What is Fisheye Lens ? Print
Written by Peleng   

A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide-angle lens that has angle of view 180o or more. The design of such lenses and their shape are really to some extent similar to the organ of sight of fishes. Perspective distortion in such optical systems cannot be neutralized, and the lens forms abizarrely distorted convex-rounded picture, which is the main distinguishing feature of the fisheye lenses.

In practice, there are two main types of such lenses:

1. Circular lenses, which give a circular image within the film frame, and thus they have the angle of field of view 180o in any direction.

2. Diagonal or full-frame lenses, the image circle of which is circumscribed around the film, so that only the diagonal angle of view is 180o.


Fisheye Peleng 3.5/8 Fisheye Peleng 2.8/17


Because of the large barrel-shaped distortion, the images obtained by the fisheye lenses differ from the frames made by common wide-angle lenses in significant distortions rounding straight lines. This effect is particularly noticeable at the image edges. It is both a disadvantage and advantage of these lenses. Hence, there are two types of shooting by such lenses: the first one – if it’s possible to hide the distortion, the second one - to stress the distortion as much as you can and thus to achieve maximum effect.


Fisheye 3.5/8 Fisheye 3.5/8

The unusual perspective, which draws the fisheye lens, forces the photographer to use creative imagination and search for this property good application. In other words, to choose the types of shooting, where the lens manifests itself in the most favorable light.

One of such genres is free shooting of urban architectural landscape and interior, where there is no need to capture the subjects documentarily. It’s rather necessary to get the image and the photographer is given full scope. In such situations, the “fisheye”can provide with flying colours all the creative potential.

Fisheye Lens 3,5/8

However, the 180-degree view, except the widest (in all senses of this word) creative possibilities, in practice leads also to the fact that the field of view of the lens tries to get everything, not just what the photographer wanted to be in the frame. It’s very difficult to find "not littered" with unnecessary details spaces even in the urban architectural landscape. With the “fisheye” you will, for sure, see all the billboards, trolleybus wires, orderly bins, and many other "charms" of the modern city. But if a serious photographer is able to find the right angle and the space is fantastic (as he wishes), fantastic unusual composition, which does not leave the audience indifferent but will trigger emotional outburst, will be his award.

How fisheye lens work

Fisheye Lens 3,5/8

In some cases, the horizon line can remain perfect, even while shooting with such lenses. It is necessary to place it in the center of the field of view’s circumference of the lens to achieve such effect. However, this technique often results in a very static and equilibrium composition of the picture. The subsequent trimming of the image can help to cope with it.


Fisheye Lens 2.8/17 Fisheye Lens 2.8/17

If you tilt the camera down and thereby shift the horizon line in the upper part of the frame, you can make pictures "proving" that the Earth is round.

What is fisheye: Peleng 17mm

Fisheye Lens 2,8/17

Landscape photography, in the absence of the field of view of strict verticals, allows to mask the effect of "fisheye" almost completely. You can get interesting photos of your pets with these lenses. An unusual perspective can often highlight their character and peculiarity.


Fisheye Lens 2.8/17 Fisheye Lens 3.5/8

It should be noted, that almost every self-respecting manufacturer of lenses has a "fisheye" model. It demonstrates the demand for these devices from both professional photographers and amateur photographers. However, these lenses manufactured by well-known companies are very expensive. BelOMO successfully mastered the manufacture of both types of these lenses: circular lens 3,5 / 8A and full-frame 2.8 / 17 (it is mistakenly called circular in the operating manual). They can be used with both film and digital full-frame format cameras (24x36mm), and the cameras with a matrix of smaller size (crop factor × 1.5). In such cases, the lens operates as the central part, thus the angle of view is reduced, but the quality of pictures is higher. Corner sharpness falls scarcely.

Characteristics of lenses

1. The undoubted advantage of these lenses is the fact that they are quite compact, moderately heavy and strong enough. They are made in the best traditions of classical Soviet optics - glass and metal. Therefore, if you use them carefully, they will serve for a very long time.

2. Lenses are manual. The absence of electronics on the one hand reduces the number of possible faults. On the other hand, this means that the metering, while the aperture is opened, will not function. The metering, while the aperture is opened, is only possible on the "Nikon” cameras D200, D300, D7000 and full-frame models You always have to focus manually; however, it’s not so difficult with such small focal distances. On the "Nikon" cameras the emergence of the green dot in the left bottom corner of the viewfinder confirms the correct focusing. Due to the fact that the lenses do not have electronic chips of"dialogue" with the cameras, you should feed the characteristics manually in order to reflect them in the metadata of images made with "Nikon". The menu section "Lenses without CPU”.

3. Lenses are not equipped with mechanism of instant-return diaphragm. First of all, you should fully open the aperture and turn the aperture closing ring as far as it will go before releasing the shutter. As a result, you’ll obtain the value that was set before on the ring of presetting of the aperture. These manipulations reduce a bit the operational efficiency, but if we take into account nature of subjects shot by such lenses, it is not a crucial disadvantage.

4. The apperture "2.8" and "3.5" demonstrate sufficient lens aperture. It allows to obtain bright images in the view finder of a reflex camera and to make photos under low illumination conditions. They are not inferior to foreign analogues in these values.

5. Chromatic aberrations are practically unavoidable in such lenses but they are relatively small. This parameter of the lens is similar to the zoom of “Nikon” 18-55/3,5-5,6 and it can be easily corrected in the relevant sections of “Photoshop”.

6. In practice, the quality of the lenses can meet the needs of experienced amateur photographers as well as of a significant part of the needs of demanding professionals. There are no similar lenses among products of “well-known” firms in terms of "price-quality". The Lens "MC Zenitar-N" 2,8/16, manufactured by JSC "Krasnogorsk Plant named after S.A.Zverev”, differs significantly from the Belarusian product in sharpness, chromatic aberration in the "yellow-blue"area (MC Zenitar-N is worth). MC Zenitar 2,8/16 Fragment Fisheye 2,8/17 Fragment


MC Zenitar 2,8/16 Fragment

Fisheye Peleng 2.8/17 Fragment

7. Belarusian Fisheye lenses better endure the side light than the Russian analog. Specific light patches are usually caught on the backlight. They can sometimes even adorn the frame.

8. Back covers of both lenses are disappointing in design. They cannot be fixed.

The front coversa re very unpractical. Internal details after short-term use come unstuck; making it difficult to press them well, as a result, you can lose them. The manufacturers of the “MC Zenitar-H 2,8/16" have decided this question much more better. The back cover is firmly mounted on the lens, and the front cover of “Nikkor” is made with a lock, so that you cannot open it accidentally. It means convenience while working with it and safety of the device, protection from dust. A very important point in using a digital camera is cleaning of matrix. This process is very complicated and expensive. But such details cannot taint positive, in whole, image of the Belarusian lenses.