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-   -   43mm wide angle lenses - choices & prices (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-dv-mx-gs-series-assistant/10724-43mm-wide-angle-lenses-choices-prices.html)

Boyan Dob June 11th, 2003 03:11 AM

43mm wide angle lenses - choices & prices
Researching forums here and prices at http://bhphotovideo.com
I found these options to choose from, please share your thoughts:

$140 -- RAYNOX HD-5000Pro 27mm-43mm 0.5x Wide Angle Lens

$120 -- RAYNOX HD-6600Pro43 43mm 0.66x Wide Angle Lens

$90 -- TIFFEN MegaPlus 43mm 0.75x Wide Angle Lens

$170 -- PANASONIC AG-LW4307 43mm 0.7x Wide-Angle Lens

$140 -- CANON WD-43 43mm 0.7x Wide Angle Lens

I've found and read opinions on RAYNOX and TIFFEN lenses,
but saw none about PANASONIC and CANON, but since both
PANA and CANON are quite expensive and doubtfully better
than the RAYNOX and TIFFEN I guess the choices narrow...

Raynox HD-6600Pro seems to have almost no distortion, while
it seems Raynox HD-5000Pro has some --- anyone here who has
experience with both or at least later is willing to share with us?

As for Tiffen MegaPlus, well, I saw no comparison to Raynox,
but already by specification seems Raynox is a better choice,
0.66x vs. 0.75x, thought there is a $30 difference in price...

I think I'd choose Raynox 0.5x, but if there is not too much
distortion, otherwise Raynox 0.66x seems safe bet, opinions???

Or perhaps someone would recommend some other lens,
maybe using step up rings?

Also, if anyone saw better prices somewhere for lenses above
please let us know :-)

Vladimir Koifman June 11th, 2003 03:54 AM

You probably should add Kenko to your list. And in Europe there are Hama and Soligor brands as well. As for Raynox prices, http://www.bugeyedigital.com seems to have best prices for Raynox. They also ship internationaly.

Yow Cheong Hoe June 11th, 2003 05:57 AM

My set-up for the wide angle lens is this:
Camera -- step-up 43 to 52 -- step-up 52 to 55 -- 55 ring* -- Fujifilm 0.79x for the S602 still camera.

* The 55 ring is actually a filter with the glass knocked off. This is necessary as the Fuji WA has a protrusion behind that will interfere with the step-up adaptor.

With this set-up, I get very good shots from 1x to 4x zoom. The fringes start to blur (aberation) after 4x zoom and when I reach 12x, only the centre ring of 50% the screen width remain sharp. This WA is already coated and light loss and flaring is minimal. Of course, this is a very natural choice for me as I also use it on my digital still cam.


Boyan Dob June 11th, 2003 07:24 AM

Raynox 0.66x the least distortionÖ
Thanks for your input Vladimir and YowCH.

Vladimir, if you have it on your mind, which shops in Europe sell Hama and Soligor lenses? I checked Kenko, at $150 it is more expensive than Raynox and Tiffen, is it also better? Well, I doubt so by what I've read on some posts here (see bellow)...

YowCH, sure, your choice for Fujifilm wide lens is a best choice since you use if for your digital still camera as well... but to use it just for digital video camera seems too expensive at $180, plus the need for having/buying several step up rings...

I think I am now about to choose RAYNOX HD-6600Pro43 43mm 0.66x, because it has the least distortion of all lenses in that range. As Tom Hardwick said in one of his posts: "Of all the wide-angles I tested for a British video mag, the Century came out tops in the 0.65x range. As so it should - it was a great deal of money. The Raynox 0.66x gave far less barrel distortion though, but at maximum zoom it was very much softer than the Century."

For my purpose (shooting sports events mostly - indoors and outdoors) I think the less distortion the better. Since I'll mostly be close to the action high zoom is not so important... I also checked the photos at Raynox for all of their top lenses: 0.3x, 0.5x, 0.66x & 0.7x. I prepared a simple web page with photos for you to view it easier/quicker... Address: http://www.24get.com/WAL/

These photos convinced me the most, along the positive comments from Tom Hardwich and Frank, who said that many people are very satisfied with it...

Any further thoughts on this matter are appreciated.

P.S. How do I make web links active?

Vladimir Koifman June 11th, 2003 09:04 AM

Most photoshops in Europe sell Hama accesories. Soligor is something more rare. You can see a list of distributors on their sites: http://www.hama.de and http://www.soligor.com - I believe they both have distributors in Slovenia, so you can come there and try the lenses. Also, a simple google search gives you tens of on-line stores.

