How a fish eye lens is different from normal lens

Fish Eye lens covers an amazing field of view. The distortion effects can give a completely new perception to a photograph. A fish eye lens almost covers 180 degree view which is from tip to tip hands stretched apart. To give you are idea about the coverage, here is the first image clicked with a mobile camera in portrait mode with Honor 6x.

Both images are kept side by side for the sake of comparison. But in reality, a fish eye lens covers a really large area.

Choice of fish eye lens

Most fish eye lens are prime. Means there are no moving parts. Few of the lens also do not communicate with the camera. Mean they do not pass on meta data information to the camera. The lens does not have an electronics. While most lens manufacturers have costly fish eye lens in their portfolio there is but one exception. Samyang manufactures some fantastic lens at down to earth prices. And the lens is pretty good too. As the results show.

circular building clicked by a fihs eye lens
Circular building with a more prominent curve due to a fish eye lens

Next photo is of a night club. InĀ  a single frame we have the band, dance floor, beer vats and much more. Also notice how the distortion is minimal.

fish eye image of night club

Curving of horizon

A fish eye lens can truly demonstrate the curve of the horizon in a eye catching manner. The curve can be made to look concave or convex depending of how one positions the lens. Too much of concave means more sky and too much of convex means more ground visible.

concave horizon by fish eye lens
concave horizon shows more sky

One point to be careful of is the shadow or the photographers shoes or legs which can easily come in the frame.

convex horizon of fish eye lens
convex horizon gets the sky to be less visible.

Of course the shadow pattern on the ground can create good effects.

fish eye photo of shadows
Fish eye picture of light and shadow pattern

Notice how in the above picture the horizon is almost leaving no sky in view. Of course patterns on ground can really come out well as seen in the picture below.

Fish Eye lens can capture a good pattern on the ground

Picking up too much ground can ruin the photo. Like in this example, where a large piece of carpet has entered the frame.

too much ground in the fish eye frame

It can always be corrected with post picture editing. But still composition can be taken care of right in the beginning. Here is the cropped version.

cropped image to remove extra

Distortion

A fish eye lens is prominent by the distortion it creates. Distortion is fun and there are ways to limit it. the best part is one can always choose the area which needs distortion and the degree too. Fish eye lens are mostly prime. Means there are no moving part. Which means no zoom. So you have to get to the subject.

First check out how the lines are getting distorted. First the horizontal lines.

metro line near DLF cyber hubHorizon is straight line…

The building line is the horizon and it maintains the straight lines. The metro line on top and the road below with the light trails is bent. But what about the vertical lines.

vertical and horizontal lines in fish eye photo
horizontal and vertical lines get distorted

Same applies for vertical lines. Notice in above picture how the poles supporting the frame are curved in the beginning and as they go far, they straighten. To enjoy the distortion effects frame your subject accordingly.

Twist effect

This effect I have seen in a number of photo samples of fish eye lens online. To get this effect you have to turn the camera either in clockwise or anti clockwise manner. Camera settings is Shutter Priority and the shutter speed should be equal to time of camera rotation. Rotation can be done only by hand as there is no other way to do it.

light trail effect with a twist

light trails with a twist

I have yet to get this effect perfect. Ideally the picture or subject in the center has to be clear and the surroundings blurred in rotation effect. I have to work on that.

Flaring of light source(s)

A fish eye lens picks up lot of light. This is definitely an advantage during low light photography. But be careful of how light source can mess up the picture. And there is no way to edit it out.

light flaring

Notice how the light source under the metro line has resulted in a white patch which is a great distraction in the otherwise dark picture. The same light source has ruined another photo.

light source in picture

The only possible way to get rid of this problem is to compose your picture well.

Best Subjects for a fish eye lens- Trees and monuments

Choosing subjects for fish eye is very tricky. Landscapes and monuments or large buildings are the best options. Fortunately you will never run out of these subjects. Monuments are best subjects. So are buildings with lights at night or twilight. Curved or circular buildings are special treats.

India Gate
India Gate through a Fish Eye

A restaurant wall or any wall in a restricted space makes an interesting picture. Like this wall of Naturals Ice Cream shop in Delhi.

wall decor at Naturals Ice Cream
The entire wall fills up the frame

A store front with bright lights and display also makes up a good picture. Capturing lights can be tricky.

store front captured with fish eye lens
A store front captured with a fisheye lens

Capturing with fish eye lens

And a few other examples of capture.

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