Going Defishing

Yesterday I mentioned that I was hesitant to pursue a defishing solution for the photos I take with my circular fisheye lens. A MacBook dependent solution doe feel like a step backwards, but as much as I want to do this work on my iPad the best solution to my particular problem is dependent on a legacy desktop operating system. So last night I decided to try out a plugin for Photoshop called Fisheye Hemi. This morning, I paid $30 for a license 1.

I also wasn’t particularly thrilled going with a Photoshop dependent solution, as I’m hoping one of the Lightroom alternatives will mature enough over the next few years to justify migrating away from Adobe’s subscription. Thankfully, Fisheye Hemi works just fine with Affinity Photo.

To demonstrate the results this plugin gives I wanted to use one of the first images I took with my circular fisheye lens, a photo of the Central Baptist Sanctuary. It’s not a good image by any stretch, I’ve got the focus all messed up and I didn’t expose it well 2. But it shows off just how wide a field of view this lens can capture, so it’s a good choice for this example.

Here is my original photo, after some adjustments have been made in Lightroom.

Central Baptist Sanctuary with fisheye distortion.
A phototaken with a circular fisheye lens, with not lens corrections applied.

I then opened a copy of this photo, with the Lightroom adjustments applied, in Affinity Photo. This creates a TIFF file for editing 3. Once the photo was opened, I ran Fisheye Hemi with the circular profile 4. This results in the output below.

The output after running the Fisheye Hemi [Circular] plugin.
The same photo, defished but not cropped.

The result isn’t perfect, but it’s quite good. I did discover an excellent YouTube tutorial which demonstrates how to trick Fisheye Hemi into an even more complete result, but for the purposes of this demonstration I wanted to show off the plugin acting on it’s own with no tricks applied.

While this photo was defished, it needed to be cropped to deal with vignetting, the correction curves, and the pesky fingers which appear in the shot. 5. With that accomplished I got the following results.

Wide-angle of the Central Baptist Sanctuary.
The final photo after cropping. It isn’t perfect, but it’s quite good.

As I wrote above, this is by no means a “good” photo. If I’d paid more attention to my focus and exposure there wouldn’t be quite as much blurring along the edges of the frame 6. What I love is the sheer scope of the photo. It’s wild.

Hopefully we’ll get a night with clear skies and little wind at some point soon so I can finally use this lens for the reason I wanted it in the first place – astrophotography!


  1. Happy birthday to me. 
  2. At this point I didn’t even realize the viewing angle was 190 degrees, I couldn’t believe my fingers were in the frame. 
  3. I could have also opened this in Photoshop, as I’m sure most people do. 
  4. The other options are for non-circular fisheye lenses, one each for full-frame and crop sensors. 
  5. Keep in mind, my fingers were behind the lens. 
  6. In my defense this was (a) about the first time I’d ever tried to take a deliberately framed photo with the lens and (b) after I came over to church in the morning and found that our boiler had been turned off – leaving the sanctuary a balmy 41 degrees Fahrenheit. I was a bit out of sorts. 

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