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Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 22 of 107

Fisheye Lens

John Greengo

Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

22. Fisheye Lens


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 23:32 2 Photographic Characteristics 06:46 3 Camera Types 03:03 4 Viewing System 22:09 5 Lens System 24:38 6 Shutter System 12:56 7 Shutter Speed Basics 10:16 8 Shutter Speed Effects 31:57
9 Camera & Lens Stabilization 11:06 10 Quiz: Shutter Speeds 07:55 11 Camera Settings Overview 16:12 12 Drive Mode & Buffer 04:24 13 Camera Settings - Details 10:21 14 Sensor Size: Basics 18:26 15 Sensor Sizes: Compared 24:52 16 The Sensor - Pixels 22:49 17 Sensor Size - ISO 26:59 18 Focal Length 11:36 19 Angle of View 31:29 20 Practicing Angle of View 04:59 21 Quiz: Focal Length 08:15 22 Fisheye Lens 12:32 23 Tilt & Shift Lens 20:37 24 Subject Zone 13:16 25 Lens Speed 09:03 26 Aperture 08:25 27 Depth of Field (DOF) 21:46 28 Quiz: Apertures 08:22 29 Lens Quality 07:06 30 Light Meter Basics 09:04 31 Histogram 11:48 32 Quiz: Histogram 09:07 33 Dynamic Range 07:25 34 Exposure Modes 35:15 35 Sunny 16 Rule 04:31 36 Exposure Bracketing 08:08 37 Exposure Values 20:01 38 Quiz: Exposure 20:44 39 Focusing Basics 13:08 40 Auto Focus (AF) 24:39 41 Focus Points 17:18 42 Focus Tracking 19:26 43 Focusing Q&A 06:40 44 Manual Focus 07:14 45 Digital Focus Assistance 07:35 46 Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF) 05:18 47 Quiz: Depth of Field 15:54 48 DOF Preview & Focusing Screens 04:55 49 Lens Sharpness 11:08 50 Camera Movement 11:29 51 Advanced Techniques 15:15 52 Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance 07:14 53 Auto Focus Calibration 05:15 54 Focus Stacking 07:58 55 Quiz: Focus Problems 18:54 56 Camera Accessories 32:41 57 Lens Accessories 29:24 58 Lens Adaptors & Cleaning 13:14 59 Macro 13:02 60 Flash & Lighting 04:47 61 Tripods 14:13 62 Cases 06:07 63 Being a Photographer 11:29 64 Natural Light: Direct Sunlight 28:37 65 Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight 15:57 66 Natural Light: Mixed 04:20 67 Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light 22:21 68 Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light 06:40 69 Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light 07:28 70 Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light 07:52 71 Quiz: Lighting 05:02 72 Light Management 10:46 73 Flash Fundamentals 12:06 74 Speedlights 04:12 75 Built-In & Add-On Flash 10:47 76 Off-Camera Flash 25:48 77 Off-Camera Flash For Portraits 15:36 78 Advanced Flash Techniques 08:22 79 Editing Assessments & Goals 08:57 80 Editing Set-Up 06:59 81 Importing Images 03:59 82 Organizing Your Images 32:41 83 Culling Images 13:57 84 Categories of Development 30:59 85 Adjusting Exposure 08:03 86 Remove Distractions 04:02 87 Cropping Your Images 09:53 88 Composition Basics 26:36 89 Point of View 28:56 90 Angle of View 14:35 91 Subject Placement 23:22 92 Framing Your Shot 07:27 93 Foreground & Background & Scale 03:51 94 Rule of Odds 05:00 95 Bad Composition 07:31 96 Multi-Shot Techniques 19:08 97 Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction 12:24 98 Human Vision vs The Camera 23:32 99 Visual Perception 10:43 100 Quiz: Visual Balance 14:05 101 Visual Drama 16:45 102 Elements of Design 09:24 103 Texture & Negative Space 03:57 104 Black & White & Color 10:33 105 The Photographic Process 09:08 106 Working the Shot 25:29 107 What Makes a Great Photograph? 07:01

Lesson Info

Fisheye Lens

Alright, so, we're talking about lenses, and lets have some fun for a little bit. Lets talk about the fisheye lens. This has been one of the lenses that intrigued me early on, and is something that I've had as part of my toolkit for a very long time. I don't use it a lot, and I think it's something that you can get overused, and I think that some people can kind of grow out of them and get tired of them, but from time to time, it's a specialty tool that really does a great job. So, most lenses, when you photograph a grid pattern are what are known as rectilinear lenses which means straight lines are rendered straight. With a slight astrict that sometimes lenses have a little bit of distortion to them and things get bent a little bit, but in general, they're supposed to be straight. A fisheye lens is and uncorrected wide angle lens, and it is doesn't care about bending lines. It's just trying to get as wide of angle a shot as possible, and so a term that you will hear is a rectilinear l...

