What is a Fisheye Lens For Canon
The fisheye lens delivers a circular ultra-wide angle image on the camera sensor with its special convex glass shape and aspheric elements. The closest analogy to it would be the view through the clear glass ball (minus the upside-down flip), where the picture becomes more distorted closer to the edges. Additionally, many fisheye lenses capture the scenery in front of the camera at 180° angle of view, compressing it in a single photo. Although such lenses are used mostly for taking panorama-like shots, funny close-up portraits, recording videos at skating parks, and so on, you are free to discover your own creative ways by employing its distorted perspective.
What Features to Compare
Type. Fisheye lenses can be separated into 2 categories: Circular and Full-Frame. The first type delivers up to 180° circular angle of view projected as a circle inscribed in the frame. The Full-Frame fisheyes are also called "diagonal" as the image fills the photo from corner to corner, showing only 180° diagonal angle of view.
Note, the term "Full-Frame" here does not refer to the camera sensor compatibility. However, some models are designed to deliver the full-frame image only on APS-C sensors, while producing black-out edges or heavy vignetting when mounted on the Full-Frame 35mm sensor cameras.
Focal length. As a rule, the lenses with 8mm and lower focal length deliver the circular 180° view on the Full-Frame sensors, while the diagonal fisheye lenses have 14-15mm focal length.
F-number refers to the aperture opening. The wider it is, the more light is permitted onto the camera sensor and the brighter the final photo can be. Still, as the lens captures a lot of light with its convex lens, you may often find yourself shooting at the f/8.0 or even narrower aperture to get increased focus range.
Weight and Size can make a huge difference in handheld shooting, as their glasses are somewhat heavy and bulky in most cases. Along with the flower-shaped lens hood, they also come with the circular one that also serves as the lens cap holder, adding to the overall length. By the way, you can use this hood to obtain the full-circle image even on cropped sensors, although the photo will appear as if it was shot from the tunnel with some heavy aberrations near the edges.
Extra Features may include numerous things. The AF-motor helps bring the subject into focus. An image stabilization system or some special glass coating can improve the quality of the photo. Also, the convex shape of the lens does not allow using the standard flat filters. However, some fisheye lenses have special slots in the rear part to hold the square gelatin-type filters.
Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L
Tool for Professionals
It's no surprise that the best fisheye lens for Canon cameras is produced by Canon company. Just like many other fisheyes, EF 8-15mm f/4L can be mounted on both Full-Frame and APS-C bodies. Obviously, the best result can be achieved with the first one. The key feature is that at 8mm the circle image is inscribed in the photo frame. When zoomed-in to 15mm, it provides an ultra-wide rectangular image with 180° diagonal angle of view that fully fills the frame.
The L-series lenses are designed for professional photographers. No wonder, the image quality exceeds all expectations. Along with the included lens hood, EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye boasts the Canon special Subwavelength coating that removes the lens flares. The 14 elements combined in 11 groups reduce the chromatic aberrations to the minimum as well. Even in the most curved and distorted edges, the picture is still very clear and crisp.
Smart and Reliable
Getting a sharp image at wide aperture on a fisheye lens can become a tedious process when your camera has a tiny viewfinder. Therefore, we bid a warm welcome to the built-in USM focusing motor that further adds points to the overall great functionality. Also, you can tune the focus even when the AF is on, thanks to the Full-Time manual focus feature.
The L-series barrels deserve a separate article. In a nutshell, Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L fisheye is durable, weather-proof and boasts a superb design. We want to point out, though, that even a small drop or dust particles are highly visible on any fisheye lens, so try to have a microfiber cloth on you all the time. Anyhow, you can freely shoot with it in any conditions and stop worrying that the sudden raindrop will destroy the expensive lens.
To cut a long story short, Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Zoom Lens is one of the best possible choices when it comes to the professional fisheye lenses for Canon 5D Mark II, MK III or even APS-C cameras like Rebel T6s or 70D.
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While shooting photos in RAW format, the memory card quickly gets full. Consequently, any photographer should have at least one spare flash card on them during photo sessions so that it would go smoothly and uninterrupted. Thus, we recommend this review of the best SD cards from our website.
Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG
The key feature of this Sigma fisheye lens for Canon is the diaphragm. At maximum f/2.8 aperture, the in-focus subject appears especially crisp and bright even in dull lighting. Naturally, when the diaphragm is wide open, the depth of field is somewhat shallow. As a result, you can create funny close-ups of animals and humans by placing their head in the very center of the frame. That way, the head of the subject appears disproportionally huge and comically bulging towards the viewer while the background is blurred by being out of focus. To increase the depth of field, simply set the narrower diaphragm. We were a bit surprised that the handheld shots were sharp and comparatively bright even at f/8 aperture, although shooting at the bigger F-numbers and longer exposures might require mounting the camera on a tripod. Anyway, the lens also boasts the built-in focusing motor that is spot-on most of the times, assisting you in taking better photos at a faster rate.
The body is lightweight and compact due to the low number of optic elements. More precisely, there are only 7 elements, combined in 6 groups. Again, the glares and flares are further reduced by the special multi-layer glass coating. If you want to add some special effects or colors, there's a holder near the rear glass for a single gelatin filter.
At fixed 15mm focal length, the lens provides the 180° diagonal angle of view on any Canon DSLRs. Also, the lens comes with the removable circular hood that can be used to create the circular fisheye effect at APS-C sensors and also serves as a holder for the front cap. The included pouch is a small but pleasant add-on nonetheless.
