Top 5 Fisheye Lenses in 2024

2 October 2022

You’ve probably heard of fisheye lenses, and even wondered where these camera lenses get their name from. The term comes from how a fish would see the world if looking up at the sky. A fisheye lens is a peculiar ultra-wide angle retro focus lens that, unlike standard wide-angle lenses or telephoto lenses, has no distortion correction.

Often neglected in favour of more conservative lenses, fisheye lenses capture a circular image with a 180° field of view, offering a wonderfully unique vision that brings a whole new level of creativity to many photographers' gadget bags. Though the image captured by fisheye lenses is distorted, you can use them to amplify or obscure your subject matter in various ways.

We’ve got everything you need to know about fisheye photography to get you started. Check out our recommendations for the five best fisheye lenses available right now.

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Fisheye vs Wide Angle Lenses

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Your standard wide-angle lens has a rectilinear design to reduce image distortion. Rectilinear is a photography term used to describe the movement of light through the lens in straight lines. Capturing straight lines ensures a ‘true-to-life’ image.

On the other hand, fisheye lenses are curvilinear, meaning there is no image correction, producing extreme barrel distortion, which has become a mainstay in underwater photography, extreme sports, astrophotography and filmmaking.

Variations of fisheye lenses

Fisheye lenses come in two different varieties: circular and full-field diagonal.

  • Circular fisheye lenses capture a 180-degree image, resulting in a circular picture within the edges of your frame. You can easily spot a circular fisheye lens by the black round frame they produce around the edges of a photograph.


  • Full-field diagonal fisheye lenses still capture a 180-degree image. However, the picture is stretched along its diagonal to fill the frame. Typically, the horizontal and vertical sides of the image are less than 180 degrees (150 degrees horizontal, 100 degrees vertical). 
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Contrary to their other name - full-frame fisheye lenses - they provide a less extreme effect and are more commonly used for landscape or urban landscape photography. And thanks to the vast field of view, fisheye lenses capture a much wider depth of field, keeping more of the foreground and background in focus.

Using a fisheye camera lens

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If you have ever looked through the peephole on a door, you are familiar with the fisheye effect. Photographers use this distorted effect to cram greater detail into your frame, capturing 180 degrees at the widest point, although some fisheye lenses have an angle of view as wide as 220 degrees! 

To the adventurous, fisheye lenses can add flair and creativity to a wide range of photographic styles, including landscape and portraiture. More docile photographers can also take advantage of the ultra-wide field of view.

To master using a fisheye camera lens, you’ll first need to understand focal length, crop factor, angle of view, image distortion and depth of field.

Focal Length

Often mistaken for the physical length of a camera lens, the focal length is the measurement of the distance between the lens and your camera's image sensor when your subject is in focus. Fisheye lenses typically have a focal length between 8mm and 10mm, whereas full-frame lenses are slightly longer, between 15mm and 16mm.

Crop Factor

The focal length of a lens is effectively increased when used with a camera with a sensor smaller than 35mm. If you are using a crop-sensor camera, you’ll need to identify the equivalent focal length of a lens: multiply the focal length by the camera's "crop factor".

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For example, a 10mm fisheye lens on a camera with a crop factor of 1.5 will produce an effective focal length of 15mm, producing a much narrower field of view.

Angle of view

As we mentioned, a fisheye lens captures 180 degrees at the widest point, though some lenses go as far as 220 degrees.

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Image Distortion

Fisheye lenses are impacted by barrel distortion, which causes the centre of the frame to bulge outwards, causing straight lines to curve. Capturing any image with a curvilinear lens will produce barrel distortion. 

Although wide-angle lenses produce a "rectilinear" image, the angle of view from a fish eye lens is too extreme for this type of correction.

Depth of Field

Depth of field is determined by the aperture or F-stop of a lens. Aperture is a fancy word used to describe the opening at the end of a lens. The f-stop refers to how large it is or how much light is captured— the lower the f-stop, the wider the depth of field.

Fisheye lenses are well known for their massive depth of field, giving photographers and filmmakers an image that is focused from the foreground to the background. Check out our Camera Lens Buying Guide for more information on choosing the right lens for your camera and photography style.

The 5 best fisheye lenses for unique photography

To help you choose the right fisheye lens for your needs, we’ve selected 5 of the best fisheye lenses money can buy.

Honourable Mentions: Fisheye Converters

Before we get into the best fisheye lenses you can buy, we have to give an honourable mention to fisheye conversion lenses. Attaching directly to your existing lenses via the filter thread, you can use these converters to boost the viewing angle of your smartphone’s camera for fisheye effects on the cheap.

Fisheye converters have a magnification factor, which impacts the effective focal length of your converted lens. Unfortunately, it also dramatically affects the quality of the image. While they’re great for experimenting with fisheye photography, they suffer from lens flare, have limited filter options and can often prevent zoom lenses from functioning correctly. For the best fisheye photos, we’d recommend going for one of the fisheye lenses below.

#1 Canon RF 5.2mm f2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens

  • Suitable for use on Canon EOS R5 Cameras (Firmware Updated)
  • Astonishing 180-Degree FOV
  • Compatible With Canon EOS VR Plugin
  • F2.8 Max Aperture - Low-Light Compatible
  • Produce 3D Images

You’re probably looking at this lens, wondering why there are two of them. Although it's only compatible with the Canon EOS R5 cameras with the latest firmware updates, the Canon RF 5.2mm f2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens produces astonishing 180-degree images, with the added benefit of VR, mixed reality and augmented reality image capture.