ens, and this is what 99% of the lenses on the market are. Now, the true rectilinear might just mean somebody's talking about is perfectly straight, but generally speaking, all lenses have some small degree of distortion, but in general, they are rectilinear lenses. There is the special category of fisheye lenses, which is what we're talking about right now. Alright, so lets look at a modestly wide angle lens, and in this special case, we're going to be measuring things diagonally from corner to corner, so your 35 millimeter lens sees 63 degrees from corner to corner. We stick on an ulta wide lens, we're down to 93 degrees corner to corner, and you'll notice, we have straight lines going up and down even though it's a very very wide angle lens. When we switch to the fisheye lens, we're now going to start getting bent lines, but we are seeing 180 degrees from corner to corner, so big difference there. Now we can go one step further and do something called a circular fisheye where it records an entire circle within the frame, and it's 180 degrees in all directions. It's very very challenging to use this because literally everything in front of you is going to be in the shot, and so we have circular fisheyes. Now, this gets a little confusing here, because we have something called full frame fisheyes that has nothing to do with full frame sensors and crop frame sensors. It means that the entire frame, whatever size frame you have, is being filled with an image as opposed to a circular image being projected onto your sensor, and so, you can have a crop frame camera and have a full frame fisheye lens that's designed for it. So there's a couple of different lenses out there from the major manufacturers. Recently, there's been a unique change in fisheyes is that they've come out with zoom fisheyes, and this is so that you can have a full frame effect on a full frame camera or a crop frame camera, or if you have a full frame camera, you can get a circular fisheye, so there's multiple effects that you can get from a single lens, so that's from Canon and Nikon. Nikon does make a dedicated full frame fisheye for their crop frame cameras. I know it's a little complicated, but I think I got the words right on that one. There are a variety of others. I'm not going to go through all of the different fisheye lenses that are out there, but for any major system out there, there's going to be some sort of fisheye lens. There's been a couple of notable unusual fisheyes. In the past, a couple of my favorite is the Nikon 8 Millimeter, which was used for HAL 9000 in 2001 of Space Odyssey. That was an eight millimeter, a modified, I think broken apart, eight millimeter lens, and then, Nikon made this fisheye, which was a six millimeter fisheye, which was made for industrial purposes where they would stick the camera inside a pipeline, looking for cracks or something, and they wanted to be able to see a very small place, but they wanted to see as much as possible, and so, if you ever see these on eBay, they tend to go for quite a bit of money. If you happen to have one, it's worth quite a lot. Alright so, looking at a normal lens, this is at Horseshoe Bend, not exactly great picture at this point. Lets get to a wide angle shot, and I wanted to compare what different wide angle lenses see compared to a fisheye, and the widest lens I've shot with is an 11 millimeter lens, and this is still a rectilinear lens, and so everything is straight, but when you go into a fisheye, you can still see more from side to side, and so I threw in the crops here of what you would see with all of the other different lenses in here, and so, it's really not that much wider than you see with an 11 millimeter lens, but it tends to be a lot less money. Making a fisheye lens is relatively easy because they don't need to make all of the optics to correct for the distortions that a wide angle lens normally sees, and so, I always wondered, I was first getting into photography, and my widest lens was a 35 millimeter lens, and I wanted to get a wider lens, and I was thinking: "Well I could either get a 20 millimeter lens," "or I could get a fisheye, and that's really wide." But I realized: "Okay, I better just get the 20 first" "because that's a far more practical lens than a fisheye." The fisheye is kind of like your fifth optional bonus lens after you have kind of the major bases covered in photography. It's not the main stay. Now, when you get a fisheye lens, you're going to tend to use it a lot because it's just in interesting way to look at the world. Now, I do not like photos like this. There's really no reason why it needs to be in a fisheye. It makes the building look a little funny, and so, you have to be careful about using this because it's a very special tool. I think it works out better on the insides of buildings than it does on the outsides of buildings. We, granted, still have some lines here, but we're really filling the frame with everything we need, so inside auditoriums and inside arenas, I think are a pretty good place for using fisheye lenses. Sometimes you're really really close to subjects, and you're trying to show as much around it, which can be a good use of it. In many cases, I think of it as a skateboarder lens because I see so many skateboarding shots where they get up really close with that lens to exaggerate the height of the subjects, and if you do portrait photography with a fisheye lens, it's gonna be fun for a little while, but it's not probably gonna be the best thing in doing most portrait photography. Now one of the fun things about a fisheye is that it does bend all of the lines, but it only bends lines that move, are away from the center part of the frame. This is a fisheye shot right here. In fact, this is actually a fisheye video. Let me play the video here for you. You can see the horizon remains straight as long as it is level through the middle of the frame, but when I take it away from the frame, we have what I would call a