Fish­eye is a fun way to diver­si­fy group por­traits. Pho­to: RODNAE Productions/pexels.com

You can love him, you can hate him, but it is absolute­ly impos­si­ble to treat him “no way”. While the rest of the lens­es are strug­gling to get rid of dis­tor­tion, fish­eye turns them into art. And today we will talk about the best fish­eye lens­es that allow you to “turn the world inside out” so that it is beau­ti­ful.

What is a fisheye

A fish­eye or fish­eye is an ultra-wide-angle lens with a field of view of 180 degrees or more, with strong geo­met­ric dis­tor­tions (dis­tor­tions) that cre­ate a dis­tinc­tive visu­al effect.

In gen­er­al, this effect is of two types:

Frame with the effect of a cir­cu­lar (cir­cu­lar) fish­eye. Pho­to: Teppei Kohno/snapshot.canon-asia.com

Cir­cu­lar (cir­cu­lar) — the image does not occu­py the entire area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe frame, but, as it were, a cir­cle is inscribed. Such a lens has an angle of view of 180 degrees in any direc­tion (right-to-left, top-to-bot­tom).

Shot with a diag­o­nal (full-frame) fish­eye effect. Pho­to: Ben Cheung/ pexels.com

Diag­o­nal (or full-frame) — The image occu­pies the entire frame, but the 180-degree angle of view cor­re­sponds only to the diag­o­nals of the frame.

In a cir­cu­lar fish­eye, a cir­cu­lar image fits into the frame, and in a diag­o­nal fish­eye, on the con­trary, the frame fits into a cir­cu­lar image.

Fish­eye effect is often used for shoot­ing extreme sports, cre­ative street and archi­tec­tur­al pho­tog­ra­phy, astropho­tog­ra­phy, as well as for group por­traits.

The best fisheye lenses

Canon EF 8–15mm f/4L Fisheye USM

Canon’s zoom fish­eye can pro­duce both cir­cu­lar and diag­o­nal fish­eye. Pho­to: juzaphoto.com

Bay­o­net: Canon EF.

Cur­rent price: from 84 000 rub.

Let’s start with the famous fish­eye for Canon full-frame SLR cam­eras. And not an ordi­nary fish­eye, but a fish­eye with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of zoom­ing.

The Canon EF 8–15mm f/4L Fish­eye USM boasts crys­tal-clear sharp­ness through­out the zoom range, a con­stant aper­ture (even if aper­ture isn’t amaz­ing), and weath­er­proof hous­ing.

On a full-frame cam­era, you can get a 180-degree cir­cu­lar image at 8mm and a diag­o­nal image at 15mm. We can say that you imme­di­ate­ly have two “fish eyes” in one case. When shoot­ing at the wide end, you need to remove the hood, oth­er­wise there will be a vignette on the frame.

This lens is also suit­able for APS‑C cam­eras, where it pro­duces a 12.8–24mm equiv­a­lent image. True, you won’t be able to get a cir­cu­lar fish­eye on APS‑C, only a diag­o­nal one.

In pop­u­lar pho­to edit­ing pro­grams like Pho­to­shop and Light­room, you can find spe­cial cor­rec­tion pro­files that turn fish­eye mate­r­i­al into a reg­u­lar wide-angle pho­to.

When trans­port­ing this fish­eye, you need to be espe­cial­ly care­ful: the front lens pro­trudes for­ward, and the cap does not always hold secure­ly. The Canon EF 8–15mm weighs a lot — 540 grams.

Nikon AF‑S Nikkor Fisheye 8–15mm f/3.5–4.5E ED

Nikon’s fish­eye zoom has a vari­able aper­ture. Pho­to: cameralabs.com

Bay­o­net: Nikon F.

Cur­rent price: from 129 000 rub.

The Nikkor Fish­eye 8–15mm f/3.5–4.5E ED was Nikon’s answer to the Canon EF 8–15mm f/4L: same focal lengths, same “two lens­es in one”. On full-frame cam­eras, you get an 8mm cir­cu­lar fish­eye and a 15mm diag­o­nal fish­eye. On crop cam­eras — only diag­o­nal.

Nikon keeps up with the com­pe­ti­tion in terms of sharp­ness, how­ev­er, there are non-crit­i­cal chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tions at the edges of the frame. On the oth­er hand, the lens is lighter (485 grams) than the Canon, although it still has a strong met­al body with dust and mois­ture pro­tec­tion.

