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  1. #1

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    Fish eye lens - what does it really mean?

    I am interested in Fish eye lens for my Nikon line of camera bodies.

    Looking at THIS site: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Pro...ses/index.page

    I see there is a 16mm f/2.8 fish eye. It's spec calls for 180 degrees field of view when used with full frame cameras such as F100.
    Now, there is also the famous 14-24mm zoom (which is NOT a fish eye) but it's maximum coverage is 114 degrees.

    On Sigma line of products, there are 4.5mm and 8mm fish, then 10mm and 15mm fish.
    http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/fisheye-lenses
    I am not interested in round images, so first two are out.

    Here's what I would like to know...
    What does focal length do in fish eye lenses? Obviously, it does not define angle of coverage like it does for all other lenses.
    Additionally, what IS fish eye then? Is that severe barrel distortion that makes a lens fish eye? Or is it 180 degree coverage? Or are they one and the same?
    Somewhat related to both, how come 14mm regular wide angle has less coverage than 16mm fish?

    How would I pick the "best" fish for me? Maybe that will come clear when I know the answers to my questions...

    I am going to visit Cape Kennedy Space Center soon. Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, I would like to make use of the "fish".

    Thanks!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #2
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    I never wanted a fisheye lens because they are very expensive and of very limited practical use in everyday photography, if I needed one for a special purpose I would hire one.
    Ben

  3. #3
    Barry S's Avatar
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    The fisheye is a non-rectilinear lens and the listed diagonal angle of view means the same thing as you'd see for a rectilinear lens. Focal length relates to angle of view in a fisheye, but isn't directly comparable to rectilinear focal length. The quality of Nikon fisheyes is spectacular and I highly recommend the 16mm f/2.8 Nikkor.

  4. #4
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    As Barry said the fisheye is non-rectilinear. I find the distortion is so great that it is somewhat less than useless except to very few situations. That is why I have the Hasselblad 903 SWC and the Widelux cameras.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  5. #5
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Rectilinear means that straight lines in the photo are still straight and not bent round such as in a fish eye. I would not purchase such a lens as it gets boring fast. Rectilinear is the way to go but even those have limited applications. I have a 14mm rectilinear which I don't use often. Also make sure the lenses you are looking at are designed for 35mm and not smaller digital formats.

  6. #6
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    They can be fun. I am not a fisheye hater. I have some great pictures of my kids horsing around in the sprinkler, that kind of thing. Lot of lenses I would sell before my fisheye.

  7. #7
    AgX
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    Basically you got a similar relation between angle of view with fish-eye lenses as with rectilinear lenses:
    The smaller the focal lenght, the larger the angle of view.

    With a 15mm fish-eye lens you got 180° over the frame diagonal. But with a 7.5mm fish-eye lens you got 180° even over the frame height and thus a full circle covering 180°.
    Furthermore there are fish-eye lenses that go beyound that 180°.
    There are also basic different distortions between fish-eye lenses depending on design, though these differences are hardly relevant for pictorial photography.

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Good manufacturers show examples of what their lenses are capable of. I'd have thought there'd be some images on the Nokon & Sigma websites. Be aware some lenses are for the APS sized digital sensor not full frame.

    Like any lens Focal lenght is related to angle of coverage even with a fish-eye.

    You'd be better hiring than buying as has already been said, and that would give you th chance to choose the most appropriate lens.

    Ian

  9. #9
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    If you find it too expensive - alternative is zenitar fisheye. Even cheaper - go for Lomo fisheye: I had one and it is a great fun , specially version 2 with viewfinder and bulb option.

  10. #10

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    I would go superwide myself. You can find more use for it later. But if you like the fish look then nothing else will do. You must decide.

    If you want to fish for only this one shot, then you had better rent unless you don't care about $ or plan to resell.

    I've done lots of fisheye photos myself. I use the old Nikon and Sigma fisheyes from the film era. They vary a lot in sharpness. The only modern fish I used was Pentax FF and found it to be poor IQ with massive purple fringing.

    Good Luck!

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