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5.2 Fish Eye Lenses

There are several specialty lenses that we could talk about, but I think the fish eye is one of the most useful of the bunch. In this lesson you are going to learn about fish eye lenses and how to use them.

5.2 Fish Eye Lenses

There are several specialty lenses that we could talk about. But I think that the fish eye is definitely one of the coolest. In this lesson you're gonna learn about fish eye lenses and see what they look like in action. A fish eye lens is a ultra wide angle lens that produces a strong visual distortion intended to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. Fish eye lenses achieve extremely wide angles of view by forgoing producing images with straight lines of perspective or rectilinear images. Opting instead for a special mapping, which gives the image a characteristic convex, non rectilinear appearance. The picture angle produced by these lenses only measures 180 degrees when measured from corner to corner. These have a 180 degree diagonal field of view while the horizontal and vertical fields of view will be smaller. You'll find fish eye lenses, and zooms, and primes. The one I have with me here is a prime. And it's quite inexpensive. I belive it's made by a company called Samyang and re-branded by several other companies. This one happens to be Vivitar. One of the things that I like about this lens is the exaggerated perspectives that it gives. This particular lens is manual focus. But because this lens has such a huge depth of field, it isn't too hard to deal with. Let's check it out. >> So we're going to check out some images here that I shot with a 7mm Vivitar lens on my Canon 7D. These are some shots that I did in New York City and I was shooting inside the car. And what's really cool about this I jammed it way up in the windshield. And this shot in particular, because of the way I'm pointing the camera, if you look at the building on the upper left hand corner of the frame, that's actually behind me. Which is really weird if you think about it. That's behind the car that I'm in. And you can see it. Really, really strange. But, that's what a fish eye lens will give you. We're going to check out a handful of shots that I did here at the beach. And what's interesting is some of these shots don't have that characteristic hyper distorted fish eye look to them. It really depends on what you're shooting, the distance you are away from any immediate objects in the foreground, and if there's a horizon in the shot, where the horizon is. As long as the horizon is near the center of the lens, it looks fairly normal. As soon as the horizon line gets above or below that area things start looking weird. I mean, that you can obviously tell that there is an incredible amount of distortion, but the beach line right in front of me doesn't look that distorted. So, if you compose your shots carefully you can make them look wide but not super distorted. Now, depending on where the objects are in your scene, you know, as you get really close to this lens a fish eye lens exaggerates the perspective and the spatial placement of objects in a very, very extreme way. Which you'll see in a few images coming up here. It's very interesting what you can get a lot of times when you're shooting with a fish eye lens. Depending on the direction that you point it, you'll end up getting yourself in the shot. Which is kind of an interesting and fun effect. Now, in this next image here you can see that my sister's arm. That's my sister Lisa on the left there, and the arm in the center of the frame, that's her arm, but it looks like somebody else's arm. And that's because it was really, really close to the lens, and so it's giving this really freakish kind of giraffe neck effects to her arm. Now, in this shot what I want you to notice here is the size of my daughter Lily's legs, who's sitting on the left there, and the building right behind her. Because I'm going to change positions in just a second and you're going to see a huge shift in the size of her legs but you won't see a big shift in the size of the background elements or really anything else. Now her legs look more normal. In fact she looks smaller. But everything else looks kind of the same. So, there's some really cool effects that you can do with this lens and it's a super fun lens to have and to be able to shoot with. You can see here's a shot of my mom which does look wide and a little bit distorted but check out what happens when she's on the edge of the frame. Now things look like a weird alien world. And that's one of the things that we have to watch out for when you're shooting with this lens. You can see here I caught the corner of this building and it's like a real obvious sign of distortion but as I took a few more steps, now you can see that that looks a little bit more normal. Now, it's still not right but it does look a little bit more normalized. So, you can use this distortion for an effect to help images look interesting. This image example works really well for a fish eye lens because we have this big circular object. This image right here, it's doing a really cool thing with my daughter's arm and it's kind of exaggerating the length there. Now this shot here, I shot on a roller coaster in Walt Disney World in the Magic Kingdom and I had a fish eye lens on my Canon 70 at arms length which is not an easy thing to do