The aper­ture ratio of the lens is vari­able, although the dif­fer­ence with Canon in this regard is almost imper­cep­ti­ble.

An alter­na­tive option for Nikon crop DSLRs is the Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED DX Fish­eye-Nikkor fixed focal length fish­eye. This lens is sim­pler and cheap­er: here you get only a diag­o­nal fish­eye, but more aper­ture. Also, the mod­el is very com­pact and light (305 grams). How­ev­er, it should be not­ed that with old­er mod­els from the Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx series, you will not have aut­o­fo­cus.

7Artisans 10mm f/2.8 Fisheye Mark II

Fish­eye from 7Artisans received a strong met­al case, but with­out weath­er pro­tec­tion. Pho­to: digitalcameraworld.com

Bay­o­nets: Canon RF, Leica L, Nikon Z, Sony FE

Cur­rent price: from 10 000 rub.

Let’s move on to fisheyes for mir­ror­less cam­eras. 7Artisans 10mm f/2.8 Fish­eye is avail­able in ver­sions for all major full-frame mir­ror­less cam­eras, and this is one of the main advan­tages of the lens, because native fish­eye for these sys­tems is not so easy to find. I only remem­ber Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fish­eye for 400 thou­sand rubles. Anoth­er option is to wind “native” SLR lens­es through an adapter.

The 7Artisans 10mm f/2.8 Fish­eye pro­duces a diag­o­nal fish­eye image with very good val­ue for mon­ey and rea­son­able con­trol over chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tion. The main dis­ad­van­tage is the lack of elec­tron­ic con­tacts on the mount, which means the lack of aut­o­fo­cus. Also, the lens is not pro­tect­ed from bad weath­er, but weighs a decent 570 grams.

7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 Fisheye Mark II

The ana­logue for cropped mir­ror­less cam­eras turned out to be much more com­pact. Pho­to: radojuva.com

Bay­o­nets: Canon M, Fuji­film X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon Z, Sony E.

Cur­rent price: from 10 000 rub.

Is there any­thing for cropped mir­ror­less cam­eras? Of course, and in dif­fer­ent ver­sions!

First­ly, this is an ana­logue of 7Artisans 10mm for APS‑C cam­eras — 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 Mark II. On crop cam­eras, it cre­ates approx­i­mate­ly the same diag­o­nal fish­eye pic­ture as its full-frame coun­ter­part. It also focus­es only man­u­al­ly, and even looks like it. Sec­ond­ly, there is a sim­i­lar bud­get option, but a lit­tle faster — Meike 6.5mm f / 2.0 Ultra Wide Fish­eye.

If you need a more wide-angle “look” at things, then you should pay atten­tion to Laowa 4mm f / 2.8 Fish­eye. The lens is also sharp­ened for crop mir­ror­less, but cre­ates a cir­cu­lar fish­eye with a 210-degree field of view. Here lies a slight dif­fi­cul­ty with this lens: such a wide view con­stant­ly strives to “catch” your legs and fin­gers in the frame. Oth­er­wise, it is an excel­lent option for a cir­cu­lar fish for cropped mir­ror­less cam­eras, com­pact and light­weight (135 grams), to match the cam­eras of this class.

Samyang 12mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye

Like most non-native “glass­es”, this Samyang did not receive aut­o­fo­cus. Pho­to: ephoto.sk

Bay­o­nets: Canon EF, Canon M, Fuji­film X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon F, Pen­tax K, Sony A, Sony E.

Cur­rent price: from 35,000 rubles.

This fish­eye has been pro­duced in ver­sions for a thou­sand dif­fer­ent mounts, but users of full-frame Sony will prob­a­bly find it most inter­est­ing. For mir­ror­less full-frames, the com­pa­ny does not have a lot of offers, and Samyang 12mm f/2.8 can be a good alter­na­tive to the cheap­er 7Artisans 10mm f/2.8 — Samyang’s optics are of a high­er class, and there­fore, bet­ter sharp­ness and less chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tions.

It is also a man­u­al focus lens that pro­duces a diag­o­nal fish­eye image: a 180-degree field of view on full-frame bod­ies and 124-degrees on cropped ones.