Frank Granovski June 11th, 2003 03:06 PM

Since the question was asked, Panasonic's wide angle is very good, according to Terrence and Tim, but it doesn't have filter threads in the front.

If Tom tested these wide angle adaptors, I'd certainly lean toward his findings.

To make a link active, you have to write the full link: http://www...

In front put in url, and the end, /url and put them in square brackets []

Tom Hardwick June 12th, 2003 04:08 AM

Sorry to say I haven't tested the Panasonic or Canon wide-angles. I've used both of the 0.7x varieties from these makers, but that's a long way from a proper test. Both looked good and in particular the heavy Canon appeared to have little distortion. But then it should - it's only a mild 0.7x.

The Raynox is still king in the zoom-throughs as far as lack of barrel distortion is concerned, and it's very good indeed at max wide. But it does need a good hood as the coating isn't up to the Canon or Century mark, and of course there's the softness at full telephoto. The Raynox 0.5x distorts a lot more and I for one am getting sick of seeing every door frame bend as wide-angle trackers move about.

The single element Schneider Kreuznach elements sold here
are still the least distorting wide-angles you'll find.

The Schneider Kreuznach 0.65x
is not quite as good as the Raynox in the corners because of very slight colour fringing but it doesnít vignette at all. Centre definition is excellent at whatever aperture you shoot at and the lack of distortion has to be seen to be believed. This is a very good lens indeed although like all single elements itís a non zoom-through. The lack of coating is a major flaw as itís not always possible to exclude light sources and these do cause bad flare spots.


Boyan Dob June 12th, 2003 04:49 AM

Thank you for your reply Tom. I am glad to see that experts answer to such basic questions.
(This is a post replying on both of your latest posts to me...)

Yes, I understand that everything absorbs light, but I thought that wide angle lens "collects" more light than it absorbs, am I wrong here? I've read few people posting here that with good wide angle lens you can gain, say, 3-5 LUX (on Pana MX500 you get 10 LUX instead of 15 LUX)... 5 LUX seems a good difference when shooting at late evening, but since I don't have any experience with WA, I wonder what that means in practice? Have you ever tried shooting at low lights with both options?

I am glad to read your opinion on Pana and Raynox lenses. Pana also costs quite a bit more than Raynox and since the Pana also distorts the image more I have a much easier choice now :-)

If possible I'd like to ask you to clarify this: for Schneider Kreuznach 0.65x you say is non zoom-through, I guess this means even a 2x or 3x zoom doesn't work, right? While for Raynox 0.66x you say it is zoom-through, but that there's the softness at full telephoto -- but does this mean that for lower zoom ranges, say, 2x to 6x it works well enough? If answer to both is yes, I think Raynox should be a better choice for most of users? Well, if money would be of no concern I'd have both Schneider Kreuznach and Century mark :-)

Tom Hardwick June 12th, 2003 05:19 AM

No, the wide-angle lens cannot "collect more light". It may well "see more sky" and therefore indicate that a smaller aperture will be set by the auto exposure, but the fact remails that adding three elements (which means 6 air to glass surfaces)in front of your zoom will undoubetdly absorb some light.

It's easy to test. Film an evenly lit grey card (or something like this) and used locked exposure. Now add the converter lens and reposition the camera (don't use the zoom) so that the v/finder shows exactly the same image. Film some more with the same exposure setting.

Replay the footage on your TV. Notice the slight change in the exposure across the join? That aptly demonstrates the light lost within the converter lens.

More answers.
>Have you ever tried shooting at low lights with both options?

Yes, often. But don't let the light loss put you off, the pictorial image you're after is a lot more important than any silly light loss. Use the tools that give you the results you're after.

The Schneider is a "partial zoom-through" meaning that yes, you can zoom a bit but it quickly looses the ability to focus at about 3x as you say. The Raynox is sharp to about 6x and Raynox are very open about this in their literature. The problem is that under stressful shooting conditions it's often difficult to spot the point at which critical sharpness is lost.


Frank Granovski June 12th, 2003 06:43 PM

I looked at a bunch of Raynox adaptors today. I wasn't impressed. My 1st choice would still be the high quality Tiffen adaptor---it's even made of metal instead of plastic---plus the glass looks better. So I would go with the Tiffen over the Pana and Raynox.

Yow Cheong Hoe June 12th, 2003 08:34 PM


<<<-- Originally posted by Boyan Dob :

YowCH, sure, your choice for Fujifilm wide lens is a best choice since you use if for your digital still camera as well... but to use it just for digital video camera seems too expensive at $180, plus the need for having/buying several step up rings...
Yes, $180 seems expensive, but I got it in Singapore for Singapore dollar $210 (that's like US$120). The RRP is always ridiculously high... I got my MX350 at SGD2500 (display set, though) while teh RRP was SGD3800, and the MX500 was offered to me at SGD2300 when the RRP was SGD3300. ?!?!?!

