooting!
+1 for the Tokina 10-17 and the Zen mini dome (just upgraded from an acrylic Nauticam 6" dome). The fisheye lets you do stuff that you really can't do with a regular wide angle (like get very close, the number one rule in UW photography!). My last WA was the Tokina 12-24, I never use it now.
I also love my 60 mm macro, because when I dive with it, the whale sharks tend to show up...
Never used the tokina (full frame sensor), but I think that the canon 17-40 L is a very versatile lens. I used it for wide angle and even some little stuff. Also have sigma 15 mm fisheye, and I like it.
The Tokina 10-17 is generally regarded by most people as the best wide angle option for an FX format DSLR. It is a zoom which gives you some flexibility. It also focuses really close so you can use it on a variety of smaller subjects if you can get really close. Also because of its very close focus, you can use a small dome with it (4"). The very close focus means that you can have pretty small subjects in the foreground and still have a sort of a landscape background. I don't think that either Nikon or Canon makes a lens quite like it. It has a rather "odd" mix of characteristics that make it almost uniquely suited for small sensor DSLRs in underwater photography.