Our Lightdow LD4000 Action Cameras have a 170° ultra wide angle lens, which is commonly refereed to as a fisheye lens. They provide a wider field of view, but distort the true nature of the image, specifically the shape of the horizon. The use of fisheye lenses are controversial particularly with followers that believe that the Earth is truly flat. So why do we use these lenses? There are a few reasons that we stick with what we have:
- The fisheye lens doesn’t bother us.
- The Lightdow LD4000 action cameras provide perfect compatibility with our computerized systems for controlling on/off cycles, battery life, fault tolerance, fault recovery and reliability.
- The Lightdow LD4000 action cameras are very lightweight (47g) which allows us to place up to 3 cameras onboard each flight.
- The Lightdow LD4000 action cameras are very inexpensive which means we can afford to lose or destroy them every once in a while if things go wrong.
- We can use fisheye correction software tools if we really want to correct the imagery.
- Our goal is not to prove the Earth is round (or flat). It’s not our focus.
- You can’t see much curvature at 35,000 m in altitude. You can see some, but many mistake the minimal curvature for flatness. A high altitude balloon only reaches about 30,000 meters in altitude. This is only about 8% of the altitude that the International Space Station is at. You can see an actual representation of expected curvature by altitude using this curvature simulator.
This is a to-scale depiction of what the curvature should actually look like at 34,291 m (our max altitude):
Earth Curvature at 34,291 m
We understand that many dislike the fisheye camera lens, but we don’t intend to change our camera selection anytime soon. If you dislike it, we highly recommend designing your own flight with your own camera. We even have a how-to guide that shows what you need to know. It’s a great project, so give it a try! We’re here to have fun and get kids interested in science and technology. We hope you’ll have fun with us even with the fisheye lenses.