on a roller coaster I promise you. But a shot like this is just about impossible to do with any other lens because they're just not wide enough to get this really cool effect. We're seeing the whole train behind me, some really cool sky, and I'm seeing myself, my son, my daughter and my father-in-law there. So the interesting thing with a fish eye is, unless you're super close to something in the foreground and depending on how you compose the image, you can make it look fairly normal. Now, we're going to look at how to de-fish these images and correct for the distortion somewhat later in this lesson. Here's another shot where I got myself in the frame. You can see my body is in the lower left hand corner. And that has kind of a really weird looking effect, but you can see, depending on what's in the shot, some of these shots don't look that fishy and some of them definitely do. It has to do with where the horizon line is, where kind of objects that have a lot of straight lines are and their distance away from the lens. There's no magic formula. You can see some images like this work really well for a fish eye lens because it's working with the distortion. It's kind of this rounded canopy on the Dumbo ride here, which looked really cool with the fish eye lens. Other times, you're gonna see drastic amounts of distortion in the curved parts of the image. But again, fish eye lens are very unique because they offer a super wide perspective that you can't get with any other lens. Even a super wide angle lens, it's just not gonna happen. They work really well for interiors especially when space is limited because you can really get a lot of stuff in your shot. Now the next few shots that we're going to see were taken during a storm. And I took these at about 1:30 in the evening and this is another great example of how to use a fish eye lens because I wanted to get a lot of sky and you don't know where lightning is going to be, so it's kind of you point it where the lightening generally is happening and hopefully, you catch some lightening. Now, I was pretty lucky that I caught some really cool streaks of lightening and what I found out is, a few days later, we had another wicked storm and the exact position that I'm standing in right now was hit by a tree. There's a tree that's about ten feet to my left and it got hit by lighting, it split in half and it landed where I was standing, just about a week prior. But, if you're gonna go out and shoot pictures of lightning and storms, and you have a lot of sky that you wanna capture, a fish eye lens is a great idea for capturing those images. Here are a few very interesting shots that I did on the Fourth of July, trying to get some fireworks. Now, I had the exposure tweaked just right so I got a really nice, kind of blue sky. And I even captured some stars poking through, which is really neat. Sometimes fish eye images look cool just as they are. But other times you may want to de-fish them and try to bring back some of the more natural proportions. You can get some of the way there in Adobe's Lightroom and probably Aperture. But there's a free program that can make some more extreme corrections. Let's check it out. All right, what we're going to look at in this example is how to de-fish our fish eye shots. So, I'm here in Adobe Lightroom and we're looking at one of these shots here that I did inside this church in my hometown here. And, in Lightroom, we do have some basic lens correction. You can see I'm in the development module down here in Lens Corrections. We can set up Enable profile corrections, and then down here, we can try to set it to Auto, but because I'm using this particular lens, this manual fish eye lens, if we pull up the info, you can see it thinks it's a 50 millimeter. So that's not gonna work. What we need to do is we're gonna have to pick a lens and make that's pretty close to the same mapping as our lens here. At least for this particular lens. If you're using a lens that is listed in here, then it's gonna be a little bit easier for you. But for this particular lens, there is nothing that matches exactly. There isn't a Vivitar rebranded Sam Yang fish-eye lens profile. So, what I found that works okay is one of the Sigma and it's off the screen here. So I'm gonna select Sigma. One of the Sigma lens profiles. I'm gonna scootch this down here so we have a little bit more room. And right here you can see we had a big old list of lenses to choose from. Now, right up at the very top, what you can't see, it's off the screen I do apologize for that, we have 4.5 millimeter. Now, that's obviously gonna be way too much. Now, down here we have this distortion slider so we can affect the amount of distortion. And so there may be a point right here that will match. But what I found is, I believe it's the ten millimeter, this actually does a pretty good job of straightening this image out. Now, if we look towards the edges, what it's gonna do is it's gonna stretch this pretty significantly in order to make it fit. Now, that's okay, especially if you're gonna be outputting a slightly lower res file. But, check out what that did to the room. I mean, before you were looking at this and now we have something very, very straight. And the interesting thing about this is this photo was taken with the fish eye lens. This guy right was taken with the 11 to 16 mm lens and it was on 11 mm, but just check out the difference. This is a