Forums > Photography Talk > Fisheye Lens for Portraits

Photographer

Drew Conerly

Posts: 117

Brandon, Mississippi, US

I have been thinking about getting a fisheye lens for exaggerated portraits, close-up/macro shots, and ultra wide shots (with distortion correction).  For any photographers that own a fisheye lens, do you regret the purchase, or do you feel like it helps to seperate your work from other photographers in your area?  What is your best portrait taken with a fisheye lens?

Oct 04 12 06:01 pm Link

Photographer

Jacob delaRosa

Posts: 208

Birmingham, Alabama, US

This really opened my eyes to what a fisheye can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-WxCoDewbY

It's not always about the distortion...though it is a lot of fun!

Oct 04 12 06:15 pm Link

Photographer

Karl Blessing

Posts: 30853

Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

Jacob delaRosa wrote:
This really opened my eyes to what a fisheye can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-WxCoDewbY

It's not always about the distortion...though it is a lot of fun!

Some of the fish eyes have less distortion than you would expect, I think like the samyang 8mm. Seems like it's more about how you shoot the perspective.

*watching vid now*

Oct 04 12 06:27 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 28014

Dearborn, Michigan, US

Karl Blessing wrote:

Some of the fish eyes have less distortion than you would expect, I think like the samyang 8mm. Seems like it's more about how you shoot the perspective.

*watching vid now*

I just purchased the Bower 8mm fisheye which is made by Samyang.  I like it.
I took one shot from the curb in front of my house and also captured the houses on both sides.

Oct 04 12 06:32 pm Link

Photographer

Karl Blessing

Posts: 30853

Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

Karl Blessing wrote:
Some of the fish eyes have less distortion than you would expect, I think like the samyang 8mm. Seems like it's more about how you shoot the perspective.

*watching vid now*

Jerry Nemeth wrote:
I just purchased the Bower 8mm fisheye which is made by Samyang.  I like it.
I took one shot from the curb in front of my house and also captured the houses on both sides.

I mainly want to get one for my pen for those moments when I want something 16ish without the stereotypical over-distortion. But I would get one in the pentax-K mount so that I can put it on my K10D if I need to.

Oct 04 12 06:52 pm Link

Photographer

Images by MR

Posts: 7781

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Drew Conerly wrote:
I have been thinking about getting a fisheye lens for exaggerated portraits, close-up/macro shots, and ultra wide shots (with distortion correction).  For any photographers that own a fisheye lens, do you regret the purchase, or do you feel like it helps to seperate your work from other photographers in your area?  What is your best portrait taken with a fisheye lens?

Renting them to play with is cheap smile

Oct 04 12 07:03 pm Link

Photographer

Karl Blessing

Posts: 30853

Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

Images by MR wrote:
Renting them to play with is cheap smile

tongue Assuming you have the ability for them to charge a deposit/hold for the full value of the lens on your card.

Oct 04 12 07:05 pm Link

Photographer

Anthony Altamore

Posts: 58

Chicago, Illinois, US

I would say buy with caution.  Every time I get a piece of really specialized gear (lensbabies come to mind, ugh) I'm stoked on it for about a week and then I never pick it up again.  If you can find a cheap used one, go for it.

With fisheyes in particular, it's very easy for the "fisheye look" to take over the picture and make it look cheesy (plenty of examples can be found here on MM).  Maybe try a more modest wide angle instead?

Oct 04 12 07:17 pm Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 36237

Upland, California, US

Anthony Altamore wrote:
With fisheyes in particular, it's very easy for the "fisheye look" to take over the picture and make it look cheesy (plenty of examples can be found here on MM).  Maybe try a more modest wide angle instead?

I agree... ultra-wide zooms are far more versatile.  You can capture some very interesting wide angle images WITHOUT venturing into that 'cheesy' fisheye world... wink

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/GaryAbigt/JNT2.jpg

Oct 04 12 07:38 pm Link

Photographer

Instinct Images

Posts: 22653

San Diego, California, US

I had the Canon 15mm fisheye that I used with my 1D Mark II (1.3x crop factor). I rarely used it to shoot portraits though. It's extremely difficult to shoot one that is at all flattering to the model. I did shoot a couple of fashion type pics with it that I really liked but only occasionally used to shoot models. I used my 17-40mm quite a bit more than the fisheye but don't care for wide angle much when shooting models either.

A fisheye would be be WAY down my list of lenses to purchase but they certainly can be fun and creative.

