Photography Explained

Fisheye Lenses Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes

May 20, 2021 Rick McEvoy Episode 65
Photography Explained
Fisheye Lenses Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes
Chapters
Photography Explained
Fisheye Lenses Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes
May 20, 2021 Episode 65
Rick McEvoy
Fisheye Lens Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes. Hi and welcome to Episode 65 of the Photography Explained podcast.

I’m your host Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing to you in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience. And not Google.

Here is my answer
A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide camera lens that typically provides a 180 degree field of view. A fisheye lens can be either circular or full frame, with the circular type taking a circular image with a black surround and the full frame fisheye lens taking a distorted image that fills the frame. Fisheye lenses produce alternative dramatic distorted images. But mind your feet!

Listen for more, or check out the transcript and even the blog post - so many ways to find out more!

What’s next?
Glad you asked! In Photography Explained Podcast 66, Tilt-Shift Lenses Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes.

What to ask a question?
Head over to the Want Me To Explain Something? page on the Photography Explained website and fill the form in and you are done!

Check out my my blog
Check out my photography blog where you will find lots more photography stuff all written by me.

Did you enjoy this episode?
If you did please do the following, which will help me and not take too much time.
·         Rate and review my podcast
·         Subscribe
·         Tell anyone you think might like my podcast

Thank you very much for listening and see you on the next episode.

Rick McEvoy – Photography Explained Podcast

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Rickmcevoy)

Show Notes Transcript
Fisheye Lens Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes. Hi and welcome to Episode 65 of the Photography Explained podcast.

I’m your host Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing to you in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience. And not Google.

Here is my answer
A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide camera lens that typically provides a 180 degree field of view. A fisheye lens can be either circular or full frame, with the circular type taking a circular image with a black surround and the full frame fisheye lens taking a distorted image that fills the frame. Fisheye lenses produce alternative dramatic distorted images. But mind your feet!

Listen for more, or check out the transcript and even the blog post - so many ways to find out more!

What’s next?
Glad you asked! In Photography Explained Podcast 66, Tilt-Shift Lenses Explained In Plain English In Less Than 10 Minutes.

What to ask a question?
Head over to the Want Me To Explain Something? page on the Photography Explained website and fill the form in and you are done!

Check out my my blog
Check out my photography blog where you will find lots more photography stuff all written by me.

Did you enjoy this episode?
If you did please do the following, which will help me and not take too much time.
·         Rate and review my podcast
·         Subscribe
·         Tell anyone you think might like my podcast

Thank you very much for listening and see you on the next episode.

Rick McEvoy – Photography Explained Podcast

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Rickmcevoy)

Fisheye lens explained in plain English in less than 10 minutes. Hi, and welcome to Episode 65 of the Photography Explained Podcast. I'm your host, Rick, and in each episode, I will explain one photographic thing to you in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience, and not Google. Okay, there was a bit of Google on this one, but we'll get there, the fundamentals I knew.

Let's get into this - here is the answery bit.

A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide camera lens that typically provides a 180 degree field of view. A fisheye lens can be either circular or full frame, with the circular type taking a circular image with a black surround and the full frame fisheye lens taking a distorted image that fills the frame. Fisheye lenses produce alternative dramatic distorted images. But mind your feet!

But mind your feet! I'll come back to that. Let's start at the beginning.

Where does fisheye come from?
Well, I did do a Google search for this because I genuinely did not know. According to Google, the term fisheye lens was coined by Robert W Wood in 1906. Right 1906.

Fisheye lens - why fish?
Yeah, I found some alternative names that we could use. The first one, the one that I really liked was chameleon lens. It turns out the chameleons can see 360 degrees which I can't really get my head round (no pun intended), but instead of fisheye lens we should call them chameleon lenses. No let's call them fisheye lenses because I can say that!

I thought that all sorts of reptiles had 180 degrees vision like geckos, frogs, lizards, stuff like that, but um, fisheye was the term

Types of fisheye lenses
There are two main types of fisheye lens.

  • Circular fisheye.

A circular fisheye lens produces a circular image which has a black surround. I'll come back to this.

  • Full frame

A full frame fisheye lens produces an image that fills the frame, albeit distorted. When I say fill the frame, when you look through your viewfinder, on a circular fisheye lens you've got a circle in the middle, it's not filling the whole frame. But with the full frame one it's not circular and it fills the frame.

Focal lengths
Okay. fisheye focal lengths - I didn't know this so it's good to learn something new.

  • Circular fisheye lens are typically 8-10mm (on a full frame camera).
  • Full Frame fisheye lenses are typically 15-16mm (on a full frame camera).

So yes you have got a full frame lens on a full frame camera and it has a different meaning. Why is photography so complicated?

And what about cropped sensor cameras?
Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. 8-10mm gives you a circular fisheye image, but you put that on a on a cropped sensor camera and your focal length is about 13mm meaning you won't get the full circular image, so as far as I'm aware you can't get a circular fisheye on an APS-C (hate that term) or cropped sensor camera.

Olympus do an 8mm fisheye lens that is full frame. But I saw some circular photos apparently taken with a fisheye lens that were circular? Anyway, that's what I understand.

You don't get circular fisheye lenses on crop sensor cameras or micro four thirds cameras.

If I'm wrong let me know.

Okay, more importantly, mind your feet.
Now I've experienced this - if you think about this, if you take a photo looking straight ahead stood up normally with a camera lens with a 180 degree field of view your feet will probably be in the photo. You either have to lean forward so they’re not, or tilt your camera up, or prepare yourself for some time in Photoshop removing your feet.

