Take it all in

Fish­eye lenses of­fer an un­usual angle of view that per­fectly com­ple­ments flash-lit ac­tion shots, ex­plains James Pater­son

NPhoto - - Contents -

Fit more of a scene into the frame, and use dis­tor­tion to great creative ef­fect, with a fish­eye lens

Man­u­fac­tur­ers take great care to en­sure lenses will pro­duce min­i­mal dis­tor­tion, so that straight lines in a scene will be cap­tured straight in the im­age. With fish­eye lenses, how­ever, they forego this ap­proach and in­stead cram as many de­grees of view as pos­si­ble into the frame. The re­sult is ex­treme dis­tor­tion, with cur­va­ture that gets more pro­nounced the fur­ther things are from the cen­tre of the frame.

The widest fish-eyes can cap­ture a 180-de­gree view, but these are the ‘cir­cu­lar’ kind that pro­duce a cir­cu­lar im­age sur­rounded by black. The ‘di­ag­o­nal’ fish­eye lenses are less wide but pro­duce a more prac­ti­cal rect­an­gu­lar im­age. The Nikon 10.5mm DX lens we used here gives a rect­an­gu­lar im­age and of­fers 180 de­grees across the di­ag­o­nals of the frame.

A fish­eye is a spe­cial­ist lens, and you wouldn’t want to use it ev­ery day. But it can give images a dy­namic feel that’s ideal for cer­tain sub­jects, like sports. It’s also the kind of look that will ben­e­fit from moody off-cam­era flash. Here’s how to get started…

A fish­eye… can give images a dy­namic feel that’s ideal for cer­tain sub­jects, like sports

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