Fun with Fisheyes

I recently bought a Rokinon 8mm fisheye for my Nikon D7000. I’ve never used one before, and I thought it would be fun to try with my architectural photography. The lens has a full 180° field of view, which of course causes significant distortions. That’s perfectly normal and one of the attractions of a fisheye lens. However, I decided to try to correct as many of the distortions as I could with Lightroom 5.2. Below is an original photograph of the Suburban Station at 16th Street & JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia. The image has been edited to fix the exposure.

Original FIsheye Image

Original FIsheye Image

The road slants downhill from left to right, but it does not curve back up. The road and buildings show the classic curvature of a fisheye photo. The first step was to apply Lightroom’s automatic lens corrections. The Rokinon 8mm is not one of the lenses that LR knows about, so I chose the Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm. The next image has had this lens profile enabled.

Lens Corrected Image

Lens Corrected Image

All of the curvature has been corrected, but the subject building in the center is skewed backwards and to the right. The final step was to use the manual transformation controls. I fixed the perspective with the vertical and horizontal sliders, rotated the image until the road was correct, and scaled it so the image filled the frame. The final result is shown below.

Final Image

Final Image

The building in the photograph now looks the way it would if you were standing in front of it looking up.

For comparison, here is a similar picture taken with a 17-70 Sigma zoom lens set to 17mm.

Normal Image

Normal Image

Because of the narrower view, I had to switch to portrait (vertical) mode. Not only is part of the building cut off, but the adjacent buildings are not visible. I was standing in the same spot as in the fisheye image.

I’m very happy with these results and plan to process future fisheye images the same way.


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