A fisheye lens is an extremely wide angle one with a short focal length that captures distorted, but interesting photos. A real fisheye lens can only be mounted to a traditional camera, but InstaFisheye is an app for the iPhone that simulates the effect.

According to Wikipedia, the name fisheye was first used over 100 years ago by Robert Wood and it is based on how a fish would see the world. Who knows how a fish sees things? We can only imagine it and with the ability to see all around you, it might look like the effect we see with InstaFisheye.

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A traditional 35mm camera with a lens of about 55mm takes photos that look normal, just as we see with our eyes. As the focal length of the lens becomes smaller, the image becomes wider and taller as the angle of view increases.

When you get down to 10mm, you have a view of almost 180 degrees. In other words straight up, straight down, to the left and the right. The effect is a very distorted image that looks like you are viewing the world through a crystal ball. It is strange, but oddly fascinating.

InstaFisheye in an iPhone app that enables you to take photographs and using some clever software, it simulates the effect of a fisheye lens on the camera. There are five different lenses to choose from and each one produces a different effect. There is the crystal ball, Fisheye Nikor 10.5mm, LOMO Fisheye Lens 2 and 1, and INSTA Optical Lens.

InstaFisheye app . InstaFisheye app

Apart from the fisheye effect, the app is like any other camera app. You can select the front or back cameras, take a photo or a video, and turn the flash on or off. As with many other photography apps, a collection of filters is provided and you can apply them to the photo.

There are several collections, such as black and white, film, instafx, vintage, tones, splash and others. Some filters are provided for free, but most of them have to be purchased. You can buy all of them for £3.99 / $4.99, which is much cheaper than buying them individually. There are 82 extra effects in these packs.

If the name InstaFisheye name reminds you of Instagram, that is deliberate. There is an Instagram button and tapping it opens the photo in Instagram. All you need to do is to enter a comment or caption and post it. This enables you to post your photos to Instagram with three taps. One takes the photo, one opens it in Instagram and one more posts it.

InstaFisheye app . InstaFisheye app

In addition to taking photos using the fisheye lens effect, you can also load previously taken photos and apply to the effect to them afterwards. The photo can be saved back to the Camera Roll or shared online through Facebook, Twitter and email. The advantage of this is that you then have both the original and fisheye lens photos.

The resolution of the resulting image is reduced significantly and images shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are 612 x 612 pixels. It sounds low, but this is actually OK. These sites will resize your photos anyway. If you save the photo, the resolution is 2,048 x 2,048, which is adequate for most people.

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I spotted the app when it went free for a short period and I also got a bunch of filters for free by rating the app in the store - I’m good at spotting bargains! However, even at full price, it isn’t expensive and it costs $1.99 US / £1.49 UK. Don’t apply it to all your photos because too many special effects are tiresome, but it is great for occasional images. It is recommended.

Price: $1.99 US / £1.49 UK
Developer: Lotogram
Version: 2.8.2
Size: 8.1 MB
iOS: 6.0 and up