In order to get the full fish eye effect you need to use a lens with a focal length of 8mm – 10mm (full frame equivalent), which is very wide. Point and shoot cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses and with the widest end typically being 28mm (24mm on some point and shoot cameras) it is a long way off the required 8mm – 10mm and a full fisheye effect simply isn’t possible with these lenses.
Even though you can’t attach an ultra-wide angle fisheye lens to a point and shoot camera there is a cool accessory you can buy, and this is a fisheye converter.
This is a small lens looking device you screw in to the lens’ filter thread, or if the lens on your point and shoot camera doesn’t have one, the filter thread adaptor.
Fisheye lens converters are cheap and a fraction of the cost of a specific fisheye lens, therefore it is an affordable way to try out the world of fisheye photography and have a play to see what it is, and what type of images you can capture. Fisheye lens converter, just like fish eye lenses, create a lot of distortion which results in some fun and quirky images. The fisheye effect isn’t realistic, but this is all part of its charm, so it isn’t an accessory for everyone.
A fisheye lens converter is another bit of glass in front of the lens, which is another bit of glass the light has to travel through so there is a slight loss in image quality. The reduction in image quality will vary depending on the type of point and shoot camera you use. On my Canon G1X the reduction in image quality is slight, unless you go pixel peeping or blow the image up to billboard size. Despite the reduction in image quality the photos taken with the Canon G1X and fisheye lens converter are still good enough to sell and make a bit of money with.
As previously stated you need to get a lens with a focal length of 8mm – 10mm to get the full fisheye effect. Fisheye lens converters typically multiply the camera’s fixed lens by 0.35x, 0.25x or 0.15x. So, on the Canon G1X with a focal length of 28mm (full frame equivalent) this converts the lens into 9.8mm, 7mm and 4.2mm respectively. On my camera the 0.35X fisheye converter doesn’t quite make the full circular fisheye effect, however the other 2 do. When calculating the fisheye lens converter you need you simply multiply the focal length of the lens you are going to use the converter on by the power of the converter. Simples!
There are plenty of fisheye converters available and the price varies considerably. Take a look on eBay and you will find loads of super cheap generic products. Take a look at Amazon and there are a couple of very expensive fisheye converters that are 15 times more expensive than the cheap eBay products. Personally, I wouldn’t touch either the super cheap or the super expensive fish eye lens converters.
The cheap ones are cheap for a reason, i.e. they are poorly made and will last five minutes, and the super expensive ones are a rip off and are basically preying on those people who think that the more expensive the better. Trust me, there really is no need to spend a fortune on a fish eye lens converter because the image quality (and build quality of the converter) will be identical to that of a converter costing much less.
The fisheye lens converter I use cost around thirty bucks, which is middle of the road and this does everything I need it to. In fact, a bloke who is in my camera club was duped in to buying one of the pricy fisheye lens converters and he is miffed. This bloke is miffed because the image quality he gets is the same I get, and my converter is actually better built and fits tighter to my camera than his does.
The bloke basically feels ripped off, and so he should. Please, don’t fall in to the same trap he did.
Below are some photos taken with my Canon G1X and fish eye lens converter to give you a taste of the fisheye effect and the type of quality you can expect using a point and shoot camera for fisheye photography.
I think the fisheye effect is cool and it can be used to get some fun, funky and quirky shots of many different subjects. If you own a point and shoot camera a fisheye lens converter is a must have accessory. If you are unsure whether a fish eye is going to be of any use I would say, take a punt and buy one. They don’t cost much so you have nothing to lose.
Below are two sample images taken with my Canon G1X combined with fisheye lens converter.
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Other compact camera articles you may find interesting
If you found the above useful/interesting below are some links to other related articles you may want to take a look at.
“WHY YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA” My camera of choice is my dslr however I also get great photos using my top end point and shoot camera, therefore I am of the opinion a top end is a camera all photographers should have in their kit bag. If you can’t see where I am coming from this article may shed some light on it.
“WIDE ANGLE PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA” Many people think you need an interchangeable lens camera to take proper wide angle photos, however this is not the case. Yep, you can capture proper wide angle photos using a point and shoot camera, as explained in this article.
“LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY USING A COMPACT CAMERA” Long exposure photography results in some interesting and stunning photos, and it is something you can do with a compact camera. If you want to know how check out this article.
“USING A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA FOR MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY” If you want to know how to capture stunning macro photos with your point and shoot camera this article is something you may wish to take a look at.
“CAN YOU USE A TOP END POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA FOR FAST ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY?” So you want a camera for some fast action images and want to know if a top end point and shoot is going to suit your needs. This article should be of use.
“LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A PROFESSIONAL COMPACT CAMERA” If you want some tips on how to capture stunning landscape shots with your professional compact camera this article may be of interest.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.