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Capturing two different angles simultaneously through its dual lenses, you can use this incredible double fish eye lens to capture brilliant 3D stereoscopic images. And the only way to fully experience this one-of-a-kind lens design is with head-mounted VR goggles.

Plus, thanks to its dust and weather-resistant Fluorine coating, this lens can withstand various environmental conditions for uninterrupted shooting.

#2 Samyang 8mm Fisheye F2.8

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  • Manual focus only!
  • APS-C format
  • f/2.8 to f/22
  • Internal focusing (IF) system
  • Sony NEX (E-Mount), Fujifilm X mount, or Canon M mount

Modern photographers have become accustomed to autofocus features for composition and efficiency. With the Samyang 8mm Fisheye F2.8, you’re limited to manual focusing only. But don’t let that deter you from this incredible piece of glass. The Samyang 8mm Fisheye F2.8 is a high-quality ultra-wide-angle lens designed exclusively for various mirrorless camera systems.

Its optical construction features 10 lens elements, 8 groups, 1 ASP and 2 ED elements for optimum visual performance, while the aperture consists of six diaphragm blades from f/2.8 to f/22. And thanks to the ultra multi-coating (UMC) and the integrated lens hood, flare and ghosting are minimised.

Since this is a manual focus fish eye lens, beginners might find the Samyang challenging to master. You can quickly achieve focus by selecting the approximate distance on the lens scale. We recommend setting the lens to around 1m at f/8 for sharp focus from close-up to infinity.

#3 Canon 8-15mm f4 L Fisheye

  • L-Series quality optics
  • Fixed f4.0 aperture
  • Ultrasonic Motor for fast, accurate auto-focus – with minimal noise
  • Perfectly circular shots (on a Full-Frame Canon DSLR body) at 8mm

Say hello to the flagship fisheye lens from Canon. The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L Fisheye lens is marketed as their most unique and daring lens yet. Without a fixed focal length, you can choose to capture perfectly circular shots at 8mm (on a full-frame DSLR) or choose to fill your frame and still maintain corner-to-corner clarity at 15mm, thanks to the zooming focal length. And because of the f/4 aperture size, it even holds up in low-light conditions.

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#4 Olympus Pro 8mm f1.8

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  • Micro Four Thirds Compatible
  • 16mm Equivalent Focal Length (35mm)
  • Anti-Reflective ‘ZERO’ Coating
  • Aspherical optical construction
  • Dust, Splash & Freezeproof Construction

Lovers of micro-four-thirds cameras will love the Olympus Pro 8mm f/1.8 fisheye lens. Ideally suited to the Olympus OM-D range, the 16mm equivalent focal length can fit everything within the frame, delivering eye-catching landscapes and architectural shots. Filmmakers will adore the MSC focus motor, which achieves accurate focus without interruption. 

And with the largest aperture size of any fisheye lens on our list, the Olympus 8mm f1.8 Fisheye Pro lens can help you shoot in any lighting condition, enabling faster shutter speeds and sharper images. Plus, its rugged build quality is dust, splash and Freezeproof!

#5 Nikon AF-S 8-15mm f3.5-4.5E ED Zoom

  • Minimum focus: 0.16m
  • ED glass elements
  • 2 Aspherical elements
  • Lens hood included
  • Create circular and full-frame fisheye effects

Even with two Canon fisheye lenses on our list, we’ve still got room for their rival Nikon with the AF-S 8-15mm f3.5-4.5E ED Zoom fisheye lens. Although it’s designed for the FX-format Nikon DSLRs (DX bodies will have a revised magnification of 12-22.5mm), using the Nikon AF-S fisheye 8-15mm f3.5-4.5E ED lens is as straightforward as a kit lens.

Full-time manual focus override enables critical focus adjustments, while the  Silent Wave Motor for autofocus is exceptionally accurate, blisteringly fast and dead quiet.

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Nikon also includes a bunch of distortion adjustments, including two Aspherical elements for higher levels of resolution and sharpness. Three extra-low dispersion elements are also included to reduce chromatic aberrations, producing optimum colour accuracy and even sharper images.

Plus, Nanocrystal and super integrated coatings limit lens flare and ghosting, while the fluorine coating protects the surface of the lens.

Featured Products

Fisheye Lenses for Smartphones

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If you wish to experiment with the fisheye effect before splashing out on a digital camera lens, consider purchasing a clip-on smartphone model, such as the Black Eye Pro Fish Eye Mobile Lens.

Many of these clip-on smartphone lenses work in much the same way as lens converters. The universal clip attachment on the Black Eye Pro is compatible with almost every smartphone, tablet or laptop, allowing you to capture a 180-degree angle of view in whatever environment you choose. 

Some smartphone lens adaptors come with even more lens options, like the Apexel 10 in 1 Smartphone Lens Kit, which offers the following assortment of lens attachments. 

A 198-degree fisheye lens 0.63x wide-angle lens, 15x macro lens, a super wide-angle lens, 0.36X, 2x telephoto lens, kaleidoscope lens, plus a circular polariser lens, star filter lens and flow filter lens–all of which are suitable for the majority of smartphones.

However, the same issues, namely poor image quality, apply to smartphone lens adaptors as they do camera lens adaptors. While they’re fantastic for experimentation, they’re no substitute for the real thing.

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