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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Through The Eyes Of A Fish

Dear friends,

Show me a person in love with photography and that owns a photo camera that does not know about the fisheye lens. I had a crush on them ever since I heard about them the first time almost 3 years ago. I found them extremely interesting and capable of creating lovely landscape pictures. The artists using them would capture much more than a normal camera could and it would help you see the big picture, not just a few shots broken and glued together to make a whole. Now for some technical specifications I will appeal to lovely uncle Wikipedia so... here they are.
The first time I managed to get all 3 on camera in the same picture! :)
A fisheye lens is an ultra wide-angle lens that produces strong visual distortion intended to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. Fisheye lenses achieve extremely wide angles of view by forgoing producing images with straight lines of perspective (rectilinear images), opting instead for a special mapping (for example: equisolid angle), which gives images a characteristic convex non-rectilinear appearance.
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The term fisheye was coined in 1906 by American physicist and inventor Robert W. Wood based on how a fish would see an ultra-wide hemispherical view from beneath the water (a phenomenon known as Snell's window). Their first practical use was in the 1920s for use in meteorology to study cloud formation giving them the name "whole-sky lenses". The angle of view of a fisheye lens is usually between 100 and 180 degrees while the focal lengths depend on the film format they are designed for.
Main Market Square
Mass-produced fisheye lenses for photography first appeared in the early 1960s and are generally used for their unique, distorted appearance. For the popular 35 mm film format, typical focal lengths of fisheye lenses are between 8 mm and 10 mm for circular images, and 15–16 mm for full-frame images. For digital cameras using smaller electronic imagers such as 1/4" and 1/3" format CCD or CMOS sensors, the focal length of "miniature" fisheye lenses can be as short as 1 to 2mm.
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These types of lenses also have other applications such as re-projecting images filmed through a fisheye lens, or created via computer generated graphics, onto hemispherical screens. Fisheye lenses are also used for scientific photography such as recording of aurora and meteors, and to study plant canopy geometry and to calculate near-ground solar radiation. They are also used as peephole door viewers to give the user a wide field of view.
One of the first pictures I took that day - on our balcony :)
In a circular fisheye lens, the image circle is inscribed in the film or sensor area; in a full-frame fisheye lens the image circle is circumscribed around the film or sensor area.
Further, different fisheye lenses distort images differently, and the manner of distortion is referred to as their mapping function. A common type for consumer use is equisolid angle.
Although there are digital fisheye effects available both in-camera and as computer software they can't extend the angle of view of the original images to the very large one of a true fisheye lens.
Our New Baby :)
As fisheye lenses gained popularity in general photography, camera companies began manufacturing fisheye lenses that enlarged the image circle to cover the entire rectangular frame, called a "full-frame fisheye" (which is precisely the type of lens we now own :) ). The picture angle produced by these lenses only measures 180 degrees when measured from corner to corner: these have a 180° diagonal angle of view, while the horizontal and vertical angles of view will be smaller; for an equisolid angle-type 15 mm full-frame fisheye, the horizontal FOV will be 147°, and the vertical FOV will be 94°.
The first full-frame fisheye lens to be mass-produced was a 16 mm lens made by Nikon in the early 1970s. Digital cameras with APS-C sized sensors require a 10.5 mm lens (or, for Canon APS-C cameras, a 10 mm lens) to get the same effect as a 16 mm lens on a camera with full-frame sensor.
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Now as you can see in the picture above my awesome husband surprised me on April 1st - Fools Day - with the most amazing gift I have received: a brand new Samyang 8mm f3.5 fisheye. You may not know this but this lens is notable for its stereographic projection. I fell in love with it the instant I layed my eyes on if and I jumped in immediately to my lovely Canon to change the lens and give it a go. I must admit I am still working on it as everything here must be done manually and my ISO setup always somehow fails. I must admit I have very much to learn! 
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As it covers 180 degrees you will be amazed of the pictures it can take. Tell you the truth the first times we took it out for a spin I had this feeling of jumping in the frame and trying to come closer and closer to the object I was trying to take a picture of. Everything around you will seem to come in your way and if you are next to someone for sure that person will enter the camera range and you will constantly try to find an empty space... to no avail! where you would be able to have the perfect shot. The human eye cannot cover the range the lens will give you so you will become fascinated by it - it uses the geometrical deforming and distorsions in an extremely creative way! No worries if you have different bodies - it works for Canon EOS or Nikon or Pentax/Samsung and Minolta Maxxum/Sony mounts. As I said everything is manually from ISO to focus setup so all you need is to play and learn :) And trust me this is a whole lot of fun! I recommend it!

** I have not been payed to do this review, I did it out of love :) I really like this lens and you will be seeing more and more of it. In case you have any questions about it please feel free to contact me! **

P.S. Did I mention how much I love my husband and how much I like this present?! :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves Her Husband :)