New 2x Tele-converter for HVX at DVinfo.net

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Old September 18th, 2006, 09:31 AM   #1
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New 2x Tele-converter for HVX

Century Optics/Schneider has finally released a 2.0x tele-converter for the HVX and other bodies. Having used the 1.6 converter I can attest to both the build quality and light transmission which are superb. However, the 1.6x didn't really extend the telephoto range enough to make it useful so I didn't keep it. A 2x however, makes a lot of sense and you get a lot for the money:

http://www.schneideroptics.com/news/index.htm

A lens shade, filter threads up front and a rail slider-support this looks to be one of the most useful HVX accessories yet. Yep, I'm ordering one!!
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #2
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It's about time!
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Old September 21st, 2006, 01:08 PM   #3
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Be sure to give us a review!
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Old October 6th, 2006, 06:18 PM   #4
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One pratfall to look out for

If you're interested in this lens, there's one small - and goofy detail - you should know about:

Unlike the 1.6 tele-extender the 2x comes with filter threads up front. Great idea however, there's a catch: the filter threads are a non-standard size: 102mm. NOBODY makes 102mm screw-on filters except, you guessed it - Schneider.

So even if you wanted to put inexpensive UV protection up front you're stuck purchasing their filter because nobody else makes - or will make - a 102mm sized screw-on filter.

As Chris would say, "Ack!".

I should have this lens next week when doing the HVX to SPX shootout, so I'll also be testing the 2x at the same time.
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Old October 7th, 2006, 03:37 PM   #5
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I just got mine in last week.

This thing is a BEAST and HEAVY!

But definitely well made.

Will post some comparisons and frame grabs later.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 04:43 PM   #6
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One more detail to watch for

I just got mine in today and it has one significant (and unexpected) drawback:

You can only use this lens with the HVX zoom set at or near it's maximum telephoto settings - about 27mm to 55mm. If you use focal lengths shorter than that you'll be seeing the innards of the 2x converter and the lens opening creates a nice "tunnel". In short, you lose about 3/4ths of the full HVX zoom capabilities with the 2x mounted because it forces you to be near full telephoto settings.

The 1.6x tele-converter had similar characteristics but not nearly to this degree; you only lost about 1/5th to 1/4th of your total zoom on the HVX, which still allowed for usable zooming.

On the plus side, I noticed no appreciable light loss and sharpness did not visibly fall off even at full telephoto, wide open. It's very well built, comes with a clamp-on lens shade, caps, slip-over case and a lens support for rails (which you really need to help the HVX support this monster hanging off it's nose).

If you plan on getting or using this lens you need to consider it almost to be a prime, fixed-focal length type of lens and not one that you can zoom with since it forces you to be at or near full telephoto.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 05:57 PM   #7
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That's good to know Robert. Thanks!

Usually for wildlife, I need all the reach I can get so lack of zoom isn't a deal breaker for me.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #8
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Exactly, Kevin. Treat it like a prime lens and it's the perfect tele add-on for the HVX.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 09:49 AM   #9
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It's sold as a telephoto converter, Robert, designed to double the maximum focal length. If you want to shoot at shorter focal lengths, take it off. Century have made no secret of the fact that you'll vignette the image at shorter focal lengths.

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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #10
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Tom,

It's important to know exactly how this converter actually performs. Many people not familiar with front-mounted extenders will assume that it will perform just like a 2x-converter for 35mm SLR's and will be very surprised that it doesn't.

There are also a bevvy of front-mounted 2x converters made by Sony and Canon that allow full use of the zoom on mini-DV cameras. Again, anyone who has used those extenders will expect the Century to perform similarly.

Also, as I mentioned in this thread I've used the 1.6x Century converter and personally expected the unusable zoom range from the 2x to be no worse than the 1.6x version. That is obviously not the case.

So while Century may not have designed this extender to be a full zoom-through lens, their own web-documentation is very vague about it's actual usage saying, the lens is designed to "effectively double focal length range in the telephoto direction...". This doesn't exactly tell you that you'll lose 3/4ths of your total zooming capability and it's an important fact that people need to know prior to purchasing.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 07:08 AM   #11
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Robert,
Can you post a couple pics with and without? If there's really no real loss in sharpness, this baby is goin on my Christmas list! :)
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Old October 14th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #12
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Good points you raise Robert. Thing is a lot of folk buy a 2x converter for a lot of money, hang its not inconsiderable weight on their filter threads and are then dissappointed by the lack of zoom through and by how little extra 2x actually is in the v'finder.

Easy to check out as most all camcorders have an awful digital zoom, but at least it can lead you to what to expect telephoto-wise when you attach your 2x Century.

The reason I say take it off if you want to zoom back is because it's a real no-no to shoot through an extra 3 or 4 elements when they're simply not needed. The biggest drawback is flare, but of course a 2x also adds distortion and reduces sharpness.

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Old October 14th, 2006, 09:42 AM   #13
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Hey Kevin,

Unfortunately I didn't save any of my clips from the test and I've already returned the unit.

But I really did not see any discernable light loss nor sharpness reduction; this while using our new Panny LH900 monitor which has more resolution than our now-dead Marshall.
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