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Fisheye Lens Example

Nikon 10.5 mm Fisheye Lens – Instant Fun!

About 11 months ago I decided to take a plunge and buy the Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye lens for my Nikon DSLR camera (D50). After seeing some of the cool shots on Flickr taken with fisheyes, I wanted to play with one myself.

I was a little weary to get it since my Nikon camera is only 6 megapixels. I remember having talked to a salesperson at a local Ritz and him telling me that a fisheye lens will not do well with a low-megapixel camera like the D40 or D50 since it tends to squeeze and distort the image. He said they were better suited to film cameras back in the day. Plus at just under $600 it felt like I was taking a risk getting a lens that might not produce good images.

Well I’m glad I didn’t listen to him and ended up getting the lens anyway. I got the The Nikon AF Nikkor 10.5 mm 1:2.8 G ED for my D50 from Amazon and I can say that it’s been a really, really fun lens. I’ve taken thousands of shots with it and it always adds a cool perspective to my series.

Sometimes I almost feel like I’m cheating – it’s just too easy to take a really cool picture that stands out from the rest. You can check out some of my favorites here:

The lens is really good for taking photos of small spaces such as cramped rooms and anywhere where your field of view is really constricted – think a bathroom on a real estate shoot. Conversely, it’s also awesome for wide open spaces where the perspective will add even more of a sense of grand scale.

Parking in Kofu


(The pros definitely outweigh the cons if you ask me, but I’ll try)

Instant fun!

Gives you cool perspectives that no other lens can

Small so it takes up little room in your camera bag

Takes shots


In some shots you may have some serious chromatic abberation at the fringes. Errrr, I think that’s right anyway – basically you might have some messed up color and distortion near the edges of the photo. I’m not a huge purist as long as the pic looks cool, so this part doesn’t bother me like it might some people.

It’s a fixed lens so there’s no zoom – you’ll have to move the camera back and forth to adjust what actually fills the frame. The nice thing is that small lateral or up and down movements make a hige difference. Ok, so this part is not really much a con, but I’m trying to come up with a balanced review.

Since there’s so much stuff in the shot, keep in mind that your camera’s built in flash will probably not illuminate all of it, especially in the bottom of the shot (since the lens itself will block light). Here’s an example of what I’m talking about (see the dark area in the bottom of the shot). You’ll either have to not use flash, deal with it, or get an external flash unit.

At $500+ dollars it’s not the cheapest lens, but definitely one of the most fun ones that will let you take some very cool and unusual shots.

If you’re thinking about getting one for yourself or a present – check out the latest prices for the 10.5mm Fisheye lens on Amazon. If you buy through the link above it will help support this site and encourage more posts like this (and make my day).

Happy shooting!

Fred Rogers with the Neighborhood Seen on his show. ONE TIME USE

Mr. Roger’s Tilt Shift Neighborhood

By Denise Dougherty of Sunshine Spirit Photography

Are you old enough to remember the television show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood? The opening scene was a model mock-up of the perfect little neighborhood. That is a fine example of tilt shift photography images, and perhaps nostalgia has something to do with why these types of photos are adored. They’re colorful, cute, and they tend to make this big world around us feel a bit cozier.

There are several methods to achieving this look in a photo. One is to purchase a lens. Lensbaby came out with a series of lenses in 2004, fairly inexpensive and compatible with all of the big name slr’s camera companies. A Nikon or Canon tilt shift can run you up to a couple of thousand dollars.

Toys Of Switzerland
Creative Commons License photo credit: VinothChandar

Another technique is to use Photoshop. Okay, so it’s not a look that you get sooc (straight out of the camera), but it can be decently achieved when using the right photo and Photoshop tools. Due to the nature of the shot needing to look like a model, an aerial view of something would help give it the right effect. So, photos from high places, such as a tall building, a rooftop, ferris wheel, helicopter, or a bridge would lend itself to a workable photo. It would also help to have clusters of the same subject type, such as people on a boardwalk, running a race or in a parade. Another idea that works well is to photograph large motor vehicles like busses, trucks, trains, airplanes or boats. A few simple steps in Photoshop, like pumping up the hue and blurring part of the image will give you a cute little tilt shift photo!

By blurring a large portion of the photo and leaving just a small slice, about 1/3-1/4 of the photo in focus, you create a shallow depth of field. There is also a site called tiltshiftmaker.com that will help you transform your sooc images into tilt shift works of art.

Tilt-shift photography images are fun and are becoming pretty popular. I personally feel a bit like a kid in a toyshop when I view these photos because they look like a fun toy to play with. Tilt shifts are fun shots that would look great in a kids’ room. As kids’ room décor is becoming a bit more sophisticated, this still gives a child-like feel, but has a mature look to it as well. I also think they’d be a great addition to an office, as they are fun and can attract positive energy to the place you probably need to seek a little joy when you look up from your desk.

These shots can also make a great 365 project or 52-week project for photographers, because we love to challenge ourselves and look for inspiration. By purchasing a special lens, using your Photoshop techniques, or scanning for tilt shift software on the internet, the project is all about having fun and learning something new.

