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Fisheye: Technique and Choices

Lesson 49 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Fisheye: Technique and Choices

Lesson 49 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

49. Fisheye: Technique and Choices


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Canon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Aperture: Maximum Aperture


Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length


Aperture: Depth of Field


Aperture: Maximum Sharpness


Aperture: Starburst Effect


Aperture: Flare


Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance


Camera Mount System


Canon Lens Compatibility


Canon Lens Design


Canon Lens Composition


Canon Lens Shape


Canon Lens Coating


Canon Lens Focusing


Lens Autofocus


Canon Lens Image Stabilization


Canon L Lenses


Image Quality


Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard


Canon Super Zooms


Canon Wide Zooms


Canon Telephoto Zooms


Prime Lens: Normal Lenses


Prime Lens: Moderate Wide


Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Lenses Overview


3rd Party Prime Lenses


3rd Party Zoom Lenses


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Extenders


Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio


Macro Lens: Technique and Choices


Fisheye: Technique and Choices


Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices


Make a Lens System Choice


Choosing A Portrait Lens


Choosing A Sports Lens


Choosing A Landscape Lens


Best Lenses for You


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lens


What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?


Lesson Info

Fisheye: Technique and Choices

next up is the fish islands. This is a fun land, so when you photograph a grid pattern, you should get an exact grid pattern in your viewfinder. And in your final subject with a fisheye lands, it is going to bend the lines that are not going through the center of the frame. So you can see we have a line going through the center of the frame and it is dead straight, top to bottom in the middle. It is dead straight, but it starts bending at the edges. And so this is what we're talking about. The fish eye effect this bulgy look to it. Most lens are designed to be. What is known is rectilinear. It means straight lines appear straight in the image, whereas the fish eyes an uncorrected wide angle. It has not been corrected, and they haven't straightened out all these lines in there. So let's take a look with a normal, slightly wide angle lens. The 35 we're seeing 63 degrees from corner to corner. In this case, let's zoom back to the wider end of our zoom lens, and in this case we're at 17. S...

