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Old March 31st, 2008, 08:15 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Vancouver Canada
Posts: 28
Wide angle lens to use with Merlin?

I'm trying to make a fairly quick decision, so any feedback would be appreciated, keeping in mind that the Canon lens is out of the question because of the weight issue in combination with the Merlin, and the zoom through feature doesn't really interest me anyway.

If I'm not mistaken, I only have 2 choices for light weight lenses? Either the Red Eye or the Century Optics. I've looked at and tried the Red Eye .5x lens, loved the wide angle aspect, but didn't like the fact that there was vignetting because of the lens hood, which I really want to leave on, especially in wet weather situations. Is there an easy way around that without having to zoom in slightly? There was no hood issue with the Red Eye .7x lens, but it just wasn't wide enough for my liking.

Does anyone own, or have at least tried the Century Optics .6x lens, and is there any issue with the lens hood or barrel distortion? The sample video clip on the Schneider Optics website makes it look pretty good, but then again most samples usually do. :)
Click on Sample and then "see the video".

Anyway, feedback from someone that's used any of these lenses would be greatly appreciated, as I'm trying to go as wide as I can, and as light as I can, while being able to leave the lens hood on for some added protection.


P.S. I did read through all of the posts in the wide angle adapter thread, but didn't find the answer I was looking for.
Brett Daly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 31st, 2008, 09:32 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Burbank
Posts: 1,811
I have the Century .6x.

Cannot use the lens hood with this as the lens/adapter itself mounts using the bayonet mount on the camera.

Excellent quality picture.

There is a moderate amount of barrel distortion, but not distracting. How aware one is of the barrel distortion depends on what is being shot.

The .6x adapter is lightweight compared to the .8x. I bought it specifically to use on the camera with a Merlin.

The Century .6x is partial zoom through for the first 1/3 to 1/2.

The normal autofocus works with the Century .8x (but not the high-speed autofocus as it is blocked)

If you want to put a shade or filter on the Century adapter be aware that it is large (I think 102mm, but I'm not sure. Century makes a UV filter that fits it, but it's expensive.)

The Century adapter is worth getting. I have never used the Red Eye, but I believe the Century will give a much better image.
Jack Walker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 3rd, 2008, 09:48 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Vancouver Canada
Posts: 28
After flipping back and forth, I decided on the Red Eye .65x wide angle lens. I'm still able to use the lens hood, and just have to tap the zoom rocker for a split second so I don't see the edge of the hood. It appears to be giving me an excellent image with just a bit of barrel distortion, but very acceptable. The .5x Red Eye had too much barrel distortion for my liking.

The good news is that the Red Eye works great with the Merlin weight wise, only 100 grams, and I've now got the XH-A1 with the BP970 battery, and wide angle lens working with the Merlin. It's over 5 pounds in total, but I've still been able to get some very steady shots with it, and I'm sure I'll improve even more over time. It's also a great workout. :)
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