UPDATE:  I’ve found a Tilt Shift Photoshop plugin that can achieve this affect called:  FocalPoint 2  Try it out for free and don’t forget to use our exclusive 15% OFF coupon code: vizphotoguide 

The 5 Types of Pictures You Really Need to Stop Posting to Facebook and Twitter – Right Now

Your Facebook Friends are Really Tired of Seeing this:

1. Injuries
2. What you’re eating
3. Unextraordinary photos of your dog (or cat or baby)
4. Clouds
5. You kissing your significant (or insignificant as the case may be) other

Send this to your friends who need an intervention.


Using a Crystal Ball: A Creative Way to Get Wide Angle Shots

Here’s a really fun and easy way to get some unusual shots by using a crystal ball and focusing on the image inside of it.

A crystal ball inverts the scenery so everything inside looks upside down and captures a really wide angle. It’s sort of a poor man’s fisheye lens, but more flexible in what you can do with it.

You can get a crystal or glass ball or sphere by robbing a sorcerer, borrowing it from that crazy tarot card lady around the corner, or buying one off eBay (which is what I did since I don’t live near Hogwarts Academy.) It cost me less than $50 including shipping.

A lot of the shots looks great if you rotate the image 180 degrees (flip it upside down in your image editing program) so what’s reflected inside the crystal ball looks right side up and the background ends up blurry (out of focus) and upside down.

Play with the placement of the ball closer and farther away from the camera lens and be sure to focus on the image inside the ball – dslr’s are a lot better at this on manual mode since autofocus will often not focus properly. Turn off the flash, and be aware of any glare that’s coming from your side of the ball.

Added bonus: when you’re walking around with a crystal ball in your hand (like I just did in Miami Beach), people will think you’re a sorcerer. Especially if you’re wearing a cape or laughing maniacally. If you can get past the initial fear, people might even pay you $5 to tell them about their future. And afterwards, you can take a picture of them upside down. Everyone wins.


How to Take Photographs in Low Light

Light is the most fundamental aspect of all photography. When you capture any image, what you are actually capturing is the light reflecting off your subject and its surroundings. So when you are taking pictures in low lighting conditions, such as at night or in an unlit room, it can be difficult to achieve satisfactory results. However it is not impossible, and with a little knowledge and practice you can make the most of the light available to you.


Using the flash on your digital camera to introduce more light to the scene artificially is the most obvious way to solve the problem of low lighting. However, flash photography has many drawbacks.

When it comes to taking pictures of people or animals, using a flash can spoil your shot by distracting the subject or causing them to blink. There’s also the age-oldproblem of ‘red eye’, which although with a digital camera can be eliminated during processing using photographic software, can ruin an otherwise excellent portraitshot.

A flash can also lead to a shot that looks artificial as it will tend to illuminate closer objects while making backgrounds and other elements look dull. On top of this, many built-in flashes concentrate light onto the centre of the image, leading to ‘flash fall-off’ at the edges of the image and a lack of contrast around the edges of the picture.

With a standard point-and-shoot digital camera it can be difficult to take good photos using the built-in flash. But if you have a digital SLR camera you can use an adjustable external flash gun to bounce the light off walls, ceilings or other surfaces to create a more natural lighting effect. A handy tip is to cover the flash with tracing paper, which will also help to diffuse the light and give a more natural result.

Use a big lens

The amount of light entering the camera through the lens is also a crucial factor. If you’ve got a digital SLR camera you can improve image quality in low-light conditions by using a bigger lens. The size of the lens determines the maximum aperture opening (measured in f-stops), and consequently the amount of light that enters the camera.

When it comes to lenses, the lower the f-stop number the larger the aperture, so when purchasing a bigger lens for low light photography go for one with a low aperture number, such as f1.4.

Exmor Cmos sensor

night shots require steady hands

The key to getting a crisper image in low conditions is increasing the amount of light getting to the image sensor inside the camera. With a standard digital camera the sensitivity of the sensor is limited as a result of the network of tiny wires running across it. This means that the image has to be electronically boosted, inevitably resulting in digital ‘noise’ that spoils the overall quality of the picture.

The Sony Exmor Cmos sensor has solved this problem by placing these wires behind the sensor, allowing more light into the sensor naturally. This means that the image does not need to be artificially boosted to such a high degree, resulting in low light photos with significantly reduced picture noise, even on a point-and-shoot digital camera.

Play with the ISO settings

higher ISO means more noise

Finally, you can play around with the settings on your camera and see what works best with the light available. You can change how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light by altering the ISO setting. A higher setting, such as 800 or even 1600, will pickup more light, but it will also increase the amount of image noise.

You can also use a lower shutter speed to keep the aperture open for longer and allow more light in, but to reduce motion blur you will need to use a tripod (this is especially true if you’re shooting HDR). This method is also not effective for capturing moving subjects. If you are not comfortable playing around with these settings on your camera, then it’s best to switch them to auto and take your chances.

Popular Digital Cameras at Amazon

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