A fisheye lens is a special extremely wide angle lens. These small, ultra-wide lenses show a distorted, spherical view of the world, most evidently in the curved, outer corners of the photograph. The angle of view is 180 degree or more. Like other wide angle lenses, you can focus still closer to the subject. Generally have an opened aperture. A fisheye lens in other words is a lens which includes
The curvature of the shadow is helping lead the eye into the red car and the bicyclist. The tree branches on the top corners are further helping confine the eye within the frame. One of the several interesting streets in Europe.
Shot on the deck of a chinese cruise ship in Singapore, the man shot against the golden evening light probably never noticed him being photographed due to the compact size of the fisheye lens. Notice the distortion of the ship and the clouds, not to miss the top of the ship on the right top corner.
Shooting large interiors, when everything needs to be included is quite a task and this is where a wide angle lens comes in handy. Photographed with a fisheye lens, the distortion does not show as the hall is circular anyways. The railing in the foreground is just about under the lens.
The Indian Parliament is round anyways, If it was not for the pathway just in front of the camera, one would not get to know if it has been shot with a fisheye or any other lens.
shot with 15mm fisheye lens, the old lady in the centre is un effected by the typical characteristics of the Fisheye lens as she is quite away from the lens. Even the other lady does not show any distortion which starts along the vertical pole on her left. If the subject is at a distance, it does not really matter if you are using a fisheye lens or an ultra wide angle lens otherwise.
Versailles, Paris, France. In Wide open spaces, the horizon is exposed as a curve. This happens with extreme wide angle lenses anyways, If you point the lens upwards, the horizon will curve upwards and vice versa. If you keep it straight, the horizon, will be straight as well and the influence of the wide angle distortion wont show. The fisheye lens has further made the sky more interesting.
Although a fisheye lens distorts a lot, but for documentation, the image above included everything for the architect, which may not have been possible with a wide angle otherwise.
This is how the place appears with an extreme wide angle lens. The lines are straight and the railing just next to the camera is not included.
The fisheye lens has included more area in the frame but has also distorted the actual appearance of the place. Looking at the photograph, one may assume the place to be sort of oval where as it is not.
As with any other wide angle lens the perspective in the photograph changes , the way you position the horizon. The appearance of the photograph or the distortion in the photograph changes with the change in the way the camera is being held.
The camera is pointed upwards, the portion on the right lower side is closer and appears bigger than the other area.
The camera is pointed downwards and the way the bridge is distorted changes. The upper part since it is away can not be closer to the camera anyways even as the camera is pointed downwards.
As the camera is held straight, minimum distortion as such is visible or noticeable.
1/15 at f 2.8 eos 5d, ISO 50
The curvature of the earth / horizon is exaggerated when the camera +fisheye lens is tilted downwards. When it is kept straight or parallel keeping the main subjects in the lower part the horizon does not show so much distortion typical of fisheye or extreme wide angle lenses.
Munish Khanna is a well experienced creative photographer based in Delhi, India
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