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Old June 20th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Wide angle adapters for HF-100?

Hello,

I'm looking to purchase a wide angle adapter for my Canon HF-100.

My preferred choice of range is a 0.5x, and in 35mm full-frame terms that would give me a FOV (Field of View) equivalent to 21.5mm at the wide end. With this adapter attached, I don't need to zoom completely through, but I would like to see excellent results through at least around a 35mm EFOV.

Because I recognize that such a wide adapter may have too much barrel distortion (BD) and chromatic aberration (CA), I may need to settle for a less-aggressive adapter, such as a 0.65x.

So, I've searched here and elsewhere on the internet, and this is what I have found so far:
- for the 0.5x, I have read a few subjective reviews rating the Century Optics 0HD-05WA-43 highly. However, these are subjective, and I'm not even certain about what camcorder they were used on.
- 0.65/0.66x seems to be down to the Century Optics 0HD-65CV-43 and the Raynox HD6600. I have found nothing definitive on the Century Optics unit, only some references to an older model in 2007 (I believe that this one was just released April 2009), and someone here from Century representing it as a really high-quality unit, but I'd like to see some results before spending that much money on it. I read some excellent comments on the Raynox HD6600, including the Imago Metrics tests on the HV20 including comparisons to the Canon adapter. The test images from Imago Metrics convince me that at least this is a pretty decent lens, and at only half the cost of the Century Optics one.

So, I guess I'm looking for any detailed information about users' experiences with any of these lenses on the Canon HF-100, and at least some info on these latest Century Optics lenses on any camcorder. Are these latest Century Optics lenses truly re-designed and of very high quality? How about the affect on resolution, distortion, vignetting, and CA? How does the Raynox HD6600 compare directly to the Century Optics 0HD-65CV-43? Or, have I missed something?

My thanks in advance for any help in this decision.

-Dennis.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 05:52 PM   #2
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Dennis,

I have a pair of HF100's and here is what I'm using.

I took a chance on the Digital Concepts 0.45X (Yes, I know...an "el cheapo") for my HV20. But instead of ordering in 43mm I used a 43-52mm stepup ring and the 0.45x in 52mm.

Mounted it, shot some footage both with the wide angle on and off using the same subject material. Hooked up the HV20 to my 42" LCD full HD TV with HDMI cable and was literally blown away.

There was no difference in image with or without the adapter. Test footage included brick wall, and other subjects with detail. The adapter (at the wide end) produced the same detail and sharpness as the HV20 lens with nothing in front of it.

Very few of these will be zoom through. I can zoom about halfway through the zoom range and then as the telephoto magnification increases I can see distortions and some loss of sharpness, but to me this is a wide angle for when I need wide.

With the HF100's all I had to do was order 37-52mm stepup rings and I get the same image performance as I did with the HV20.

It is a well known fact that the best lens performance comes from the central portion of the lens elements. When you use an "oversize" auxiliary your camcorder is "seeing" more with the central portion than if you were using a smaller one. This is why sometimes you can take a chance with cheaper auxiliary lenses.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
Dennis,

I have a pair of HF100's and here is what I'm using.

I took a chance on the Digital Concepts 0.45X (Yes, I know...an "el cheapo") for my HV20. But instead of ordering in 43mm I used a 43-52mm stepup ring and the 0.45x in 52mm.

Mounted it, shot some footage both with the wide angle on and off using the same subject material. Hooked up the HV20 to my 42" LCD full HD TV with HDMI cable and was literally blown away.

There was no difference in image with or without the adapter. Test footage included brick wall, and other subjects with detail. The adapter (at the wide end) produced the same detail and sharpness as the HV20 lens with nothing in front of it.

With the HF100's all I had to do was order 37-52mm stepup rings and I get the same image performance as I did with the HV20.
Bruce,

Thank you very much for your detailed reply. Very interesting. Generally speaking, the cheaper converters tend to soften the image, but you seemed to have hit on a lucky combination where the central region needed by the HF100's smaller sensor is pretty good quality. Is CA (chromatic aberration) worse with this lens, or is it truly difficult to see ANY worsening of IQ with it? It does, however, seem to be rather large and heavy for the HF100...