good bit wider. We can see more of the windows, right. I mean, we can see the wall way behind here. This is much wider and we're getting much more of the room in our shot here. So, even though it is a little bit, kind of, distorted in the way that it's correcting it, we are getting something that we just can't get with another wide angle lens, which is pretty cool. Again, this is the 11 to 16 millimeter image, and this is not cropped. You can see it's full res and this is the same exact spot with the 7 millimeter fish eye on my Canon 70. Which is pretty cool. Now the one issue of doing the lens profile corrections in Adobe Lightroom is that for JPEG photos, like this guy right here. You can see this is a JPEG and this is a .cr2 which is the, the raw file format. These don't have the same lens profile options compared to when you're working with a raw file. You can see that I have a pretty short list here and if I look on the drop down, normally what you'll see is these guys right here. The 4.5 to the 15mm and none of these work quite right. If I pick the 4.5, and I reset the distortion, you can see, that's obviously bananas. 15 millimeter, not gonna do it. Even if I try and over correct it, it's still not exactly right, because the mapping is not quite right. Now, you do see that there is a Sigma 10 millimeter, f2.8, EX DC Fisheye HSM lens on here. And that's because I did a little bit of hackary. And let me show you how I did that. Now,this is the Windows version of this hack, and I believe there's a similar work around to do it if you're running a Mac. Basically, in Windows, we have to have hidden files and folders enabled. To do that, we come over here to Folder and search options, and then in View we have to have Show hidden files, folders, and drives enabled. Because the folder that we are looking for is called ProgramData. We jump in here and we see a bunch of gobble-de-guc. Then we come down here to the Adobe file. We jump into CameraRaw, in LensProfiles, in 1.0. And then down here, because I know the lens that I'm looking for, I want to basically copy this folder right here, this Sigma folder. And so what I did was I copied that, and then we jump back to the C drive and I go into Users. Select your user name. Under App data > Roaming > Adobe. And we jump down here to CameraRaw > LensProfiles and then in here we paste that folder. So we paste that folder in here and then what we wanna do is we right-click on it. We go to Properties. And we uncheck Read only. And we apply changes to folders and subfolders. Yadda, yadda, yadda and that goes through and that way we'll be able to make changes. We go in here and what I'm looking for, because I'm shooting on a Canon camera, so I'm looking for this Canon folder here and then what I do is I find the right file, okay? And that's right here, okay? And what I want to do is, I want to open this. Now, if you haven't opened one of these .lcp files it's going to ask you what you want to open it with. I just selected Wordpad. Okay? Just a basic text editor. Because what I need to do is do a find and replace, okay. And so the thing you're looking to find is this, actually, right here. S-T-camera, camera raw profile equals. And before you modify it, I'll show you. We'll open up another one here. This guy right here. Before you modify it, all of these will say equals true, and there's a whole bunch of those. And all we have to do is do a find and replace, which is I've already done, right here. And we paste in, we take this, which will be true. We find that and we replace it with the same thing but instead of true we replace it with false. I go ahead and replace all of those, we re-save the file, and then when we open Lightroom back up, we will have this enabled for us to be able to use. It's now in the profile for JPEGs, otherwise, for whatever reason, those lens profiles are not accessible when you're working on JPEGs. Now, I don't recommend shooting JPEGs, but, at some point in your photography career, you may have shot only JPEG before. I know. Certainly I have. If you're working on JPEGs you may not have that available, so that is a little hack that you can do. And now, you can basically adjust the amount of distortion that you have available to you. You know, you can turn it down. But this one the Sigma 10 millimeter works really well with this particular lens. And you're gonna have to experiment and find out what works for your lenses. Again, here's another shot. If I take it off you can see definite fish eye, right? These lines right here, super curved. With it on check that out, straight lines, straight lines, straight lines. Now, it does look weird because it makes this roof look gigantic but the lines of perspective are cleaned up. Now, if you don't want to do this kind of hackery, there is another option. We can use another program. Now this program is called Hugin. H-U-G-I-N. It's free, it's open source. It's available for Mac, Windows, Linux. And this is a panorama stitcher. But we're gonna use it to de-fish our image. So I'm gonna jump to the Load Images. And I'm gonna load up an image here and I'm going to pick the same file that we were working on here. Which is the same file here that we were working on in Lightroom. So what we want to do, once we load the image, is we want to set up a few settings. Now initially what's happening is it's going to read the metadata. And it's going to look at the focal length, which