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Old November 26th, 2004, 04:31 PM   #1
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Is this a bad idea?

I'm debating getting a Raynox 6600pro wide angle lens for my GS400. The only thing stopping me is that the 72mm front thread for the Raynox: filters for that baby would seriously hurt my budget. With my old Canon ZR20, my shooting arsenal consisted of close-up filters, ND filters, a circular polarizer, and UV filter -- and I'd like to repeat that.

I was thinking about getting a step-up ring from 43mm to 52mm and the Raynox with the 52mm back thread. Then use 52mm filters -- which are considerably cheaper -- and then attach the Raynox wide angle to the filters if and when I need wide angle for a shot. Is this a horrible idea? Will the weight of the Raynox (combined with a rubber hood), snap or damage the filters and step-up ring connecting it to the camera? Technically, there could be an instant where I have up to 5 filters (including the step-up ring) between the wide angle lens and the camera. Or am I being paranoid?

Or is there a possibility that this might cause vignetting or warp or distort the picture?

I would really like to go this route (with the 52mm), because it stretches my dollar farther -- saving me about $100+. (And I'm trying to get a good tripod and a nice floodlight.) If it is a bad idea, I'll just have to bite the bullet and leave off some of the other gear I'm considering.

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Old November 26th, 2004, 07:17 PM   #2
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Attaching the WA on a filter is similar to attaching it in front of the stock hood. It is possible (although I personally believe it is not a good idea) but the filter (and stock hood) thread is not deep enough to achieve tight connection. Under normal situations, I don't think the WA will fall but the (slightly) loose connection could cause some anxiety.

Among other reasons, I think it is advisable to minimize the distance between the WA and the cam lens because attaching a WA appears to reduce the light sensitivity of the cam. I have 2 0.7x WAs (a Panasonic and Sony) and the cam tends to open up the iris or increase the gain value when I attach these WAs. On the other hand, both these WAs do not vignette whether I attach onto the stock hood or directly to the lens barrel, so I imagine the HD6600 would perform similarly. However, if you are going to stack 5 filters before attaching the WA, well who knows. (I imagine that's gonna make your GS400 look like one of those digital cams with long lens adapter :-)).

Yeah the price difference between 52mm and 72mm filters could be significant especially if you're getting that many filters.

Just my opinion:

WA and close-up filters sound rather contradictory to me.

Circular polarizer may be an overkill if you have an ND, and perhaps vice versa. Please note that the standard filter sets offered by Pany, Sony and Canon consist of a protector and an ND. Kenko Hoya's general filter catalogue states that the 2 Must Have filters for any videocam are those 2 above. Of course, a polarizer would be more desirable in some cases but for general bright outdoor shots (especially in the beach or ski slopes), the cheaper ND will suffice.

I would certainly prefer to put some protection on the WA front glass.
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Old November 27th, 2004, 12:37 AM   #3
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Just to follow up on Allan's excellent post. When you put a filter between the conversion lens and the objective lens, you may get reflections. The reflections may show up as flare or ghosting and are exacerbated if you use filters without coatings. The more filters you add, the more likely the problem. I agree with Allan that the conversion lens needs to be as close to the objective lens as possible for best results. Also, I can't image a shooting situation that would call for 4-5 filters. If you need that many filters, I would suggest looking at the Cokin A or P filter system. In fact, you can probably put a Cokin P system in front of your wide angle. In addition to a wide range of filters, Cokin makes hoods and lens caps for their filter systems.

Generally, I recommend a polarizer over an ND. The reason is that a polarizer provides 2 F/stops of light reduction whether is it adjusted or not. So, it can be left on outdoors to help with excessive brightness and to replace the UV filter. If you have a shot with high reflectiveness, a quick adjustment takes care of it.
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Old November 28th, 2004, 10:08 AM   #4
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First thing to remember is that filters add nothing - they only take away. And stacking filters is not a good idea at all - even if they're expensive multi-coated types, they all add to the flare and all bring with them minute amounts of dust and so on.

The 6600Pro is an excellent lens which has very little barrel distortion but then goes a bit soft at full telephoto. If you're prepared for this then it's OK, but I sold mine on, simply because you can really only treat it as a non zoom through.

Going the 52mm attachment route is sensible as it will then be more useful on other cameras or if you sell it. Don't buy 72mm filters for the front - Raynox warn of vignetting even if you use very slim filters - the thread is there for you to fit a lens hood. Do so - the Raynox coating isn't the best.

W/angle converters generally absorb about 1/5th of a stop - so it's hardly measurable and your camera's metering system will take it into account.

Using polarisers is dangerous in movies simply because of continuity errors. Simply shooting at 90 degrees to the last shot can dramatically change the colour of the sky. I much prefer ND filters except for special circumstances.

Don't worry about your camera's filter thread. The 6600 PRO is quite light and no harm will come to it.

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Old November 28th, 2004, 11:05 AM   #5
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Thank you all for some excellent posts. I realize now that I would probably never use that many filters at once. I use the close-ups without the WA, the circular for water and glass reflection shots, ND for standard bright outdoors, and there's a UV protection lens. So not the 4-5 at one time as I thought.

Again, thanks for the excellent info. I never knew that using the ND + Polarizer was a bit of an overkill.
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