I was in a rush when I started this thread, and I should have given a bit more background information. I already have a Kenko VC-050Hi 0.5x (49mm) converter from my Sony TRV900. It does well IQ-wise on the HF100, except that it makes the camera very front-heavy, and has no threads at the front for a petal shade, so I was looking for a more compact, lighter solution which would also allow me to attache a shade. Since this type of lens (0.5x and wider) tends to have quite a bit of BD, I was then thinking that a 0.65x might be the way to go - but I think I need to keep it to around a maximum native thread size of 43mm, in order to keep the size and weight down. I was also interested just the same in what the quality of the Century Optics 0.5x which I mentioned in my first post was like, as it is very small and lightweight compared to my Kenko, due to the Century's single element design.

So, essentially I'm wondering if anyone out there has first-hand experience with the Century converters I mentioned, and possibly a comparison of the 0.65x model to the Raynox HD6600, for which I have found some acceptable test images and movies - or, if anyone has found something better than all of these.

Thank you again,
-Dennis.

P.S. I'm tempted, based on your experience, to try one of Digital Concept's 43mm versions which should be quite a bit more smaller and ligher.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 07:43 PM   #4
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I have a Century Optics .55 WA adapter that I bought over a year ago for an HV10 which also fits the HF100. I've used it many times on both cameras and have been mostly pleased with the results. The only exception is in low light. It makes it almost impossible to focus. Now, I'm talking about really low light. In this environment the image appears to be in focus around the edges but the center is almost always soft. I suspect that the wide iris is causing issues that I might encounter from many WA adapters with prices high and low.

In decent light or better I can focus through about 1/3 or more of the zoom range but no more. I don't have a lot of experience with this and cannot quantify the range in the technical nomenclature that you have used but maybe the info will be of some help.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Wagner View Post
Bruce,

Thank you very much for your detailed reply. Very interesting. Generally speaking, the cheaper converters tend to soften the image, but you seemed to have hit on a lucky combination where the central region needed by the HF100's smaller sensor is pretty good quality. Is CA (chromatic aberration) worse with this lens, or is it truly difficult to see ANY worsening of IQ with it? It does, however, seem to be rather large and heavy for the HF100...
At the wide end and zoomed about 1/3 to 1/2 of the zoom range I see no barrel distortion and no chromatic aberration, nor any color fringing. All of these faults become evident in the latter 1/2 of the zoom range with the absolute worst showing at the telephote end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Wagner View Post
I was in a rush when I started this thread, and I should have given a bit more background information. I already have a Kenko VC-050Hi 0.5x (49mm) converter from my Sony TRV900. It does well IQ-wise on the HF100, except that it makes the camera very front-heavy, and has no threads at the front for a petal shade, so I was looking for a more compact, lighter solution which would also allow me to attache a shade.
I tried a petal shade and it vignettes. Anything threaded to the front with one exception vignettes or shows. The exception was the 67mm to 72mm adapter for the Cinetactics Matteblox DV, a black ballistic nylon large shade with an attachable French Flag. Even then with the 0.45x part of it showed in the frame due to "overscan" and I had to correct that in post. I used that combo for one project with the HV20 then sold it I either do without a shade or have someone hold a "gobo" if needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Wagner View Post
Since this type of lens (0.5x and wider) tends to have quite a bit of BD, I was then thinking that a 0.65x might be the way to go - but I think I need to keep it to around a maximum native thread size of 43mm, in order to keep the size and weight down. I was also interested just the same in what the quality of the Century Optics 0.5x which I mentioned in my first post was like, as it is very small and lightweight compared to my Kenko, due to the Century's single element design.
I hear good things about the Century. As far as 0.65x goes that will work if all you ever need is just a little wide, it did not help me any with interior or outdoor situations where I needed wide angle. If you are determined to stay with "native" for the HF100, look at Canon's offerings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Wagner View Post

P.S. I'm tempted, based on your experience, to try one of Digital Concept's 43mm versions which should be quite a bit more smaller and ligher.
The cost is low enough where you shouldn't have a lot of risk. But it looks like aside from the fixed 52mm thread version I got, Digital Concepts may be marketing the same thing with 43mm, 49mm, and 52mm adapter rings, so you may be in the same size and weight ballpark anyway.

