What is fisheye lens photography?

Author's Note

Photography's dual nature fascinates me. True, a painter can capture a scene in a range of ways, from dead-on reproduction to work that is unrecognizable but for the emotion it evokes. The writer can describe a moment in journalistic prose, or can light his words on fire with the rhythms, links and patterns of poetry. But no other medium can perform photography's Jekyll-and-Hyde trick: one click of the shutter catches a discrete moment in time, exactly as it happened, while a simple change of lenses and another shutter click alters a scene into a distorted other-world, as far removed from reality as a Cubist painting.

That's what makes fisheye lenses and other extreme lenses — such as high-end macro lenses — so interesting to me. These finely tuned devices don't just let us capture the world around us; with practice, they can let us twist the reality in front of us to better translate the deeper messages that inspire us to frame the scene and click the shutter. They're powerful tools when used right, and happily, the journey to becoming an effective photographer is as enjoyable and fulfilling as it is long.

Related Articles


  • Atkins, Bob. "Field of View - Rectilinear and Fisheye Lenses." March 20, 2012 (March 20, 2012) http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/field_of_view.html
  • Dargaud, Guillaume. "Fisheye Photography." Dec. 23, 2011 (March 24, 2012) http://www.gdargaud.net/Photo/Fisheye.html
  • Hughes, C. et. al. "Wide-angle camera technology for automotive applications: a review." IET Intelligent Transport Systems. July 4, 2008 (March 20, 2012)
  • Kingslake, Rudolph. "A History of the Photographic Lens." Academic Press. Oct. 28, 1989 (March 24, 2012)
  • Lomography. "Fisheye: Rumble in the Pond." June 17, 2003 (March 24, 2012)
  • Wulff, Henning. "A better view in fisheye land." March 13, 1997 (March 20, 2012) http://www.markerink.org/WJM/HTML/fishyfaq.htm