Correcting GoPro Lens Distortion in Photos Using Lens Correction Profiles

GoPros have a distinctive fisheye look to its photos and videos by default. But it that's not what you want for your photos, here's how you can correct it in Lightroom.

GoPros have a distinctive fisheye look to its photos and videos by default. It’s an extreme wide-angle perspective that can be great for an immersive, action look. But it might not always be what you want. It can especially noticeable when you’ve got horizons in the frame. If the horizon is near the center of the frame, it can remain quite straight. But because of the way that the lens distortion works, if you move the horizon closer to the top or bottom of the frame you’ll end up with a curved horizon, with it being more exaggerated the closer the horizon is to the edge of the frame.

The new HERO5 models come with a choice of field of view, including a new Linear FOV that takes that bulging fisheye and straightens lines that should be straight and provides a more normal perspective.

Those FOV settings only work if you set them before you start shooting. But what if you’ve already taken the photos in wide mode but want to correct it after?

It is possible to fix it in post, at least to some extent.

I’m focusing here on the GoPro HERO5 models, but the same process works with previous GoPro models as well. The specific Linear FOV option isn’t available in all models, though.

Here’s a quick guide on how to correct the fisheye distortion in GoPro photos using Lightroom. Lightroom’s video functionality is pretty limited, and this won’t work on video. For that, use GoPro Studio.

Lightroom (2015.8) added built-in lens profiles for the GoPro HERO5 Black. It adds to the list that already included most previous GoPro cameras:

Note: If you’re using a HERO5 Session, you can use the same profile.

Here’s how to put that to work to correct the distortion in your photos.

How to Do It

There’s no real trick to doing this. It works the same way that other lens corrections profiles work in Lightroom.

  • In Lightroom’s Develop Module, select the image you want to work with.
  • In the panels at the right, scroll down to the Lens Corrections panel. If it’s not expanded, fold it down using the small triangle at the far right.-

  1. Check the box next to “Enable Profile Corrections”. It should automatically detect the camera make and model from the image metadata. If it doesn’t choose GoPro next to make and then HERO5 Black next to Model.
  1. Choose the profile you want to correct. Ideally, if you shot it in Wide FOV you’d choose the Wide FOV profile. If you shot in the Narrow FOV you’d choose Narrow FOV. But you won’t break anything if you mismatch them–and it might actually be a look you’re going for.
  1. Choose the amount of distortion correction. To do this, use the slider. It starts in the middle at 100. To apply less correction, slide it to the left until you’re happy with the results. Like this:

The Results

Here are some examples with the original side-by-side with the corrected versions. The first image was shot using the default wide field of view. The second is after Lightroom’s lens corrections have been applied. These were all shot with a GoPro HERO5 Black, but the same principle applies with other GoPro models.

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff” label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Wide FOV” label_two=”Lightroom Profile Correction”]

[/before-after]

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff” label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Wide FOV” label_two=”Lightroom Profile Correction”]

[/before-after]

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff” label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Wide FOV” label_two=”Lightroom Profile Correction”]

[/before-after]

Worth Noting

The results aren’t precisely the same as using the in-camera Linear FOV mode, although it’s close.

The corrections here aren’t the same thing as free-for-all conversion between the fields of view. If you’ve shot in wide mode, you can apply a correction that is basically the same thing as converting to Linear FOV. But if you’ve shot in Linear FOV in camera, you can’t magically convert that back to the wide view.

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