Fisheye Lens Explained: When & Why Do You Need a Fisheye Lens?


Lenses are one of the most crucial parts of photography and videography. However, not all lenses are made equally, and not all lenses serve the same need. There are many unique lenses available that are not often used. Still, in certain situations, you can not replace the unique lenses with regular ones. A Fisheye lens is one of those unique kinds of lenses. And in this article, we are going to discuss the fisheye lens and why you should get one.

What is a Fisheye Lens?

So what is a fisheye lens? Well, it is a unique ultrawide, or you can say superwide lens, which offers you a whopping 180 degrees of field of view. The F-O-V of a fisheye lens is so wide that it can capture the environment from the front, below, above, and to the sides. It is unique from others in the sense that, in most lenses, there are optics for reducing distortion and keeping the consistent shape of the subject and other materials around the subject. However, in the case of a fisheye lens, we want to have that distortion in our footage to give them a unique aesthetic look. In short, a fisheye lens has two distinguishing features: the insane wide-angle and the other is the extreme barrel distortion. Now, as we have understood what the fisheye lens is, let’s see its use cases.

Framing the Subject

First of all, a fisheye lens provides the subject with the utmost attention. The spherical distortion drives the viewer’s eye to the center, giving the person framed in the middle the highest level of attention. Fisheye lenses are also used in shooting a more personalized image of animals. As a fisheye lens can capture really close-up shots, it lets you capture the mode of your pet and other animals. 

Cinemas and Music Videos

One of the prominent use cases of fisheye lenses is the music industry. There are tons of music videos featuring a fisheye view. And it is because the fisheye view can heighten a scene. Prominent music directors like Hype Williams have embraced the fisheye lens and largely contributed to popularizing the fish-eye lens as the main staple for music videos.

In cinemas, we have seen many instances where fisheye lenses have delivered the exact look and feel that goes with the situation. And one of the most popular use cases is looking through the door peephole. Moreover, a fisheye lens is widely used in movies that feature time lapse scene. 

Sports and Underwater

A fisheye lens is also perfect for underwater filming. It just gives you a new dimension to see the earth beneath. 

Another popular field for the fisheye lens is sports, particularly those that involve adventures, like skateboarding or surfing. Besides, fisheye lenses are great to capture the most heightened moments in a play, like this one.

Structures and Landscapes

For capturing structural dimensions, the fisheye lens has been used for a long time now. For example, most high-end images of skyscrapers are captured using a fisheye lens as it lets you capture the building and its surroundings.

Apart from that, landscape images with almost no straight lines are suitable for a fisheye lens. It is because the fisheye lens provides you with an extremely large field of view and wider than most wide-angle lenses. Besides, the wider the view, the more interesting the landscape will appear. So in case, if you don’t have a super wide-angle lens but still want the large FOV, you can use a fisheye lens. And as there are almost no straight lines or particles, the distortion remains at a minimal level. Moreover, you can always remove the barrel distortion whenever you want with simple tweaks in post-production.

So that was all about the fisheye lens and why you should use one. The discussion clearly shows that a fisheye lens is not a regular lens that fits all situations. Instead, they are used as a complementary lens in your gear bag and serve specific types of photography and videography needs.

Joe Pfeffer

Joe Pfeffer

What started off as just a dream for Joe Pfeffer, turned into his passion and livelihood. He started his career as a wildlife photographer and then transitioned into becoming a cinematographer. With a decade of raw on-the-field experience, Joe Pfeffer has all the technical knowledge about the ins and outs of cameras. Now, he uses his vast experience to educate others about photography.