What Is A Fisheye Lens?

fisheye camera lens

FishEye Lens: Everything You Need To Know

In the filmmaking industry, finding the perfect lens that captures more scenes than regular rectilinear lenses can be daunting. This article includes everything you need to know about the fish eye lens, its history, characteristics, and photography applications.

What Is A Fisheye Lens?

A fisheye lens is an element of a camera that is used to capture scenes from an endless array of angles, usually 180 degrees. It also goes by the names “super wide” or “ultra-wide,” and it creates images that appear distorted, giving them a more dynamic and abstract appearance.

You can use a fisheye lens when recording videos or shooting stills. And if you can’t get your hands on any of the best Nikon fisheye lenses, the good news is that some smartphones have adapters that let you imitate the spectacular ultra-wide fish eye effect.

History Of A Fisheye Lens

In 1906, American scientist Robert W. Wood coined the phrase “fisheye.” In a report he published, he described the research in which he constructed a camera in a water-filled bucket, commencing at the bottom with an image receptor.

A short focus lens has a pinhole diaphragm about midway up the barrel and a glass plate at the rim to reduce water rippling.

The experiment was designed to mimic how a fish might observe an ultrawide hemispheric perspective when submerged in water.

Types Of Fisheye Lenses

A fish eye lens comes in two major variations: 

  1. Full-Frame Fisheye Lens 

Because it only records the 180-degree arc across its diagonal, a full-frame fisheye seems different. The effect is less dramatic than a circular fisheye, and the imaging field generally fits inside the sensor’s aspect ratio. 

In other words, the final image does not have a black border around it. Because of this, they are better suited for practical tasks like interior building photography and classic landscape photography.

     2.Circular Fisheye Lens

The core picture area of the round/circular type captures a 180-degree perspective in all directions, giving the impression of staring into a glass ball, while the remainder of the frame space is black. 

These more intense fisheye lenses are typically utilized for creative endeavors like snowboard photography or for capturing unique panoramas and urban landscapes.

Attributes Of Fisheye Lens

Here are the qualities of a fisheye lens:

Focal Range

A standard spherical fisheye lens has a focal range of 8 to 10 mm, but a full-frame lens has a focal distance of 15 to 16 mm.

Crop Factor

For cameras with sensors smaller than 35mm, the focus length is substantially increased. To get the focal distance of a lens, multiply the focal distance by the camera’s “cropping factor.” A 10mm fisheye lens, for example, has an equivalent focal distance of 15mm on a camera with a cropping factor of 1.5. As an outcome, the view field will get reduced. 

As a result, numerous manufacturers provide fisheye lenses designed specifically for cameras having smaller sensors. These use far lower focal lengths, often as low as 1mm, to acquire a full 180-degree image.

Depth of Field

Fisheye lenses offer a huge optical depth of field because they catch such an extreme angle. Your photos will therefore appear to be precisely centered from front to rear. As a result, they are perfect for taking pictures of scenarios with fascinating objects in the background and foreground.

On the contrary, because the background is out of focus, this high field of view makes it very tricky to isolate your target. When framing your photo, keep this in mind so that you may pick a backdrop that isn’t crowded.

Angle of View

A “genuine” fisheye lens is one that has a maximum field of view of 180 degrees. However, some suppliers offer lenses that can be adjusted up to 220 degrees. These lenses are frequently quite large, expensive, and primarily used for specialized, technical work.

Using software like Photoshop, you may patch together multiple fisheye photos to capture more than 180 degrees. This enables the creation of visuals that can span up to 360 degrees, resulting in some highly intriguing, abstract creations.

Image Aberration

Images produced by a fisheye lens exhibit barrel distortion, in which the center of the frame bulges outward, and the resultant image is referred to as a curved image.

In “rectilinear” images created by standard wide-angle lenses, the scene’s perspective appears regular, and the lines are straight. A fisheye lens, however, produces a view angle that is too severe for this kind of correction.

Mapping Functions

The fisheye lens has various mapping functions, including orthographic, equidistant, rectilinear, equisolid, and stereographic.

Fisheye Lens Projections

In a fisheye projection, the angle of divergence is equal to the length between the picture’s point and center.

Not all transformation projections are fisheye projections. It is a collection of transition estimations the manufacturers have labeled in various ways. For instance, symmetrical fisheye projection and equisolid order estimate.

Typographic or stereographic projections over spinning pictures and other conventional three-dimensional projections are no longer widely used. 

Timelapse methods can be used to gather views of these projections.

Applications of Fisheye Lens

Any subject can be photographed with a fisheye, including astrophotography, wildlife, indoor and outdoor architecture, and even portraiture!

In all situations, it is obvious that you are distorting reality, but in portraits, where noses are enlarged and other facial features are diminished, this distortion is most pronounced, and the resulting image can be unsightly.

The unusual perspective of a fisheye is also highly well-liked for extreme sports, where the barrel aberration can enhance the impression of motion and movement of, for instance, a skydiver in midair. Here, its extreme width can render an already spectacular action appear even more daring and striking.


Fisheye lenses are well recognized for taking incredibly broad panoramas of landscapes and the sky and shooting up-close scenes of people, buildings, and interiors. In addition, they are employed to capture images of action sports like snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing.

Due to the dramatic, distorted images that fisheye lenses generate, many photographers now use them to capture beautiful images of any subject, including still life and portraiture.

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