You have heard about fisheye lenses and have often seen them used for many weird images: people with huge distorted faces, pets with massive noses, bent horizons, bizarre buildings, etc. Do you want to use one?
The fisheye lens can create absolutely amazing images unlike any other lens. The distortion of the fisheye compared to a rectilinear lens adds a completely new dimension to photography: creativity. And as photographers we want to be creative, don’t we? But as with all good things, there can be bad results, therefore the lens must be used with discretion and only when it adds to an image, not detracts. It is important to remember that the field of view of a fisheye is 180 degrees; the nearest rectilinear lens is the Canon 11-24mm with a 126 degree field of view…the fisheye takes in a lot of real estate and if you’re not careful an image can get very busy. And remember, you can get extremely close to objects; mine will get as close as 12 inches…
I have a Canon 15mm F2.8 fisheye. It goes everywhere with me; do I use it a lot? No.
A fisheye lens is very light and usually small, therefore it is easy to bring along in your bag or in a pocket. You don’t need filters, it would be hard to fit one on the bulbous front lens element, so if I am shooting, the bracketing ability of my camera takes away the element of surprise when I review images. By bracketing, I can combine the sky in one image and the foreground in another if necessary…many times it is not…
I have found that there are certain times a fisheye can do wonders for an image. Night sky images can be incredible. My thought process is simple: if it looks like a fisheye will add something to my composition, I try it…at least by trying the lens, it can be ruled out if the composition fails.
There are even telephoto fisheyes… many manufacturers have fisheye lenses: Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Rokinon.
The lens I have was about $600…they are usually under $1000…some can be found used at Amazon for a lot less.
Here are some examples that may get you motivated to rent or purchase a fisheye: