Fisheye Facts & Fantasies; Get The Most From Fisheye Lenses Page 2

Fisheye Fact No. 7. You don’t have to resign yourself to underexposed foreground subjects when shooting with a fisheye. You may be able to use flash. Just don’t expect the flash to cover a wide area, and, when using the camera’s built-in flash, be careful to avoid casting a shadow on a nearby subject (which is more readily discernible with horizontal than vertical shots).

Dramatic POV
I positioned myself behind the net, framing tightly with the fisheye lens focused around the net area, and awaited a goal.

Fisheye Fact No. 8. Yes, you can use a fisheye to photograph people. Try to keep them in the center of the frame to minimize distortion.

Fisheye Fact No. 9. You don’t need a fisheye to give an image that characteristic look. You can use software. However, since parts of the image may be lost at the edges, make sure you have plenty of breathing room surrounding the subject. Taken too far, this step results in degraded image quality.

Fisheye Flash?
No flash will cover the full breadth of a fisheye lens, but all you may really need is just a bit of fill for a nearby subject—and that is within the scope of any flash unit, even the camera’s pop-up flash (provided the situation is handled adroitly).

Fisheye Fact No. 10. By the same token, fisheye distortion can be corrected with varying degrees of success in post. This process also may come at some expense to the overall integrity of the image.

Fisheye Vision: Some Caveats
• Unobserved elements may intrude on the picture space. That includes your feet on the ground, a tripod leg, or a finger at the front edge of the lens barrel, or someone entering the shot.

• Make sure the fisheye matches the sensor size of the camera. Specifically, many of the fisheyes being introduced today are aimed at APS-C-sensor D-SLR cameras, not full-frame digitals. Also, using a fisheye designed for full-frame sensors on APS-C cameras will truncate the fisheye effect.

• Using filters: because of the protruding nature of the front element, fisheye lenses don’t accommodate front-mounted filters. Some fisheyes, however, will accept rear-mounted gelatin filters. It is rare that a fisheye will come with a built-in filter turret that lets you dial in the needed filters. Sadly, there’s no room for a polarizer on a fisheye.

• The built-in petal-shaped lens shade protects against flare, but it does little to protect against the elements, wayward fingers, and flying debris. And be especially watchful of protruding twigs, branches, and such as you move closer to your subject, since distances are deceptive. So keep a watchful eye on the front element without losing sight of the subject.

(Upper & Lower): Every now and then you find a symmetric space that is something out of the ordinary. I stepped in and out of the elevator of my Berlin hotel countless times—until that one time when I had a fisheye attached to my camera.

Fisheye Lenses And Fisheye Cameras
This is a sampling of fisheye lenses, converters, and cameras for digital and film.
Bower (—for APS-C format Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony/Minolta
Canon (—primarily for full-frame sensor cameras (diagonal/rectangular)
Hasselblad (—for V-system cameras (diagonal/rectangular)
Lensbaby (—Fisheye Optic accessory (circular, 160? field of view, requires Lensbaby Composer—fits all popular camera brands)
Lomography (—fisheye cameras for analog capture (circular)
Mamiya (—for RZ67 Pro IID
Nikon (—select models for select cameras (diagonal/rectangular)
Olympus (—Four Thirds format (diagonal/rectangular)
Pentax (—for Pentax D-SLRs (10-17mm diagonal/rectangular fisheye zoom)
Phoenix (—fisheye converter (mounts to front of lens, supplied with adapters)
Sigma (—for Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Sony Alpha (circular and diagonal/rectangular: select models for select full-frame or APS-C format cameras)
Sony (—for Sony Alpha (24mm-equivalent images, 110? angle of view)
Sunex (—for APS-C format Canon, Nikon (circular, includes Dewarper software for PC)
Tokina (—for APS-C format Canon, Nikon (10-17mm diagonal/rectangular fisheye zoom)