o we're at an ultra wide lens now looking at 93 degrees from corner to corner and you'll notice that the pillars on the side are nice and straight. So now we're gonna go into the fish islands and you'll notice that we're starting to get that bendy effect. And this is a 15 millimetre full frame fisheye, which sees 180 degrees from corner to corner. We're gonna take this back even further and go to a circular fisheye. And in this case, we're gonna be looking at 180 degrees, not just from corner to corner, but across the entire image. Now, the downside to this, of course, is that we end up with a round image and it's very difficult to utilize round images the way our society shares photos. But we have a circular fisheye. We have a full frame fisheye, which has nothing to do with full frame or crop cameras. This came around long before those digital cameras, and we have our white angle and are slightly wide. And so we're gonna be talking about the full frame fish eyes which fill up the entire frame with image area versus a circular one which results in a circle image canon at this point in time has one lens. It's the 8 to 15 millimetre lands. I think we have one over here somewhere. I'm gonna grab it. And so here's our lands and it's an actual zoom. So it zooms from 8 to 15 and they did this to allow the fisheye ability on full frame and crop as well. Is there 1. crop camera that they don't make any more, and so that you could use one fisheye lands on all your lenses and get the same effect off of it? And so let's take a look at what we see with different lenses. And so let's go to Horseshoe Band. We're gonna shoot with the 50 and let's back up 35 28 24 20 moving into ultra wide territory all the way down to 11 millimeters. Now let's add on a fisheye, and here is our fisheye. And so here's the comparison of where all those other lenses air looking at and so you can see as we're stepping from normal even further and further into the wide angle and the 11 millimeters actually very close in the top top to top, but from corner to corner, The fish I see is quite a bit more in those corners, and so if you want an extremely wide lands, you can get an extremely wide lens. And this is This is a poor use of a fish islands here, and it depends on your style and how you want to shoot with ease lens. But you know, it's kind of fun to just go around and play with him. At first. They tend to work better on the inside rather than the outside of places. But you're gonna end up with these curved lines, which may or may not look good. They definitely don't look riel, and so it's often times good to try to avoid too many straight lines in the frame. But if you're in a very crowded environment, you can use it. It's often sometimes known as the skateboard lands, because if you get very close to a skater, you could get really in their face and have a very dramatic angle of view. And so in this case I shot a series of pictures you can see right up close what's going on kind of fun, but you're gonna get these bulgy lines, put up a sign that says, Don't take pictures. I want to take picture of that side All right? And so we want to be careful about shooting too many photos like this. And so let's talk about techniques for shooting with the fish islands. How do you actually work with this in the field? So one of the things that I like to do most with a fish eye is hide the effect of the curve. So this is a fish I shot. Does it look like a fish I shot? Well, this is actually a video and let me pan back and forth. Straight lines through the middle are rendered straight. It's only when they're up at the top and at the bottom that they do appear curved. And so if you have straight lines going straight to the middle, you're not going to notice the curve. So it depends very carefully how you point that lens and where you are your point of view when you shoot this. And so I think we looked at these photos before, but here's the steps down at the bottom. They appear bend bent because they're down at the bottom of the frame. The stairs in the middle of the frame appear straight. All of these air parallel because these lines air further from the center. So any time that horizon line is really low, it's gonna get very, very curved. And so any time, here's some older photos. These air photos I took 20 years ago, I have hidden the background. It's really hard to see. The horizon line is going through the middle of the frame. There's very few straight lines that you're able to see that are getting better. And so environments that do not have naturally occurring straight lines are very good. I'm always looking for places that have natural curves. This is a perfect place for fish. I you would barely notice that this this is a fish, I because it's a naturally oval environment. The aquarium has a dome that you can shoot within. You don't really know that it's a fisheye. You know that you can see a lot from side to side. And so the natural curves of this hide the effect that it's a fisheye. Obviously a lot of natural environments like the slot canyons. You don't know what this line is supposed to do, so you can shoot with a fisheye and nobody knows what's going on. It's a very strange environment, and this fish, I kind of hides the effect of exactly what's going on with the fish. I one of the ways that I will use the fisheye is getting up very high. The cross country team that I coach get together before the race and they would do this big cheer. And so I put the camera on a model pot and shot straight above their head, looking straight down. Interesting angle of view. And so I've shot this with many of the different races, so that I could see as many of the kids at the starting line gives a nice, big feel off. The start of the state championship meet gives a feel of where we are. This is handheld normal eye level height. Put the camera on a mono pod, get it up really high. It almost feels like I'm shooting this with a drone. The other option is to get yourself down really low with the fish. I very dramatic angle, and so yeah, you're curve in the horizon here. But its design, in that case is to kind of have a very unusual looking shot, very dramatic looking shot. And so with the flowers getting down really low below the flowers. And so I just held the camera fired off toe burst of pictures till I got down resting the camera on the ground. Redwoods down in California Notice all the trees are going from the outside to the middle of the frame, which means that they're not better. Number lines passing through the center of the frame do not bend and basically Onley all lines lead to the middle of the frame. Used it with a multiple exposure technique to capture in multiple exposure. Shot of the Space Needle. We do not have four space needles in Seattle, so it's kind of a bonus lens that I have taken on a number of adventurous travels that I've taken in the past. When hiking up on Mount Rainier, propelling into a crow Vaz New it's gonna be a fairly cramped environment. I wanted to really wide lens the fish. I was a lightweight small lens that had an extreme angle of view that really showed the point of view of what we were doing. I loved hanging the rope right over the corner of the lens to have this as a leading line for my subject, putting the cameras and really unusual places and jumping over it like it's a giant crevasse up on the top of Mount Rainier doing just setting the camera on the ground and pointing it straight up. I hate to admit it, but yes, I have shot Selfies long before they were ever called Selfies and on the top of Mount Rainier. I attached my camera onto an ice ax and I inadvertently invented the selfie stick, and I would really prefer that you do not credit me with this. I do not want to be known as the person that invented the selfie stick. I do not want that to be my lasting legacy, and photography is the selfie stick, but it's been done many times before, so I used it on a canoe trip up in Canada. We mounted it on the back of the boat on a mono pod so that we could see the boat and where we were going and what we were doing in the boat in a variety of environments. I would hold it right in my hands. I wanted to remember what this unusual pedal powered canoe was like. We used it to show us. Jumping. Swimming can be real careful when you're jumping off a canoe, folks, because there's a lot of weight issues that you need to address that be right on. One of my favorite shots was putting it in the bottom of a peanut butter jar to show what it was