One of the most interesting photographic techniques is accomplished using a fisheye lens. The ultra wide angle lens produces a strong visual distortion and creates a panoramic or hemispherical image. Getting your hands on this well crafted piece of glass isn’t easy though. With prices starting well into the mid and late hundreds for a standard Nikon fisheye lens, the chance of achieving these effects yourself is often quite a slim one.
Like what many of you may choose to do, I went for the much cheaper but perhaps less reliable option: I invested in Lomography. Lomography is a community based online, in stores and in print and is proudly dedicated to the art of analogue photography. Founded by two Austrian students, the concept began after a Lomo-Kapakt Automat (a small Russian camera) was found and experimented with. The results astounded them, the vibrant colours and deep saturation had the two students and their friends sold almost immediately. So born was the artistic movement of experimental photography that now goes by the name of Lomography.
Included in the rage of cameras, film and various other gadgets for sale is Lomography’s own 35mm fisheye camera range. For a noticeably cheaper £60, you can have you’re own compact fully functioning fisheye lens. In some cases, the fact that it is a film camera has more advantages than it’s digital rival. Along with the warm vintage feel the film grain gives the image, the style also bears some similarities to the glazed impression of life inside a fish bowl.
As you can see from some of the featured images, the camera produces some strong and vibrant fisheye effects and with at least 18 different types and styles of camera, its likely that there’ll be a style that matches you. However I have found the camera a little hit and miss on its ability to wind the film on properly and capture the fisheye shot in the centre of the image. I have often returned from the processing lab disappointed with the entire pack of developed photos sitting before me, not even worthy of a Facebook upload.
Should this occur for you, or if £60 is still too higher a price to stretch, there is one last option before you dismiss fisheye from your life completely. It’s time to go solo and introduce the DIY technique for achieving the fisheye effect. All you need for this solution is a digital SLR and a pair of old glasses with a relatively strong prescription, the thicker the lens the better as this is what will give the main fisheye effect.
Here’s how you put it together:
Step 1: Push out the lenses from the glasses.
Step 2: Take two pieces of masking tape and that measure to a length long enough to fit around the glasses lens and then stick them onto the top and bottom edge of the frame.
With the tape ready for action, carefully put your newfangled fisheye lens over your camera’s lens, the same way the eyeglass lens normally would be in its frame.
With the tape, secure everything down so that the eyeglass lens ain’t budgin’ from your camera’s lens.
There ya are!
Click here to see a more subtle use of the fish eye lens
Or scrap ALL of the options above and invest in lenses for your iphone