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