Oct 04 12 07:57 pm Link

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Photographer

-JAY-

Posts: 6710

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

7.5mm equivalent (.15x adapter on 50mm):

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/399827_2746369986913_429745526_n.jpg



Overall fairly useless.

Oct 04 12 08:01 pm Link

Photographer

Karl Blessing

Posts: 30853

Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

-JAY- wrote:
7.5mm equivalent (.15x adapter on 50mm):

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/399827_2746369986913_429745526_n.jpg



Overall fairly useless.

It's been *YEARS* since I've used an auxiliary lens. As you said, I generally find them useless.

My fairly useless pinwide (from wanderlust, approximately 10mm FoV) seems to have done *sorta* better than your snap on lens big_smile

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/199177_4498474307884_772991901_n.jpg

At f/96-128 and showing dust like nobody's biz... it makes a fisheye look incredibly useful big_smile (PS: my nose was "IN" the camera above, as the pinwide recesses the pinhole into the camera for the 10mm FoV)

Oct 04 12 08:35 pm Link

Photographer

R_Marquez

Posts: 4624

San Francisco, California, US

I also picked up one of those Samyang 8mm lenses a couple of months back. They had a sale for them for $229 and figured since I have ultra wide to super telephoto covered, I'll add a fisheye just in case.

I think it's cool, fun to use. But I haven't actually shot anything serious with it.

But if you plan to correct them so they'd have more of a ultra wide look, you're better off getting an ultra wide to begin with.

Oct 04 12 09:09 pm Link

Photographer

Jhono Bashian

Posts: 2432

Cleveland, Ohio, US

a specialty lens like that is good for editorial portraiture otherwise there fun to play with.

Oct 04 12 09:16 pm Link

Photographer

Images by MR

Posts: 7781

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Images by MR wrote:
Renting them to play with is cheap smile

Karl Blessing wrote:
tongue Assuming you have the ability for them to charge a deposit/hold for the full value of the lens on your card.

If I read right the OP's thinking about buying one so I'm going to assume he can afford the deposit to rent

Oct 05 12 12:25 am Link

Photographer

Bob Helm Photography

Posts: 18213

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US

Karl Blessing wrote:

tongue Assuming you have the ability for them to charge a deposit/hold for the full value of the lens on your card.

Borrowlens.com does not normally charge a deposit.
From their website
"We typically place a hold on the funds required for the rental as opposed to a deposit equal to the full value of the gear being rented. However, in some cases, we reserve the right to request a full-value deposit. "

Oct 05 12 07:13 am Link

Photographer

Bob Helm Photography

Posts: 18213

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US

Jacob delaRosa wrote:
This really opened my eyes to what a fisheye can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-WxCoDewbY

It's not always about the distortion...though it is a lot of fun!

Thanks for posting that, it was long but does show they are more than for just fun shots. Going out to use mine today in a different way than i did before.

Oct 05 12 07:14 am Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32234

Woodinville, Washington, US

I hesitate to think of it as a fisheye, but I use a 14mm f/2.8 fairly frequently. Rarely up close. This is as close as I dare get in portraiture, though I did want a little distortion:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110815/13/4e497ee2ca2e4_m.jpg

I usually use it farther back, to get full-length shots.

I used it a lot in newspaper work. Great for tight crowd scenes.

Oct 05 12 01:38 pm Link

Photographer

Dream-foto

Posts: 4361

Chico, California, US

I tried it once, Didn't like the image on it's own, so added it to this shot:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120129/11/4f259acc975c0_m.jpg

Also see: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=815157

Oct 05 12 01:57 pm Link

Photographer

Moon Pix Photography

Posts: 3892

Syracuse, New York, US

Jacob delaRosa wrote:
This really opened my eyes to what a fisheye can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-WxCoDewbY

It's not always about the distortion...though it is a lot of fun!

Cool video.. it is worth noting that he uses a cropped sensor camera which negates much of the fisheye effect.

Oct 05 12 02:08 pm Link

Photographer

Steven A Thompson

Posts: 549

Los Angeles, California, US

I bought the 10.5mm Nikon DX fisheye used on a whim and its loads of fun. I have absolutely no regrets. That said, I probably wouldn't invest in the Nikon FX fisheye (which is a lot more expensive) as its sort of a one trick pony and, while I love having it when the occasion arises, it's still a bit of a novelty.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110821/10/4e5141864807d_m.jpg

Oct 05 12 02:11 pm Link

Photographer

Andrew Somers

Posts: 1032

Los Angeles, California, US

I have a Nikkor 10.5mm DX Fisheye - it's one of my most favorite lenses.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/244286_10150187033411032_451772_o.jpg

Oct 05 12 02:16 pm Link

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Model

Sha-Lynne

Posts: 22681

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

-JAY- wrote:
7.5mm equivalent (.15x adapter on 50mm):

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/399827_2746369986913_429745526_n.jpg



Overall fairly useless.

