Exploring the world through a fish eye lens

Photography is an art that constantly evolves with new techniques and equipment, allowing photographers to capture the world in unique and captivating ways. One such tool that offers a distinct perspective is the fish eye lens. This article delves into what a fish eye lens is, its costs, the look of the pictures it produces, and some fun ideas for using this versatile lens.

What is a Fish Eye Lens?

A fish eye lens is a type of wide-angle lens that produces strong visual distortion intended to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. The term “fish eye” comes from the lens’s ability to capture an image with an angle of view similar to that of a fish’s eye, typically ranging from 100 to 180 degrees.

There are two main types of fish eye lenses:

  1. Circular Fish Eye Lens: Captures a 180-degree view in all directions, producing a circular image with black borders.
  2. Full-Frame Fish Eye Lens: Captures a 180-degree view diagonally, filling the entire image sensor and producing a rectangular image.

Costs of a Fish Eye Lens

The cost of a fish eye lens can vary significantly based on the brand, quality, and specifications. Here are some general price ranges to give you an idea:

  • Entry-Level Fish Eye Lenses: These lenses are typically priced between £80 and £250. They are perfect for beginners or hobbyists looking to experiment with fish eye photography without a significant investment.
  • Mid-Range Fish Eye Lenses: Ranging from £250 to £650, these lenses offer better build quality, sharper images, and more features, making them suitable for enthusiasts and semi-professional photographers.
  • Professional Fish Eye Lenses: These lenses can cost anywhere from £650 to over £1,600. They provide superior image quality, durability, and advanced features, making them ideal for professional photographers who require top-notch performance.

The Look of Fish Eye Pictures

Fish eye lenses create a distinctive and dramatic look that can make your photos stand out. Here are some characteristics of fish eye images:

  • Wide Field of View: Captures a broader scene than standard lenses, making it ideal for landscapes, architecture, and interiors.
  • Distortion: The hallmark of fish eye lenses is their pronounced barrel distortion, where straight lines appear to curve outward from the center of the image. This can add a surreal or whimsical effect to your photos.
  • Enhanced Depth: Objects in the foreground appear larger and more pronounced, while the background seems to recede, creating a sense of depth and immersion.

There are some great examples in this photographer’s gallery.

Fun Ideas for Using a Fish Eye Lens

A fish eye lens opens up a world of creative possibilities. Here are some fun ideas to inspire your next photographic adventure:

  • Cityscapes and Architecture: Capture the grandeur of skyscrapers or the intricate details of historic buildings. The wide-angle view can emphasize the scale and symmetry of architectural structures.
  • Nature and Landscapes: Take your landscape photography to the next level by incorporating sweeping vistas, towering trees, and expansive skies into a single frame.
  • Action Shots: Fish eye lenses are great for sports and action photography. Get up close to the action and capture dynamic, immersive shots of athletes in motion (there are some really fun examples on this forum thread)
  • Creative Portraits: Use the distortion to your advantage by taking quirky and playful portraits. Place your subject in the center of the frame to minimize distortion, or experiment with off-center compositions for fun effects.
  • Travel Photography: Document your travels with a unique perspective. Fish eye lenses can make even the most familiar destinations look fresh and exciting.
  • Abstract and Artistic Shots: Embrace the distortion and create abstract, artistic images. Play with angles, reflections, and unusual compositions to produce visually striking photos.


A fish eye lens is a fantastic addition to any photographer’s toolkit, offering a unique perspective that can transform ordinary scenes into extraordinary images. Whether you’re a beginner looking to explore new techniques or a professional seeking to add a creative touch to your portfolio, a fish eye lens provides endless opportunities for fun and imaginative photography.

With its wide field of view, characteristic distortion, and ability to capture immersive and dynamic shots, the fish eye lens is a versatile and exciting tool for photographers of all levels. So grab your camera, attach a fish eye lens, and start seeing the world from a whole new angle!

Main photo licenced via Envato.

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