I just "deal" with size and weight and go ahead and use it. It comes off when I don't need wide. Actually I have 2 HF100's and often leave the wide angle on one of them. I'm about to order a SpiderBrace for handheld "tracking shots" and the wide angle will minimize unwanted movement.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 12:45 AM   #6
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At the wide end and zoomed about 1/3 to 1/2 of the zoom range I see no barrel distortion and no chromatic aberration, nor any color fringing. All of these faults become evident in the latter 1/2 of the zoom range with the absolute worst showing at the telephote end.
That is outstanding performance!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
I hear good things about the Century. As far as 0.65x goes that will work if all you ever need is just a little wide, it did not help me any with interior or outdoor situations where I needed wide angle. If you are determined to stay with "native" for the HF100, look at Canon's offerings.
In many situations, indoors the HF100's ~ 42mm EFL is too tight, but ~28mm is OK - Hence my interest in the Century 0.65x. But at $350 it's got to be "perfect" and even better yet if I can go even wider with the Digital Concepts 0.45x, then all the more power to me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
The cost is low enough where you shouldn't have a lot of risk. But it looks like aside from the fixed 52mm thread version I got, Digital Concepts may be marketing the same thing with 43mm, 49mm, and 52mm adapter rings, so you may be in the same size and weight ballpark anyway.

I just "deal" with size and weight and go ahead and use it. It comes off when I don't need wide. Actually I have 2 HF100's and often leave the wide angle on one of them. I'm about to order a SpiderBrace for handheld "tracking shots" and the wide angle will minimize unwanted movement.
I saw several different looking Digital Concepts 0.45x photos, which at rough glance led me to believe that they were actually different size lenses for the different "native" filter sizes, i.e. expecting the 43mm version to be smaller than the 52mm version. But if they are all the same, mox nix. I'll just get one, cant' go wrong for the price. It will be interesting to make a direct comparison to my Kenko Hi. If I get that far, I'll post results here.

I am very interested in the SpiderBrace - are you getting the mini version?

Cheers,
Dennis.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 12:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
I have a Century Optics .55 WA adapter that I bought over a year ago for an HV10 which also fits the HF100. I've used it many times on both cameras and have been mostly pleased with the results. The only exception is in low light. It makes it almost impossible to focus. Now, I'm talking about really low light. In this environment the image appears to be in focus around the edges but the center is almost always soft. I suspect that the wide iris is causing issues that I might encounter from many WA adapters with prices high and low.

In decent light or better I can focus through about 1/3 or more of the zoom range but no more. I don't have a lot of experience with this and cannot quantify the range in the technical nomenclature that you have used but maybe the info will be of some help.
Thank you for your input, Tripp.

It seems like when Schneider released the HD 43mm series last year there was some noise from their marketing that these were higher image quality than their previous offerings, especially for the smaller HD camcorders. That is why I have been looking for feedback from others who may have experience with these new lenses.

I can understand the focus issues you describe - the narrower depth of field at the wider apertures is very unforgiving of lens variations from center to corners. I would probably find the 0.55x unacceptable for any low-light work, I don't see this effect with my multi-element Kenko Hi 0.5x.

-Dennis
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Old June 25th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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Dennis,

One other possible approach will depend on what still digital gear you have. I had the Canon XSi (Digital Rebel 450D) and a 55-250mm Canon EF-S lens in addition to the kit lens. Also an EF f1.8 50mm left over from film EOS cams. So I sold the XSi and ordered the new T1i which also does video.

Some very real limitations, I will have to use an audio recorder as the audio on the T1i is mono and there is no mic input. But for low light the 50mm f1.8 is super, for wide angle believe it or not the kit lens 18-55mm at the wide setting is pretty neat. I have an addapter for Nikon lenses coming and with older AI Nikkors I will have manual control over aperture at least so selective focus with shallow DOF is in reach.

Depends on what you already have.

The 1920x1080 has a stupid 20fps so I use the 1280x720 30fps mode and video looks nice. It also mixes on the Pinnacle Studio 12 timeline seamlessly with the HF100 1920x1080 stuff.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #9
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reply to Bruce...

Bruce,

Thanks for the suggestion. Always good to hear what others are doing.

I don't have my Canon gear any more, I *defected* to Olympus a couple of years ago, and now I own some very nice Zuiko glass.

Given the rumors, I'm speculating that Olympus' next 4thirds camera (in the Fall) will have EVF and will do at minimum 720p/30 if not 1080p/30 and hopefully 1080p/24. They are talking about a "pro" model, so it will probably have an external mic input as well.

I recently bought my wife a Canon SD780IS which does 720p/30 very well, especially considering how tiny that little thing is!

And then, of course, for when I can figure out how to actually make money with this stuff, there is Red Scarlett on the horizon for 2010! (but obviously at a much higher price point).

It is interesting to see how our alternatives for shooting video are so rapidly evolving.

Regards,
-Dennis.
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