like to run out of food. And so no, no snow straight lines over here, so it's completely hidden with the fact that it is a fish islands. Now, a special version of this is the circular fisheye, and this eight millimeter, when you go all the way down to eight, will become a circular fisheye lens. Or you can set it at 15 for a standard full frame coverage. If you want to go down to the circular fisheye, it's a very unusual lens to use, and it's very difficult and challenging use. And so, in a place like this, I believe this is the Arctic Building, downtown Seattle. They have a circular ceiling Now that's gonna be a good place to point up with a standard fisheye. And let's zoom back and let's put it in a circular fisheye so we can see the entire ceiling in one circular shot. Now, a circular fisheye is very much like any other fish. I straight lines going through the middle are rendered straight. Circular fisheye will end up with a lot of black space on the sites. You're gonna have to figure out how to work with that circular image. What a normal fisheye does is it projects a larger image circle over the entire frame of your sensor so that you don't see any of those black corners. And so using this circular fisheye is very challenging, finding interesting places. And so I just pointed it straight up so you can see a small strip of land around the entire edge, not a great photograph, because it doesn't really have much of a subject material. And so I took one around Seattle and I found out that I really liked to photograph stairways. I think stairways were quite well for circular fish eyes. And so our Seattle Library downtown are escalator. You can see you can see the bottom of the escalator and the top of the escalator in the exact same shot. Favorite place to shoot was, I think, Seattle University. They have a double spiral staircase from the bottom. Looking straight up, you can see both stairways going up, and if you spend it, you get a little bit of a hypnotism effect. So if you want to use a fish eye, really pay attention to the curve lines and the straight lines, because that's what your photos gonna be about in a lot of the cases. And be very careful at the front of lens. This is a very exposed element here in the front. It does have a hood if you're not planning to use it in a circular manner in which helps protect it a little bit. And I think disguising the fisheye effect is where you're going to get the most effective photographs. So as far as the choices, this is your choice. That's it, folks. It's a nice lands. It is able to be used on all their different lenses are all the different cameras so you can get a fish. I look on all their cameras if you want to get the circle Circular fisheye effect, you do need to have their full frame. Fish are the full frame sensor. You are not going to get a circular fisheye with a crop frame camera, but you can use it to get a full frame coverage on all their cameras. And that's what I just said. OK, and so that's the choice. There are other choices. I personally owned the 15 2.8. It's a discontinued lens, and so if you can find it used, it's a relatively good bye. I like it because it's smaller. I don't need the circular effect that this particular lens has, and it's also a stop faster and of 2.8. And so this is one of the discontinued lenses I'll tell about and, you know, yes, I own a cannon Lenz from and I perfectly enjoy perfectly fine. I got a slower focusing. It makes a little bit more noise. Who cares? It's a fisheye, and it does what I need it to dio. And so it's very light and small. We have the 2. aperture, not the best focusing system, but focusing is not a major issue when it comes to fish Islands is so there's a few fish eyes that we can look at from other manufacturers. Probably the favorite for people who own canon cameras would be the Sigma 15. It's a full frame fisheye. It's autofocus. Compatibility is perfect. It's a good, solid one. It's probably as good as the one that I just talked about from Canon that's discontinued, but this is available new, and it's a whole lot cheaper and a lot smaller than the one offering by Canon, because the one offering by Canon is kind of a high end piece. Very nice, but higher in Sam Yang makes a number of different fish eyes for both the full frame and the crop frame. This one is for their CS or their compact sensor. It's a 12 millimeter. It's going to be a full frame fisheye, and these were gonna typically be far less in money than the cannons. And so less than half the price of the cannons. Takina makes an unusual one that zooms as well. And so this is a zooming fisheye. So is this one. They both kind of have one place where they meet in the middle of a full frame fisheye. But this enables you to zoom in a little bit more closely on a subject in, so it's mostly useful at 10. But you can zoom into 17 if you really need to. So kind of an unusual lens in that case, and so it varies from 180 to 100 degrees in its angle of view. And pretty much everything is going to be cheaper than the cannon option when we do our comparisons on this. But that was specifically for the crop frame camera bodies. If you want to get into a circular fisheye, this is the magic. Is this the one that is partially circular? It's a full frame fisheye, and it's almost circular and are exactly what they mean by almost. But it's not quite a full circle. If you were to put it on a full frame, and so you can use it on either cropped or full frame, and this is gonna be a manual. Focus on Lee lands at a fraction of the price. And so if you said you know what, I want to just want to splurge and I want to buy a goofy, fun lens. This one's not too much money in order to do that, if you want to do the circular effect that is available with just a few lenses in the crop frame or Excuse me, this is the full frame. Sigma makes an eight millimeter and you really got to know you want this to. This is something I enjoyed for about a day and then I was kind of done with it. And so it's gonna come in a little bit less money than the cannon. They make a 4.5, which is gonna be for the cropped frame camera bodies. And so the rebels in the sixties and so forth. And that's going to result in once again, the circular image. And this is really not available. You're not gonna be able to get that circular fisheye with the cannon. And so if you have a crop frame body and you want circular fisheye, that's pretty much your only really good option in my mind. Lens, baby, I mentioned that I would talk about them. They make a 5.8 fish eye, which has a little bit of a funky look to it now, the last one we talked about. Let's see this one slightly unusual folk, a link that 5.8. And so it's got 185 degree angle of you a little different on that, and so that's gonna be far less money than one of the cannons. And so that is your fish I blends, which could be a lot of fun, that that is a perfect lands to rent. That is a perfect lands, Durant, because most people really aren't going to need this lens on a day to day basis, but doing the right type of situation. I don't know. Maybe you got a Halloween party and you want to take a lot of fun, different type of photos. That would be a good time to rent this lens or you're going to some place. That's really unusual. That would be a good place to have that. It's just not a lens that you use a lot. I know John Cornyn cello. He took one to Cuba, and I hated this whole analysis and he took like 10.5% of his pictures were Fish Islands is when he was in Cuba. It's just an occasional little thing to spice things up a bit, right? It's It is a lot of fun, don't we don't have any direct questions about fish eyes that I can tell unless we have any in here. People enjoyed looking at those. But people really enjoy the fact that you invented the selfie stick and only say that too late. They said It's too late on and only you would invent a selfie sick with a knife axe and a fish islands only younger ago. Uh, one question did just come in about fisheye attachments. Do you have any opinions on fisheye attachments and what that might be? Well, there are some attachments. There are add on lenses that you can add on to existing 50 millimeter 28 millimeter lenses. They typically are very low in quality. They tend to have a lot of chromatic aberrations. They tend not to be a full 180 degrees, and so if you confined one really cheap, it might be a way to play around. But I would not spend too much money on that. If you're really interested in fish, I photography