rubber band effect here where it bends, and you'll notice the road itself and the line, the white line on the road, are bending if it's not going through the middle of the frame, so anything that comes from the outside, through the middle of the frame, will be straight. And so, this stairs, down at the bottom, are going to be very curved because it's a straight line far away from the center of the frame, and so, you have to be very careful about using this out in an environment where you're going to see a horizon, and so I showed you one of these photos earlier, but there work with fisheye lenses because you really don't see the horizon in there at all, so you don't get the curved effect, and so, I'm disguising and hiding the fisheye effect, and that's when I really started to like using a fisheye is when I could show a photo with a fisheye, and most people wouldn't know intrinsically that it was a fisheye shot, and I think those are often the most successful shots with fisheye lenses. Any sort of round or oval environment is going to be a very natural place, and so this is a fisheye lens. This is Old Husky Stadium, but with those curved seats in there, they're being distorted, but you wouldn't know because they're just being distorted from one curve to a slightly different curve that you may not know, so I think that's a good use, so inside the aquarium, a domed arena, anytime I go to a domed place, I'm thinking: "I can use a fisheye here," "and nobody is going to know it's a fisheye." Nobody's going to know it's a fisheye in a lot of these natural caves and any places that you're going to see just naturally natural lines that curve in a variety of ways, and so most people aren't gonna know that this is a fisheye lens. Now they can obviously be used in many other unusual cases, and so when I was coaching a cross country team that got together to do this big chant beforehand, and so I put the camera on a monopod with a fisheye lens, and put it right over their heads to get this look. For me, it reminds me of a chum of fish, all swirling around in a ball right there, and so that fisheye lens enables that unique point of view. I've used it at some of the races, and we do get kind of a curved horizon there, and so, it's just an unusual shot in order to get in close, and you do have to be very close to your subjects, so you have to be careful in any sort of sport situation using a fisheye lens because you have to be able to get that camera in really close but not endanger your subjects in any way. Really fun for doing the shooting up group shot. You can see everybody, and they don't really look all that distorted even though I'm shooting essentially a portrait with a fisheye lens, and they two things at are going on here is there heads are fairly close to the center of the frame, and they're all kind of standing at the edges going straight into the frame. If one of them was standing on the long or the short side of the frame, we'd get a lot of distortion. So there's a lot of different fun ways that you can use a fisheye, so once again, a round environment. In this case, I had a circular fisheye, and when you have a round ceiling, a circular fisheye is perfectly matched for shooting something like that, so we're ending up with a round image, which I have to admit, is a little hard to use because you're going to have to crop it into some sort of rectangle or square in most cases. Round imaged don't work too well. Ken, I don't know if there's some sort of social media app that specializes in round images. That could be a new thing we could do. So working with a circular fisheye is really really challenging because it is 180 degrees in all directions, and you're ending up with this round image, and so if you have a full frame camera, you're going to get this circular image in here. Now, with the full frame fisheyes, what it's doing is it's projecting a fisheye, and you're just recording the image on the entire surface area of the sensor. I went around Seattle one day just looking for things that I could shoot with a circular fisheye. What I did find, is that what was most interesting to me was lost of staircases. Staircases, if they're interesting staircases, can look very interesting with these circular fisheyes, and this is my favorite one. I think this is at Seattle University. We have a circular light up on top, and we have a double circular staircase, and I went down to the bottom, and I had to do a self timer shot, and if you look carefully, I'm hiding behind one of these pillars off to the side because it sees everything. It's pointing straight up, and so it sees everything around it. For all of your fisheye lenses, think about curved lines and watching out for straight lines and where they go through the frame because you're gonna get curved. These, you do not use filters on for the most part because it's got a curved element out in front, and you do need to be very very careful with it, and I think if you can disguise that fisheye effect, that's when you're going to get the best use of these. So any of you have questions on fisheye lenses? Does anybody here own a fisheye lens? Somebody here? One person owns a fisheye lens. You've kind of sheepishly like: "I uh I own one." (laughing) I did use that. As you referenced, I used it a ton for the first two weeks and haven't touched it since. (laughing) Is there anything you like shooting with the fisheye, or that works with what you shoot? No, not really, (laughing) And so it might make a really good rental lens. You know you can rent lenses, and it's like you could a really nice car, but this is relatively affordable. You could probably rent one of these lenses for 30, $50, $100, for a long weekend, and kinda flush out of your system the whole fisheye thing. 'Cause for some people, it's just not something that they do for a long period of time.

Class Description

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As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan