Nikon fisheye lenses: how to choose and use the best curvilinear optic for you

    By | Photography Tutorials | Tutorials | 06/12/2012 14:46pm

    Given the our obsession with the weather, we should be big fans of Nikon fisheye lenses. Fisheye lenses were originally used by meteorologists intent on capturing the entire sky in one image, ideal for tracking weather systems.

    The extreme angle of view, generally a full 180°, then found favour with photographers wanting a funky, offbeat look to their images.

    Nikon fisheye lenses: how to choose and use the best curvilinear optic for you

    Most wide-angle and even ultra-wide lenses are rectilinear in design. The aim is to keep barrel distortion to a minimum so that, perspective effects aside, straight lines in scenes are reproduced as straight within images.

    Fisheye lenses are radically different, based on curvilinear optics. Barrel distortion is extreme, creating a massively outward bowing effect. It’s this that’s most obvious when comparing fisheye images with more mainstream pictures.

    A by-product of the extremely short focal length of using your Nikon fisheye lenses is that perspective effects are radically enhanced. Objects in the middle distance look much further away and backgrounds appear to shrink away to the far distance.

    Meanwhile, modestly-sized objects in the near foreground can look comparatively massive. Your Nikon fisheye lenses are therefore great for exaggerating perspective.

    Some of the more popular Nikon fisheye lenses on the market include

    • Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Asph IF MC CS AE £250, $329
    • Lensbaby Composer + 12mm f/4 Fisheye Optic £305, $350
    • Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG £480, $610
    • Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM £490, $600
    • Nikon AF DX 10.5mm f/2.8G ED £550, $700
    • Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM £580, $900
    • Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG £620, $900
    • Nikon AF 16mm f/2.8D £630, $900

    We’ll use these examples for discussion throughout the remaining pages of this tutorial.


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    Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2012 at 2:46 pm under Photography Tutorials, Tutorials. You can subscribe to comments.

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