4x5 fish eye?

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Does anyone know of a fisheye lens for 4x5, or one that can be adapted? I have a client requesting a fisheye shot of an interior space and I'd prefer to do it with the 4x5 if possible. Focussing won't be a problem with the Horseman LE I use, the standards can be brought close enough together to touch with the bag bellows.


Dave King

-- Dave King (kingphoto@mindspring.com), May 22, 2002



-- Henry Ambrose (henry@henryambrose.com), May 22, 2002.

I think that fish eye distortion is a consequence of retrofocus lens construction, so there ain't no such thing.

If you want an ultra wide for 4x5, try the Schneider 47 XL, and like the posting above, chreat the distorting in Photoshop.

None of the MF fish eye lenses would cover 5x4, but you might get a nice circular picture covering most of the middle. A lens of a 6x7 would give you more coverage than a 66.

If the client wants distortion, take the picture through a gold fish bowl!

-- Dick Roadnight (dick.roadnight@btopenworld.com), May 22, 2002.

I have a 47XL already (and the 58 too, love em both), so the Photoshop suggestion appears to be the answer, unless I rent the fisheye for the RZ67 and shoot medium format (seriously considering this). Taking a very quick look at Photoshop 6 I see no fisheye filter (why would it be that easy:) Any suggestions about "creating" the fisheye effect?

Thanks again,


-- Dave King (kingphoto@mindspring.com), May 22, 2002.

Dave... did you try..Filter--> Distort-->Spherize or Filter--> Distort- ->Pinch....then adjust according to your vision...

-- dan n. (dan@egmail.com), May 24, 2002.

If you want 4x5 fisheye negs, there is one way to get it. Kenko Fisheye 180 is the answer. It's a front conversion lens mainly designed for 35mm camera use but it can be fitted to any kind of camera as far as filter thread size is OK. for 35mm format, putting Kenko Fisheye to 50mm lens results in circular fisheye image, and to 100mm lens results in diagonal fisheye image. So putting it to 150 or 180mm might result in circular fisheye for 4x5 neg, and 300 or 360mm might result in diagonal fisheye, There are some problems. Kenko fisheye was discontinued in early '80s so it would be difficult to find it in the used market. Image quality is another issue, it's very poor.

For the details please see:



-- Ken Itoh (KEN@clara.oc-to.net), May 24, 2002.

The Metrogon 'sky' lens was a fisheye design for large formats. It's the only lens I can think of that might fit the bill directly. Rare as hen's teeth though, and I think you needed special curved plates to use it.
Dave: I think the only (economical) way you're going to get a fisheye effect on 5x4 is to use one of those front-of-lens converters, but you'll have to find a prime lens with a small enough front element to take one. A short focus Dagor maybe? Or a very short Super Angulon?
I've even heard of cheap door viewers being used as fisheye converters, but I've never tried it.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), May 24, 2002.

I was thinking Wisners Hypergon, but it's for 8x10 - a nice 84 mm lens


-- Tim Atherton (tim@KairosPhoto.com), May 24, 2002.

An idea...may or may not work, but worth a try. Get (or borrow) a large round concave rear view mirror (for semi trucks) or better yet a concave mirror that they put in the store for surveillance... position it and shoot it with LF, it will be tricky to get yourself out of the picture though...

-- dan n. (dan@egmail.com), May 24, 2002.

howdy Dave,

If you have gotten the bug worked out of your RZ, you might consider renting the 37mm lens for it. Frequent poster and friend to the medium format site, Moses Sparks, rents one in California from time to time. I think that Light Tech out of Dallas and or Houston may also have one for rent. i just called light tech in dallas at 214 350-8990, they only have the RB version but i believe you can use the rb lenses on the rz. It rents for $25 per day. i know its not the 4 by 5 but its another option for you...

-- miles feigenbaum (mfa1@ix.netcom.com), May 24, 2002.


The 37mm for the RB or RZ (yes the RB can be used on the RZ, however it will just have the features of the RB) is a Great lens for this application. It's not 4x5 but you are talking about 6x7,6x9,or 6x12, so not a big issue with this quality lens. So I second Miles' suggestion. You will not be disapionted, I consider this one of my most profitable lenses.

-- R.L.McDonald (rmacsteam@aol.com), May 24, 2002.

It appears the easiest thing under the circumstances is rent the 37 fish eye for the RZ. Thanks for all the suggestions guys!!


-- Dave King (kingphoto@mindspring.com), May 24, 2002.

Many moons ago, I modified a 37mm Mamiya fish-eye to fit a Linhof Kardan 45S view camera. I bought a mounting flange from Mamiya (as a repair part), put it on the lens board, made a retainer for the shutter cocking lever from a paper clip, and made some fabulous, full round images. We made several prints at 40" final diameter and they held up beautifully. I had a machine shop mill off the integral lens shade (protector) tabs, otherwise they would show in a full circle image. The lens had to be cocked from the back side of the lens board ut on a camera like the Kardan, that was easy. Good luck!

-- Andy Eads (aceads@3-cities.com), May 24, 2002.

Try the 35mm 4.5 Apo Grandagon. It almost covers 45 but is, of course, rectalinear.

-- Bob Salomon (bob@hpmarketingcorp.com), May 24, 2002.

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