As a result, Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens for Canon is a reliable choice for both professional and advanced photographers, who are looking for the compact lens to take funny and creative shots anywhere with the Canon Full-Frame or APS-C camera.
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Have you ever been in a situation when you find absolutely stunning scenic view but your camera doesn't work because the battery is dead? Thus, we recommend buying buy a couple of spare batteries. That way, you will always be able to shoot photo after photo all day long.
Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5
Due to the specific glass shape, the price on the fisheye can be twice as much as of a prime lens with the longer focal length. Needless to say, not everyone is ready to pay such cost for their first ultra-wide angle glass. If that's your case, take a look at this Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5 HD. It has all the main components that will help you take fisheye photos with great contrast and saturated colors. We haven't noticed any severe chromatic aberrations or other deal-breaking artifacts as well. The build quality is extremely well-done too.
As a side note, the EF-mount of this lens is fully compatible with Full-Frame Canon cameras. However, the semi-circular image will appear with cut off edges at the top and the bottom on a 35mm sensor, despite having the 8mm focal length.
Concluding, Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5 HD is the optimal choice for beginners and advanced users with the Canon Rebel-series cameras but also may interest owners of the Full-Frame bodies as well, not least because of the attractive price.
Tips for Beginners
Check out your surroundings. A person, standing next to you may show up in the photo because of the ultra-wide angle of the lens. Even your feets or elbows can get in the way too, so keep them out of the view.
Another rookie mistake is shooting with the sun or light source behind you. That way, your shadow will inevitably appear on the photo. Thus, don't be afraid if the sun gets in the frame - just set the narrower diaphragm. The manufacturers know about this and give their lenses a special glass coating to reduce the flares and other image artifacts that usually come up when the bright light source is inside the frame.
Finally, get creative! Bear in mind, that a fisheye lens bends everything in its view, save for the horizontal and vertical axis in the center. By simply tilting and shifting your camera up or down you can get totally different perspective on the things around you.
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If you want to shoot the night city with a fisheye or any other lens, we advise to set your camera on a steady support and use a wireless shutter remote to remove the vibrations from hands and to get perfectly sharp and crisp photos.
Opteka 6.5mm f/3.5 HD
This Opteka prime lens boasts super-wide angle of view at the fixed 6.5mm focal length. Although the barrel features the EF-mount, the lens is designed for APS-C sensor cameras. Meaning, if used on a Full-Frame camera, it delivers some heavy vignetting. Thus, you will have to crop these photos in the editor. Conversely, on the APS-C sensors, you will get the perfect rectangular full-frame image.
As for the barrel, the lightweight plastic body with rubber ring and aluminum mount feels comfy and reliable. The 10 optic elements are combined into 7 groups to improve image quality. The super multi-layer coating also reduces lens glares. Sometimes, the lens might show some nasty ghosting, especially when shooting against the very bright sun, but nothing to worry about too much. Just, try keeping the intense light sources out of the frame.
Where and How
High chances, you already know what you want to do with such lens. Still, Opteka 6.5mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens for Canon DSLR shows good results not only at taking photos of nature or the street view. Try it out in places like skate parks, where you might also attach the camera to a skate dolly to record some videos of the riders performing tricks on their BMXs, boards or rollers. The price of the lens is another pleasant bonus, as Opteka 6.5mm f/3.5 HD won't cost you a fortune to buy. There are dozens of sources to draw the inspiration for your creativity from. However, note that this lens has only manual focusing. Although this is not much of an issue in handheld shootings, you might want to consider the lighting conditions when you set the narrower diaphragm to obtain the deeper field of view for recording action videos outdoors.
Concluding, this is a great inexpensive fisheye lens for Rebel T3i, T4i, T5i or any other Canon camera with APS-C sensor. Considering the price, this is the awesome buy for the buck.
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For those who loves shooting videos with their camera, we can also recommend the Opteka X-GRIP EX PRO stabilizing handle for DSLR cameras and camcorders.
Rokinon 12mm F/2.8
Rokinon 12mm F/2.8 Fisheye is a solid manual lens with the decent optic characteristics. Its extra-short 7.9" minimum focusing distance is superb for shooting things like portraits by getting really close to your subject and still being able to capture everything around it.
Additionally, the barrel has 12 elements combined in 8 groups with 3 extra-low dispersion glass elements and two aspheric groups for improving the image quality and clarity. The lens is designed for Full-Frame DSLR cameras, so the image fills all the space on the photo without severe vignetting near the edges. The colors and contrast look pretty at any aperture settings as well.
By the way, don't be surprised if you find a similar lens from the Samyang or Bower brands as they all belong to the same Samyang company from South Korea.
In our opinion, it is a wonderful choice for beginners. Yet, even proficient photographers might find a great use for this fisheye lens for Canon cameras.
One could assume that these lenses are called "fisheye" because their convex glass shape imitates that of a fish eye and maybe has the same viewing angle. However, that's not true. The real reason for this is so-called "Snell's Window" - a peculiar optical phenomenon that can be observed underwater even by a human.
To understand it, imagine being submerged under water in the large round pond with short trees growing around it. When you look straight up, you will see a small circle of light right above you while the water near its edges becomes darker pretty much abruptly. Through that "window of light", you will be able to observe not just the sky above but also the short trees around the pond at 180° semi-spherical angle of view. This is how the fish, whales, dolphins or other aquatic animals see all things above the water surface but not necessarily around themselves.
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Even if you somehow lost your lens or camera sensor cap, you can buy several spare ones. Also, don't forget to buy a cleaning microfiber cloth for removing dust particles from the lens.
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