If I wanted to try and build an ultrawide, I guess I would try building a fisheye first, then try tearing the frame back into shape with a group that introduces pincushion distortion.

The kind of "wavy" distortions found in some ultrawides seem very similar to what you would get as remaining distortion if you actually did that....

Is this how some of these lenses actually work, or is this a coincidence?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about how lenses create "moustache" distortion without any intent to apply that knowledge to an actual photographic problem or even any indication that there is any intent to create photographs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 6, 2019 at 0:04
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ How is understanding of photographic equipment design off topic? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2019 at 8:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...given this whole site runs on "because", and discussing equipment design tends to add some "because" back into the "because" supply..... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2019 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not off topic if there is a specific photographic purpose involved (i.e. solving a problem related to actually taking a photo). This question demonstrates no intent in that direction whatsoever. The question needs to be improved to include what photographic problem you are attempting to solve. As it stands now, this question is along the lines of, "Here's my theory about how this works. Am I right?" But it doesn't attempt to remotely say why or how your theory will lead to actually taking a specific photo. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 6, 2019 at 21:16
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ vtc b/c "Questions" of the form "[hypothesis] Is that right?" aren't real questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Mar 8, 2019 at 9:03

1 Answer 1


If I understand your question correctly, you might be talking about anamorphic lenses. They stretch the image, so more of the sensor is used to capture the image, resulting in sharper, better looking results (anamorphic lenses usually cost around 40k$ tho). In post, you need to rescale the footage, so "unstretch" it so to say. What actually happens is that the pixel aspect-ratio (PAR) gets changed, from squared pixels to something around 1.33:1. Thus, any bokeh (the spots of light coming from sources out of focus) gets squeezed down as well. This results in what I believe you call "moustache distortions", because the bokeh will look like a strip rather than a round halo.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ No, the question is about flaws in wideangle lenses that turn straight lines into wavy lines. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2019 at 11:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well in that case, this is called "lense-distortion" and doesn't only happen with wideangle lenses. It happens to every lense; even a 200mm lense will have some lense-distortion. Read up how lenses work and how they treat light to find out more, it's a lot to put in a comment. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2019 at 11:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ The whole question is about a specific case of such distortion... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2019 at 13:18

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