Also the stacking of step-up rings brings my ring size to 55mm. This is a convenient size, as I use Hoya filters. Hoya filters cost a bomb when below 49mm or above 62mm. Those below 49mm are to earn from the camcorder market while those above 62mm are to earn from 'pro' photographers. I'll stick to 55mm which is within the normal range, hence not too costly. The stepping rings are only a few dollars each.

BTW, with my filter at 55mm, I can stack up to 3 filters without vignetting, but keeping to 43mm, vignetting begins at 2 filters.

Most original manufacturers do only 0.7x or more as they fear that any more will cause customer complains of having too much distortion. The alternative is the very expensive cylindrical "anamorphic" (did I get this right?) which will be good for landscapes.

Boyan Dob June 17th, 2003 01:38 AM

Frank, I appreciate your help -- I see you even took the effort and checked out some Raynox lenses. Thanks!

Well, I wanted to see some images created by Tiffen 43mm 0.75x Wide Angle Converter, but didn't find any on their site. I'd very much like to compare images between this Tiffen and Raynox 43mm 0.66x, could you please do this for all of us here who are interested in wide angle lenses??

There are two things of main concern here. As Tom said Tiffen distorts image quite some more than Raynox, what was your experience Frank? And also, Raynox is specified at 0.66x while Tiffen at 0.75x, how big of a difference that is after all? I think I'd sacrifice a slight difference in quality for wider angle and less distortion...

YohCH, so in a way you recommend using step-up rings and buy a wide angle lens of 55mm since it's better when having up to 3 filters to avoid vignetting?

Lastly, on Tiffen site they promote new "Mega Plus 0.56x WA lens" -- anyone got experience with that one?

Thanks to all!

Tom Hardwick June 17th, 2003 02:09 AM

You'll find there's quite a big difference in wide-angle between a 0.75x and a 0.66x converter. The 0.75x will take your focal length down to 2.6mm whereas the 0.66x will make it 2.3mm.

It may not sound much but the increase in the angle of view will be very noticeable. I always feel that the hassle factor of fitting a wide-angle (remove hood, store. Remove UV, store. Unzip w/angle, remove lens caps. Store. Screw on w/angle, being careful not to cross-thread....and so on) mean that you might as well screw on a lens that's going to make a good big difference in your viewfinder.


Boyan Dob June 17th, 2003 02:42 AM

Thanks Tom! Now I want 0.66x Raynox over 0.75x Tiffen, but hmmm, now I am puzzled again, as to where to put Tiffen 0.56x??

I really have no possibility of checking any of them out in my country, so, I'll have to order Tiffen or Raynox via the internet (probbably from BHphotoVideo.com).

Tom Hardwick June 17th, 2003 02:55 AM

Be aware that the Raynox 6600Pro isn't a fully zoom through optic, and Raynox themselves make no bones about this. For about half the zoom the lens is very sharp, but in the last half it gets noticeably more "flarey" and soft in the corners. This can be very flattering to women of a certain age, but it's certainly not the lens to use if you think you might need to use your full zoom with the w/angle in place.

In my group test of a lot of wide-angles for a video magazine, my conclusions on the Raynox were:

The Raynox 0.66x is of three element, three group construction and sells for just under £100. It has a plastic box to keep it in, has a front lens cap that clips on securely and a rear cap thatís feeble, and weighs in at a lightweight 190g. The coating is nowhere near as good as on the Cavision and the Century, and hooding is recommended. It has a 72mm filter thread so this is not difficult to do. This Raynox is the only lens that you can use successfully as a converter for your 35mm still camera, where it handsomely outperforms all the rest. Itíll convert your 28mm f2.8 lens into an 18.5mm f2.8 lens with ease.

The instructions warn against using this lens past the half-way point on your zoom but I did some tests at full telephoto to check it out. Sure enough at full telephoto the image is decidedly soft and is covered with a veiling flare that is reminiscent of the effect given by the better soft focus screens. The effect is very aperture sensitive and at f4 itís quite sharp in the middle of the frame with very soft edges. At f11 itís soft all over and gives quite appealing portraiture shots.

At mid zoom it gives pincushion distortion but much better sharpness except right in the corners, and at wide itís really a very good lens. Overall itís the best value for money here as its centre definition is indistinguishable from the VX2000 on its own. Visit http://www.raynox.com


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