it thinks is 50, but that's because the camera recorded the wrong metadata. So what we wanna do is we wanna choose seven because it's a seven millimeter lens, and then the lens type is not rectilinear. Woah. And you see that's going to get all kinds of weird there. Don't worry about that, we're going to fix that. And then we have to pick one of these mappings. And the one that works best for this particular fish eye lens, and you're going to have to experiment with your lens, is Stereographic. Now, this doesn't look right. We have these sliders here and we can kind of move the field of view up so we can see what in the heck is going on. Now you can see that this is doing the wrong thing to our image. But don't worry. We're going to jump over here to the Projection tab and we're going to change this from Equirectangular to Rectilinear. And now you're going to see, but this is actually doing something that's far more pleasing. Now it's bending the image the proper way, because we're taking the lens type which is stereographic and we are projecting that so that it's rectilinear, which means we're basically going to defish this, we're going to straighten out the lines. Now, you may have to play around with the settings in order to get the right look for this. For example, 7mm does not look right. And actually I think the lens that I was using was labeled 7mm but I think it might actually be closer to 7.5mm and you will see maybe a small change here. We got a projection, yeah. You see, that's looking a little bit better. At seven millimeters, this line here was kind of looking like an arc, and that's not right. And then, if we expand this all the way out, you can actually see how it's stretching the image kind of in this star shape here, but obviously we don't want all that data. So we can use these sliders here to crop in on the image because we don't really need all this jazz, we can crop in it right to the black there essentially and then over here in projection we have kind of more finite control, you know, we can say 150, that's not right how about one. 49, that looks about right and 110 maybe. Nope. I guess it's 109. You can crop it smaller than this if you want, but that's up to you. Then all we have to do is save this out and to do that I'm going to go over here to View > Panorama Editor. I'm going to jump over to the Stitcher tab, and then we're just gonna say Stitch, because this is a panorama stitcher, and we want to stitch it together. It's gonna say the project needs to be saved, yadda yadda. And I'm going to save it, and then it's gonna stitch it together. So this is the original image. Okay? And if we, we bump in here we can see. There is some chromatic aberration. You know, not a huge deal. This is the corrected image, but if we bump in here we can see that it is being stretched, but it's being stretched in a somewhat pleasing way. And, you know, this probably could be cropped in on the top and bottom a little bit more because this bottom stuff way down here is stretched pretty significantly. I don't think that's extremely useful. Plus if we were to print this, you know, I'm not sure that that's all necessary there. But it just goes to show you we do have options. And this image right here looks very similar to what we get here in Adobe Lightroom. This is doing just a different kind of lens correction. You know, there's not one that's necessarily better, but you can see this is definitely doing a nice job. Now, we may have overshot the mark a little bit. We might have been able to go down to maybe eight millimeters. We can actually see what that looks like. We jump back here and we'll go to this and say eight millimeters. So actually, that is looking a little bit different. You can save this out again, as an, as another version. This is the first one that we corrected. And you can see that might be a little bit bendy there. But, this guy right here. This is the second one where we selected eight millimeters. And you can see this actually looks very, very similar to what's happening in Lightroom here, they're very, very similar but the cool thing about Hugin or Hugin, or Hugin, H-U-G-I-N, however you pronounce it. Is that we have a little bit more to work with on the top and bottom of the imagine where Lightroom just kind of crops it out. You can see that that stuff is there but it sort of just crops it out. You know, I mean, this stuff is stretched but its not like this down here which is pretty heavily stretched. I actually like the way that this handles the correction. It involves a couple of extra steps. But I think it works really really well. So just another option there for you. You have the hacking of Lightroom if you're working on JPEGs. If you're working on RAWs, then you will have lots of lens profiles to choose from. Hopefully, you can find one that is a good match. You know, not all of these will work. I find the Sigma 10 millimeter works really, really well for this lens. I think that looks really, pretty nice. We would be able to save a little bit more if we were to do this in Hugin but you have some options there. >> Now that you know what fun a fish eye lens can be you're ready to move on to the next chapter in this course. In the next few lessons you will learn how we can use focal length to make someone look their best. And how we can use focal length in perspective to recompose images.

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