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04 - The Vintage Kenko Fish Eye Lens Attachment: The Best Way to Shoot Fisheye Photos on a Budget!

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

A fisheye photo of artist Kasia Frankowicz holding her 'Born In The USA' artwork
Studio shoot with artist Kasia Frankowicz

If you're looking for a fun and cheap way to get the fisheye effect, the Kenko Fish Eye lens attachment is a great option. This lens attaches to your camera's lens in the same way a lens filter would and is a great way to add some interest and creativity to your photos.

The Kenko Fish Eye lens attachment is a vintage piece of equipment and isn't always easy to find. It is often found on Japanese camera store pages on eBay for about $50-$100(AUD).

With the budget friendly price tag comes it's drawbacks:

  • It's quite heavy and adds a lot of stress to your lens' filter ring and with that in mind it's best to support the barrel when in use.

  • The lens attachment has its own adjustable aperture which can compete with your native lens' aperture.

    • A quirk to this setup is that if you stop down your native lens aperture to f/8 or f/11 the overall image is captured smaller, as in the fisheye 'circle' becomes smaller in your recorded image. This leads to a shrunken image and massive loss of information.

    • A work around for this is to set your native lens' aperture to wide open and manually adjust the aperture on the fish eye attachment. This renders the best results with the image circle edge to edge and the largest possible information.

  • Focusing is done from your native lens so manual focus is recommended. The weight of the heavy lens attachment causes unnecessary stress on your lens' AF system and will be bad for your lens overall.

  • Fisheye lenses aren't known for tack sharpness but this is especially soft. While I loved the look of the shots on the back of my camera, I couldn't help but feel disappointed when I saw them in Lightroom. Keep an open mind when purchasing and shooting with this lens, it isn't perfect.

  • The vignetting is brutal. The images usually keep a crisp black circle around them but on occasion a black halo will creep in causing it to look soft and muddy. A remedy for this is to just use a inverted circle mask in Lightroom and drop the exposure to 'crop' the image.

If you are new to fish eye photography and want to test the waters without spending a lot of money, the Kenko Fish Eye Lens Attachment is a great option. It is a high quality attachment, produces decent results and is super fun to play around with. This is by no means professional equipment but it's really fun to experiment with and a great opportunity to test the waters before leaping into the higher end gear.

Fisheye shot of model in field of grass with beautiful flowers in foreground

As a quick update, I recently snapped a fashion based photoshoot in a local cemetery shot entirely on my Canon EOS R and the Kenko Fish Eye attachment.

The model was super excited to shoot these pics so it was a great day out and we got some really incredible images. I will be posting about this in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for a full shoot breakdown.

Until we meet again


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