A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide angle lens to capture panoramic landscape with a single snap. This kind of lenses let you get a wide view up to 180 degrees which three times wider than human’s eyes. The most action cameras come with a fisheye lens which actually relevant to capture the moment as much as possible in narrow time. However, it also challenging at the same time. The object might look great, but when you took the photo, huge differences should be immediately noticed — the distortion. Preventing these effects are impossible due it was a natural characteristic of lenses. The good news, we still have a luck to correct the image. Check out how to remove fisheye distortion just using free software.
You might wonder why I’m giving tutorials for free editing software instead of a mainstream program like Photoshop? First, this Adobe-made software is less familiar for people who take the picture during the trip with GoPro or other action cameras. Secondly, Photoshop is supposed for professional uses, while following software below is regarded to easily understand. And third, they are free, no need to pay a subscription or register an account. In addition, if you insist to use Photoshop, I would like to recommend you watch this video, it covers a tutorial using Adaptive Wide Angle.
I found at least 4 software to help you reduce or removing fisheye effects on the photo.
Remove Fisheye Distortion Using GML Undistorter
GML Undistorter in my opinion, the most compact tool to correct distortion quickly. Featuring simple interface with real-time preview, tuning distorted image into the normal one in just seconds. It supports EXIF-based configuration to helps you finding relevant configuration.
Run GML Undistorter and click Open.
Locate the image, select it, and Open. The software only capable to open single image each time.
On the left sidebar, fill the Focal length of lenses, adjust the Fine tune, and click Undistort to confirm. In case you don’t know the focal length, try guessing the number. It has a preview box to see what will the photo look like after correction.
If you think the image has been perfectly corrected, click Save to store the image. The software will not overwrite the previous image.
Choose image quality from Worst (0) to Best (100), then click OK.
Remove Fisheye Distortion Using PhotoDemon
PhotoDemon provides a comprehensive selection of photo editing software with no cost. It consumes less memory, humble interface, and actually covers tons of photo editing application, including distortion removal. PhotoDemon offers slightly advanced options rather than GML, but in general, it’s pretty easy to understand.
Open your desired picture to the PhotoDemon by pressing CTRL+O or click File menu and then Open.
Next, click Effects menu, select Distort, and click Correct existing distortion…
Tune the correction strength, correction zoom, and radius. While for quality I would like to pick 5 (highest quality). Since every photo has different characteristic and visual situations, there’s no exact number to fix the distortion. Hence, you may estimate the number by yourself. When done, click OK.
Wait until the correction process finished. The amount of time that needed may vary depending on the resolution and hardware’s performances.
Once finished, click File and Save or shortcut CTRL+S to save the image.
Correct Fisheye Effect Using GIMP
GIMP is probably one of the most well-known image edition programs after Adobe Photoshop. Not because it’s always free, but the features itself is undeniable similar to Photoshop. GIMP is currently available to cross-platform, such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Unix.
Launch GIMP, drag the image to the worksheet area or you can use File → Open (CTRL+O).
Next, go to Filters menu, select Distorts, and click Lens Distortion…
Now, adjust the profiles and click OK when finished. In general, you only need to configure the Main, Edge, and Zoom solely, while Shift X and Shift Y are rarely used.
After finished, click File and then Save… (CTRL+S) to save corrected image.
How to Remove Fisheye Distortion Using PTLens
This simple program does an excellent job to reduce the convex effect on the photo. I’ve used this tool on many occasions and found it much better than previous tools. PTLens is compatible with Windows 2000 or above and requires extremely low hardware specification.
Launch the PTLens, click Directory… to select file destination.
On the Distortion section, select Fisheye. It will automatically undistorted the image based on default option, but you can change the settings later.
Now, on the Fisheye section, change the settings by sliders. In the most scenarios, you only need to tune up Distortion and Crop solely.
Once you finished, click Apply to save the image. Don’t worry, the program will save it into separated files.
Does that software generate the same result?
While you noticed that I’m using the same image to create this guide, I should inform you that the result for each software is slightly different. Since the selection of fisheye correction is very distinctive, no one can assure that when you edit on GML Undistorter and GIMP would resulting identical picture. Therefore, in order to figure out the best software for your need, consider playing with all software.
Can I correct the fisheye effect without cropping many parts of the picture?
How to make a rectangular shape with a round paper? You can cut or fold it, and yes, you would lose many parts to achieve the desired shape. The same principle also applied when converting a fisheye photo into traditional one. The edge of the photo likely to cropped and leaving viewable area mostly on the center.
If you have a trouble converting a distorted image from the convex lens, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!