Introduction: How to Achieve Fisheye Effect Without Getting the Actual Expensive Lens?

About: I love internet reading. I think I have acquired more knowledge from the internet than I have and probably ever will from a standard institution of learning.

A fisheye lens is an extremely wide-angle lens that creates a wide spherical image. Fisheye lenses have become coveted by photographers for their distorted and retro effect. Professional fisheye lenses can easily run you a couple hundred dollars. Anyway, this tutorial would be teaching you how you can achieve the fisheye lens effect without spending hundreds of dollars on acquiring the actual expensive lens. Basically we have two ways on achieving this kind of effect. You can either use the post-processed, Photoshop method which is purely digital or you can go on with the semi-analogue way of purchasing a peephole door viewer which will serve as the fisheye lens of your camera.

Step 1: Achieving Fisheye Via Photoshop

I will be discussing first the Photoshop method of achieving the fisheye lens effect.


1) You need an image. However, you can't just choose any image you would want to apply the fisheye effect on. You need a little knowledge on perspective to make your image more pleasing when the fisheye effect has been applied to. It is advisable that the image you choose is in landscape orientation. It is also advisable to choose an image with less erratic angles. Less subject is also an advantage in achieving a natural fisheye look. But still, the decision is entirely yours.

2) Computer capable of running Photoshop. Currently my computer is set to run PS CS4. However, the tutorial that I would be posting here is on CS3 but the same process applies when trying to make the fisheye effect.

To further on this method, you may follow this link.

Step 2:

However, what I like about making out a fisheye shot via the peephole door viewer method is the rim light you get from the extended lens connected to your camera. It is possible to have that same effect through Photoshop, but the process would be a little complicated and time consuming. See above picture to know what I mean...

The peephole door viewer method of achieving the fisheye lens effect is what prefer if you ask me. I love the tarnished look and the rim light you get from doing this method.

Step 3: Achieving Fisheye Via the Peephole Door Viewer


1) Any old, obsolete digital or analogue camera. Now, choosing a camera is all up to you. You can choose old analogue cameras because the process of achieving the effect is applicable to both analogue and digital. We would only need to cover up the lens of the camera with a size compatible peephole door viewer. However in my case I used a digital point-and-shoot camera, since I want to see the outcome immediately. I also decided to use the IR hacked camera I did a while back due to the lovely effects it can do.

2) A peephole door viewer. I bought my door viewer a couple days ago but I was quite busy to do any of this because of summer class. Luckily I was able to acquire this and it was on sale. I got it only around Php50.00 ($1.00). You may need to check first the size of the lens of your chosen camera so that you have an idea what size of peephole door viewer you would need to purchase.

3) Electrical tape or duct tape. Although I'm a duct tape girl, in this tutorial I would prefer that you use electrical tape instead due to the stretchability of the following and it is also easier to remove if you no longer desire to use the fisheye lens than using a sticky duct tape.

4) A pair of scissors. Of course you need a pair of scissors to cut of the and attach the peephole door viewer to your camera lens.

Step 4: What Do I Need to Do?

1) Measure the diameter of your camera's lens. You can find out the diameter by measuring the width across the glass of the lens with a tape measures or a ruler and make sure that the peephole you acquired is nearly close to the diameter of your chosen camera.

2) Turn on your camera and press the "Zoom" button, the lens should extend out. You will need to leave your camera's lens extended while using the fisheye effect.

3) Tape the door knob viewer on to the lens. Stretch your fingers and start shooting!

Step 5: Sample Output

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