Feb 10, 2024

Everything You Need To Know About Fisheye Lenses

No, Literally, Everything You Need To Know About Fisheye Lenses.

Hunter Scott
Hunter Scott
Everything You Need To Know About Fisheye Lenses

Fisheye lenses, known for their unique visual distortion and wide field of view, have been a staple in the world of photography for many years. These lenses, which are designed to capture an ultra-wide field of view, can create stunning and dramatic images that are impossible to achieve with standard lenses. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of fisheye lenses, exploring their history, how they work, and how to use them effectively.

Understanding Fisheye Lenses

Fisheye lenses are a type of ultra-wide angle lens that produces strong visual distortion to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. The term "fisheye" was coined in 1906 by American physicist and inventor Robert W. Wood based on the idea that the lens would see the world the same way a fish might see it from under the water.

An example of wide angle photography with a fisheye lens
Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye

These lenses are unique in their ability to capture a 180-degree field of view, making them ideal for capturing expansive landscapes, skyscapes, and other wide-angle shots. However, the trade-off for this wide field of view is the distinctive barrel distortion that fisheye lenses create. This distortion can give images a unique, surreal quality, but it can also be a challenge to work with if not used correctly.

Types of Fisheye Lenses

There are two main types of fisheye lenses: circular and full-frame. The type of fisheye lens you choose will depend on your specific needs and the kind of photography you wish to do.

An example of wide angle photography with a fisheye lens
Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Circular Fisheye Lenses

Circular fisheye lenses capture an image that is circular, with the rest of the image frame being black. These lenses offer a 180-degree view in all directions, and they are often used for creating abstract images or for scientific applications where the full 360-degree data is required.

One of the challenges with circular fisheye lenses is that they can be difficult to use effectively for traditional photography, as the extreme distortion and circular image can be disorienting. However, with practice and creativity, these lenses can be used to create truly unique images.

Full-Frame Fisheye Lenses

Full-frame fisheye lenses, on the other hand, produce an image that fills the entire frame. While they still offer a wide field of view (usually around 180 degrees diagonally), the distortion is less extreme than with circular fisheye lenses, making them more suitable for traditional photography.

Full-frame fisheye lenses are often used for landscape and architectural photography, as well as for creating unique perspectives in portrait photography. They can also be a great choice for underwater photography, where the wide field of view can be used to capture large subjects or scenes.

Where to buy a fisheye lens?

That one is easy - Moment have you covered. Check here.

How to Use a Fisheye Lens

Using a fisheye lens effectively requires a different approach than using a standard lens. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fisheye lens.

An example of wide angle photography with a fisheye lens
Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Embrace the Distortion

The distortion created by fisheye lenses can be a powerful creative tool. Instead of trying to avoid it, embrace it and use it to your advantage. The distortion can create a sense of depth and scale that is not possible with standard lenses, and it can add a unique, surreal quality to your images.

One way to use the distortion creatively is to place your subject close to the lens. This will exaggerate the size of the subject relative to the rest of the image, creating a dramatic effect. You can also use the distortion to create interesting effects with lines and shapes, such as by shooting architecture or landscapes from unique angles.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Because fisheye lenses capture such a wide field of view, it's important to be aware of your surroundings when shooting. Elements that you might not notice with a standard lens can become prominent features in a fisheye image.

Pay close attention to the edges of your frame, as objects at the edge will be stretched and distorted. Also, be aware of your own shadow or reflection, as it's easy to accidentally include yourself in the shot when using a fisheye lens.


Fisheye lenses are a unique tool in the world of photography, offering a perspective and visual distortion that is unlike any other type of lens. While they can be challenging to use effectively, with practice and creativity, fisheye lenses can open up a whole new world of photographic possibilities.

Whether you're interested in landscape, architecture, portrait, or abstract photography, a fisheye lens can be a valuable addition to your camera bag. With their unique ability to capture a wide field of view and create dramatic distortion, fisheye lenses can help you see the world in a whole new way.

Check out my deep dive on Fisheye Technique over at Moment!

If you want to learn more, or you're more of a video person, cool - check out my quick video on Fisheye below:

Thanks for watching/reading! I hope that helped. You should definitely add a fisheye lens into your arsenal, they're such a fun tool to have! If you enjoyed, consider joining my free email community below :)