How to get the most out of Fisheye lenses?

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During the last PMPE in Cebu, Steven Choong lent me his fisheye lens. It was a real challenge on how to effectively use it. It is not one of the easiest lenses to use. Due to its ultra wide and fisheye distortion, it is very easy to shoot a lot of nothing. I have seen a lot of photos posted here and realised that not many people know how to use this fisheye and ultra wide lens characteristics effectively.

I shot the whole morning with this lens and soon learnt how to shoot with it and get some meaningful images.

Here are some pointers:-

  1. Hold the camera as horizontal as possible. Just watch out that the horizon does not curve upwards or downwards. This will reduce the horizontal distortion. Now the only think to worry about is the vertical barrel distortions. This distortion is inevitable. So learn how to accept the fact and make full use of it.
  2. Place the main subject in the centre of the frame to get a neutral perspective.
  3. Move in close to the subject(s). This will give the viewer an intimate feel of being there. Here lies one of the most important reasons why you would want to get that fisheye lens.
  4. Don’t overuse the fisheye effect. It will lose it novelty.
  5. You will have to deal with chromatic aberrations as this is a common problem with fisheye lenses.
  6. Exposure wise, try to choose the background carefully. It is so easy to include a situation that has exposure latitude larger than the digital sensor.
  7. Sometimes you may want to use the horizontal distortions for some effects. You may want to think thru the image before using the fisheye lens.

Try to experiment with this lens and see what it can do for you.  It is definitely a challenge to use one. Have fun.




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