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

What's in the Frame? HD
What's in the Frame? LOW
Field of View HD
Field of View LOW
Lens Keynote Parts 1-4
Lens Keynote Parts 5-8
Canon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


I so appreciate what a good teacher John is. I wish I would have known this much about lenses when I first started out buying my lenses. It was hard finding information about lenses. I didn't want to spend money on a lens I wouldn't use. The better understanding we have about our gear the better photographers we will be. I have never seen a class like this. Invaluable...yes I bought the class! I am really impressed with the high quality photography classes available on Creative Live!


This was a great class not just about the lenses that Canon offers but also how each lens works. As usual, John's slides are alway informative and entertaining. There is a phrase: John has a slide for that! I am not even a Canon user and found this class to have great information for the use of each specific lens. Great work John! Thank you Creative Live for another great class!

Tami Miller

Have loved the other John Greengo classes I've watched & purchased - and this is another winner! Having been a high school/college science teacher, it is refreshing to take a course with someone who not only is extremely experienced, seems to be a computer having stored so much knowledge, but is equally concerned about making the information truly understandable to different levels. And he shares the information using every tool he can: slides, video, interactive presentations, and great quizzes. I learned so much about my Canon lenses - and lenses in general with their many components. I am excited about testing each of mine to see what macro ratio they handle, and especially appreciated the tutorial on testing each for their specific quirk that affects super sharpness. This class is great whether you own Canon lenses or not. Thanks John Greengo!

Student Work