Useless but fun at zoos  big_smile

ETA: the above reminded me that it can be useful in landscapes

Oct 08 12 03:45 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15723

Orlando, Florida, US

14mm.  I'm about 6 inches from her nose.

http://www.goodeggproductions.com/14mm.jpg

Oct 08 12 04:48 pm Link

Photographer

KMP

Posts: 4825

Houston, Texas, US

Drew Conerly wrote:
I have been thinking about getting a fisheye lens for exaggerated portraits, close-up/macro shots, and ultra wide shots (with distortion correction).  For any photographers that own a fisheye lens, do you regret the purchase, or do you feel like it helps to seperate your work from other photographers in your area?  What is your best portrait taken with a fisheye lens?

I don't regret having a fisheye. It's great for foliage. Not the best for close-up portraits unless you want your subjects to look like their nose is larger than their face.. BUT sometimes that's ...OKAY. smile

What will separate one's work from their peers, is not the lens but the vision.  I know a guy who uses a fisheye lens VERY effectively for architectural shots... he knows when to use it and when not to. He's one of the few that I've seen get a good consistent look from a specialty lens like that.

Using a fisheye made for FX cameras on a DX camera can have a nice effect too.

Oct 08 12 04:56 pm Link

Photographer

Seismic Images

Posts: 525

Morisset, New South Wales, Australia

Same as a few others. I love the 14mm perspective.At times it certainly has its place.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8292/7799533828_9d23863435_c.jpg

Oct 09 12 04:44 pm Link

Photographer

sunn fotography

Posts: 267

Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

nice i like wide lens!!

Oct 09 12 05:31 pm Link

Photographer

Marty McBride

Posts: 3132

Owensboro, Kentucky, US

Andrew Somers wrote:
I have a Nikkor 10.5mm DX Fisheye - it's one of my most favorite lenses.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/244286_10150187033411032_451772_o.jpg

very nice!

Oct 09 12 07:48 pm Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 36237

Upland, California, US

Expansive Vegas background... and Katie!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/GaryAbigt/Katie6.jpg

Oct 10 12 01:59 am Link

Photographer

yipDog Studios

Posts: 159

Mesa, Arizona, US

I was using a Tokina 11-16 on my 7D. Got some really cool perspective shots with it at the 11mm end and it was very useful at the 16mm as a wide angle.
On my 5D mk3 I'm gettin the same use from my 16-35. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the zeiss 15mm 2.8 as I do a bunch of landscape stuff. Not a fan of the true fisheyes...much prefer a super wide with a bit of distortion.

Here's a 16-35mm shot at 16mm on the 5D mk3. (Her legs are almost that long for real!)

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120412/20/4f87a4308156a_m.jpg

Oct 10 12 02:14 am Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 36237

Upland, California, US

yipDog Studios wrote:
I was using a Tokina 11-16 on my 7D. Got some really cool perspective shots with it at the 11mm end and it was very useful at the 16mm as a wide angle.
On my 5D mk3 I'm gettin the same use from my 16-35. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the zeiss 15mm 2.8 as I do a bunch of landscape stuff. Not a fan of the true fisheyes...much prefer a super wide with a bit of distortion.

Here's a 16-35mm shot at 16mm on the 5D mk3. (Her legs are almost that long for real!)

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120412/20/4f87a4308156a_m.jpg

And when you really want to put some emphasis on your SHOES... no lens does it better... borat

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/GaryAbigt/LeeAnna1.jpg

Oct 10 12 11:48 pm Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 36237

Upland, California, US

Mandee flashes alittle flesh for some roadside assistance... borat

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/GaryAbigt/Mandee21-1.jpg

Oct 11 12 12:59 am Link

Photographer

Wild Image Media

Posts: 173

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Superb shot, lovelymodel

Oct 11 12 12:31 pm Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 36237

Upland, California, US

Wild Image Media wrote:
Superb shot, lovelymodel

Cool... thanks for the kudos... one good superwideangle shot deserves another... borat

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/GaryAbigt/Jin3.jpg

Oct 11 12 12:41 pm Link