Tripod legs is another good one - I quite often got my tripod legs in there, not a problem but just something to remember if you do go down this road.

What are they used for?

  • Dramatic cityscapes
  • Funky interiors
  • Pointing up at trees
  • Behind the scenes shots
  • Different group shots
  • They're great from high and low viewpoints, or
  • Just to get a different viewpoint (perspective) of anything.

Do I use one?
I did have a Canon 8-15mm fisheye zoom lens for some time. It's a crazy thing I have to say because 8mm is your circular fisheye, so I took photos, which were circular with a big black frame around them.

I took a few photos, and to be brutally honest with you, I've never used one for anything ever.

No case for circular fisheye
I could not think of a single possible use for a circular fisheye image - maybe that's just my lack of imagination or creativity.

Thinking about it, Instagram will be a good platform for it but from a work point of view it was of no use to me, no use at all.

But full frame fisheye is another matter
15mm however, was a different thing. 15mm gave me very funky, distorted wide photos. One of the things I used to really enjoy doing was going into the New Forest, finding a load of trees (obviously not difficult in a forest) lying on my back and pointing my camera up (yes I really did this), and you can see all the trees bending into the middle.

Yeah, it's unusual, it's funky, it's a bit artsy, but it's great fun. I loved doing them. I've not really made any use out of the photos. And I've never used my fisheye zoom on a commercial shoot ever because it just doesn't work for architectural photography, not my style anyway.

I’m not saying it doesn't work and you can't use it, but it doesn't work for me.

So as you've heard in recent episodes, I bought a lens tried, it didn't, need it and at some point of time later sold it.

How much do fisheye lenses cost?
They're not going to be cheap. Actually, in relative terms if we go back to the last episode, the Canon 800mm lens was 13 grand. For the Canon 8-15mm fisheye zoom lens you're looking at about 1300 quid at the time of recording this (May 2021 - the first time I have put a date on an episode).

What's the point of them?
What is the point of a fisheye lens? They are great fun to play around with. I don't have a need for a fisheye lens. I really don't. I've tried it. I got some good stuff.

What did I get?
I took some interesting photos of Bournemouth pier with the 14mm end, where I had the pier top left in the frame at one corner with the pier running away in the distance. Yes, it looks a bit artificial because it is but it was funky.

I also did some circular stuff that like I say I never used.

I had a go at a few interiors on shoots but I never used the images.

Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes shots is an interesting one because you can get right behind someone (yourself), you can get the whole thing in. That's actually a really good use of them.

Different group shots
I've seen a photographer use a fisheye lens at a wedding, put the camera on a pole above a group and then looked down on them and took a photo. No need to worry about focusing because the depth of field is endless, and it was a really good overhead shot.

Nowadays I guess you'd use a drone or something but um if you got a fisheye lens high and low viewpoints just exaggerate the distortion that they give you.

Distortion
I should mention that the distortion is a major thing. High and Low viewpoints - get the camera down on the ground and point it up and it just makes everything go a bit nuts, and again looking down on things is good.

I also got a really cool photo thinking about it (these things are coming back to me now). I was stood on a jetty and I managed to get all of the jetty in including the bit I was stood on. And it was all sharp and the sky was massive and endless and I was shooting straight into the sun.

How to not take a photo
It was like, take 10 things that you shouldn't do when you're taking a photograph and do them and what do you get? You either get

  • Rubbish, or 
  • A great photo

I got a really good photo. I loved it. So yeah, I sold the lens really because I didn't have a commercial need for it. And I don't tend to take that many photographs for myself these days sadly.

It had a big bulbous piece of glass on the front that looked ever so prominent, and the lens was big and you can’t put filters on the front of them.

But apart from that, there's nothing wrong with them if that's what you're into. If you like using a fisheye lens, knock yourself out, do it. If you enjoy it that much, make it your thing - be the fisheye photographer. Nothing wrong with that, or it's good to be different.

Okay, my one line summary.
Fisheye lenses are ultra-wide angle lenses offering a unique perspective.

Next episode. Well my notes are wrong again. It says Episode 65 This is Episode 65, isn't it? Well after fisheye lenses, I'm going to move on to my nemesis. Not really - that was too dramatic wasn't it? I'm going to talk about tilt shift lenses.

I have to be careful that I don't mispronounce that one because I need to keep my clean family rating. Okay, I'm done here.

Rate, review and subscribe my podcast please
Please leave a nice review and rating if you enjoyed this episode, or any other episode come to that. Please subscribe so you don't miss an episode, and if you could tell one person about my podcast, I'd be most grateful.

Find out more
To find out more about my podcast and to ask me a question of your own check out the Photography Explained Podcast website. And to find out more about me please go to my website, Rick McEvoy Photography.

Now I have to tell you know that due to endless coughing, spluttering and errors, this was about take 18 - this was a bad one to start with. But yeah, I had to walk away, calm down, come back, start again. And I think we've got there in the end. I think it's all good.

Thank you
I will say thank you, thank you very much for listening to my small but perfectly formed podcast.

Brought to you by
This episode was brought to you by the powers of recovery. After a coughing fit and something stuck in my throat.

I've been Rick McEvoy, thank you once again very much for listening to me, and for giving me 12 and nearly ¾ minutes of your valuable time, and I will see you on the next episode. Cheers from me, Rick.

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