How to Choose a Fisheye Lens

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How to Choose a Fisheye Lens

Fisheye lenses allow keen photographers to take images that have an almost 180-degree view around the camera. This creates a distortion known as the fisheye effect. While it’s not an effective portrait lens, it does allow extreme wide-angle effects that are popular among some landscape photographers. In addition, they’re also popular among photographers who like to take images in cities.


Choosing the Right Fisheye Lens For a DSLR Camera

The right fisheye lens depends on the photographer’s equipment. Often, photographers will have specific setups that mean certain lenses are not compatible, as the mounts from other lens types will not fit. Camera types include:

  • Nikon
  • Canon
  • Sony
  • Pentax
  • Olympus

In addition, there are third-party manufacturers of fisheye lenses, such as Sigma and Tamron. These are often worth considering, as they make a range of similar fisheyes for different mounts.

Lens Length

Typically, fisheyes are prime lenses, so most cannot zoom. The lens length of a fisheye varies between the ultra-short 4.5mm and the relatively long, but still wide angle, 17mm. The angle that they cover also varies, with the 4.5mm usually covering a full 180-degree angle and the 16mm primes covering a little less. In addition, Canon produces a single zoom fisheye lens that goes from 8mm to 15mm and Pentax produces a 10mm to 17 mm fisheye. As with most zoom lenses, the price tends to go up significantly.

Sensor Size

Photographers with full-frame cameras may find that they cannot use the full range of fisheyes without cropping their images, because some are designed with the APS-C sensor in mind. Those who have crop sensors will not be able to utilise the full 180-degree angle of a full-frame lens, as part of the light intended for the sensor will fall around that sensor. Photographers, particularly Nikon and Canon photographers, need to check which type of camera a lens is designed for.


The aperture of the lens determines how much light falls on the sensor. This can range from f/2.8 to f/4.5, with the lower numbers allowing more light through; an f/3 lens allows twice as much light through as an f/4 lens, but photographers generally pay more for the f/3 lens. In addition, the wider the aperture, the better the glass in the lens tends to be.

Manual or Autofocus

A manual lens generally needs more work than an autofocusing lens, and it is often older. While manual lenses tend to be cheaper, the glass is often not as good as modern autofocusing lenses, and they may not fit modern camera mounts.


Choosing the Right Fisheye Lens for a Smartphone

Smartphones also have access to fisheye lenses, and they’re considerably more simple than DSLR lenses. Most stick on to the phone’s case in some way, creating a quick and easy way to create the fisheye effect. However, there are a few key points to finding the right one for the phone.

How Does the Lens Attach

There are two main ways the lens attaches: it either sticks on directly or it uses a metal ring that sticks on and then attaches to that ring by a magnet. Usually, the direct method is more secure, but it also means that it’s harder to remove. The magnet method is easier to swap out, but it can be relatively simple to knock it and accidentally lose it.

Smartphone Brand

The brand of smartphone that the user has can make a big difference as to the quality of the final image or even whether the fisheye lens. Users should check that their brand of smartphone will work with the lens. In many cases, because of the low-tech nature of the attachment, what will work for one phone will work with many others of the same size, but that’s not always true. Users should check the size of their smartphone cameras to ensure that it fits.

Multiple Systems

Some fisheye lens adapters for smartphones come with multiple adapters, making it possible to zoom further or use the phone as a microscope. The use of multiple systems with the same adapter ring can be very helpful, so users should check whether they can swap out the adapters with others using the same system.


Buying Fisheye Lenses on eBay

Users can easily find the right fisheye lenses for them from sellers on eBay by searching for ‘fisheye lens’ and then their camera’s or smartphone’s brand. Alternatively, they can go to ‘Cameras and Photography’ and then select ‘Lenses’. They can then refine their results to include only the lenses that are compatible with their devices.

Finding the right fisheye lens is usually a matter of buyers working out their needs, how extreme of a fisheye angle they want and the price they’re willing to pay. With the right approach, buyers can find the fisheye they need from sellers on eBay.

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