Fisheye lenses…some people love them and some people hate them. A lot of people own one and never put it to good use. I love using fisheye lenses. In fact, a large part of my career rests on my use of fisheye lenses. (panoramic virtual tours I shoot 90% of the time with a fisheye) I love getting really close with a fisheye for crazy perspective. I also love shooting architecture with a fisheye. Architecture with a fisheye?? Yup. Olympus doesn’t offer any tilt-shift lenses at the moment, and only last year did the ultra wide 7-14 become available. For a lot of people the pro lenses may be out of reach for such a specialty lens. The Olympus fisheye is also quite pricey, but at F/1.8 there is no other fisheye like it. I am hoping to have a review of it up soon. Rokinon (and various rebadged versions of the same) and Panasonic both offer fisheye lenses that are more affordable. A fisheye can be used for architecture pretty effectively though.
I’ve spent some time with the Panasonic F/4 fisheye. It’s a great lens. Not my favorite, and not the strongest performer in terms of color fringing and such…but most people aren’t worried about that when it comes to a fisheye. Plus lightrooms defringe tool can handle it pretty well. I wanted to see how well this lens could be “de-fished.” Defishing means removing the distortion from a fisheye so it looks like a conventional rectilinear image. Basically the whole premise is to shoot wide enough to still have your subject framed as desired AFTER your warp and crop your image. Check this out…
Adobe Lightroom has an excellent tool for doing this. There are various plugins that do the same, but they cost extra and mean I have to go into photoshop. Ide rather stick to lightroom. Warning though…people may look really strange depending where they were in the frame…so careful trying to defish a portrait for example! This really works best on landscape and architectural images.
Here is a screen shot of lightroom. In the develop section, open up the Lens Correction tab. Select the “Profile” section under the tab and click “enable profile corrections.” Then under “lens make” select a manufacturer. Then select a lens. If you are using a camera and lens combination that lightroom has already profiled this info gets automatically selected and you are done right there. Since we are using a m43 camera and potentially a lens from a different make, we need to select these manually. And we have choices of course! You need to select the fisheye option that works best for you. To make it easier, I shot a scene and have defished it with the various different fisheye lens options you can select from. See below.
Panasonic F/4 Fisheye as shot
Canon 8-15mm selected
Canon 15mm selected
Nikon 10.5mm selected
Sigma 8mm selected*
Sigma 10mm selected
Sigma 15mm selected
*I used the Sigma 8mm setting for all the images I have defished in this post. That is my usual choice for this. I find that gives me the best defish to work from. The Canon 8-15mm lens selection is pretty good too. From there some times I need to adjust vertical and horizontal keystoning to further fine tune my straight lines…but not always. Try to take a level image and you will minimize the need to do anything else beyond your typical raw adjustments. I always crop my image to the scene I wanted. That also gets rid of some of the extreme distortion or deterioration that occurs at the very edges after warping like this. If you have Hi-Res mode in your camera (e-m5II, or Pen-F) you can make a pretty large and detailed image even after defishing and cropping. Try defishing out and show me your awesome images!
Here are a few more examples.