Learning the 10.5mm Fisheye Nikkor

Each new lens is an opportunity to do a little more and learn a little more.  I took a 10.5mm Fisheye Nikkor to the park this morning to see what I could get out of it.  The tide was well out and aided by a north wind allowed the shore path at Ponce De Leon park to be navigated easily.

The fisheye fills the frame on a DX camera like the Nikon D90.  If you are holding the camera plumb about the only difference you will immediately notice is the very wide angle of view.  You wouldn’t think that the difference between 10.5 and 12 is very much but, that 1.5mm is more than 10% wider than the 12-24mm f4.0 Nikkor and it is very apparent.

The images only appear normal when plumb, particularly if there is a horizon in the picture.  In fact, if there is a horizon, you need to put it right on the center line to avoid obvious distortion.  take a look at these three images, all taken from the same position.


This was taken with the lens tilted downward.  As a result, the horizon has become an arcing curve at the top of the picture. The two little grey triangles in the bottom corners are actually a straight seawall that I am standing on. Composition takes some care, the shadow on the right is me.

The second image was taken with the horizon level and looks almost normal.

This third image was taken with the camera tilted upward. you can see that the horizon is now a curve in the opposite direction.  It shows another aspect of the fisheye too.  Exposure can be awkward unless you are using spot metering because there is just so much in the viewfinder that can effect it.  Notice the color of  the sky too.  With an ultra wide angle lens like this, the reflection of light from the sky varies dramatically across the horizon.  With the sun at your back you will get deep blues at the top and lighter shades on the sides and horizon.

Here is another shot from a little further down the shore path showing another hazard of the lens. 

The picture on the left is a straight  from  camera jpeg.  Notice the little bit of red at the bottom left?  That’s the sleeve of my windbreaker.  The 10.5mm has a 180mm field of view on the diagonal of the frame. 

You really have to watch the whole frame to keep out of trouble.I also wanted the horizon directly in the middle of the frame just to keep it level and then cropped to move it upward.  Notice that the shadows on the sand at the bottom follow a curved path.  They were actually the shadows of relatively straight trees that look curved from the lens distortion.  Here is a final shot cropped and converted to Black and White with a little care, the 10.5 makes for interesting images without the obvious fisheye effect.

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About birds n' bugs

Retired, living in SW Florida and spending my time at nature photography in my local area. I volunteer with a couple of local organizations to help my adopted home town. Travelling is now by airplane and car instead of a sailboat but happy anyway.
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